Open Court | USTA offers chance at Grand Slam


This year the US Open will be more open than ever. For the first time they are holding open-entry regional tournaments where winners will be able to compete in the US Open Qualifying tournament, held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in August. The regional tournaments, called the US Open National Playoffs are open to anyone age 14 or over. Allowing anyone to compete for a chance to go to the Open might make this the most egalitarian and meritocratic Open ever.
The playoff tournaments will be held in 16 of the USTA’s 17 sections (the only exception being USTA Caribbean). However, since players can enter into any of the sections’ tournaments, Caribbean players would have the opportunity to participate in a different section’s tournament. They will be 256-draw tournaments, to keep the tournaments manageable. Winners of regional tournaments will get to compete at the National Tennis Center in July or August. The winners of the men’s and women’s brackets will then enter the Qualifying Tournament at the end of August as wild cards. From there, they could win entry to the US Open, being held in late August and September. The Playoffs are expected to attract college players, pros, instructors, ranked junior players and more, especially since there are virtually no barriers to entry. As a player who led the way in trying to open up the sport of tennis to a more diverse group of people, Arthur Ashe would be thrilled to see players of varied backgrounds who have followed different paths coming together to compete in his namesake stadium.

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