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ITFs – Got Info?

My son has been asking to play an ITF tournament for over a year.  Since there are very few even played in the US these days, it wasn’t hard to deter him.  However, a friend’s mom told me I should sign him up for the one in Waco, Texas, because it’s a lower-grade tournament and might be a good first experience for my son.  I went on the ITF website, registered him for an iPin (ITF’s version of a USTA number, I guess), and signed him up for the tournament.  Then, we waited.  And waited.  And waited.

Finally, the Acceptance List came out, and my son’s name appeared waaaaaay down the page on the list of Alternates.  Not the Qualifiers (yes, ITF junior events have a Qualifier that starts 2 days prior to the Main Event – you have to win 4 matches in Qualies to even get into the Main Draw.  You have to win at least one match in the Main Draw to get a single ITF ranking point.).  Oh, and there’s no Back Draw, so if you lose, even your first round match, you’re done, out of the tournament.  Okay.  No big deal.  We have lots of experience with alternate lists.  We decided to sit tight and see how things played out.

As luck would have it, we found out Monday morning that my son was accepted into the Qualies.  The tournament is next weekend.  Did I mention it is in Waco?  Texas?  A mere 819 miles and 14 1/2 hours by car from our house?  That means either (A) my son misses an additional 3-4 days of school just to get there and back or (B) my husband and I fork over Big Bucks to fly him and his coach to Texas.

I find myself in the familiar position of having to go to bat for my son while maintaining some semblance of financial responsibility to my family.  My son really wants to play in this tournament.  His coach feels like it’s the right time, developmentally, for him to have his first ITF experience but has been very understanding about our money concerns.  And my husband was really hoping our son didn’t get off the Alternate List!

So, I’m turning to you fellow Tennis Parents in hopes that you’ll share your thoughts and experiences on these ITF tournaments.  And your money-saving tips when you have to fly to a tournament.  And your marriage-saving tips when you and your spouse are on different pages about above-referenced money.  HELP!!!!


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