To Waiver or Not To Waiver: That Is the Question

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This year, for the first time, the Georgia Qualifier included the option for the top 8 players in the state to waiver out of competition. Please understand that playing the Qualifier has always been mandatory in order to get endorsed into the Southern Closed, the tournament that awards a spot into the National Hardcourts for the winners of each division.

Before you formulate an opinion on this year’s new waiver policy, let me provide a little background . . .

Historically, many of the top players in the state would come to Macon, Georgia in late May, play one round – and sometimes only one point! – of the tournament to satisfy the endorsement requirement, then withdraw. If you look at weather reports of Macon in May, you will understand why – it’s incredibly hot and humid this time of year, and, typically, there is a lot of rain, too, making this event last even longer than it should for a 64-draw tournament. On top of that, there are usually multiple cases of severe dehydration and cramping – players as well as spectators – requiring trips to the ER for treatment. The state’s best players don’t want to risk illness or injury unnecessarily before the sectional closed, so they do the minimum to ensure a spot in Southerns. Coming up with the waiver policy seemed like a good way to prevent these early withdrawals, save the families of the top 8 the expense of travelling to Macon, and create a more competitive tournament overall.

We still saw a couple of cases of early withdrawals in the main draw by top seeds and even more cases when the seeds were relegated to the backdraw – seeded players have an automatic berth into the Southern Closed so maybe they didn’t feel the need to finish the tournament in Macon because of the reasons stated above.

FYI, Georgia gets 37 quota spots into the Southern Closed: the 8 waivered players plus the 16 players who reach the Round of 16 at the Georgia Qualifier plus any remaining players who played the Qualifier and are next in line according to the latest Georgia Standings List. All players must apply to the Southern Closed in order to be considered for selection – there are no automatic entries.

I’m sharing this information because I’d love to hear from you on this whole idea of waivers. The pros and the cons. Are they good for player development? Are they good for junior tennis? Are they good for tennis families? Why or why not?

Please post your thoughts in the Comments below.

5 thoughts on “To Waiver or Not To Waiver: That Is the Question

  1. In Southern California the endorsement requirements are fairly clear: you need to play in X out of Y designated tournaments in order to be endorsed. Those endorsed are eligible based on their ranking to play in tournaments requiring endorsement. To be endorsed you also need to have your birth certificate on file with SCTA.

    Waivers … not sure I like that idea.

  2. I like the idea of waivers. We r from GA and I have two girls who play, both who could make it to Southerns based on their rankings. Atlanta has so many kids that play tennis and allowing the top 8 to pass, opens up opportunities for those junior players that work all year just to try and make it to the qualifier. These players are the future of junior tennis here. The top players in the state don’t need to spend 6 days in Macon. We just got home from the longest week in history.. 3 rounds of doubles first day, then one round or singles a day for main draw for 4 days and then quarters and semi’s are two of the toughest matches in one day. No one could the see the rational in that. Macon is to long and then we turn around in a week and travel again to Southerns.

  3. David – Southern California no longer has endorsement requirements. The section counts all national events towards sectional standing irrespective of where they are held so in theory a player could make quota without playing a single sectional event. Texas, at the other end of the spectrum, counts no national events towards endorsement or sectional ranking. Sectional inconsistency is one of the biggest problems with the current structure.

  4. Waivers are good because only competitive matches develop players. There are too many tourneys during the summer (National Selection/Sweet 16, sectional championships, Zonals, Clay Nationals, National Warm up, New Balance, Nat Hardcourt, ITFs) to play less competitive tourneys. No player can play them all. Waivers give flexibility and choice.
    1) Most of the waived 16s players for GA played the National Selection tourney Mem Day. The players may not have had the time/money/energy to play both qualifier and the Nat 2
    2) The waived spots freed up spots for 8 players who really wanted to play Qualifier-maybe those spots went to talented HS team players in state playoffs who did not play USTA in season and had lower USTA GA points. Maybe one day USTA GA will give a few wild cards to top GHSAA players, but until then these waived spots help out varsity players.Without waivers, more players would have dropped out after one round and more players who wanted to play would have missed the cut. Maybe a few who got in (because 8 spots freed up) won 2 rounds and will get to take their first trip to Southern Closed. Waivers give opportunities to others.
    3) The tournament was 5 1/2 days long and some players did not have competitive matches until day 4. Maybe the GA tourney should have been block seeded with 2 main draw matches on Saturday and the seeds coming in R16 on Sunday with the dubs SF/F on Sunday vs Sat.
    Waivers gave 8 players in each age and gender group a chance to rest or train rather than play several days of noncompetitive matches
    4) Most of the other southern states had 32 draw Qualifiers or Qualifier over Memorial Day weekend. Some of those states must have waivers too as other southern players were at Nat Selection on the weekend of their Qualifiers. Those states have more of a break between Qualifier and Southern Closed, Waivers allowed the top GA players to have the same break.
    5)There are not enough points at the GA Qualifier to make it worth a 5 day stay. At the typical southern 3, a player can play a round of 16 (4 matches) over 2 days to earn the same base points as the Qualifier winner earns playing matches for 5 days. (However the Q winner will earn more bonus points). If parents have to miss work and/or pay for 5 days hotel, there are many other tournaments that are more competitive and earn more sectional points towards Nationals than Qualifiers. I can understand why some players pulled out after one round. Waivers save money.
    6) I wish there had been an option for players who earned waivers to play up for Qualifier but still play Southern Closed in their current age. Many players who earned 16s waivers probably had the GA points for 18 Qualifier too, but they are playing 16s Southern Closed to improve their chances to get in KZoo 16s. If players could play up, their Q matches would have been more competitive.
    7) It is important to remember this year for Southern players, Southern Closed is not a requirement for endorsement to National. Players could earn endorsement to Nationals from the sectional championship in January 2015. Several players who will play Nat 16s will play 18s Southern Closed because they played the 16s Championship in January.. If there had not been waivers, some players may have skipped Southern Closed too. Having waivers at the state level, keeps Southern Closed competitive too.

    Summer tournaments are long and hot. Players need a decent break between tournaments-a day or two of rest and then time for drills in between tourneys. Some players schedule so many tournaments they barely have time to get home and wash clothes, before they leave for the next one. If waivers give players a few more days of rest and drills and parents a break then they are a positive benefit. I am glad my son earned a waiver..

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