National

USTA announces areas of focus and improvement for 2024 junior tournaments

December 15, 2023


Players and parents are getting more involved when tennis is easy to understand, tournaments are simple to sign up for, and the competitive experience is enjoyable and well-organized. To benefit our players and parents—and continue to grow the sport—the USTA continues to find new ways to streamline and elevate its junior tournament structure, improving the overall junior tennis experience for participants across the country. 

 

2023 was another incredibly successful year in the junior space, with an increase in unique players and the growth of L7 tournaments with both more offerings and tournament directors.

 

As we move into 2024, the USTA is making some changes to the ranked junior competitive pathway based on years of feedback and data analysis. The updates will primarily focus on two components of the junior experience: ranked team events and the selection process for the national championships.

Starting in the new year, ranked team events will be given more weight. We spent the past two years piloting options to see what team events worked best with existing schedules, and learned from your feedback. Starting in 2024, the L1 - Battle of Sections will now be an official USTA team event for juniors, and sections will have the option to offer a new L4 Intersectional Team Event.

 

We've also created new and reimagined team events for all ranking levels in the competitive pathway, ensuring that there are more local team events that are accessible, affordable, and fun.

 

In order to improve the national championships, we set three main goals: simplifying the selection process, ensuring all USTA Sections are represented, and improving the strength of the field.

A USTA Official hands tennis balls to junior players about to start a match.

Starting in 2024, the percentage of the draw made up of ‘quota’ spots will decrease, but there will be more USTA section representation earned through the National Standings List.

 

Quota will remain intact, but there will be changes in how the quota is calculated. Forty percent of the ratio will be made using unique registrations in L3 closed-L7 events broken down by sections, and 60% of the ratio will be made up of the number of players in the Top 150 in the year-end rankings, which is the same as previous years. These updated quota numbers will be posted at the end of January on usta.com.

 

Additionally, the L2 Qualifiers (12s-18s) and the Direct Acceptance List (14s-16s) will no longer be a part of the pathway, as those players have already gained entry into the tournament.  However, the Direct Acceptance List will remain in the 18s age division. 

 

Another notable change relates to the selection process itself for the national championships. In 2024, quota will only be used during the initial selection process. Moving forwards, quota players who withdraw from the tournament prior to the draw being made will be replaced with the next alternate available and where they fall on the National Standing List regardless of what section they reside in. 

 

The quota list calculations changed because sectional play is a priority. In 2024, all age divisions will use the following to calculate quota lists:

 

  • A player's best six singles and best six doubles and/or mixed doubles results may not include more than two singles and two doubles and/or mixed doubles results from tournaments sanctioned by governing bodies other than the sectional association or one of district associations.

 

This is a change from previous years in order to simplify and prioritize pay at the local level while providing an option for players to gain entry to the national championships through local play.

 

To make sure the junior competitive pathway is a great experience for players, parents and other participants, the USTA will review the tournament structure and experience annually and make changes as needed.

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