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Key Changes in Junior Tennis for 2017

A new year always brings new rules and regulations in the junior tennis world. Earlier this week I spoke with USTA Director of National Tournaments Lew Brewer about changes the International Tennis Federation and USTA have implemented for 2017. Brewer is the tournament director for both ITF Grade A tournaments in the United States and has more than three decades of experience in USTA player development and junior competition. This discussion focuses on just a few of the changes in regulations and procedures; there are many others. The complete rules and regulations can be found here for the USTA and here for the ITF.


Questions and Answers

Colette Lewis (CL): After several years of not permitting private housing of junior competitors, the ITF has reintroduced that possibility, although with many new requirements. Will this impact any ITF tournaments in the United States?

US Open Tournament Director Lew Brewer (left) with 2015 Champion Taylor Fritz
© Zoo Tennis
Lew Brewer (LB): A little background on this. At the beginning of 2016, as soon as Dave Haggerty was voted in [as ITF president], the ITF did a worldwide survey of what they called stakeholders in the ITF Junior Circuit. It really did go out to just about every place in the world, tournament directors, people like me, who represent national associations, and from what I understand, they got a lot of responses. Part of the feedback they got was that these ITF circuit events are really becoming prohibitively expensive.

If you would like to offer hospitality. and there are a lot of places that would like to be able to do that, it's tough; the costs associated with that are significant. So partly as a result of that survey, they decided to bring back private housing, as you have noticed, with quite a few restrictions.

From my perspective, the genie is out of the bottle on this. I don't know where you could have an event that could go back to using private housing. One or two in the US, maybe. One is the International Grass Courts, which had a very long and honored tradition of housing players, going back to the days when they had the Girls 18s National Championships in Philadelphia, played on grass. I don't know if players want to do that, and I don't how many [host] families are willing to go through the background check, the insurance, the gender and age things. Sure, they brought it back, but there are enough restrictions that I think make it pretty much impractical for most places, but some will do it.

Philadelphia would be a prime candidate for that and South Carolina [currently a Grade 4 that does not require hospitality] because they had private housing when that was a Grade 3 event. There was a tradition of Southern hospitality and they never lacked for families to host kids who came to the tournament.

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Page updated on Monday, November 04, 2019
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