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Registration underway for all 16 US Open National Playoffs Sectional Qualifying Tournaments

March 15, 2011 06:10 AM
Blake Strode won the inaugural men's US Open National Playoffs in 2010.
Alexandra Mueller won the 2010 US Open National Playoffs Women's Championship.
Chris Evert will compete in mixed doubles with ESPN Radio's Mike Greenberg.
Registration for all 16 US Open National Playoffs Sectional Qualifying Tournaments is now open, and players age 14 and older can register for singles competition and/or mixed doubles, which was added to the US Open National Playoffs this year. Registration deadlines for the 16 sectional qualifying events vary by tournament. 
Former No. 1 Chris Evert will be a participant in the event in mixed doubles, as surprised listeners learned on ESPN2 and ESPNRadio's Mike and Mike in the Morning sports talk show. The show's Mike Greenberg called the Boca Raton, Fla., resident live on the air to ask her to play mixed doubles in the USTA Eastern Section event, to be held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., which she agreed to do.
"I know Mike is a big tennis fan and loves the US Open," said Evert of her mixed doubles partner. "The US Open was the first tournament that sort of started my career, and I have great memories of it, and I love to support it. We'll just go out there and have some fun. That's the main thing."
USTA Director of Corporate Communications Tim Curry reiterated that the pair looks to have fun, while possibly supplying some formidable competition.
"The theme of the US Open National Playoffs is to 'Dream Big,' and it is great that Chris Evert has decided to help Mike Greenberg with his passion for tennis and the US Open," Curry said. "There are some players in the playoffs who have the ability to compete for a spot in the US Open and others who just want to be a part of the fun and say they gave it a try. The Evert-Greenberg team is the best of both worlds, for sure."

The US Open National Playoffs returns for a second year as a series of sectional qualifying tournaments, held in 16 USTA Sections throughout the country, culminating with the US Open National Playoffs – Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles Championships held during the New Haven Open at Yale, an Olympus US Open Series women’s event, in August. The US Open National Playoffs mixed doubles champions will receive a main-draw wild card into the 2011 US Open. The US Open National Playoffs men’s and women’s singles champions again earn a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, held the week prior to the US Open.

Registration for each of the 16 sectional qualifying tournaments is available at www.usta.com/tennislink. The entry fee for each of the sectional qualifying tournaments is $125 for singles and $150 for each mixed doubles team ($75 per player). All players competing must have a current USTA membership valid through August 29, 2011.

Registration for the US Open National Playoffs is held in conjunction with the USTA’s launch of Youth Registration events in March, which is the USTA's largest youth tennis recruitment effort to register children for spring and summer tennis programs nationwide. Since February 28, more than 700 tennis facilities have taken or will host a Youth Registration event. This month also marks when adults can begin registering for spring and summer USTA League teams. USTA League is the country’s largest recreational tennis league with more than 330,000 players competing in matches.

"The US Open National Playoffs provides a unique opportunity for tennis players to get closer to the US Open," said Jon Vegosen, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. "Now in its second year, we expect to attract some of the top talent, including junior players, from communities across the country to compete for this one-of-a-kind experience."

"By expanding the US Open National Playoffs to include mixed doubles for the first time, the USTA is offering even more players an opportunity to fulfill their dreams of competing in the US Open," said Jim Curley, Chief Professional Tournaments Officer & US Open Tournament Director. "Building on last year’s success, we are expecting an even deeper talent pool to compete for a shot at history."

A player may only enter and compete in one sectional qualifying tournament during a calendar year; players competing in men’s singles or women’s singles and mixed doubles may opt to compete at different sectional qualifying tournaments (one for singles and one for mixed doubles). The draw size at each sectional qualifying tournament will be a maximum of 256 for each singles event and a maximum of 128 teams for mixed doubles. Participants can be of any playing level, from aspiring novice to seasoned professional, giving everyone an equal opportunity to advance.  

The 16 men’s, women’s and mixed doubles champions from each sectional qualifying tournament will advance to the US Open National Playoffs – Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles and Mixed Doubles Championship. All three tournaments will be held in conjunction with the New Haven Open at Yale, an Olympus US Open Series event.  The US Open National Playoffs – Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles Championship will be held August 18-21. The US Open National Playoffs – Mixed Doubles Championship will be held August 24-27.

Last year, the USTA created the US Open National Playoffs to expand the footprint of the US Open by providing the opportunity for all players 14 years of age and older to earn a berth into the US Open.

In all, 1,232 players (859 men, 373 women) competed in the inaugural edition of the 2010 US Open National Playoffs, ranging from experienced professionals (including two-time ATP singles champion Jeff Tarango and Russian Alina Jidkova, who reached a career-high No. 51 in 2005) to recreational players of all talents and walks of life (including Olympic skier Bode Miller, former Major League Baseball player Todd Walker and Rabbi Gregg Ackerman of Long Island, N.Y.).

The US Open Qualifying Tournament will be held August 23-26, and the US Open Mixed Doubles Championship begins August 31 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The 2011 US Open begins on August 29.



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