Wednesday, August 14, 2019

UTR's San Francisco $120,000 Event Offers Prize Money for Top College, Junior Finishers, in Addition to $50K to Overall Winner; Svajda Among Youngest Men's Competitors Ever at US Open

Last week UTR announced a new men's tournament, the Kunal Patel San Francisco Open, which will feature a total of $120,000 in prize money. The competition begins with a staggered entry qualifying tournament at the Fremont Tennis Club from August 31 through September 2, with the two finalists, as well as two wild cards, receiving entry into the main tournament, which is scheduled for September 12-15 at the Berkeley Tennis Club. Players will be selected based on their Universal Tennis Ratings.

ATP pros Sam Querrey, Steve Johnson and Bradley Klahn are expected to compete in the Berkeley portion of the tournament, with the players with the eight best UTRs among the entrants bypassing the qualifying round. The winner receives $50,000 and the finalist $20,000, but what makes this tournament unique is prize money for a variety of top finishers, not just those who compete against the pros in that part of the event.

The top 2 players advancing the furthest in the qualifying tournament in the following categories will have a final playoff on Sunday, September 15th to earn the following prize money/expense reimbursement:
  • 40 & Over: Winner $2,000, Finalist $1,000  
  • College: Winner $3,000, Finalist $1,000
  • 18 & Under: Winner $3,000, Finalist $1,000
  • 14 & Under: Winner $500, Finalist $250
This is a great opportunity to play a certified UTR event and earn money while doing so, without actually needing to win a tournament to receive it.

College players would be able to retain their amateur status as long as they use their winnings to offset expenses, while the juniors are allowed to accept up to $10,000 a year without affecting their amateur status.

To enter, and for more details, see the UTR event page, with the deadline for entry August 25th.

Randy Walker at World Tennis has delved into the US Open archives to see where 16-year-old Kalamazoo champion Zachary Svajda lands among the youngest participants in the main draw of the men's singles in New York.  Svajda is the youngest player since Donald Young in 2005 (the article says 2007, which is incorrect), with Young turning 16 the month before. Svajda turns 17 in November.

1988 Kalamazoo champion Tommy Ho is the youngest man to play at the Open in the Open era, at age 15. I believe Ho is also the last player to win Kalamazoo in his debut here, which is what Svajda did this year.

I'm occasionally asked who was the most impressive Kalamazoo champion I've seen in my 40 plus years of watching the finals, and I would have to go with 1983 champion Aaron Krickstein, who won Kalamazoo just days after turning 16, and went on to make the fourth round of the US Open just a few weeks later. 


Tim Davis said...

UTR is fine for adults but has ruined junior tennis. The parents and kids all obsess on it. So many players won't play vs a lower ranked player and drop out of matches. So many more cheat because the UTR system gives more credit if they win 6-0 than win 6-3. The better players used to use matches vs lesser opponents to try new shots and go for it, now they just get the balls in so they can win every game. UTR is the worst thing to ever happen to junior tennis.