The USTA changed the amount, draw size and endorsement rules for junior national tournaments in 2010. The changes were to have less national tournaments, by reducing the National Level 2 and 3 tournament to four each and reducing the draw size for National 2 and 3 from 64 to 32. To be clear The National Level 3 was cut from 14 to 4 tournaments, combined with the reduction of the draw size from 64 to 32. In addition some USTA section added endorsement rules, for example to be “endorsed by the section” to play in a national, the player got forced to play a specific designated tournament as entry requirement.
After parents lived through these new rules, was it a good idea? Are these changes of playing more local tournaments provide the necessary improvements for junior players?
Bottom line is, that it has become very tough to develop a player into the next age group. Prior to this change a national player could start with playing up a year earlier. The USTA wants to focus on the top national players. However there is a miscalculation in that logic, players playing up in the next age group are now forced to play local tournaments first instead of L3 nationals. These players are wasting pressures time and may not return to national level tournaments.
So instead of focus on developing better players, these players are playing the same kids over and over, again and again, year after year. A player need to go through the super series tournaments to receive sectional points, however no national points are given. Even if this player works hard until receiving enough points to be able to get into the reduced 32-size designated, the player wasted already too much time.
So playing a national L2 or L3 with the also reduced 32 draw has morphed from a playing challenge to a time challenge. The player must play more local tournaments first to collect sectional points and for many talented players there is no workable path to success to be nationally ranked. The frustration level of the parents and players are high.
Overall, many players will stay to play sectional and with the new rules will not compete in national events and the USTA has eliminated the real opportunities for top players to be considered elite.
However, even if the draw sizes and number of tournaments are reduced the number of wild cards have increased. This is just a hunch, however the USTA must know that there is a problem. And who is benefiting from these wild cards?
What is your experience as a supporter, parent or trainer?
May be we can get some inside from these top dogs (not by USTA ranking):
Alexander Del Corral, Noah Makarome, Michael Zhao, Michael Mmoh, Francis Tiafoe, Spencer Furman, Daniel Raw, Henrik Wiersholm, Martin Joyce, Aleks Huryn, Lane Leschly, Alex Rybakov, Noah Rubin, Spencer Papa, Thomas Mayronne, Nicholas Baez, Maxx Lipman, Connor Farren, Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, Trey Daniel, Bjorn Fratangelo, Alexios Halebian, Shane Vinsant, Gordon Watson, Marcos Giron, Mitchell Frank, Robert Stineman
Sofia Kenin, Catherine Bellis, Dominique Schaefer, Alexandra Sanford, Tornado Ali Black, Nicole Frenkel, Ndindi Ndunda, Rebecca Weissmann, Gabrielle Andrews, Kimberly Yee, Rianna Valdes, Lauren Goodman, Brooke Austin, Liz Jeukeng, Christina Makarova, Josie Kuhlman, Victoria Duval, Samantha Crawford, Jamie Loeb, Chalena Scholl, Jessie Pegula, Krista Hardebeck, Grace Min, Kelsey Laurente, Sabrina Santamaria, Monica Turewicz, Lauren Herring, Sarah Toti
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