USTA junior tournament restructure FAQs

January 07, 2021

The USTA is excited to adopt a simplified nationwide junior tournament structure beginning in January 2021. For detailed information on these important changes, please visit our junior tour landing page.


Below you will find FAQs regarding the upcoming implementation of the new ranking structure and the impact of COVID-19.


With the disruptions caused by the pandemic, why wasn’t the implementation of the new junior structure postponed from the original January 2021 date?


While the USTA fully recognizes the impacts of COVID-19 on junior tennis around the country, we are very excited to launch this new competitive pathway in 2021.


It is a massive change, and a monumental and historic step for the organization to unify under one junior tournament structure. A great deal of work went into crafting this new format, and we are confident that it will be far more effective and efficient than previous iterations. With that in mind, we did not want to delay the transition.


The launch is also tied to our move as an organization to Serve Tennis, and away from Tennis Link.


What efforts will be made by the USTA to make up for tournaments cancelled in 2020?


Following the cancellation of the USTA National Winter Championships and due to the ongoing situation surrounding COVID-19 that has impacted the ability to host events in certain parts of the country, the USTA is proposing adjustments to the beginning of the 2021 National Junior Tournament Schedule. The goal of these adjustments is to hold additional events in order to regionalize play, thus limiting travel, while still offering high-level competitive opportunities for players across the country.


The USTA plans to double the number of Level 2 tournaments held Feb. 6-8, with the number of events increasing from four to eight in each age division. The events will feature 32-player singles draws and be strategically located to minimize travel.


The March Level 3 tournaments scheduled for March 20-22 will proceed as originally planned due to the fact that those tournaments are widely distributed across the country.


As the situation remains fluid, the USTA may propose additional adjustments to ensure a competitive balance and provide players with competitive opportunities closer to home.


How will the new rankings account for the varying opportunities for tournaments in different sections as a result of pandemic restrictions?


We are constantly monitoring the impact of local restrictions on junior tennis nationwide. The situation surrounding COVID-19 is ever-evolving and while there may be scenarios in which some sections are not able to hold the same number of events, we are working constantly to put together a 2021 schedule that ensures a competitive balance and equal play opportunities across the country. 


The USTA defers to governmental decisions on the safety of large events like tennis tournaments. While we recognize that some areas and USTA sections may be more adversely impacted in this respect, we do not want to limit play opportunities where such events are possible.


One of the major benefits of the new pathway is the ability for juniors to compete in tournaments across state lines and in different sections, and still have those results count towards their sectional and national rankings.


With the limited opportunities to use the shadow rankings in 2020, how can juniors and parents best inform themselves as they map out the 2021 tournament schedules?


Play opportunities were minimized in 2020, but best efforts were made, and continue to be made, to back-fill the calendar to provide as many safe tournament options as possible.


A full 2021 calendar will be available soon, but tournament tiers and ranking-point tables, including the addition of bonus points for wins vs. highly ranked opponents, are available here.


Even with a full, uninterrupted year of shadow rankings, we would not have expected such a wide-sweeping transition to be completely smooth in the short-term. In moving from 17 different point tables (one in each section) and over 100 different tournament names to a more streamlined and nationalized format, the end result will be more accurate rankings, which will only get more accurate as time goes on and a normal schedule returns.


Despite the lack of a full 2020 tournament calendar, we are fortunate to have had at least some 2020 tournament results to work with to help ease everyone into the 2021 changes.


How will doubles and team events be handled in 2021?


Doubles and team events may continue to be limited into 2021, simply because of the challenges that these events pose with respect to social distancing and other safety measures due to the larger number of competitors. At this time, singles events are more feasible due to their inherent smaller nature.


Where possible to do so safely, doubles and team events will be held—there is no edict against such events in 2021.

Skip Advertisement


Related Articles

  • Clervie Ngounoue and Learner Tien and won the USTA Girls’ and Boys' 18s National Championships, respectively, each earning a wild card into the main draw of the US Open. Read More
  • Izyan Ahmad, Marcel Latak, Jordan Lee, Nancy Lee, Annika Penickova and Kristina Penickova represent the U.S. at the world’s premier 14-and-under team competition. Read More
  • Zhengqing Ji and Christasha McNeil won the 2023 USTA Boys' and Girls' 18s National Clay Court Championships singles titles, respectively. Read More