The USTA announced the 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 wild card into the 2010 US Open Qualifying Tournament. The US Open National Playoffs begins with 16 sectional qualifying tournaments held throughout the country from April through June. The men’s and women’s champions from each of the sectional qualifying tournaments advance to the US Open National Playoffs – Men’s and Women’s Championships, which will be held in conjunction with Olympus US Open Series tournaments this summer.
“The US Open National Playoffs makes the US Open ‘open,’ where one woman and one man will earn a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament and a chance to advance to the main draw,” said Lucy Garvin, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA. “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.”
With the goal of connecting more people to the US Open and expanding the tournament’s reach to communities throughout the United States, players will compete in sectional qualifying tournaments hosted by 16 of the 17 USTA Sections nationwide.
The entry fee for each of the sectional qualifying tournaments is $125. All players competing must have a current USTA membership valid through August 30, 2010. Competitors can enter any of the 16 sectional qualifying tournaments, but they can only enter and compete in one sectional qualifying tournament. Each sectional qualifying tournament is limited to 256 players, and players will not be seeded by any means. Participants can be of any playing level, from aspiring novice to seasoned professional, giving everyone an equal opportunity to advance.
“While professionals are eligible to play, we expect the draws to be filled with top junior players, collegians, teaching professionals and even recreational players who will now have a chance to play themselves into the US Open for the first time,” said Jim Curley, Chief Professional Tournaments Officer & US Open Tournament Director.
Skier Bode Miller, a two-time overall World Cup champion, two-time Olympic silver medalist and three-time world champion, will compete in one of the 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 is 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.”
Entry information and a schedule of US Open National Playoffs Sectional Qualifying Tournaments are available online at www.usopen.org
. Registration begins February 1.
The US Open Qualifying Tournament will be held August 24-27 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
What they're saying about the US Open National Playoffs...
“The US Open National Playoff gets to the very core of what’s great about tennis. 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.”
-- Billie Jean King
“It sounds really cool… I’ll definitely stay tuned.”
-- Venus Williams
“The US Open National Playoff is a great opportunity for young, up-and-coming players to get a taste of what it’s like to participate in a Grand Slam environment. It really is the opportunity of a lifetime – a chance to compete with some of the very best players in the world and to learn lessons from those experiences that you can use throughout the rest of your life.”
-- Nick Bollettieri
“I think the USTA is doing a great thing by having a true Open competition. 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.”
-- Matt Kuchar, pro golfer (Kuchar is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour who has earned a spot in the last three U.S. Open golf championships thru open qualifying. Matt and his wife Sybi won the consolation title at the USTA Husband-Wife Championships in October and Matt was runner-up at the USTA National Men’s Grass Court Doubles Championships with brother-in-law Drew Parker six years ago.)
“This is such a great opportunity for me and so many of the top college players. Because much of our year is devoted to the college tennis season, we don’t always have the rankings to get directly into US Open qualifying. But now we have a chance to win the US Open National Playoff and show that we have what it takes to succeed at the highest level.”
-- Irina Falconi (Falconi, a sophomore at Georgia Tech, is the No. 1 player in the Campbell’s ITA College Tennis Rankings and was a member of the championship winning U.S. team at the Master’U BNP Paribas international collegiate team championships in December.)
“I’m really psyched just to have the chance to play for a spot in the US Open. It is a dream come true. It won’t be easy, but playing in the US Open National Playoff will let me see where my game is and how close -- or far -- I am to being a pro right now. Either way, the possibility of playing in the US Open seems a lot closer now.”
-- Nathan Pasha (Pasha, a 17-year-old from Atlanta, resides and trains full-time at the USTA Player Development Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla.)