Monday, June 29, 2020

UTR Announces National Championships Series; American Clay Court 16s Nationals Underway; Nakashima Defeats Hurkacz at Altec Styslinger Exhibition

Most of the competitive tennis that has been played in the past couple of months has been under the UTR umbrella, and the company is rolling out another series of events next month, called the UTR National Championship Series, with tournaments for College, Junior and High School competitors. Space is limited to the top 16 Universal Tennis Ratings for each Fila-sponsored event, which are often back-to-back-to-back weeks at the same location. Unlike the ITA Summer Circuit tournaments, also UTR events, the college events are scheduled mostly for Wednesday through Friday rather than weekends. Prize money is offered, with the amount varying depending on the tournament. The schedule of events is here. Today's UTR release is below.


Nationwide Event Series Offers High School, Junior and Collegiate Players the Opportunity to Compete Locally And Count Globally In High Level Regional Play 

June 29, 2020 (Palo Alto, CA) - Universal Tennis (MyUTR.com) today announced the launch of its first-ever UTR National Championship Series, a new initiative for junior, high school and college athletes to compete in high level local tennis events, continue to develop their game, and have their scores count globally via the Universal Tennis Rating (UTR). 

The UTR National Championship Series features over 20 locations with more than 70 events and 2,000 matches across the United States, including California, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts. The series will be divided into three divisions: High School, Juniors (14’s & 16’s) and College, with events beginning July 8th and running through early August. Space is limited to the top 16 players by UTR in each division and winners of each host site will be nationally recognized by Universal Tennis as the first ever UTR National Champions. 

All UTR National Championship Series events will be organized based on a World Cup-style format, where groups of players will compete in round robin style stages and will advance to the next round based on their results. Winners of the collegiate and junior UTR National Championships will be eligible to receive prize money. The junior series will be live-streamed for college coaches on MyUTR.com to help support summer recruiting efforts. 

“The UTR National Championship Series gives young players who are eager to get back on the court a new opportunity to participate in local, high level competition that counts globally for their Universal Tennis Rating. Due to the global health crisis, players have been unable to compete for a few months, and many events have been cancelled,” said Mark Leschly, Universal Tennis Chairman & CEO. “Our partner sites are committed to following their local health and safety guidelines, while offering a fun, competitive environment for players to get back to competition, showcase their skills and return to the game they love.”  

FILA (FILA.com) will serve as the Official Apparel and Footwear Provider of the UTR National Championship Series, providing prizes for all winners across the junior, high school and collegiate divisions. In addition, FILA and Universal Tennis will work to create unique apparel and footwear offerings for all participants of the National Championships, as well as the broader UTR community. 

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Universal Tennis on the UTR National Championship Series,” said Lauren Mallon, Director of Strategic Partnerships - Tennis at FILA. “These National Championships offer players a much needed opportunity to compete in a safe, local environment, while also serving as an exceptional showcase for the FILA brand. We look forward to bringing our apparel and footwear to this talented group of players." 

 Calendar Dates:
  • College: July 8 - August 2
  • Juniors Boys & Girls (14s & 16s): July 15 - July 26
  • High School: July 29 - August 2 
Players, coaches and parents can learn more and sign up for their local UTR National Championship Series event at MyUTR.com

The American Clay Court Nationals for the 16s age division is underway today at The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, after the boys qualifying was completed on Sunday. There are eight round robin groups for the boys, with just three for the girls draw, which had only 12 entries. Draws and results can be found here.
The first day of the Altec/Styslinger men's exhibition in Miami produced one big upset, with 18-year-old Brandon Nakashima(Virginia), ranked 220, beating ATP No. 29 Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 4-3(6), 4-1. Nakashima will face Tennys Sandgren(Tennessee) next, after Sandgren defeated organizer JC Aragone(Virginia) 4-1, 4-2. Sam Querrey defeated Mackenzie McDonald 4-3(5), 4-2 and will play Reilly Opelka, who saved five set points in the tiebreaker to beat Steve Johnson(USC) 4-3(9), 4-1. For additional coverage of the event, check out the @CrackedRacquets twitter feed; they are onsite in Miami for this event.