The first college combine sponsored by USTA is coming up next month. I’ve fielded several questions about this new event, so I reached out to USTA’s head of collegiate tennis, Stephen Amritraj, to get some answers for y’all. You can also listen to my recent podcast with Stephen here.
ParentingAces: Why did USTA decide to put on a college combine and what does it hope to accomplish?
Stephen Amritraj: We understand the landscape for parents and players going into college tennis. One of the priorities of the USTA Collegiate team is to have more Americans playing college tennis and the USTA All American Combine is our biggest event to support that goal. We hope that by putting as many American players on as many courts in front of as many college coaches as possible, we can help increase the amount of Americans on College Tennis rosters.
PA: There are several other college exposure camps and events around the country. What sets the USTA Combine apart?
Amritraj: I would say there are several reasons why this is unique: 1) It’s only open to Americans. That in itself is a difference that aligns with our priorities and mission. 2) This will have tennis and fitness testing combined to showcase different sides of each athlete. 3) It’s at the USTA National Campus which is really an incredibly special place for the sport that we all love. 4) The various levels of players and coaches are going to be wider than other recruiting showcases mainly due to the fact that they are playing for a $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit Futures Main Draw Wild Card to the winner based on a combination of tennis and physical components. All of the results from their set play will count for Tennis Recruiting and UTR. 5) Finally, we have also partnered with the ITA to host a coaches symposium the evening of June 15th for the college coaches that attend.
PA: How many players and how many college coaches are you expecting? What regions and college divisions will the coaches represent (i.e. D1, D2, D3, NAIA? Southeast, West Coast, etc.)?
Amritraj: We expect a national pull of 60-80 players. Currently, we have entrants from over 15 states. We will have college coaches from all over the country with all divisions being represented.
PA: What were the factors USTA considered when choosing the date and location for the Combine?
Amritraj: We chose the National Campus to host the event because of its location and great facilities. However, choosing a date was difficult because there is some overlap with Sectional events across the country. We selected the June date the after the Florida sectional so that we could capitalize on the college coaches that attend the final day.
PA: How do players sign up to attend? How will players be selected?
Amritraj: You can sign up on Tennislink.usta.com, tournament ID 150025417 (click here). All American players will be accepted into the combine.
PA: Are there any grants or scholarships available to help offset the $349.88 entry fee?
Amritraj: This year we do not have any, but we hope to add in the future.
PA: Has USTA arranged any type of travel and lodging discount for the players? What about meals?
Amritraj: We have a room block at the Courtyard Marriott (call 407-856-9165 to reserve) with a discounted rate for Combine participants, and we will provide a lunch voucher on Thursday, June 15th.
PA: Anything else you’d like us to know?
Amritraj: There will be something for everyone in the USTA All American Combine and would ask parents, players, and coaches to do their research throughout the collegiate decision process. We truly believe College Tennis has a place, at some level, for way more American junior players than are currently playing in it and hope this event can help.