USTA Pro Circuit launches
E.J. Crawford | March 24, 2016
The USTA Pro Circuit is the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, a place for the next generation of tennis stars to hone their games and build their rankings for a run at the pro tours. Tennis, meantime, has evolved in recent years, becoming a more physical game that is dominated by older players, with fewer teen phenoms than in decades past.
With a nod to this reality, and in an attempt to give burgeoning American players the best shot at rising to the top of the game, the USTA has launched the USTA Pro Circuit Collegiate Series.
The USTA Pro Circuit Collegiate Series will operate as a circuit of more than 10 tournaments held on or near college campuses nationwide to provide a platform for college players to gain pro experience and earn the ATP or WTA ranking points needed to transition to the pro ranks. ADVERTISEMENT It will also complement the schedules of college players, with most of the Collegiate Series events being held during the fall semester. Collegiate dual matches and conference matchups typically take place in the spring.
“College tennis is a unique American institution and provides American players with a viable pathway for continued development, not only with regards to their tennis skills, but physically and emotionally as well,” said USTA Player Development General Manager Martin Blackman. “As the average age of Top 100 players on the men’s and women’s sides increases, so too does college tennis’ role as a viable pathway for American pro development. We look forward to a new level of collaboration with the many excellent college coaches throughout the country.”
The Collegiate Series is scheduled to begin the week of June 6 with a $25,000 men’s Futures event held at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., followed by a $25,000 men’s Futures event at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The series will continue in the fall with men’s and women’s tournaments to be named, with prize money ranging from $25,000 to $50,000. Ohio State will host a $50,000 men’s Challenger in mid-September, while two $25,000 men’s Futures events will take place near the University of California, Berkeley, in October.
“The USTA Pro Circuit is all about developing young players and bringing world-class tennis to local communities nationwide,” said USTA Pro Circuit Director Brian Earley. “We are thrilled to launch the USTA Pro Circuit Collegiate Series, which will allow college players to compete in tournaments conveniently located on or near their schools, while also giving them the opportunity to compete against some of the game’s best athletes to gain valuable pro experience. We are also excited for fans to have the opportunity to see such a high level of tennis on college campuses.”
The USTA Pro Circuit, started in 1979, is scheduled to feature approximately 100 events this year and will award more than $3.5 million in total prize money – the most events and greatest amount of prize money awarded in any season in the history of the USTA Pro Circuit.