USTA Adult Tournament Changes For 2021

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Top Things to Know

According to the USTA:

  • The new structure will utilize seven levels of events, ranging from Level 7 (Local) to Level 1 (National Championships) and a universal ranking system that will distribute points consistently across the country.
  • This nationwide system will provide consistent tournament levels and standardized tournament operations for all events—regardless of location—replacing a current system that is greatly dependent upon the region.
  • The new system will allow players to more easily compete across sections, as the levels will be standardized with an increased number of local events, providing even more playing opportunities for players.

Further Information (click here to see unedited version):

1. ONE nationwide structure of tournaments.* The 17 sectional structures and one national structure will be replaced with ONE nationwide structure of Adult Tournaments. The structure will consist of seven levels of ranking tournaments, with the lowest level of tournament ranking points classified as a Level 7 and USTA National Championships classified as Level 1.

*Note that Level 1 will be the gold ball events; Level 2 will replace Super Category II; Level 3 will replace Category 2; Category 3 will go away. New Points per Round (PPR) tables will be published.

2. ONE nationwide points-per-round ranking system. The 17 sectional ranking systems and one national ranking system will be replaced with ONE nationwide ranking system for the Level 1-7 ranking tournaments. One set of nationwide ranking tables will determine the points earned in all ranked tournaments.

3. ONE standings list. At least monthly, the USTA will continue to publish National Standings Lists (NSLs), using the same best of 6 singles and best-of-six doubles* results system. These lists will be filtered by section or district when they are used for selection into closed tournaments and team competitions.

 *Emphasis added: Note that rankings and standings will now be best of 6, not best of 4 results.

4. EVERYTHING [USTA Sanctioned] counts. While sections will hold two Closed Level 4s and two Closed Level 5s, all other tournaments sanctioned by the sections will be open to all players and all results will count in the ranking system. This also permits sections to hold Open Level 4s. This means that, for example, if you are vacationing out of section and play a tournament, it will count. It also allows players who live near section borders to play across section lines and have their results count.

5. NEW [NTRP] ranking events. For the first time, the ranking system will be able to count results for NTRP tournaments. This will allow players that are currently playing NTRP tournaments to have a ranking based on their points earned at NTRP tournaments with ranked divisions.

6. UNIFIED residency requirements. Sections will all have the same residency requirements, and residency will determine eligibility to play in closed tournaments and represent a section or district in team competition. A player may be a resident of only one section (and if applicable, one district). Residency will be based on where a player resides, except that a player may change their residency one time per calendar year so long as it is based on:

  • The address of the player’s legal guardian
  • (Emphasis added)
  • 7. EVERY section is slightly different—in size, geography, population, climate—and the new regulations allow for sections to make decisions that best meet the needs of their adult players. Examples of what sections will be deciding include:

    • Draw sizes of their tournaments;
    • Numbers of tournaments at each level;
    • When the tournaments take place on the calendar; and
    • The draw and match formats.

    8. IT all starts in 2021. All of the changes will take effect in January 2021. In the coming months, be on the lookout for webinars and other educational materials that will take a deeper dive into the details of the new structure.

    FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

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