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New 2014 USTA National Junior Tennis Competitive Structure

November 13, 2013 03:25 PM
USTA_2c_sec_wmIn an effort to improve the junior tournament experience for thousands of young players throughout the country, the USTA unanimously approved changes to the National Junior Competition Structure that will take effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

The new structure has been designed to maximize a player's competitive experiences, whether that be at the national, regional, sectional or district level. Players will advance to higher levels as they earn their way through the pathway.

Renewed Importance of Sectional Play: Access to the USTA National Championships will be primarily through USTA Sectional endorsement, and access to Closed USTA Regional Tournaments will be exclusively by endorsement. This will place an increased importance on achieving excellence at the Sectional level before advancing to regional and national competition.

Concurrent National Tournaments: During five date blocks throughout the year (Feb., May, July, Oct. and Nov.), the USTA will sanction concurrent tournaments with different National Ranking Levels. Players will be able to enter concurrent tournaments, but will be selected for one. The intent is to provide more level-based competition to players of various abilities, improve the competitiveness of the matches, and establish a clear pathway from one level of competition to the next.

Increased Focus on Team Competition: Because nationally-ranked players aspire to play college tennis, more team-based competitions at the highest national ranking levels have been added to the schedule: USTA National Doubles Championship, USTA National Spring Team Championships, and USTA BG14 Intersectional Team Championships.

Quota System: Quota is a mathematical calculation that determines the number of players each Section endorses to Nationals and Closed Regionals. It is currently based solely on size of junior membership. To give weight to the strength of a USTA Section's players, the new quota will be based on 40 percent size and 60 percent strength. Strength will be determined by the number of players each USTA Section has in the Top 150 in all divisions. The calculation is done at the beginning of each year using data as of Dec. 31.

Changes to USTA National Championships:

* The 128-draw USTA National Spring Championships is replaced with a 64-draw "Easter Bowl" for BG 16,14, and 12, that selects players based on national standings. The BG18 ITF events remain unchanged.

* The National hards and clays remain on the schedule. All have draws of 128, except the BG18-16 will also have a 64-draw qualifier to qualify eight for the main draw. All qualifier players will be guaranteed two matches and are eligible to play doubles.

* The National Winters remain unchanged.

New National Tournaments:

* USTA National Selection Tournaments: Four concurrent events will be held four times each year. Entry and selection will be similar to the discontinued USTA National Opens. Three events will have 32 draws, one will be 64.

* USTA BG14 Intersectional Team Championships: Held for years for only the BG16 divisions, a new event for the 14s has been added.

* USTA National Doubles Championship: The L3 Doubles Tournament has been transformed into an L1 Compass Draw USTA National Championship for 32 teams for BG16-14. The first event will be held August 2013.

* USTA National Spring Team Championships: Modeled after the NCAA Championships, this Gold Ball event will incorporate coaching, training and education. 32 boys and 32 girls from each division will be selected from National Standings Lists (NSLs), plus a limited number of wild cards, and waterfalled onto 16 teams.

* National Warm Up Tournament: Within driving distance to the August Hard Courts, a 64-draw warm-up event will be held. Selection is based on the NSLs.

* USTA National Masters: Starting October 2013, this progressive singles tournament for the top players in the 14s (4 players), 16s (7 players) and 18s (14 players)will incorporate training and education. Selection is based on the NSLs.

* USTA National Sweet Sixteen: This singles and doubles event for the top 16s and 14s players will be held in May. Selection is based on the NSLs and wild cards, and the event incorporates training and education.

* USTA Open and Closed Regional Tournaments: Three segments of four concurrent USTA Regional Tournaments will be held each year (February, October and November).

* The November "Open" Regional segment resembles the existing Regionals -- a 32 draw with similar entry and selection, but with 4 total events in each division.

* The February and October "Closed" Regional segments will be regionalized: there will be four concurrent events, but players may only enter and play in a Closed Regional to which their USTA Section has been assigned and selection will be based on quota and endorsement.

For more information or to see the entire 2014 junior tournament calendar, go to www.usta.com/Youth-Tennis/Junior-Competition/players_and_parents.






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