Changes Coming to the
Junior Competitive Structure
February 20, 2020
At USTA Mid-Atlantic, we are excited about the simplified nationwide structure for junior competitive events which will take place in January 2021. These changes help create a standardized system with greater consistency for players, parents, coaches, officials and tournament directors.
Today, USTA Mid-Atlantic is proactively implementing incremental changes this year in 2020, to help everyone involved in youth competition be best prepared when the new structure is in place. The changes are effective January 1, 2020, and are reflected in the new 2020 USTA MAS Junior Tournament Regulations.
“From the young tennis player experiencing a fun introductory event to those striving to or playing in Nationally ranked events, our goal is to always provide a positive experience and one that puts the players, their appropriate development and health at the forefront,” says Rachel Kros, senior manager youth competition for USTA Mid-Atlantic Section. “We believe the changes we are implementing this year, will help players, parents, and tennis providers have a smooth transition in 2021 and best acclimate to the new, beneficial structure to come.”ADVERTISEMENT
USTA Mid-Atlantic has summarized the key local changes taking place this year to make it easy to understand what you need to know right now. More resources and information will continue to be distributed from USTA and USTA Mid-Atlantic Section on the junior competitive structure changes as well as information on upcoming pilot programs and new tennis play opportunities in the Section.
What is changing in 2020 in the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section?
Junior Tournaments are being defined as Intermediate (Level 7 & Level 6); Intermediate/Advanced (Level 5); and Advanced (Level 3 & Level 4)
All Junior Tournaments will play Yellow Ball in all age divisions.
Players must be 11 years old or “mission complete” through the Youth Progression Program to compete in Junior Tournaments.
Membership is required for Junior Tournaments, but not required for “USTA Mid-Atlantic Tennis Bashes” and Net Generation events.
Tournaments will include “Open” or “Closed” in the title to identify events that are “open” to players from all Sections or limited to Mid-Atlantic Section players and therefore identified as “closed.” Further clarification on these terms can be found in the regulations to include clarification on the selection process for each type of event.
Changes to Advanced Events:
“Challengers” - Open Level 4 (No National Points) will offer, singles, or doubles, or singles and doubles. Singles events will always offer a minimum of two matches and stand-alone doubles only events will also offer a minimum of two matches.
Based on parent feedback and review by the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section Junior Competition Committee, 12 and under Level 4 events (now known as Advanced) will offer a greater variety of play opportunities in terms of draw sizes and match formats.
The 2020 USTA MAS Junior Tournament Regulations includes clarifications to endorsement requirements in 2020 as well as information on changes related to endorsement in 2021.
Changes to Level 6 & Level 7:
Level 8 events do not exist in 2020, although we will continue to offer non-ranking “USTA Mid-Atlantic Tennis Bash (aka Net Generation Bashes)” events during this year of transition.
Level 7 events are defined as Intermediate events in 2020, playing to completion in one day.
Level 7 Draw formats will be Round Robin or Compass Draw with shortened match formats.
If a level 7 has a draw limit it will be a “bottom-up” selection giving priority to unranked players.
All Level 7 & Level 6 events will offer a minimum of two matches and a maximum of four matches.
What about High School Tennis?
The Section is currently working on new initiatives specific to high school tennis players in alignment with USTA.
In 2020 there will be Section pilots of initiatives to include new opportunities for high school players and coaches.
During this time of transition, Regional and State High School Championships are being evaluated and a determination of eligibility for ranking purposes will be determined by March 31, 2020.
For 2020, HS Dual Matches and District level events will no longer be listed as tournaments or allow players to earn ranking points.
Net Generation Events:
During this year of transition, the Section will be piloting a variety of Net Generation Events including:
2020 Net Generation “Bashes” will be sanctioned in Tennislink and can offer all age divisions, however, players will not earn ranking points.
What about Youth Progression?
During this year of transition, the Section will continue to offer Youth Progression events as well as pilot Net Generation events specific for 10U players.
10U players are welcomed and encouraged to try the pilot Net Generation programs rolling out in 2020.
If your 10U player wants to continue earning stars and trophies in the current Youth Progression program, you should have them continue to play “Bashes” and 10U events sanctioned in Tennislink.
All 2020 competitive match play experience for 10U players will be translated into the new programs in 2021. Players will not lose “experience.”
10U players are ineligible to receive ranking points in 12U events since all the 12U events are yellow ball by definition.
The USTA Mid-Atlantic Blast Tour will continue to exist in 2020 with five events currently scheduled; we will use this year of transition to explore format and delivery options throughout 2020.
We will be evaluating the future of the 10U once a month seeding list throughout 2020 but will continue to publish seeding in the Blast Tour for now.
How Do I Stay Informed?
The USTA Mid-Atlantic Section has a parent outreach plan to help parents stay informed of all the changes associated with the junior competition. We kicked off this program in December 2019 with parent information sessions in and around Washington, D.C., connecting with nearly 200 parents and coaches. We will be announcing additional dates and sessions soon. In addition to the in-person sessions, we will be rolling out virtual resources to assist parents during this year of transition.
Be sure to bookmark the USTA MAS Junior Resource Page to stay up to date with all information.
Anyone currently playing Junior Tournaments should review the 2020 USTA MAS Junior Tournament Regulations. Included in the 2020 Regulations are 2021 Notes, which highlight key areas that will have additional changes in 2021.
If you have immediate questions, please contact Rachel Kros, Senior Manager, Youth Competition.