USTA recently announced it is holding a Wildcard Playoff tournament for a spot in the Boys (Kalamazoo) and Girls (San Diego) 18s Hardcourt Championships. When I first heard about the event, I thought it was something being held in each USTA section, but that is not the case. There is one site – Arlington, Texas – for this 64-draw tournament (click here for the TennisLink page).
Per a recent communication from USTA:
One boys’ wild card and one girls’ wild card will be awarded to the winners of this tournament. The tournament will be held at the Arlington Tennis Center in Arlington, Texas. The site is 26 minutes from the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW).
The tournament will be played July 20-23, 2015 and is open to all age-eligible players who are not already accepted into the B18 National Championships in Kalamazoo or the G18 National Championships in San Diego. Entries will OPEN on Thursday, May 14, 2015 [the TennisLink site says entries will open May 21] and will CLOSE at 11:59 a.m. EDT on Thursday, July 9, 2015. This singles only, single-elimination tournament will have a draw size of up to 64 players. Up to 16 wild cards may be awarded. We will publish an acceptance list no later than Monday, July 13, 2015. As you know we cannot publish an acceptance list until the wild cards for the National Championships have been awarded, which we hope to do by Friday, July 10, 2015.
If you’re a bit confused by all this, you’re not alone! The first sentence in the quote above says that one WC will be awarded but says further down that up to 16 WCs may be awarded. I’ve reached out to the national office and my section’s Jr Comp folks for some clarification. Here’s what I found out . . .
The 16 wild cards mentioned above are into the actual wild card event. In other words, there will be 48 direct acceptance and up to 16 wild cards for the 64 draw. The winner of this event gets a wild card (one of the eight given by Player Development) into the National Championship.
Here’s what else I found out from the National office:
- Players accepted into a younger division of a concurrent USTA National Championship are eligible for selection into the wild card playoff tournament and if such a player wins a wild card, they shall be withdrawn from the younger division without penalty.
- Selection will take place after selection of wild cards allocated to each Division.
- Up to 16 wild cards may be awarded into the wild card playoff tournament. Remaining players shall be selected and the alternate lists shall be ordered using the most recently published National Standings Lists of the 18 Divisions.
- Ratings shall be used to seed players.
- No ranking points shall be earned for participation in the wild card playoff tournament.
- Best-of-3 tiebreak set match format.
- The finals will be chaired and the one official for four courts standard for all national junior tournaments must be met.
- Entry fee will be $54.25.
- The tournament shall be held on July 20-23, 2015, and corresponding calendar dates in future years
- The tournament will take place at the Arlington Tennis Center in Arlington, TX.
I think this is a great addition to the national junior calendar. It offers yet another way into the most prestigious event in the 18s age group – much like the wildcard series held for the Australian and French Open at the pro level – without cutting into quotas or other entry criteria, and it rewards those players who have played a national tournament schedule and done well throughout the year.
Be sure to check the event website over the coming few days for additional details.
For the most recent information on the National Junior Competitive Structure, including draw sizes and quotas for the various events, click here.