Category Archives: USTA & Rules of Tennis

Proposed Expansion at the National Tennis Center

Borough residents have had mixed reactions to the USTA’s expansion plans at Flushing Meadows Corona Park since they were first announced last June.

The expansion plan, which will  utilize an additional .68 acre on top of the 42 acres the USTA currently sits on, includes construction of two new stadiums and two parking garages and is in addition to other proposed projects at the park which include a new soccer stadium and retail mall near Citi Field.

Proponents of the tennis center’s expansion, including Mayor Bloomberg and Borough President Marshall, say that the project will be a boon to the local economy while providing additional jobs. The USTA says that the annual US Open tournament creates 6,000 seasonal jobs with about 585 full and part-time positions for Queens’ residents.

“The USTA has created an extremely lucrative business utilizing this public parkland that last year made $ 275 million while giving just $ 2.5 million back to the city,” said Geoffrey Croft, of NYC Park Advocates, a nonprofit group dedicated to improving public parks.
“The USTA is a wonderful organization but the impacts to the park are well known and should not be increased.”

Read More – HERE

Youtube Video Against 2014 Changes in the National Junior Schedule

Here is what the video description says:

USTA President & National Junior Competition Committee Members passed changes that will eliminate some National Tennis Events. In others it will reduce draw sizes. One of these is Kalamazoo. This event is Little League World Series of Tennis. Help us save these events. Tennis sections will vote on this soon. Get involved and make your voice heard. Protect Junior tennis and it’s future professional and college stars.


Tennis Boom Essay Contest

USTA Eastern Section Logo

USTA Eastern Section Logo

USTA Eastern is having an essay contest:

Over the next few years, USTA Eastern is looking to create a boom in tennis participation in the section. The section is looking to attract new players of all ages and abilities to the sport, and encourage occasional tennis players to play more.
But with all of the other recreational sports available, we need to make a convincing case for the benefits of tennis. To help us, USTA Eastern is hosting a Tennis Boom Essay Contest, with the winners receiving free tickets to see Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Juan Martin Del Potro and Victoria Azarenka compete at the BNP Paribas Showdown on Monday, March 4 at Madison Square Garden.
To enter the contest, fill out the form below and include a 100 word essay in response to the following question: What would you say to convince your friends to play tennis?
Please note: the deadline for contest entries is February 15, 2013. The winners will be selected by a group of USTA Eastern staff and volunteers. The top two essay winners will each receive two tickets to the BNP Paribas Showdown. Other tickets may also be available. Read full contest rules.
Prize winners will be notified by February 22, 2013.

Tennis Rule – The Answer

A serve is considered in if it touches the service box without touching anything else.  A serve is also considered in if it touches the receiver, or in the case of doubles, the receivers partner before it touches the ground, regardless of where they are standing.  A serve is considered a let (do over) if it touches the net and lands in the proper service box.  Today’s question is what is the rule if a serve touches the net and then touches the receivers partner: A) If the receivers partner is in the service box or;  B) If the receivers partner is in the court outside of the service box or; C) If the receivers partner is outside of the court.  We are assuming the serve touches the partner before it touches the ground.

Answer will appear on the blog tomorrow.  Use the comment section to give us your answer (no fair looking it up).

The ball is a let if it touches either opponent before it touches the ground, regardless of where they are standing at the time.

Tennis Rule – Test Your Knowledge

A serve is considered in if it touches the service box without touching anything else.  A serve is also considered in if it touches the receiver, or in the case of doubles, the receivers partner before it touches the ground, regardless of where they are standing.  A serve is considered a let (do over) if it touches the net and lands in the proper service box.  Today’s question is what is the rule if a serve touches the net and then touches the receivers partner: A) If the receivers partner is in the service box or;  B) If the receivers partner is in the court outside of the service box or; C) If the receivers partner is outside of the court.  We are assuming the serve touches the partner before it touches the ground.

Answer will appear on the blog tomorrow.  Use the comment section to give us your answer (no fair looking it up).

USTA Junior Competition Changes may not be a Done Deal

According to Zoo Tennis:

“The USTA released a statement today suggesting the junior competition changes passed back in March may be revised or at least revisited.”  This was from a blog posting on Thursday, September 20th.  Today the USTA clarified their position further. “There has been no representation, implicit or explicit, that changes will be made. However, it is certainly possible modifications may be appropriate and/or that parts of the schedule of implementation may need to be adjusted.”

In a further discussion of the matter, Colette Lewis of Zoo Tennis states:

“No one has asked me, but I would much rather the USTA go to the standard worldwide tennis format of qualifying tournaments immediately preceding any and all major national events.  If the majority of selections are made by sectional endorsements/rankings and a national ranking list, I would be delighted to see a 128-draw with 16 qualifiers, just like the US Open, here in Kalamazoo for the boys 16 and 18 Nationals.”

Everyone who follows Junior Tennis at the national level follows Colette’s blog.  We had this discussion at the U.S. Open when we met.  The more I look into it, the more I am convinced that a qualifying tournament with a 128 main draw is the way to go.  It’s not that she set out to try to convince me on the idea.  I actually brought it up before she did.  The more I’ve looked into this, the more I’ve come to believe that National Championships need qualifiers.

Albany is not a huge tennis market.  It’s not a big metropolitan area.  We have a few area kids that make it to Nationals but they were not ranked in the top 100 going into Nationals so it came as a surprise to me when I saw these players coming out on the winning side of quite a few non competitive matches.  I consider a match where a player gets 3 games or less to be non competitive (like 6-3, 6-0 or 6-1, 6-2 or 6-1, 6-0).  This got me wondering.  How many non competitive matches are there at national tournaments? How does that compare to other junior tournaments or even pro tournaments.  Here is what I found.

First, the parameters.  I only counted completed matches.  I didn’t want injuries to skew the results.  I tried to compare a variety of tournaments.  Also, I only looked at singles.

So first to Boys 12’s at Little Rock.  The tournament that got me started on this.  Forty three percent of the first round matches – 27 out of 63 – were non competitive.  I thought that was a really high percentage for a national tournament.  Next I looked at the Boys 16’s at Kalamazoo where it was thirty seven percent – 17 out of 46.  Remember, the seeds all get first round bye’s at Kalamazoo so that’s players getting blown out by unseeded players.  I also looked at the Girls 18’s where it was twenty eight percent.  Again, seeds don’t play the first round.

So how does this compare.  To be fair, I looked at a Canadian national junior tournament and there were 13 non competitive matches and 10 competitive ones which is clearly worse than our national events.  I also looked at the Wimbledon Men’s Draw.  There was only 1 non competitive match.  Bonus points to anyone who knew it was Roger Federer – the eventual winner’s first round match.  Again, in Kalamazoo, the seeds don’t even play the first round.  So how about the America slam?  At the U. S. Open the Girls had 9 non competitive matches in the first round out of 32 completed matches, the Boys had 1 out of 31 matches completed.

Based on my sampling, I concluded that too many players were qualifying for these tournaments that maybe should not have been there.  So would a qualifying draw solve the problem? I looked at our Eastern Sectional Championship events in June.  These events have a qualifying round.  On the average, they were much more competitive.  The Boys 18’s had 18% non competitive, the Girls 16’s had 16%, Girls 14’s had 19% and the Boys 12’s had 19%.  Although it is not true in every case, it seems that main draw with a qualifying events produce  more championship caliber match ups.  You would expect the highest level of tournament – Wimbledon, which has a qualifier – to be the most competitive tournament, but you wouldn’t expect the Sectional tournaments to be more competitive than national tournaments.  In the Eastern Section, any player can play the Sectional Closed but the top players go into the main draw, the rest go into the qualifier.  The national tournaments have a selection process that limits who can enter based on tournament results so they should be more competitive, but they aren’t.

I am also puzzled by the USTA Regional tournaments.  Almost every sport has some sort of local play which qualifies players or teams for regional play.  The winners at the regional level go on to compete for the national championships.  Look at Little League and Babe Ruth baseball.  We now have regional tournaments, but they will not qualify players for national tournaments and it is the only thing in junior tennis in this country that works that way.  The Little Mo has Sectional Championships that qualify players for Regional Championships with the top players at Regionals moving on to Nationals.  The USTA’s Junior Team Tennis and Adult League Tennis also work that way.  I believe, if we make our players win at the Sectional level to qualify for the Regional tournaments and then take the top players from the Regionals and put them in the main draw, while the next tier of players fights their way through qualifiers to get to the main draw, we will have much better national tournaments and the kids in our Nationals will be the kids who truly belong in our Nationals.

I highly recommend that anyone interested in the new National Rules read Colette’s Blog (link’s below) and the Parenting Aces blog articles on it.



USTA Leagues – New Age Divisions for 2013

USTA League is changing its structure and format for the 2013 National Championships, which affects many League seasons in 2012. Gone are the monikers “Senior” (50 & over) and “Super Senior” (60 & over), replaced instead by a more representative grouping based on age.

USTA Leagues

Under the new structure, the USTA League National Championships will fall under just two divisions—Adult and Mixed. The Adult Division will be broken down into 18 & over, 40 & over, and 55 & over with a potential 65 or 70 & over league type considered for the future. Sections are encouraged to add a 65 or 70& over league type locally. The Mixed Division will be 18 & over, which is the same as the previous format, with the potential to add a 40 & over league type in the future. As they had previously, players will continue to compete by NTRP rating within each division.

The New / The Old

The New starting age group is called Adult 18 & Over. / The Old starting age group was called Adult.  Both groups start at age 18.   The New middle age group is called Adult 40 & Over. / The Old middle age group was called Seniors and started at age 55.  The Newest age group will be called Adult 55 & Over.  /  The old Super Seniors were age 60 and Over.

But Why?

According to the USTA “The decision to change the structure was made to better distribute USTA League participants among the three age categories…  Existing data research, player surveys and player focus groups clearly indicated a need for age restructuring in order to provide more competitive match play.”

Proposed USTA National Junior Tennis Changes not all that popular with some Pro’s

Zoo Tennis ran an a call to action from TomWalker, a leading Tennis Teaching Professional.  Here are some excerpt’s

The changes being voted are dangerous and destructive to junior tennis within the USA. The idea of reducing costs and making the system more affordable is a noble cause. However the premise of hacking off events and players as a remedy is based upon ill-conceived assumptions. Why should we cast at developmental levels with smaller nets? This philosophy will seriously undermine our game’s status. USTA tennis has had a track record of radical action with each outgoing president. Gentle tweaking is what is required instead of wholesale amputation of the National schedule.

The sections must Stop! and Think! Before acting, produce a study that has been initiated showing the impact on first year player and the opportunities afforded by larger draws. Are their proposals simply based on a personal assumption that smaller draws are more concentrated and thereby more efficient? Players that excelled in the hand-picked Orange Bowl fell to unseeded players in the Winter Nationals. Why limit these kinds of playing opportunities?

For the entire article – CLICK HERE

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 Here are a few of the comments so far (NOTE: Colette Lewis is the editor of Zoo Tennis):

prevent injuries! said…

Add to the argument: players who are sidelined for more than a few months due to injury, illness, family death, emergencies, etc, will lose so much ground they will likely not recover their rankings. Players and parents will feel compelled (even more than they already do) to push through injuries just to maintain rankings, jeopardizing the players’ health and long-term best interests.

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The Dude said…

Looks like I am in the minority but I like these changes. We all know players’ parents who have learned to game the system with money. They would fly to the least competitive level 3 national to gather points. They would fly to the weakest draw in the national opens rather than drive to their regional national open. They are not ranked in the top 30 in their section but somehow they manage to gain entry to every supernational only to lose 6-1,6-0 in first rounds. (Yes, these are the players and 1st rounds the USTA are trying to eliminate from supernationals which adds additional costs for every player in the draw). They hire the best coaches and travel everywhere to game the system. They end up on the bench in college but playing nationals helped them get in over the hump. Then there is the player that is legitimate a 25-40 national ranked player. However that is not good enough for his affluent parents. They game the system the same way. Although he cannot beat 4-5 players in his own section, he is the top ranked national player from his section. He never has to compete in his section, he loses his first round feigning injury defaulting 0-15 in the minimum sectional required tourneys so he can get his sectional endorsement. He also gets into an Ivy , or Duke because he gamed his national ranking to top 12 although he has only reached the round of 32 of any supernatioanal ever. He sits on the bench but his parents are happy becuase they have gamed the sytem so he could get into a top academic school. We al;l know these people in junior tennis!

Forcing players to compete in their own section and region will lower the cost of tennis for everyone which I believe should be a mandate for USTA junior tennis. Cream will always rise to the top, it is the obfuscating of a gamed ranking system that makes recruiting more complex and time consuming. This rew rule will take a lot of the money gamesmanship out of junior tennis for the good. It will only hurt those are not good enough to compete locally. You can be top 30 nationally with only playing sectional and regional national opens which will qualify you for every supernational, (ask me how I know). As far as college coaches and recruiting, most only come starting the round of 32, they could are less about the first 2 rounds. No one comes for the round of 192, which I believe is a worthless round in Supernationals and burdens everyone who is not seeded with additional costs.

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Colette Lewis said…

@The Dude:
Interesting take on the issue; you are the first person I know who is for the changes.
I would like to point out that the Easter Bowl is almost always played during the NCAA Signing Dead Period, so college coaches can’t recruit there. There were many of them here, and the ones I talked to do feel eliminating this tournament will make their recruiting more difficult.

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goodsports said…

College coaches go to tournaments to look at players, not rankings. They may arrive for later rounds to see those who have advanced by on-court performance, not those who have accumulated points. Smaller draws will actually make the round of 32 less attractive to coaches because many deserving players will have been filtered out by the ranking system, rather than by on-court play.

The USTA ranking system is actually the USTA entry selection system. According to Mitchell Alpert, USTA ranking chairman, USTA rankings using points per round create ordered lists that are reliable (can be duplicated) but are not predictive (don’t indicate who will win in a head to head match between ranked players).

Since the rankings don’t reflect players’ on-court abilities, it is imperative that the opportunities to compete at the national level be expanded, not contracted.

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