NTRP Championships Lead to New Adult Circuit
James Maimonis, Communications and Engagement Coordinator | May 10, 2018
WESTBOROUGH, MA- The USTA introduced its newest adult tournament this spring- The NTRP National Championships. Throughout April, top tournament players from around the country competed in Surprise, AZ (18+) and Naples, FL (50+) for their chance to make history at the inaugural event.
The tournament leverages the NTRP rating system as a way to create level-based competition at the 18 & Over and 50 & Over age groups. The championships were round robin draws that led to non-elimination playoffs. A best of 3 short sets format was played with no-ad scoring and a tiebreak at three all. If a tiebreak came into play it was the first to 5 points, win by one.
New England sent 19 players in total (8 from 18+ and 11 from 50+) based on 2017 tournament rankings and ratings to compete in singles and doubles at the 4.5, 4.0 and 3.5 NTRP levels.
Players battled drastic climate changes coming from an indoor winter season and were thrown into the brutal heat and humidity of Arizona and Florida. New England was still able to manage an impressive four finals appearances (all in 18+).
Alastair Chapman (Newton, MA) and Lue Villa (Norwalk, CT) headlined the men’s singles field. Chapman, competing in the 4.5 singles division, went 4-0 in his flight, earning a trip to the semifinals. He won his semifinal match 2-4, 4-3, 4-0 before losing to John Dye (Honolulu, HI) in a heartbreaking final, 4-1, 3-4, 3-4.
Villa reached finals in 3.5 singles. He cruised through his flight (3-0) to advance to the quarterfinal draw. He won his quarterfinal and semifinal matches, 4-0, 4-2, and 4-2, 1-4, 4-2 respectively, and lost in the finals, 2-4, 0-4 to Ioan Tulai, of Bothell, WA.
On the women’s side, New Boston, NH’s Juana Luneau advanced to the finals in 3.5 singles. Luneau went unbeaten in her flight to advance to the quarterfinals. She won her match in the quarters, 4-2, 4-2 and then won 4-2, 4-0 in the semis to reach the finals. In her 12th match of the weekend (singles and doubles) she finally ran out of gas and fell to Sonya Bearden (Woodmere, OH), 3-4, 1-4.”
“I felt very fortunate just to be there,” Luneau said. “This was a great opportunity and I never thought of myself competing at Nationals. I overdid myself a bit however. Twelve matches in three days was tough, and I think it would’ve been a different result in the finals if I wasn’t so tired.”
In conjunction with the NTRP National Championships, USTA New England will launch a new adult tournament circuit in 2018. The circuit will run from July 1 to December 31 and will feature men’s and women’s 4.5, 4.0 and 3.5 NTRP levels in singles and doubles. New England participants in the 2019 NTRP National Championships will be determined based on 2018 circuit results. This format involves compatible play, a defined match time, a variety of competition and has been coined a “fast and fun” experience.
“The NTRP National Championships have created a real opportunity to attract USTA League players to tournament tennis by using a short set circuit schedule which will be offered throughout the New England section in the second half of 2018,” said Heather Anastos, Director of Competitive Tennis for USTA New England. “Players who attended the National NTRP Championships in April reported back on their good time and all showed interest in joining the 2018 circuit.”
Check back on usta.com/newengland in the coming months for more details on the circuit.