Changes in National Clay & Hards for 2015
The following information appears on ZooTennis today at this link (click here for the full article):
The USTA board has approved changes to the 2015 USTA Clay Court and National 16s and 18s championships. After a qualifying tournament was held in 2014 to determine eight spots in a 128-player draw, the tournaments will revert to the 192-player draws they had prior to 2014. Alternate methods of gaining entry have also been reintroduced. The changes:
1. Eliminates Qualifier: Replaces the 64-player qualifier and 128-player main draw at the Boys’ and Girls’ 18 and 16 USTA National Clay Court Championships and The USTA National Championships (Hard Courts) and with a main draw of 192 players.
2. Creates Direct Acceptance List: Creates a Direct Acceptance List of top USTA, ATP/WTA and ITF* players to be published on May 1 that will automatically be selected for the Boys’ and Girls’ 18 and 16 USTA National Clay Court Championships and The USTA National Championships. ATP/WTA and ITF players are only included on the Direct Acceptance List for the 18 Divisions. Up to 32 players are selected off of this list for the 18 Divisions; up to 16 players are selected off of this list for the 16 Divisions.
I have seen reference elsewhere to the criteria for ATP/WTA/ITF entry as follows, although this could change:
In the 18 Divisions, the Direct Acceptance List will be comprised of the top 16 players on the National Standings List, followed by players with top 800 ATP ranks/top 600 WTA ranks, followed by top 100 ITF players. Up to 32 players will be selected by this method. If fewer than 32 players on the List enter, the open spots are filled with endorsed players from the National Standings List published at the time of selection.
3. Net Increase in Draw Size to Section Quota: The net increase in draw size is allocated to Sectional Association quota using the same quota formula that currently exists (60% based on strength of Section/40% based on size of junior membership as of December 31, 2013).
4. Sectional Ranking Tournament Winner Always Replaced with Quota Player: If the winner of the designated Sectional Ranking Tournament (May/June Sectionals) does not enter The USTA National Championships (Hard Courts) or is not age eligible, one additional player from the Section’s endorsement list will be selected. This proposed change applies to all divisions (BG12-18).
With the elimination of the qualifying tournaments, the previously published 2015 dates for the Clays and Nationals will not be accurate, so look for revisions there in the upcoming months.
While I am thrilled USTA has reverted to the larger draw sizes and alternate means of entry to, hopefully, eliminate the craziness that happened during the 2014 selection process (click here and here to read my articles), I am disappointed it didn’t happen in time for my own son to get to experience playing at Kalamazoo. That said, USTA seems to have recognized and acknowledged the problems with many of the 2014 changes and looks to be on track to correct many of them. That’s good news for those of you with kids still eligible to play.