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USTA Florida to Host Regional US Open Qualifying Tennis Tournament

January 25, 2010 06:00 PM
US Open National PlayoffsDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Jan. 26, 2010 -- The United States Tennis Association-Florida Section (USTA Florida) announced today that Florida will host the US Open National Playoffs Qualifying Tournament, with the men's and women's winners advancing to the finals featuring 16 USTA Section champions. The winners of the men's and women's national finals will receive a wildcard into the 2010 US Open Qualifying Tournament.

The date and site for the Florida event will be announced within the next 10 days.

Earlier today, the USTA announced the national launch of the US Open National Playoffs, which will expand the footprint of the US Open and provide the opportunity for all players 14 years of age and older to earn a US Open Qualifying Tournament wildcard. Sixteen of the USTA's 17 sections will host a men's and women's event from April through June, with the finals held in conjunction with Olympus US Open Series tournaments this summer.

"What a great new program by the USTA to give every adult and 14-and-over junior member who has dreams about competing at the US Open an opportunity to play," says Rick Workman, tournament director for the US Open National Playoffs Florida Section Qualifying Tournament. "We're going to see collegiate players, top juniors, and 'open level' players in Florida all entering for a chance to play at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. Plus, the Florida section is providing the men's and women's winners travel expense to compete in the national playoff event for the US Open qualifying wildcard. It's going to be quite a competition!"

The goal of the event is connecting more people to the US Open and expanding the tournament's reach to communities throughout the United States, says USTA National Chairman of the Board and President Lucy Garvin.

"The US Open National Playoffs makes the US Open 'open,' where one woman and one man will earn a wildcard into the US Open Qualifying Tournament and a chance to advance to the main draw," Garvin says. "The fact that the US Open National Playoffs are supported by qualifying tournaments run by our sections makes this event even more unique, extending the reach of the US Open across the country."

The entry fee for each of the sectional qualifying tournaments is $125. All players competing must have a current USTA membership valid through Aug. 30, 2010. Competitors can enter any of the 16 sectional qualifying tournaments across the U.S., but they can only enter and compete in one sectional qualifying tournament.

"It is a great opportunity for every player to make it to the US Open," says USTA Florida Competitive Tennis Coordinator Andy Gladstone. "It's now a true US Open -- everyone has a shot to play. I love how the club champ, the teaching pro, the ace junior player, the star college player all have a chance -- The US Open will be coming to everyone's backyard."

Each sectional qualifying tournament is limited to the first 256 players to enter, and players will not be seeded by any means.   

Skier Bode Miller, a two-time overall World Cup champion, two-time Olympic silver medalist and three-time world champion who also played tennis in high school says he will be competing in one of the US Open sectional qualifying tournaments. 

"Tennis has always been a part of my life," said Miller, who won the 1996 Maine state singles title for Carrabassett Valley Academy and whose family owns the Tamarack Tennis Camp in Easton, N.H., which was founded by his grandparents. "The US Open National Playoffs are a great concept and I look forward to playing in one of the sectional qualifying tournaments this spring. It will give me an outlet to focus my competitiveness after the Olympics and World Cup season."

Pro golfer Matt Kuchar, a part-time resident of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and an avid tennis fan, says the competition brings the US Open closer to recreational players like it has for years with golf's U.S. Open.

"I think the USTA is doing a great thing by having a true open competition," says Kuchar, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour who has earned a spot in the last three U.S. Open golf championships through open qualifying. "I have utilized open qualifying to play numerous U.S. Opens in golf and I've seen amateurs advance alongside me. You never know, Sybi and I might give it our best shot in the near future."

Kuchar and his wife Sybi won the consolation title at the USTA Husband-Wife Clay Court tennis championships this past October in Ponte Vedra Beach, and he was also runner-up at the USTA National Men's Grass Court Doubles Championships with brother-in-law Drew Parker six years ago.

"The US Open National Playoff gets to the very core of what's great about tennis," says tennis legend Billie Jean King. "It's a sport for anyone and everyone. I grew up playing on public courts in California, dreaming one day I'd get a chance to play at the US Open. Now another player will have a chance to live that dream."       

For the Florida page of the US Open National Playoffs Qualifying Tournament go to http://www.usopen.org/National_Playoffs/florida.aspx

Follow this link to see the entire US Open National Playoffs Qualifying schedule for the 16 USTA sections.

Receive USTA Florida news once a week in your in-box by subscribing to the USTA Florida Weekly E-Newsletter, CLICK HERE.






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