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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Registration Underway for US Open National Playoffs; Tiafoe Featured in New Junior Tennis Quarterly; Peter Kobelt in USTA College Spotlight

For the fifth year, the US Open is truly open, with the USTA's National Open Playoffs featuring a wild card into the US Open qualifying on tap this spring.  This May and June 13 sections are offering tournaments, with the winners going on to the National tournament in August at the New Haven Open on the campus of Yale University.

Registration, which began last Saturday, is open to any USTA member who will be at least 14 by August 25th, 2014. When this system was established in 2010, the fee was $125; now the sections set the entry fee, but it is less, either $75 or $100, depending on the section.  The mixed doubles competition, which provides the National Champions with a wild card into the main draw of the US Open, has separate fees of $45 to $60 per person.

Former Texas A&M star Jeff Dadamo and Mayo Hibi won the qualifying wild cards last year. UCLA junior Robin Anderson was the women's champion in 2011.

For the dates and locations of the sectional tournaments this year, see this pdf.

For more details, including the rules and regulations for the competition, see this from usopen.org.

The USTA has been publishing a Tennis Tuesday online weekly magazine for its members for the past several months, and this week a Juniors Quarterly has been introduced, with 2013 Orange Bowl champion Francis Tiafoe headlining the first issue.  Nina Pantic, who played college tennis at UCLA and Missouri, wrote the Tiafoe feature and also contributes regularly to the weekly magazine.

Sally Milano has provided this College Spotlight on Ohio State senior Peter Kobelt for usta.com.  Kobelt's improvement in college certainly can inspire any junior, as indicated by his response to the question on turning pro right out of high school:

To be honest, I didn’t really know if I was actually good enough to even play at the Division I level. I was never ranked in the Top 200 nationally in the USTA rankings, and not too many schools knew who I even was because I didn’t play for half the year because of (playing high school) basketball. Going pro wasn’t even in my ballpark.