Junior Tennis FAQ


Have questions about junior tennis in your area? Learn more about the rules, requirements, and other ins-and-outs of junior tennis to help guide your child through our exciting programs. Find information on tournaments and learn more about getting started today!


Where can I find the rules?
USTA Missouri Valley tournaments are governed by The Code, ITF (International Tennis Federation), USTA Regulations (known as "Friend at Court"), and USTA Missouri Valley Junior Circuit Rules and Regulations.  


Who determines the rules for Missouri Valley?
The Junior Competition Committee is responsible for all policy specific to the Missouri Valley. The Committee is comprised of one representative from each of the seven districts. They meet regularly to determine policy.


Why do I need to become a USTA member to play tournaments?

A USTA membership is required to participate in any sanctioned USTA tournament. ADVERTISEMENT The membership will also provide several other benefits. 

What is the difference between a Sanctioned and Non-Sanctioned tournament?
A Sanctioned tournament is approved by the USTA and will be run in accordance with USTA rules and regulations.  Sanctioned tournaments are used for rankings.  A Non-Sanctioned tournament does not have to follow USTA rules and regulations and is not used for rankings.


Where do I go to find the tournaments?

You can search online via TennisLink. From here, there are many fields that allow you to narrow down your search results. You can also contact your local Junior Coordinator for the local schedule


I am new to junior tournaments, what should I play?
- There are 5 levels of tournaments for Missouri Valley juniors.
- A player’s coach is often the best person to ask this question as each player is unique and will develop their playing level at different speeds.


What is a Futures Qualifier?
A Futures qualifier is a district tournament used to qualify one player into the Missouri Valley Futures tournaments. Part of the selection process for the Futures is that each district gets to endorse one player. The remaining spots into the tournament are based on at large selection from the most recent Missouri Valley Standings List. 


What is a District Championship?

A District Championship is a local district event worth Missouri Valley level 4 points. Each district is allowed to designate four tournaments per year to receive these upper level ranking points. 


How are the sites for each tournament decided?
For Missouri Valley Events, there is a bid process. Any interested organizations bid on available tournaments. The Sanction and Scheduling Committee as well as the Junior Competition Committee then determine the locations for the tournaments based on the bidders.

When registering for a tournament, why am I asked for a phone number and email?
This information is requested so that tournament directors may contact you during the tournament for issues such as match time changes, rain delays, etc. 


How do I register for Doubles?
-There are three ways a player may register for doubles:

-Both players may sign up together at online registration. This will require you to have your partner’s USTA number. Your partner must also sign up online with YOUR USTA number for your doubles registration to be complete

-You may both email the tournament director requesting to be paired. 

-You may email the tournament director and request to be placed in the blind draw. The blind draw is designed for players who do not have a partner, but want to play doubles. You will be randomly matched with another player in the blind draw

NOTE: Both partners must confirm with the tournament director to be considered for the draw

How do I withdraw from a tournament?
- To withdraw from a tournament before the entry deadline, return to the tournament homepage via TennisLink and click the "Withdraw" link under the Edit Registration title.
- To withdraw from a tournament after the entry deadline, send an email to the tournament director listed on the tournament homepage.

Will I receive a refund if I withdraw from a tournament?
- If you withdraw online before the entry deadline, you will not be charged for the tournament so there is no need for a refund.
- If you withdraw after the entry deadline, it will depend on the timing.  If the withdrawal happens within the 6 days before the start of the event, the tournament director is not required to refund the entry fee.

The entry deadline for a tournament has passed, can I still get in?
No, late entries are not accepted for any section level event.  Be sure to plan your tournament schedule early.  All tournaments’ are available on the searchable calendar. Make sure to check our Missouri Valley Tournament Schedule for entry deadlines.

When will the draws be posted?
The draws will be posted no later than noon on the Tuesday before the start of the tournament.

How are the draws made?
- For all USTA Missouri Valley section events, the draws are made by the Competition Coordinator using software that has been developed for tournaments.
- First the seeds are determined, and then the players are placed in groups based on their district.  This is done to try and prevent players from the same district from playing each other in the first round.
- A button is then clicked.  This places the players in random positions based on the seeds and groups.


How are the seeds determined for a tournament?
- To determine the seeds in the singles draws at Missouri Valley events, players are placed in order by their position on the most current USTA Missouri Valley Standing List at the time of the entry deadline.
- To determine the seeds in the doubles draws, the singles ranking for each player is added together to get a combined ranking.  The team with the lowest combined ranking will be the number 1 seed. 

-Check with your district for seeding at district events

Are the seeds always placed on the same lines in the draw?  Does the number 1 seed always play the number 4 seed?
No, seeds are not always on the same lines in every draw.  For example, in a draw with eight seeds, the number 1 seed is always on the top line and the number 2 seed is always on the bottom line.  The number 3 and 4 seeds are randomly placed on lines nine and twenty-four.  The number 5 seed through 8 seed are randomly placed on lines five, thirteen, twenty, and twenty-eight. Placing seeds on draw lines is done in compliance with Friend at Court. 


How is the schedule for the tournament decided?

The schedule is determined based on many different factors including but not limited to: number of entries, draw type, and number of available courts

How many matches will I have to play in one day?
Depending on the size of the draw, players can play up to 3 singles matches in one day.

How must rest do I get between matches?
You should get at least 60 minutes after three set matches and 30 minutes after 8 game pro sets.

Is there a penalty for arriving to a match late?
- Yes, the lateness penalty clock is started when there is a court available and the match has been called.
- If the player is late by 5:00 minutes or less, the penalty is loss of toss plus one game.
- If the player is late by 5:01 – 10:00 minutes, the penalty is loss of toss plus two games.
- If the player is late by 10:01 – 15:00 minutes, the penalty is loss of toss plus three games.
- If the player is late by more than 15:00 minutes, the player is defaulted.
- A player is deemed to have arrived when the player checks in at the tournament desk and is properly clothed, equipped, and ready to play.
- Be sure to have directions to the tournament site before the day of your match.

Can a tournament move indoors?
- The Supers and June Sweet 16 are required to provide indoor backup if there is inclement weather.
- Outdoor Futures are not required to move indoors because of inclement weather.  Changes to the tournament scoring format will be considered.  Certain events or consolation rounds may be cancelled in order to move the tournament along.
- A player may be charged an additional fee to cover the cost of the indoor courts.

What happens to if the tournament can’t be finished because of rain?
If a tournament is unable to finish some or all matches, players will earn points for all matches completed.

When can I apply for the Age Up Wildcard?
Age-up Wildcards are no longer offered at the USTA Missouri Valley Level.

Why did I not get a T-shirt?
Sites hosting Futures events are not required to give a T-shirt.  

Does anybody read the comments from the tournament surveys?
Yes, all submitted responses are reviewed by the Competition Coordinator.   A copy of the results and any specific feedback is sent to each tournament director.

What is the Standing List?
The Standing List refers to a list of players and their current position within their age and gender division based on tournament results received to date.

How do I get on the Standing List?
Once you win one match in the age division of the list in question in a USTA Missouri Valley sanctioned event, you will be included on the next updated Standing List.

Do byes count as a win?

How often are the Standing Lists updated?
The Standing list is run every Wednesday.  Any changes made to a tournament after the lists have been calculated and published will not be included until the following Wednesday. It is a player’s responsibility to check his or her results and notify the tournament director in a timely manner. 

Some results from my tournaments are wrong, who do I contact for corrections?
All corrections are made by the Tournament Director of the tournament. The Competition Coordinator will not make corrections to these results.

How are the total points on the Standing List calculated?
The ranking program looks at all the tournaments played in the previous twelve months.  The best five singles results and 15 percent of the best five doubles results are included in the overall point total.

What does "doesn’t count toward ranking" mean?
Since not all tournaments are included in the overall point total, when this note is next to a tournament it means that it is not one of the player’s top five results.

What happens to my points if I am unable to finish the tournament due to an injury, illness, or personal circumstance/emergency?
If you have won at least one match before you have to retire from a match or not start your next match, you will receive the points you have earned to that point of the tournament and your match will be coded as a “walkover”. The code on the draw should read WO. If you are not able to START the tournament due to injury, illness, or personal circumstance/emergency, you should notify the tournament director.

Do tournaments played outside the Missouri Valley Section count toward my Missouri Valley ranking?

Do results from National tournaments count toward my Missouri Valley ranking?

Do entry-level novice or satellite tournaments count toward my Missouri Valley ranking?


When I age out of an age division, do my points go with me?
No. Any points earned in a younger age division are not added to the older age division. To work around this, players should start playing tournaments in the older age division 6-9 months in advance to gather a point base for when they age out. 


If I play up a division, will it hurt my ranking in the lower age division?
No. Any points earned in an older age division trickle down to the lower age division so long as the player remains eligible.

Why is my name appearing on the Ineligible list?
This list includes any players who are not eligible to be ranked on the list.  The most common reasons are that the player has not yet won a match or is now too old for that age division.

What is the Endorsement List?
The Endorsement List is a list of players that the Missouri Valley will endorse into National tournaments. Please see Regulation 18 in the Junior Circuit Regulations on how to be eligible for the Endorsement List.


What is the Bonus Points List?
The Missouri Valley offers Bonus Points for wins over players in the top 60. We publish this list once a month. Please see Regulation 44 in the Junior Circuit Regulations for more information on how Bonus Points work.

For any additional questions please contact Marissa Brown, Director of Community Tennis, at brown@movalley.usta.com.


Related Articles