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Sunday, February 2, 2014

ITF Junior Rules and Regulations Released for 2014; USTA Struggling to Work Out New Bonus Points

The annual release of the ITF Junior Rules and Regulations is now available at the ITF Junior website. Unlike some years, the changes appear mostly small housekeeping ones, especially for players themselves. Do not take the brief comments below as any sort of official interpretation.  Please read the entire document and contact the ITF at the email address in Appendix Q if you have any questions.

For tournaments, a public liability insurance policy is now required, and for national federation coaches who are traveling and requesting hospitality, there is a registration requirement that will result in a Player Support Team ID.

Three late withdrawals (made after the withdrawal deadline but with ITF notified before the sign-in deadline) are excused and a medical certificate is no longer required for them.

When two matches are required to be played on the same day and the first one was two hours or longer in duration, the rest period is two hours.

The ITF is strongly encouraging the ITF referee be responsible only for that tournament, and not younger age division tournaments that may be played at the same site and time.

The regulations contain a few new references to preserving eligibility for the main draw when it comes to special exemptions, but I'm not familiar enough with the current procedure to comment on what that change entails.

I imagine the following clarification is simply to avoid confusion in selections for Regional Closed Championships: A player who is a dual passport holder must be listed in the ITF database under the nation he/she represents at the Regional Closed Championships.

There is a separate set of regulations for ITF Team Competitions, which include some changes/clarifications for the draws, the new insurance requirement, the number of high-level umpires and "oaths" for players, coaches and officials.

Unfortunately in the Regional competition for North America, there are still only two spots, with one place in the Final 16 going to the host, so when Mexico hosts, that leaves only one spot for the usually strong Canadian and United States teams. The document also contains a complete list of every team's position in every competition from 1991(14s World Junior Tennis) and 1985 (16s Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup) to the present.

Again, please read through the full documents, which underlines the changes for 2014, and contact the ITF with any questions.

The USTA is grappling with much more dramatic changes now that it has implemented the new Junior Competition schedule, so long debated and discussed the past two years. One particularly contentious issue is the bonus points tables. Lisa Stone at Parenting Aces has been investigating the issues and has gone to the trouble of contacting both TennisLink and Lew Brewer at the USTA to try to understand what the "technical issues" are.

Lisa has also done a thorough review of the USTA Friend at Court for 2014 and discusses the changes in this post. Knowledge is power, as the saying goes.


frustrated parent said...

The USTA jammed through a new national tournament structure despite overwhelming opposition from almost everyone involved and now they can't even implement it properly. Sectional rankings get you into 3 out of 5 level 1 events and all the regional closed level 4's while the national standing list gets you into the other 2 level 1's and all the level 2's. There is no logic to it. I suspect the "unintended consequences" that are causing problems with the bonus points will be the tip of the ice berg as this clumsy and badly designed tournament structure unfolds. Where is the accountability..

Lisa Stone said...

Frustrated Parent is absolutely right on all counts. This is a big mess, and I'm really hoping USTA cleans it up quickly for the sake of our kids. Those in the midst of college recruiting are greatly suffering the consequences of this latest snafu. College coaches, please continue to go the extra mile when looking at potential recruits - USTA rankings definitely do not tell the whole story with many of these players.

more of the same said...

Totally to the point, Lisa. There are not enough voices saying this. The customers are beaten down by the system. Read my Saturday post.

Marty Collins said...

I'm wondering if there is a mess at all IF the temporary bonus point calculation does not materially affect a child's qualfication for a tournament they intend to play. Also keep in mind that I am not asserting that it doesn't matter or doesn't need a fix. Since time is short, and people need options, I suggest IF you have a child materially effected by the bonus point snafu, explain as much in a wild card application. These kids effected would enhance the tournament as they would qualify for the tournament but for the bonus point snafu.

lovethegame said...

College coaches do not care about USTA rankings. They only show points. Nothing to do with head-head results - which college coaches dissect.

frustrated parent said...

Marty - there are only WC's for the level 1's now so that wouldn't help. The point is that the roll out of this has been on par with the roll out of Obama Care - who is taking responsibility at the USTA and more importantly who will take responsibility when the obvious flaws of this structure come to the fore - Will Lew Brewer refer us to web page.

frustrated parent said...

lovethegame - you are correct but I am strongly of the view that the that the sectional quota selection process for the big level 1's means that the draws for these events will bear little resemblance to the best 128 kids in the country and as an unintended consequence the tennisinformation and tennisrecruiting rankings accuracy will suffer. The Level 1's hold such a high proportion of the points that they will create a self reinforcing pool of players. Time will obviously tell but if my assertion is correct a lot of damage will be done to junior tennis in the US and I expect the best 15+ year olds will migrate to the ITF events if they can afford it

USA Tennis said...

The only way any junior should gain entry into a Super National is through your sectional endorsement.

Wildcards and ITF rankings to gain entry should not run our country. The backbone of our tennis system should be working your way through the levels: Local to Sectional to National.

This is so simple. Put the strength back in the Sections and you will develop tennis players.

Mindy Lowell said...

Earning it through a section is great if there are tons of kids in that section. Since the sport has lost so many players, there are far too many sections where the same players will end up playing each other over and over again. How does this work for someone like CiCi Bellis who won the girls 18's sectionals as a 13 year old?

Also, the quota's for So Cal and Florida are woefully inadequate. There will be kids in those sections who don't get in but are significantly stronger than kids from weaker sections who make it in Level 1's solely based on quotas.

The whole plan was supposed to be pushing earned advancement, yet quota's are exactly opposite of that.

Are you kidding? said...

Players just coming from their sectionals.
What a novel idea to grow tennis in this country, having the same few kids play each over and over and over again for most of the year for ten years straight.

Gone are the .....

1) College players who turn 19 in September, October, November, December. So, you are start college as a freshman at age 17. That summer between your freshman year and sophomore year of college, you are still 17 years old . All those players use to play Kalamazoo....... Now, gone.
Are they suppose to fly back and play their sectionals now?
"Oh coach, I can't my college match this weekend, I have to go back and play my sectionals."

2) Players that have long left the USTA system and play ITF's.

3) Players that long left the USTA and play futures.

4) Players from small sections who don't want to play the same 4 kids over and over again for the next ten years.
Jared Donaldson, Rhode Island comes to mind. He never played one sectional ever.
And yeah, that's right, he was in the finals.

The best players in the country ......
should be at Kalamazoo to compete to get the WC into the main draw of the US Open.

But, that is gone now. There are not enough wild cards for all these players.

With the larger draw, there was enough room for everyone,
college kids,
future kids,
kids who played only nationals, and kids who only wanted to play sectionals.

Sectional kids could play against college players going into their sophomore year, or a kid who just played ITFs.

Just sectional players, sorry, but this is going to be a weaker group....

The qualifier will probably be better than the main draw.


All gone....

Shawn - TN said...

Ok, they tried the new USTA system out.
We are a month in, and no one is happy.

Can we go back now to the old system?

USA Tennis said...

Are you kidding?

I agree with you on some of your arguments.

I would love to see a qualifier event for Nationals.

If more top players stayed in the Sectionals, there would be better quality, better matches, deeper tournaments which would raise the level of players.

My frustration comes from all the different avenues (USTA, Futures, ITF) for juniors to gain a ranking. If the USTA had a better tournament/ranking system, we would not need these different avenues. As a result of a poor system, players leave their sections, which completely weakens the sections and now you have players, who shouldn't be qualifying for Nationals, in Nationals draws.

The ITF is a complete bluff for 95% of the players leaving their sections to play mostly ITF tournaments, especially only Level 3-5.

How many players are good enough to leave their sections to play and compete in Future level tournaments? 5%

I do not like all the Spanish coaching in this country especially in our Federation but I like their one ranking system.

Time for a Change?

If Lew Brewer can not get the ranking system or tournament structure right by now, can he ever?

Jay Berger has taken the Men's PD program into the ground and has never been lower.

Mindy Lowell said...

The argument of pushing play back to the sections only makes sense if there are enough kids in all the sections. Basically, we have about 6 pockets of top talent in America. College Park, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Chicago and So Cal. After that, try to live in Denver and get enough competition. This is a system that needs 200,000 more kids playing competitive tennis to work. If TAUT really worked and added that many kids, then you could switch to a system like this in a few years. But now, it makes no sense and every parent I have spoken with is unhappy. The only parent I know who was actually for these changes told me today that she was wrong. And what it has done to the rankings already is much worse than I had thought. Because this years points are worth so much more than last years points, a lot of players last years success has been nullified. And now a kid can go to the team event, lose every match and walk away with a gold ball? How do we get them to start over?

this isn't working said...

Wayne Bryan so aptly said that a kid shouldn't get on plane until he can beat everyone who drove there in a car. And a kid shouldn't drive in a car until he can beat everyone who rode their bike to the courts. This system is such that a kid can go from riding a bike to getting on a plane. But he could not play a kid that he had to get in a car to play.

There is no true progression. The level 2's & 3's are going to be the oddest assortment of ability levels. They are like a separate junior tour.

And the rankings are going to be all over the place because people in certain sections having an easy time getting into events while kids in others can't come close.

It is a mess!

Bewildered. said...

The small sections have lost their great players, they left for Florida, Spain... anywhere... but a tiny section.

Why doesn't the USTA understand that playing the same few kids over and over again is boring and not fun....

So, I am a ten year old under the new system.
Three years pass, and I play the same kids over and over again most of the year.

Now, I am a 13 year old... I have a mind of my own as a teenager. and I ask myself, "why am I doing this, it isn't fun?" And guess what I quit, and I go to a team sport.......

This seems so clear to everyone, but the USTA.
I just don't understand why they are dooming American tennis.

Tennis Parent, Not Esq. said...

Exactly Mindy. New ratings are idiotic. They converted the points into Lira and then added them to the old dollar denominated table. What do you get when you add Lira to Dollars without converting ? Garbage.

USA Tennis.... you can't put back into the sections what was never there...and is not going to be there despite the hype that TAUT was going to bring all these great athletes into the port because now that they didn't have to travel and spend a lot of money they were going to pick tennis instead of football or basketball to focus on..like most of the people who developed these changes you appear to be completely out of touch with the reality of junior tennis outside of the handful of big deep sections.

People from large, deep sections generally have really no appreciation for how ground hog day like it can be to play the same players over and over again. You can complain that the deep sections quotas are not large enough, but for players from these smaller sections, these tournaments are a critical opportunity to keep then excited in the spot by playing new players.
It's the rare time they get to play the type of competition players from deep section are fortunate enough to play weekly.

Also, btw, there is a qualifier for nationals.

Marty Collins said...

Tsk Tsk Tennis Parent, Not Esq. Sorry you are not a Esq. Sometimes I wish I wasn't I either but alas such are the facts.

Why the boo hooing on playing people several times a year? It happens in all sections and I don't think small sections are special. If a child plays regularly it is a fact of play. Moreover, I don't believe you or any of the super active parents who whine on this point. It's silly. Small sections are not unique in this fact of jr. tennis play, nor is it a symptom of the new emphasis on local play or a unique disadvantage to small sections. Moreover, no one has shown this repeated argument to be true that small section kids play the same opponent more than kids in larger sections. No, I don't think it is obvious.

Also Tennis Parent, Not Esq. It would be illogical to expect TAUT to feed in to Level 1 through 5 tournaments after the first year of implementation. Kids whose parents are following such a pathway would not expect a child to be ready for National level play until a transition and period of competitive play into the standard ball. Moreover, a reduction in the National play and a deemphasis on point chasing at the 12U level is reflected in the reduction in national play. A welcome change in the hyper world of early specialization for young tennis players which to my anectdotal observations is detrimental to kids for overall development.

Finally, the incessant carping of parents in sports in general and seemingly tennis inparticular as well as the infection that whining passes on to kids is a much a deterrent to these kids keeping their joy of the game as any particular children play the same person a few times a year. To me that is the real idiocy.

Richard said...


Your really have to do the math to understand why your comment is incorrect.

"no one has shown this repeated argument to be true that small section kids play the same opponent more than kids in larger sections."

So, if you actually lived in a small section, such as the readers and myself do, then you would be able to do the math.

You have four (4) good players in your small section in the age group. What do you think the probability would be that all 4 players would be in the semifinals?

It's not tricky SAT math here....
The probability is 100%, barring injury, or the player leaving the section for Florida.

So, those four players playing each other over and over for years is not fun.

Susan - CA said...

No one expected TAUT to feed in to Level 1 through 5 tournaments after the first year of implementation, I imagine that initial comment was made in sarcasm.

The question that begs to be asked is why the USTA didn't wait a few years before tennis was overwhelmed with their large number of athletes who gave up basketball and their NBA dreams to play tennis.

Oh, that's right, that will never happen either because their is no money to be made in tennis when you are 300 in the world.

Igor said...

Colette, I really object that all these insider USTA's are infiltrating your web site and calling us "whiners" all because we are voicing our displeasure with the new National Feb tournaments.