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Chris Evert to Play Mixed Tennis in US Open National Playoffs; Florida Registration Open

March 15, 2011 09:11 AM
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Registration for the 2011 US Open National Playoffs-Florida Section Qualifying Tournament opened on Tuesday, March 15, 2011, as it did concurrently for all 16 USTA Sectional Qualifying tournaments that will be offering any player age 14 and older a chance to qualify for the US Open in singles or mixed doubles. The legendary IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Fla., will again host the US Open National Playoffs-Florida Sectional Qualifying Tournament on May 28-June 3, 2011.

Former No. 1 Chris Evert will be a participant in the event in mixed doubles, as surprised listeners learned Tuesday morning on ESPN2 and ESPNRadio's Mike and Mike in the Morning sports talk show. The show's Mike Greenberg called the Boca Raton, Fla., resident live on the air to ask her to play mixed doubles in the USTA Eastern Section event, to be held at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, NY, which she agreed to do.
 
"I know Mike is a big tennis fan and loves the US Open," said Evert of her mixed doubles partner. "The US Open was the first tournament that sort of started my career and I have great memories of it and I love to support it. We'll just go out there and have some fun. That's the main thing."
 
USTA Director of Corporate Communications Tim Curry reiterated that the pair look to have fun, while possibly supplying some formidable competition.
 
"The theme of the US Open National Playoffs is to 'Dream Big' and it is great that Chris Evert has decided to help Mike Greenberg with his passion for tennis and the US Open," Curry said. "There are some players in the playoffs who have the ability to compete for a spot in the US Open and others who just want to be a part of the fun and say they gave it a try. The Evert-Greenberg team is the best of both worlds for sure."

The US Open National Playoffs returns for a second year as a series of sectional qualifying tournaments, held in 16 USTA Sections throughout the country, culminating with the US Open National Playoffs -- Men's, Women's and Mixed Doubles Championships held during the New Haven Open at Yale, an Olympus US Open Series women's event, in August. The US Open National Playoffs mixed doubles champions will receive a main draw wildcard into the 2011 US Open. The US Open National Playoffs men's and women's singles champions again earn a wildcard into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, held the week prior to the US Open.

"The US Open National Playoffs provides a unique opportunity for tennis players to get closer to the US Open," said Jon Vegosen, USTA chairman of the board and president. "Now in its second year, we expect to attract some of the top talent, including junior players, from communities across the country to compete for this one-of-a-kind experience."

A player may only enter and compete in one sectional qualifying tournament during a calendar year; players competing in men's singles or women's singles and mixed doubles may opt to compete at different sectional qualifying tournaments (one for singles and one for mixed doubles). The draw size at each sectional qualifying tournament will be a maximum of 256 for each singles event and a maximum of 128 teams for mixed doubles. Participants can be of any playing level, from aspiring novice to seasoned professional, giving everyone an equal opportunity to advance. 
 
The 16 men's, women's and mixed doubles champions from each sectional qualifying tournament will advance to the US Open National Playoffs -- Men's Singles, Women's Singles and Mixed Doubles Championship. All three tournaments will be held in conjunction with the New Haven Open at Yale, an Olympus US Open Series event. The US Open National Playoffs -- Men's Singles and Women's Singles Championship will be held Aug. 18-21, 2011. The US Open National Playoffs -- Mixed Doubles Championship will be held Aug. 24-27, 2011.
 
Last year 1,232 players (859 men, 373 women) competed in the inaugural edition of the US Open National Playoffs, ranging from experienced professionals (including two-time ATP singles champion Jeff Tarango and Russian Alina Jidkova, who reached a career-high No. 51 in 2005) to recreational players of all talents and walks of life (including Olympic skier Bode Miller, former Major League Baseball player Todd Walker and Rabbi Gregg Ackerman of Long Island, N.Y.).

Last year's Florida event drew from the entire spectrum of tennis players -- from USTA League participants to weekend hackers to college players, high school players, junior competitive players, senior players, and even former ATP pros like 38-year-old Mehdi Tahiri of Inverness, Fla. (via Morocco) who once ranked Top 400 on the ATP Rankings. The 2010 men's and women's winners also came from two different ends of the spectrum -- Plantation, Fla., resident and Haiti Davis Cup player Olivier Sajous won the men's event, while 15-year-old Jan Abaza of Deerfield Beach, an aspiring pro, won the women's event.

To register or for more information on the US Open Playoffs-Florida, go to http://tennislink.usta.com/TOURNAMENTS/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=107975. Entries for the event close on May 18, 2011.


 
 

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