By E.J. Crawford, USOpen.org
The US Open National Playoffs launched in 2010 to provide a path for anyone and everyone 14 years old and older to have a chance to compete in the US Open.
In 2014, they return for a fifth campaign, allowing thousands to chase their tennis dreams in a series of 13 sectional qualifying tournaments that expand the footprint of the US Open to cities across the United States.
Once again this year, the US Open National Playoffs will include competition in three categories – men’s singles, women’s singles and mixed doubles. Participants compete first in one of the 13 sectional qualifying tournaments, held in 13 different USTA sections, with the winners or top available finishers advancing to the US Open National Playoffs – Championships, which will be held in conjunction with the New Haven Open at Yale, the Emirates Airline US Open Series event in New Haven, Conn.
The US Open National Playoffs singles champions will earn a wild card into the 2014 US Open Qualifying Tournament, to be held Aug. 19-22 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, with the opportunity to advance to the singles main draws. The mixed doubles champions will earn a wild card into the mixed doubles main draw, scheduled to begin Aug. 27.
Click here to see a complete schedule and register for one of the sectional qualifying events.
“The US Open National Playoffs are all about connecting people to the US Open and giving everyone the opportunity to fulfill their dreams of playing on tennis’ biggest stage” said USTA President Dave Haggerty. “We’re thrilled to be holding this event for the fifth straight year. It truly is one of a kind, and we look forward to another exciting year of watching top junior players, collegians, teaching pros, ‘weekend warriors’ and recreational players earn their way into the US Open.”
Registration for the 2014 US Open National Playoffs begins on Saturday, March 15, for all sections. The entry fee for each of the sectional qualifiers will vary, with men’s and women’s singles entries ranging from $75 to $100 per player and mixed doubles entries ranging from $45 to $60 per player.
A player may only compete in singles and/or mixed doubles at one sectional qualifying tournament during a calendar year. Players competing in singles and mixed doubles may opt to compete at different sectional qualifying tournament locations for each event (one for singles and one for mixed doubles). Participants can be of any playing level, giving everyone an opportunity to advance.
All those competing must have a current USTA membership valid through Aug. 25, 2014.
More than 1,100 players competed in the 2013 US Open National Playoffs, ranging from experienced professionals who were once ranked in the Top 50, to junior players and current and former college standouts, to recreational players of all playing abilities and walks of life. Participants included those competing for charity as well as pastors, rabbis, musicians, lawyers, reporters, former athletes and stay-at-home parents.
Previous notable participants in the US Open National Playoffs include Olympic skier Bode Miller, performer Redfoo of the music group LMFAO, and ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, who teamed with six-time US Open champion Chris Evert in mixed doubles.