Action Steps & Why I’m Going to Take Them

Given that it seems to be crunch time with the last-minute scheduling of the first two “listening” meetings, I have spent countless hours over the past few days going over the proposed changes to the 2014 junior competition schedule, talking to very experienced people about them, and trying to understand the “why” behind them. I have come to the conclusion that, tennis-wise, there is nothing in the proposal that helps our kids and plenty that has the potential to hurt them. So, I am choosing to tell USTA in no uncertain terms that I want them to throw out the proposed changes – just get rid of them entirely – and start over. Use the research and data that the Junior Competition Committee has been collecting over the past two years to help determine what, if anything, needs to be changed, then engage knowledgeable tennis minds to create and build it.

For those who say I’m only opposing the changes because of personal reasons, that is absolutely 100% correct. I’m a parent looking out for the best interests of my son. I would hope that every tennis parent reading this is evaluating the proposed changes for him/herself and deciding what best suits his/her child, too. USTA is a very large organization that probably will never make every one of its members happy. I see my role as a blogger to share my experiences and any information I can glean from those who are way more experienced than I am.  But, my posts are intermixed with personal opinion – my personal opinion – so please keep that in mind.  And, if you have a different opinion, I always welcome you to share it in the Comments section of each post.

USTA keeps telling us that its mission is to grow the game of tennis while also trying to get more American players into the second week of the US Open – in other words, finding and developing the next generation of champions. We’re more likely to find a world-class player in a pool of 500,000 than 50,000, right? That makes perfect sense to me, and the 10-and-Under initiative seems to be doing a good job at bringing more kids into the sport, so kudos to USTA on solving that piece of the puzzle.

However, in order for kids to want to continue playing and developing, in order for kids to be willing to make the huge sacrifices required to reach the upper echelons of the sport, there have to be some concrete incentives. Like getting to play on regular courts with regular balls when you’re developmentally ready (not when your age determines you’re ready). Like getting to travel and compete with friends. Like having your whole family go together to a tournament so you’re playing in the same place as your brother and sister. Like having a way to earn the chance to play against the best players in the nation. Like having your tennis open the door to a college education.

And, in order for families to encourage their kids to stay in the sport, there have to be some concrete incentives for them, too. Like affordable travel options. Like minimizing time off from your job. Like the potential for financial support from your local or sectional or national USTA office for coaching or tournament fees or travel. Like knowing that if your child wants to play tennis at the collegiate level there will be ample opportunities – and scholarships available – for him or her to do so.

Eliminating tournaments and shrinking draws at the national level while doing nothing to ensure that the sections will pick up the slack is not the answer. I don’t know about other sections, but our Southern section tournament calendar is already pretty jam-packed throughout the year.

Please, ask yourself and those running the “listening” meetings – what was the impetus behind these proposed changes in the first place? I’ve heard USTA say that the changes were created to reduce travel, reduce school absences, and cut expenses for families, but the changes do none of those things. As one Middle-States parent shared with me, the new regional competition will actually increase her child’s number of missed school days from 10-16 per year to 20-24 depending on the number of tournaments they choose to attend.

Besides attending the “listening” meetings and strongly voicing my opposition, what else can I do? Contact the president of my section (click here for a complete list of USTA Sections and Presidents with email addresses) immediately and let him/her know that I’m opposed to these changes and that I want my section to vote accordingly at the next USTA Annual Meeting in March. Encourage my fellow tennis parents and coaches to do the same. Keep reading other resources so I stay on top of what’s happening in the world of junior tennis and have a working knowledge of the necessary steps to help my child be successful. Talk to the head of Junior Competition in my section and work together with his coach to devise a tournament schedule for my child that makes sense for my family. Most importantly, keep encouraging my child to play, to have fun, and to reach his own potential in tennis, whether that’s at the recreational level or at a more competitive pace, so that tennis stays a part of his life for now and years to come.

I have been told by one USTA insider that the current Junior Competition Committee – the group responsible for creating these proposed changes – is actually now 17-2 in favor of endorsing a proposal to call for a pause in the implementation of the changes. It will be voted on at the USTA Board’s December meeting. I can only hope this person’s intel is accurate!

NOTE: The proposed dates for the remaining “listening” meetings are as follows:

December 16: ITA Convention (for convention attendees only), Naples FL
December 26: 16s & 18s Winter Nationals, Scottsdale, AZ
December 27: 12s & 14s Winter Nationals, Tucson, AZ
Jan. 10-13: Southern Section annual meeting, Atlanta, GA
Feb. 15-17: Texas Section annual meeting, Grapevine, TX

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81 thoughts on “Action Steps & Why I’m Going to Take Them

  1. While I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to publish opposing views what you are proposing is certain death. The proposal that passed with all sections but one(your section Southern) was pushed by the current and soon to be departing President of the USTA. It is a minor miracle that an incoming President would even be willing to listen to the idea of revising a fellow board member and friend s agenda. You are asking him to undo the whole set of rules. This type of overreach could easily lead to no changes which is not what most of us want. If parents and players take your advice into the listening meetings I fear we are doomed.

  2. I’ve been following this discussion for quite some time and it’s clear this has always been a personal and very emotional issue for many and there is nothing wrong with that. I have a son who plays junior tennis. We live in Florida and if he can’t win in Florida and qualify for the National Championships through his Section what good will it do to leave Florida? He’s not going to learn much by traveling around looking for other kids to beat who aren’t as good as the Florida kids he hasn’t defeated. My son will play college varsity tennis and the chances are very good that he will never play Kalamazoo. There are way more college varsity spots than there are draw spots at the National Championships.

    1. Please look outside the box… You are referring to a section that is loaded with International Tennis Academies. Of course you are going to be able to develop your child in a section that has that kind of player pool. Now think about the rest of the sections who are not as fortunate as you, limiting their ability to travel has the potential to hinder their development greatly. Why would you be opposed to giving players opportunities? If you choose NOT to travel that should be your choice, not that of the USTA. Based on USTA’s proposal, it would require all families who have kids with a passion for tennis and hopes of truly becoming great players to have to move to Southern California, Florida, Texas or run the risk of never being able to get exposure to strong competition on a regular basis.

  3. Lisa,
    What expert is telling you the 10 and Under is so wonderful? Every single expert is telling me it is horrible and killing 10 and Under except for where they are giving away memberships.

    1. JP – Sounds like you only seek confirming voices. Have you talked to Bill Mountford? Thomas White, USPTA at San Francisco Tennis Club? Me? 10 and under is here to stay buddy. I can’t wait until a movement to dismantle this important and necessary new component to junior development and tennis growth among younger kids. You can have a suburban riot over comp changes all forever, leave 10 and under alone if the agenda is to dismantle.

      1. Marty, Here is a good source for you to see there is a whole lot of smart people coming to the only correct realization there can be–that the mandate is the wrong portion to 10 and Under. If you want to keep your kid on a 10 and Under 60′ court until he is 25 years old i think you should be able to do it. I know of one guy who is a great coach but he is 49 years old and still living at home with his mom and dad. My parents showed me the door when I was 18. Everyone should have their choice in the way the parent their kid and young tennis players. http://coachjpweber.com/great-emails-from-wayne-bryan-and-lawrence-roddick-and-others/

  4. “As one Middle-States parent shared with me, the new regional competition will actually increase her child’s number of missed school days from 10-16 per year to 20-24 depending on the number of tournaments they choose to attend.” I would interpret this statement from your blog quite differently. A player in Middle States who is a top player can qualify in the section and then select any or all of the national tournaments. There is no compelling or strategic reason for these players to miss school and spend money attending any regional tournaments unless this is a personal preference. Now the players who are not top players are indeed another story and thus this is where honest disagreement exists.

    1. eddie, i think the top players are going to be just fine regardless of what USTA does here. it’s the other 99.9% that i’m concerned with. they are the ones who are looking to play college tennis, just maybe not at the very tip top programs. they are the ones who are going to have a harder time being seen by college coaches with the elimination of so many big national events and a shrinking of the draws at the remaining ones. and they are the ones the tennis industry needs to keep in the game in order to perpetuate our sport. i don’t have any stats to back up this next statement, but i’m pretty sure that parents who grew up in the game are more likely to introduce their kids to it.

  5. I support you fully. You are spot on.

    Florida kids should not drive the program.they can drive any where in their district. The midwest boys are dominating the entire USA…at least for the 16s and 18s. Now we must fly to Texas to compete against our neighbors?

    Utterly ridiculous

  6. Because we have no choice under the propsed new districts. We would love to stay home.. Could almost stay home if we had the CHOICE to play out of our region.

  7. please look on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ParentingAces to read the release put out by USTA’s head of PR after today’s “listening” meeting. they are still insisting that the proposed changes “are designed to make the sport more affordable, accessible and available to a more diverse player base” – i plan to ask them point-blank how they can continue to say that when they are shrinking national opportunities for our kids with no stated action plan for the sections to use to increase opportunities at that level.

  8. I wonder what the advantage is for kids in strong sections to keep playing against each other over and over again….. What is the advantage for kids in less strong sections where the competition is less challenging to keep competing in their sections? The top kids will get their opportunities, but why make the group of ‘top kids’ smaller? What good is it when the sub-top has to stay in its section and will not get the exposure to play outside of their sections? How does the USTA want to grow the game of tennis, the amount of juniors competing in tournaments, if the draw sizes are smaller and the amount of tournaments stay the same or are reduced? I agree that not every junior has to play Kalamazoo, but why not include as many as possible. In my opinion, at the same time, the USTA needs to offer more lower level national tournaments to give the ‘sub-top’ also opportunities to compete outside their sections.

    1. I would also add to your comments… What happens when the USTA comes in and takes away the best players in your section and ships them off to Florida or California to one of their training centers? (1.) How does that help any of the other sections when you limit everybody else opportunity to travel, while at the same time they sponsor other players ability to travel and play outside of their section. If its OK for USTA player development players to play in other sections… Why not everybody else? (2.) How does pulling the best players out of their section help grow the game of tennis? Would the USTA not be better served in assisting the tennis professionals that helped develop the players to the level that have put them on the USTA’s radar to begin with. Assisting those proven professionals in the local communities will far better serve the game of tennis on so many different levels.

      1. Exactly!! And why are we as members paying for USTA PD kids to travel all over the place, when most of them eventually end up with scholarships at universities…. So much more can be done with the PD money when given to local coaches who have proven they can develop the very best. Let USTA PD coaches travel to the kids, give clinics, work with their every day coaches and get as many as possible kids involved. That is how you broaden your base and grow tennis!

      2. Another tennis mom,

        Your measly 50 dollar membership doesn’t even cover the cost of your tennis magazine subscription. So how is it paying for Player Dev?

        People, you need to get your facts straight. I just started reading this blog a week ago an I am appalled at how much bad information is out there. Some of you just have the facts all wrong.

      3. Get Better,

        Everyone is well are of where the money comes from, who claimed that it comes from the membership fees ??

        Since the money comes from the Open, members are not allowed to have an opinion on how it is spent ? Who does, just the insiders ? You do, but we don’t ? Really ?

        Here is a straight fact : PD is headed by a TV announcer who gets paid approximately $1m per year, and is rarely at his job. Barely even meets with or speaks with many of the top players. Explain to me why we need an incompetent, $1M per year figurehead at this position. He had an ok career as a player and has famous last name. He has never coached anybody to accomplish anything. What are his qualifications for this job, at that salary ?

  9. Players who do not qualify at the sectional level by definition are not national players. To expand on George Bellamy’s statement above if you are in a strong section and are not winning why would you go to national tournaments where the competition is weaker? If you are a weaker section and don’t win why would you go to national tournaments where the competition is stronger and you will not win? The answer of course is that the players in question have the financial means to do so because if they did not they would not be traveling under these circumstances. It is a true debate as to whether these classification of players should be traveling to national tournaments. The real discussion is national draw sizes which would change the definition of sectional players who qualify and perhaps rankings that can be accurate without leaving the section. In fact if we had accurate rankings one could play as many outside the section tournaments as one wishes with draw sizes as big as anyone could want and absoulutely waste their time and money if they did not beat players better than they are. Focus on what can be accomplished and stop being extreme or nothing will happen and we all lose.

    1. i think it’s important that we hear from college coaches on your questions, harry. my off-the-cuff answer as to why you would go to national tournaments is to be seen by those coaches if playing college tennis is your goal. given that a miniscule percentage of junior players make it successfully onto the pro tour, i’m guessing that most of them, then, have their sights set on playing at the college level. unless the college coaches have big enough travel budgets to go section to section to recruit, a bigger draw with a qualifying event at the top national tournaments (one-stop-shopping, so to speak) is the right solution in my mind.

    2. also, for many young players, Kalamazoo/San Diego is the end-all-be-all event of jr tennis, what they work toward their entire jr tennis career. what’s wrong with including an open qualifying event at these tourneys? those “weaker players” (as you call them, harry) who choose to enter may have a break-through tournament and make some noise in the main event. stranger things have happened! it’s not only about having the financial means to travel – it’s also about having the heart and desire to pit yourself against the top players and see what you’re made of. isn’t that the true spirit of competition? if everything were only about rankings, there would be no need to even have a national championship – we could just crown the top-ranked player in each age group the champ and get on with it. youth sports are more than that. they are about challenging yourself to go beyond your expectations. they are about facing adversity and seeing if you’ve got what it takes to overcome it. they are about teaching life-lessons so that these kids can handle themselves with strength and with grace as they enter adulthood.

  10. You make an interesting point that seems in some fashion to be mentioned elsewhere. Should players for example be allowed to gain access to national tournaments for which by objective criteria they do not qualify simply to be seen by national coaches? One would think there must be a better way to accomplish what seems to be an important goal. To expand on this issue if there is a 192 draw at Kalamazoo instead of a 128 draw the players allowed to have access to the tournament so that they can be seen by the coaches will be the first to exit statistically in most cases. The players who by any definition always belonged there are having to add one or two days to their expenses because of the increased draw. This seems grossly unfair.

    1. Unless a qualifying event is added. Mid-major, D2, D3, etc. coaches could choose to come for the qualifier and maybe stay for the first couple of main draw rounds. Top D1 coaches could wait a couple of days to come. Win-win in my opinion. Wonder what the coaches think?

  11. We are talking at cross purposes. A’s an honest player advocate for my childdren, more options make it easier for us to allow them to play. We are not, just like the majotiy, chasing points. We sometimes have to skip tourneys, like some, because we just can’t get there.
    Limiting tournament options, will increase our costs and decrease our options The USTA says they are proposing these changes to reduce costs. Living in Chicago, looking at the new regions, I truly wonder about the people running the USTA show.

    We enjoy the sport and the intangibles surrounding the big tournament opportunities are not even being discussed. It is not only about winning and losing. It is about a process. Almost all of these kids will be playing college tennis. Those heading for the pros are flying all over the world already. Regional play is a joke for them.

    For our kids, they have friends all over the country. We spend thanksgiving with other tennis families at tournaments. We have shared condos at national tourneys, to save on cost and it’s alot more fun.

    Perhaps if the USTA is looking to decrease travel cost, maybe they should go back their roots and do what we did in the olden days…look at other things like host families, getting sponsors to help with meals, etc.

  12. Lisa, can explain to me how the college coaches recruited when Kalamazoo used to be a 128. Seems like the coaches recruited our players just fine! The best college coach of all time was just on the cover of USA today saying how these changes are the best thing for American tennis.

    1. no, i’m sorry, i can’t explain it to you because i don’t know. however, i do know that recruiting and travel budgets have been cut, and i also know that US kids weren’t competing against international kids for college spots until recent years. maybe someone with knowledge of how things used to work can chime in here.

  13. It is interesting that as I read this web site that TMOM and Lisa seem to be alone in this idea of players not being top players in the section and yet retaining some inalienable right to travel and play outside tournaments anyway. I give credit to Lisa for having the courage and honesty to publish these alternate opinions even as it seems at cross purposes to her ultimate goals.

    1. even USTA acknowledges that strength in sections is not equal across the board. while the existing quotas do address that to some degree, the quotas aren’t perfect. and, if a player who is aging up can’t get into the higher-level sectional tournaments in order to build his/her ranking to a place where he/she fits into the quota, that doesn’t necessarily mean he/she isn’t a top player in the section and won’t be competitive at the national level. there are flaws in the existing system, and there are flaws in the proposed system. however, i believe that USTA didn’t fully consider the unintended consequences of cutting draws at national events while neglecting to put into place a clear-cut set of guidelines to be used at the sectional level. and, don’t kid yourself that TMom and i are the only ones who take this position – many others have emailed me but won’t post here because they think USTA might retaliate against their child. i don’t believe that to be the case, but every parent has to do what they feel is right for their child(ren).

    2. to reiterate antonio’s point below: “Extent of Opposition. Does anyone really think the USTA would be reconsidering the changes if the opposition to them weren’t so intense and extensive? The opposition to the changes is overwhelming among parents, kids and many others, as anyone who would really looks into this and talks to people would know. For anyone to suggest, as some are doing in comments on this blog, that the USA Today piece shows there are lots of supporters of the changes, is almost silly. I would bet my house that the USTA PR folks found a couple of people to speak out about the plan and provided them to the author. Don’t be fooled by that.”

  14. Evan, this has nothing to do with trying to play tournaments that the kids are not qualified to play. It is about trying to allow our kids to play at the most convenient location.sometimes this means playing out of our section. Period.

    1. Think about this statement. Then realize it is not one that will change the current proposal. Moroever, if truly considered you will realize that USTA board governing these issues realize the changes would hurt you specifically, yet implemented them regardless.

  15. I remember that before the USA today article it was said that no one could be found that liked the changes. No one. Then named and respected people in the USA today article said they liked the changes so now we are at all these players and parents who behind the scenes don’t like these changes but are afraid. I just sense that there are those who like the changes and those who do not. That is the way most things in life are. For TMOM playing out of section is a given for the top sectional players so playing out of section for the lower ranked players is where the controversy remains. It is simply not a right to do so.

    1. given the fact that i’ve spoken directly with steve bellamy who told me he was never interviewed for the USA Today article, i’m wondering how many others quoted in the piece were never interviewed . . . for the record, i was interviewed extensively via phone call and email, and my comments that made the final cut were only a very small percentage of what was discussed.

      1. Lisa,

        You have your blog for your comments. I quoted you extensively. I’m not sure what you were looking for, but as I said in my last comment I tried to be fair and balanced with this piece. You are on one side, so I understand your disappointment. Don’t appreciate the accusations though. Not nice at all.

  16. A bunch of points: 1) USA Today. As a journalist, I can pretty reliably tell when an article is inspired by a PR person. I have almost no doubt the USTA’s PR folks did a masterful job of guiding the USA Today author. The author highlighted supporters of the changes, didn’t interview virtually any of the high-profile opponents of the changes, took forever in the article to get to any conflicting views, and put the spotlight on an a supporter of the changes, Dick Gould, who’s admitted he has NOT studied the changes and whose men’s coach at Stanford opposes the changes (of course, you wouldn’t know that unless you read deep into the article). Also, the article focuses on the 196 to 128 draw size at Kalamazoo, a minimal part of what the changes involve. It mostly ignores the most important issue of all, never fully explaining how the changes bring with them a MASSIVE cut in national playing opportunities. 2) Extent of Opposition. Does anyone really think the USTA would be reconsidering the changes if the oppostion to them weren’t so intense and extensive? The oppostion to the changes is overwhelming among parents, kids and many others, as anyone who would really looks into this and talks to people would know. For anyone to suggest, as some are doing in comments on this blog, that the USA Today piece shows there are lots of supporters of the changes, is almost silly. I would bet my house that the USTA PR folks found a couple of people to speak out about the plan and provided them to the author. Don’t be fooled by that. 3) “Undeserving” Kids. This is the biggest canard thrown out by supporters of the changes in comments on this blog and elsewhere. Kids who play nationally now are earning their way at great sacrifice to their lives and their families. Are some weaker kids playing some regionals? Sure, because you have eight tournaments on the same weekend (by the way, that is a recent change, implemented by the USTA). Why not go back to the old system of terrific and competitive regionals such as the Gator Bowl and the Copper Bowl? Ironically, it’s the 2014 changes that will guarantee weaker kids will get into the level 1 tournaments in the future with a ridiculous quota system that was undoubtedly adopted for political reasons by the USTA in order to get the changes approved. “Harry” said above in his post that players who don’t qualify out of their sections don’t deserve to play nationally. Please go read my more extensive analysis of the quotas in a letter posted on Sean Hannity’s site. As I showed there, one of the best players in the country (and part of USTAPD) would not have been able to play hard courts or clay courts this summer in his “age up” year if the quotas had been in place because he would not have made the Florida quota. At least fifty far less deserving players would have gotten in. I could come up with dozens of other examples in every age group. 4) “We are doomed.” Dennis argues above that if these changes are stopped, we are doomed. What’s doomed? The ability to create new American champions? At the listening tour stop in Reston, Lew Brewer is quoted as saying the changes have nothing to do with developing champions (of course, Tim Russell, Patrick McEnroe, and others have said the opposite). I’d love to know what exactly is being doomed by allowing kids who work hard and earn their way to play outside their sections to do so. 5) “Being Extreme.” Harry argues above that the opponents of the changes are being exgtreme. Really? All we are asking is that opportunities to play nationally not be cut by 80%. Those cuts are what seem extreme to me. Only two level 1 tournaments a month apart? Only two national open (national “selection” now) weekends three months apart with regionals stacked on the same weekends? Tough luck if you’re sick, injured or have a family wedding at the wrong time. And the changes bring back the bad birthday problem. How are we being extreme in asking the USTA to keep a level of oppurtunities that the organization itself approved? Seems to me that the 2014 slashing is what’s extreme. Sorry for the rant. I truly believe well-intentioned people on both sides of the issues are working hard to come up with good solutions. Insults and unsupported arguments just hurt the process of coming up with what’s best for our kids and for tennis.

    1. Antonio,

      Please tell me how these changes don’t resemble the old system? Maybe we should go back and interview our former top players – Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras, Michael Chang, David Wheaton, Mardy Fish, Andy Roddick, must I keep naming off names (we haven’t even touched the ladies) about how the old system made them better players and stronger competitors.

      The reality is we need more better players at the top of the game to make it relevant when competing against all of these other sports. So we need a system that is going to develop more better players. It is pretty evident that the existing system is broken.

    2. Antonio (and everybody else),

      USA Today writer here…

      First, never heard back from Sean or Steve wrt this piece. Thought it was unfortunate, but my emails were not returned.

      Second, I did my best to present arguments from both sides. There are two sides to this debate.

      I simply wanted to inform people that there is a debate, that there are meetings to be held, and that these are the things that involved parties are concerned about.

      I brought national exposure to this story so that people could become informed. That was my goal.

      Best,

      Chris Oddo

      1. Chris

        Thank you for writing the article and for bring attention to the issue. I hope you stay on it and take so time to drill down into the details. Unfortunately, while this is something that should be simple its rather complex. It’s hard to get past the rhetoric. Its very easy to read the USTA introduction to the changes, which is all lollipops and unicorns, and say these are great. Especially if they promise to screw rich people, I mean, how can you be more fashionable ?

        But as they say, the devil is in the details. So for those people who think it is fine that he nationals have only 128 draws, where they asked is it still fine if the kid from Florida ranked is ranked 65 nationally is not one of those kids but a kid from Northern ranked 325 is ?

        That’s just an example. It took me a while to learn to dislike the changes and the more I learned the more I disliked them. But you have to get past the rehtoric. There is no one in this debate who does not believe in earned advancement, we are all actually on the same page, despite what the proponents say. I think many of the supporters of the changes are just buying into the objectives and goals of the new system with little regard for whether that details of its implementation will actually achieve those goals, and at what cost. Many people only understand the current and new systems only through the lens of the there own situation.section.

    3. Antonio – you don’t know Chris Oddo. You response shows you have absolutely know proof and what you did say about Chris is anecdotal and bias, not a good look for a journalist. Chris busts his butt to write about tennis. He has blogged his way to print and he provides an avenue of exposure for tennis in age where print coverage is decreasing in America. I frankly think you should apologize as you know better.

  17. I think the extreme part had to do with Lisa’s suggestion to eliminated everything and start again. I still think that is actually true. For the top players in the section the opportunities have not changed. The opportunities have changed for those players who are not top players. It is good to see such a detailed opinion of the other side however. Both sides should be heard.

  18. Sometimes there are so many conflicting opinions that they all die on the vine. I read Antonio’s piece when it was written a while back. The problem is that it is very well written but actually provided little in the way of facts that could be documented. For example The Southern section opposed the new rules for many reasons but the biggest one might have been the shift of the formula for entry into national tournaments from size to size and strength. Antonio wants only strength which makes perfect sense to me but why (besides the obvious) did Southern try to crash an entire rules change on this one issue. Also the points chasing issue is dismissed as irrelevant though no hard data or documentation is provided. What is obvious to one person might not be so obvious to another. While I also think everyone certainly has a right to their own opinion(obviously so) I get a little concerned when rich people such as Bellamy, Hannity, and Mora are leading this discussion. They may be right or they may be wrong but they probably should not be the ones dismissing points chasing as an issue so easily when they are the ones with the capacity to most benefit from the current setup. It is inevitable that some changes will be made and they should be made. For those fighting for total removal of the new rules or the removal of the changes toward play being basic to the section for qualification into national events I think you will be disappointed. Time however will tell.

  19. First, I am not against any add-ons (Grand Masters, Sweet Sxteens, etc.) that would allow the elite kids to face each other more often. I am against the massive reduction of total opportunities. As it is, only a small fraction of kids who play tournaments get to play national tournaments (fewer than 1%). If you limit that even further and take away the carrot of earned achievement of national play for so many more, won’t that be discouraging to the many kids who will now be left behind? If we are trying to grow the sport with TAUT, how does it make sense to reduce opportunities?

    Second, with that said, the USTA and supporters of the changes need to get on the same page. Is it all about “the best playing the best” more often, or not? After regularly citing “creating champions” as a reason for the changes, the USTA and others seem to be backing off. The USTA’s mission is to promote tennis and the junior competition structure should not cater to the super-elite. In any case, I can’t see how eliminating opportunities for the many will somehow help the very few.

    Third, on the chasing points issue, I have challenged people to show me “undeserving” kids who have made it to the top 50 of the USTA rankings. The current structure was adjusted to give very few points to kids who don’t go deep in tournaments. I have challenged people to show me that “chasing points” is something a lot of people are doing a lot of the time. I have also argued that chasing points is actually a GOOD thing, because it evens out the talent and the competition. If a kid who “chases points” wins matches, weaker kids would have won those matches and those points. If that kid hadn’t traveled, the tournament would have been weaker and the ranking system would have been even more inaccurate.

    Fourth, and related to the prior point, part of the issue lies with the USTA’s PPR system. If the selection process to tournaments followed a rankings system that was based on head-to-head competition (such as Tennis Recruiting, Tennis Information or Universal Tennis), chasing points would be totally irrelevant. As an answer to “get better,” the PPR system is fairly new and wasn’t around in the “old days.” The old system also had numerous high-end competitions sprinkled throughout the year (Gator Bowl, Copper Bowl, Southern Open, Midwest Open, etc.) that the USTA eliminated under the current system. The 2014 changes are very different than the “old days.” I also thought I was pretty specific in my letter on Sean’s site. I’m happy to answer questions and document answers.

    Finally, can someone please explain to me how the current structure hurts tennis? Just because some “undeserving kids” might get into a regional or national open? Or because top players might not have to work too hard in a first or second round? Top players are playing the Level 1s in numbers that almost guarantee they will get a top hundred player (or someone who beat a top hundred player) by the second round.

    Again, my apologies for the long rant. I am very passionate about this, and, following Lisa’s example of full disclosure, my son is not likely to suffer much from the changes and may be among the elite who benefit (all things remaining equal to the present, which, I admit, is a big assumption). Also, the group that went to Chicago does not, under any circumstances, want to be seen as somehow taking on the mantle of negotiating for the entire tennis community. Nobody elected us, but we felt someone needed to take a stand for what we believe are the overwhelming number of people who oppose this. That is why our position was simple, to ask the USTA to pause the changes and to go “listen” to their constituents before taking a huge step that would affect the future of the sport and, more important, the lives of so many kids and families.

    Thanks for providing this valuable forum, Lisa!

  20. Amen. All true. All the rants seem to be coming from the male perspective. Coaches?.who knows. Have yet to see a rant agreeing to changes from a mother in the trenches traveling and juggling.

    Just an aside, my oldest will not be affected by these either…am at Eddie Herr now. Crazy environment..but not as crazy as the proposed changes.

  21. Heres a thought. Several coaches have expressed that they lose money when they have to travel. Could this be a consideration behind the USTA decision to REDUCE tournament sizes and opportunities.

  22. Some observations which are as right or wrong as anyone else. 1. Tough for the USTA to get any consensus when these comments have such diverse opinions and this is such a small slice of the pie. 2. Southern wants size of section and Antonio Mora wants strength of section.3. Points buying is a good thing as Antonio stated but only for those who can afford it. I suspect that those who cannot afford it might not think it is such a good thing. 4. Be careful about this repeated statement about decreased opportunities. For the top players in the sections nothing much has changed for them. For the players who are not the top players in the section perhaps they should win there before moving on. 5. Antonio’s statement about the ranking system is essentially correct. There are better ranking systems than points per round though everyone seems to use this. Ask your ITF friends what they use. Its points per round. Don’t get too comfortable with tennis recruiting.net as this is a totally untested system for competitive rankings and tournaments. Antonio is correct in looking at what was used for the old days. 6. With the proper ranking system people would figure out fast enough that traveling to tournaments makes no ranking sense except for specific tournaments. In other words the same people who are fighting to attend 15 to 20 tournaments a year in a best six tournament system would very quietly find themselves in sectional tournaments and supernationals and perhaps a rare regional event and this whole discussion might end. 7. Though it is contrary to the position of Antonio, TMom, and Lisa in the old days with 128 draws tennis coaches still got to see the players. You would think from the discussions that pre 2000 when there were 128 draws college coaches never saw the players.

  23. Eva, “points buying” is even more unfair than “chasing points.” Bottom line is that kids who win and get points earned those points wherever they played, close to home or not. In my personal opinion, the way to solve the problem is to avoid the issue by getting away from PPR. A kid’s ability to travel would then be irrelevant.

    On the size/strength issue, eliminate PPR and quotas altogether and you eliminate the issue of who gets into what. The highest ranked kids get in, period. I understand that using head-to-head rankings would bring other issues (kids who get ranked highly because of some good wins might avoid playing to avoid having their rankings drop), but they can be dealt with. I’m surprised Eva questions the validity of tennisrecruiting.net. College coaches use it, virtually ignoring USTA rankings, and parents in the trenches know it has astonishingly accurate predictive value.

    I have never argued that kids shouldn’t have to win in their sections before moving on. I’m just arguing that the proposed changes will heavily penalize kids in the strongest sections, directly contradicting the stated goal of the changes: best playing best.

    Thousands of kids are recruited for college every year. The old system of “bowls” provided more opportunities over a broad geographical area for coaches to see kids. That’s gone. There are also 50 million more Americans today (about 20% more than in 1997 when the draws went to 196 and many more than that if you think about when the 128-draws were first instituted). Seems reasonable to provide some growth in opportunities, Also, the 196 draws don’t hurt the top kids anyway because they get byes. For them, 196 involves no extra cost or time. That said, but I personally have no objection to having qualifiers or even larger draws than 196 in the National Championships where players are fed in gradually and more highly ranked kids could show up later.

  24. To Get Better – If the USTA thinks they can wave a wand, return to the 1980’s system, and have more US players in the top 20, they are delusional. The world has changed. You asked how the proposed changes differ from the old system. I played junior tennis in the late 1970s and college tennis in the early 1980s. My daughter is playing junior tennis today. So i have some familiarity with both systems. So here are the differences: 1) Old system was based on who beat who, similar to tennisrecruiting.net, and not Points Per Round. This allowed the cream to rise to the top faster. You didn’t need to win at least 5 Sectional tournaments before even qualifying to play in the important Sectional tournaments. 2) Because there was no PPR, you didn’t have Level 1 to 5 tournaments spread throughout a Section (and Nation) requiring players to travel long distances to play Level 1 tournaments. A win over the top player in the Section (or Nation) counted the same regardless of where you were when you beat them. It was also easy to understand. It’s taken me 2 years to learn the PPR game. 3) Players frequently played in other sections. There were only a handful of closed tournaments (limited to players in the Section). So there were more opportunities to play different players. If you were visiting grandma in another state, you could play a tournament while you were there. If you lived at the edge of your Section, you could also play in the Section you were a few miles away from. 4) There were many Bowls, which has already been mentioned. Most of the Bowls had qualifying draws. So the “weaker” players could try and qualify for the Bowl near where they lived. They didn’t need to fly across the country to play the 1 Regional tournament they could get into, as they do today. 5) There were the National Indoors, Clay Courts, Hard Courts and “the Nationals” (Kalamazoo). They were sprinkled throughout the country and players often just played the one closest to their home and didn’t feel compelled to play all of them. For example, East Coast players rarely played the Hard Courts, which were in California. This didn’t hurt anyone because there was no PPR and you didn’t have to play them all to get a high ranking. 6) There was no internet or computerized rankings. Rankings came out annually and were determined by humans, not by a computer. 7) The US tennis academies, which were just starting, had few if any foreigners at them. The academy i attended had 2. They were sisters who’s dad was sent to the US for work. 8) Very few, if any, US coaches attended the Nationals. I’m not really sure how the men were recruited. I know i wrote letters to the colleges i was interested in and told them my Sectional ranking and other accomplishments. And I met with the coaches who wrote me back. It was a much simpler time. The AIAW controlled women’s college tennis and the rules were completely different than the NCAA. 9) There were very few international players playing college tennis.

  25. Folks,

    This is a big country…………

    Just because your child lives in Florida or California and has all this wonderful competition all year long, doesn’t mean the rest of the country does……….

    My son is in a small section. He is one of the top players.

    1) If he has to play in his section all year, that means he is playing the same 4-5 players all year.

    2) Ok, so what does he do then? He plays up. Great you say.

    3) Except, with the new sectional requirements this will be the end of him playing up.
    THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM……………………………

    4) Winter Nationals which is over Christmas break is during vacation.
    Indoor players who are inside bubbles all year NEED THIS TOURNAMENT.

    5) So again, just because your kid can’t qualify in Florida has nothing to do with other sections.

  26. For Antonio, I think it is worth mentioning that your suggestions are quite different than Lisa who wants to stop everything. Southern tried this stop everything approach and made themselves irrelevant. You have to have a back and forth to make changes. The idea of eliminating access from the sections could be fairest but that is not the governance structure of the USTA. This would be like convincing Iowa to give up the electoral college. Good idea but simply not goint to happen. Regardless of what you or I say points buying/chasing is a problem in this system and those without resources who often don’t read these websites and prefer soccer probably would not like it if they got into the weeds to understand it. A ranking system that is accurate would certainly solve alot of problems. The issue is that in current play across the spectrum across all organizations no one has accurate rankings and they all use points per round. That does not mean that the USTA cannot show leadership here but it is worth mentioning that the USTA junior tennis group is no outlier in rankings. As for tennis recruiting it is clearly more accurate than any points per round system but that is indeed a low bar. I think coaches use it because it is all they have not to mention the great graphics and groupings. However it remains untested for seeding and rankings that matter with organized groups. We should look at ranking systems with established track records.

  27. Eva, I do agree with Lisa that the changes should be stopped and changes to the structure be more fully analyzed and supported by the tennis community.

    The argument that PPR isn’t an outlier is like saying that just because everyone does something means it’s right. Also, if we are to be intellectually consistent, we have to acknowledge that the ATP, WTA and ITF systems actually encourage point chasing. But, as I have said many times before, i have yet to have anyone prove to me that point chasing has detrimental effects or that it significantly alters the top 50 or top 100 in the rankings. In fact, sectional points skew the rankings FAR more than chasing points (kids from weaker sections getting over-ranked, kids from stronger sections under-ranked). The chasing points issue is an easy and inflammatory distraction from the bigger issues in the 2014 change, just as the 196 to 128 draws is.

    On the quotas/governance issue, we have lived for years with a simpler quota system that, while mildly unfair, doesn’t create major injustices, allows for all sections to be represented, and for kids who have earned a good ranking to get into Level1s, no matter where they are from. The problem with the 2014 changes is that they make quotas almost the ONLY to get into Level 1s and the ONLY way to get into regionals. If the quota system is unfair the whole system built upon it falls like a house of cards.

    Complicating matters further, something that’s mostly been ignored: the 2014 changes create a “double pathway” selection process: quotas for level 1s and 3s, national standing list for level 2s. That will create a massive mess, favoring weaker sections and making it virtually impossible or, at least, greatly delaying the chances of kids to move up in the rankings.

    Finally, I don’t agree that Tennis Recruiting is unproven, that college coaches use it by default or that it’s only mildly more accurate than the “low bar” of PPR. It’s been around for years and, anal person that I am (you hadn’t noticed :)?), I’ve tracked it for a while now and find it remarkably predictive (most people I know would agree).

  28. This is indeed an interesting discussion. For what its worth a 128 draw is plenty to get the players capable of winning the tournament into the draw. I also wonder how many parents/players would really want an accurate ranking system since there are no doubt some who have benefitted for years as being given access but not being a top player. An accurate ranking system might flush them out. Here however is my educational question for Antonio: It is clear that you are not going to get the whole rule change revoked. As pointed out by others this was a lethal strategy for Southern and made them irrelevant. The question therefore is if you could suggest only three changes to the current rules what would they be? Up until now there has been no sense of this on this blog site. Thanks

  29. The USTA thinks many aspiring kids play too many tournaments. Moreover, they have determined that many aspiring kids are flown around simply improve their profile given the current system set up. What is USA tennis reward for this? Not much but the satisfaction of players 129 to 192 who can state they participated in the national championships.
    What have the aspiring kids (top or not) and American tennis been losing from the current structure? Lost generations of kids, coaches and parents who know how to under take real training, periodization, nutrition, off-court and yes school. Face it current structure detracts from modern tennis training and fails to keep the barbarians from the gate (ie.,scholarships and spots on college teams to international players).

  30. I’m not completely clear on what you are saying Marty, but the current structure has been in place for less than two years and PPR hasn’t been around very long either. To blame that and 192 draws at two tournaments a year for “lost generations of kids, coaches and parents” seems, to put it mildly, a little extreme.

    You talk about “periodization,” something that the 2014 structure does absolutely nothing about. In fact, it likely INCREASES the year-round structure, especially for the most-competitive kids.

    If the USTA believes kids are playing too many tournaments, then the new structure completely contradicts the goal of having kids play less. By forcing kids to have to worry about “making quota” they will have to play more tournaments locally to mantain their sectional ranking and to begin to develop a ranking in the next age group so they’ll be able to get into tournaments when the time comes. Florida slashed draw sizes a couple of years ago and we have already seen a significant increase in tournament play by the most-competitive players.

    1. Agitating for large draws is symbolmatic of the agitation for endless opportunities for experienced tennis kid. The result of which is to play in tournaments to qualify for other tournaments that are thought to possess prestige and honor of some sort valued by those in pursuit. This approach to junior USTA competition has been in motion for some time. The benefits of which I regard as narrow and counterproductive to the training and competing culture for young tennis players in America. Extremism in the defense of better tennis in America is no vice;).

      Regionally competition allows thoughtful parents, players and coaches to implement tennis periodization training without as much complication. Of course training is year around, but tournament play can be better calendared for each respective age division based on the childs intellectual and biological needs, rather than the national USTA calendar for a multiyear period.

      God help us if any seriously training tennis kid who loves the sport comes to obsess and worry over “making quota” rather than being the best in their town or region prior. Makes me support the changes even more.

  31. Marty, I think you might want to take more time to study the changes.
    1) They do not in any way improve the “periodization” you advocate.
    2) They changes establish “making quota” as the only way for kids to be able to play out of their section and play regionally and then nationally. If you don’t like that, then you can’t like the changes. If you don’t think kids having the incentive to earn their way to higher-level play outside their sections is something that motivates competitive kids to work harder, then we are in completely different worlds when it comes to understanding their psycholgy.
    3) Your “extremism” isn’t in defense of tennis. It was to accuse the current system, all of two years old, of somehow being responsible for a lost generation of kids, coaches and parents.”

    1. I have. I don’t like American kids obsessed with rankings. I like kids who know who the players are and seek to challenge those players whether juniors, club players, adults locally/regionally, then progress as necessary from that point.

      As Lisa knows, I’m not invested in reversal of the changes occuring. I see virtues to the changes for much of the reasons that the USTA have outlined. If the status quo is preserved it won’t alter our families affection for the game other than making a choice whether traveling extensively outside of SoCal is wise or necessary. I can’t speak to any players incentive other than love of the game. No need for USTA to foster, preserve and grow affection for the game. Just gotta have it and the requisite desire to move forward whatever the structural set up.

      I don’t blame the current tournament system in toto for the lost generations of players. Rushed competition of children under 10 with western forehands is probably the biggest mistake kids and parents have made in the last 15 years. That and coaches not being leaders by letting kids and parents get away with murder for a fee and not correcting fundamentals before competing. Loss of big serves and forecourt game are also big destroyers of American kids tennis games. So overall, more problems with lackluster, ineffective “American” style of tennis than structure itself.

  32. The new system does promote periodization at least for the top sectional players. They can qualify in the section and then go directly to any supernat they want. They need not play any regional events. That is of course different for players who are not top in their section and have to scramble to find ranking points.

    1. let’s not forget that in a 128 draw, 64 of the players are out of the main draw after the first round. does that mean those 64 players didn’t belong in the tournament or didn’t earn the right to be there? of course not! again, let me say that i think the top players are going to be fine regardless of how USTA chooses to alter the competition structure – it’s the rest of the kids i’m concerned with here.

    2. Dennis

      That’s jut not how the new system works. If you are not top in the section, there is no where to scramble too to find ranking points, and no reason to scramble for them. The regionals that are left have smaller quotas than the nationals, so the same kids who get the quotas to go to the nationals are going to get the quotas to go to the regional. Not only do the national points you get from the new events not help you qualify for the summer championships, but these events are only level 3 and 4, its not clear to me that they provide enough national points to be worthwhile for qualifying for the events that still do use the national point ranking list for admission, like the 32 draw and even smaller events that Antonio discusses above. Under the new system, national ranking will only have meaning at the very top.

  33. Dennis, that’s not true, Sectionals will be spread throughout the year. Then, in addition to the summer clay and hard courts, there’s a smaller “Easter Bowl” in April and the team event that takes the place of winter nationals in December, both of which are likely to be level1s. One national selection tournament is in February, the other in November. There’s a sweet 16 level 1 in May, an intersectional level1 in July, the new doubles national championship level 1 in August, another sweet 16 and a Grand Masters in October. Periodization?

    Also, quotas are ONLY for hard and clay courts and the regionals. Everything else is based on the standing list, so you can not fall asleep on your quota laurels and assume you’ll be able to play where you want.

    Bottom line: NO periodization.

  34. I enjoy your Blog and your radio show, I listen every week. But, your statements about the rule changes will limit or remove your kids ability to “travel with family” and ” playing tennis with friends” as reasons to oppose the rule changes is silly. Take your family on any trip you want, have your kid play tennis with friends anywhere in the world……why waste your time wirh USTA……play on any court u want, make your own rules sing happy songs with friends and family….. No need to worry about USTA rule changes if you just want your kid to play with friends. I have a junior player that wil play first tournament I 2013 and will age up in 2014. I do not agree with everything USTA has proposed, but people crying because little johnnie or susie will not get to play regional or national because draw size is lower than before is silly. Little Johnny and little Susie need to kick butt and win local tournaments first. Win tournaments, not skme matches in local tournaments.All other sports have a limited number of teams or players that play for the league championship, tennis should be no different. Only the top teams or players from these other sports leagues compete for the league championship.

    It seems like the biggest outcry is the proposed limited draw size at National Championships. So how about we make this very simple: No Sectional/Regional quotas, No wildcards, Top 3 players per State/US Territory in each age division advance to play for title.

    1. at this point, i’m not going to spend time addressing all of your points. i will say, however, that i find your rude and condescending tone to be extremely offensive. if you would like to continue commenting here, please find a more respectful way of presenting your thoughts. thank you.

      1. Rude was not my intent. You said it and blogged it to the world so the stuff you mentioned was open to comment. Your friends and family stuff is no concern of USTA. USTA tennis is a competitive sport, not social country club or YMCA.That was the point I wanted to make. Competition is the focus. Guess i have to agree with you on all your points, including personal, to participate on your Blog. I will not touch the truth on your blog again. I have no plans to comment again on your Blog if you are going to threaten my future participation. I still like your blog and think you do a great job on your radio show.

        And because you and others are focused on the personal and not sport of Tennis is another reason why US Tennis is in bad shape. Please don’t forget that USTA tournament play is a competitive sport, not friends/family playing at the YMCA or country club.

        No need to reply. I have no desire to continue dialogue with you on any matter. Again, I still like reading your Blog and Radio Program.

        Regards,

      2. Rude was not my intent. You said it and blogged it to the world so the stuff you mentioned was open to comment. Your friends and family stuff is no concern of USTA. USTA tennis is a competitive sport, not social country club or YMCA.That was the point I wanted to make. Competition is the focus.

        Guess i have to agree with you on all your points, including personal, to participate on your Blog? I have no plans to comment again on your Blog if you are going to threaten my future participation. I still like your blog and think you do a great job on your radio show.

        And because you and others are focused on the personal and not sport of Tennis is another reason why US Tennis is in bad shape. Please don’t forget that USTA tournament play is a competitive sport, not friends/family playing at the YMCA or country club.

        No need to reply. I have no desire to continue dialogue with you on any matter. Again, I still like reading your Blog and Radio Program.

        Regards,

  35. Whatever the intent was, the comments here and on another part of this blog are exactly the rude and condescending comments that have no place in this discussion.

    They are also tremendously ill-informed, if you go and read the mission statement of the USTA and understand everything the organization is tasked with doing. It is the governing body of the WHOLE sport of tennis in the USTA and its main mission is to grow and promote the sport, not just the top players. How in the world is that going to happen if we are drawing more kids into the sport through TAUT, the US population is growing by leaps and bounds (about 50 million more people since the draws grew to 192) and we are slashing opportunities to compete?

    Also terribly ill-informed is the suggestion that you simply take the top three players from each state/territory. First, that would bring us very close to a 192 draw, and second, it would guarantee that more than half the top 100 players in the country would not compete (the top three from Alaska, North Dakota, etc. would likely bounce far better players.

    Finally, it IS the top players who are competing. More than a hundred thousand kids are playing competitive tournament tennis (that’s according the the USTA at the Little Rock meeting) and less than one percent get to play nationally in any capacity under the CURRENT system. You really want to make it tougher and take away incentives to kids?

  36. If new10sparents comments were not so sad they would be funny. Tennis has always had an elitisim problem, and her comments typify a certain prevalent attitude I run into quite a bit. I mean, to a lot of people in Tennis, there are only three decent mens players on the planet, but that Murray kid might turn out to be good some day, and isn’t it a shame that Roddick kid never amounted to anything. And there hasn’t been a decent woman player since Serena. It’s like a almost psychofantic worship of the top 3 one and everyone else is not good enough to be the club pro.

    I think this attitude infects many people in the tennis community and much of USTA. It’s almost surreal. They want to attract more people into the sport, and they know that the sport has a problem as being perceived as elite, so they come up with a system that makes it even more elite.Brilliant.

    This is all just absurd. Imagine if the PGA had control of golf the way USTA does of tennis, and they told people that kids can only play tournaments in there home region, except for a couple times per year, and even then an only average of three kids per state could play elsewhere. Inconceivable. In my small state this year, hundreds of kids, yes hundreds, of kids, on traveling soccer clubs and volleyball teams will travel to tournaments, regional and national. Tennis ? 1 or 2 per age group will be “allowed” to go.

    Part of me actually wants to see these changes go through, because I believe they are suicidal for the USTA. Until now, USTA has alway provided enough tournaments/playing opportunities that they really haven’t left a significant market opportunity for competitive organizations. These changes are so drastic that will change. Right now, USTA is behaving like a monopolist/bully with no recognition of how supply and demand works. It has the TAUT program that wil increase, demand, but at the same time its radically eliminating the supply of tournaments at the national and regional level tournaments, on same baseless assumption that more tournaments are just going to magically appear at the section level to replace them. I wonder how many business people were on the junior completion committee, or was it just lawyers and people with Ph.d.s in music and such ?

    1. Very well put Ajt!!!!

      Look at what kind of success http://www.tennisrecruiting.com has had… In a nut shell they revamped the whole ranking system and their system is more widely followed by parents, college coaches and even players!! Outside of paying attention to the USTA seeding list for tournament entry, most follow the tennis recruiting lists. As you pointed out Ajt, I could see a secondary tournament circuit forming if the USTA continues down this path.

      1. Nick

        I think the TNR star system is probably the most accurate ranking system in the world for tennis players. As Antonio has said, it has remarkable predictive value. Heck, if I could get Vegas to take money on junior tennis matches I could be a millionaire(fyi, this is a joke). But the key thing is that the TRN star system is symbiotic, almost parasitic, with the USTA PPR system. If USTA didn’t have a PPR system and switched to a head to head system, not only would it probably not work, it might also cause the TNR star system to collapse. The PPR system forces the kids to play, even “chase points” and this ensures that TRN gets the necessary amount of head to head rankings to make there rankings. If you take away the PPR system, you get the same problems head to head systems traditionally have had, that is, winners ducking competition becuase they have nothing to gain by playing.

        Lisa – just some food for thought for you Monday radio show.

        Yes, the demand will be there for additional events, and economics 101 says someone is going to try and fill it. I think this is one of the main flaws in the competition committees work, they just assume that there are no other alternatives for kids and that they will just have to do what the USTA tells them to do.

  37. Great post, AJT, and a powerful point about how illogical it is to make tournament play even more elitist than it is now.

  38. YesAJT. So right regarding TRN coupled with the new usta mandated must stay in region rules. The kids at top re TRN have absolutely nothing to gain, they can only lose.

    Kids don’t look at USTA rank, they look at TRN. My blue chip brought this up. There is nobody in our section she can improve her TRN ranking with. She can only lose.

    Soooooooo.

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