USTA Removes USA Super Senior Teams from ITF World Championships in Mallorca

Several people have asked why I didn’t write anything about the USTA removing the USA Super Senior teams from the ITF Super Seniors World Team Championships in Mallorca, Spain. So here is some information about it. It caught everyone by surprise especially since the Young Seniors were off to Croatia just as the news hit that the Super Seniors were grounded.

The USTA informed players selected by the USTA to participate in the ITF Super Senior World Team Championships in Mallorca that it had withdrawn the teams from the event on September 8, 2021.

Timeline:

  • Dates of Young Seniors World Team Championships: September 12-17 (Croatia)
  • Dates of Super Seniors World Team Championships: October 10-15 (Spain)
  • July 26, 2021: US Department of State adds Spain to “do not travel” list (due to Covid)
  • August 1, 2021: players are allowed to book flights and hotels for world championships
  • August 30, 2021: USA removed from EU Safe list due to surging COVID cases in USA (which fyi are higher than in Spain or Croatia).
  • August 30, 2021: USTA notifies players that EU dropped USA from safe list and is “hoping for more information in a day or two“.
  • September 8-9, 2021: Young Seniors allowed to leave USA and participate in Young Seniors World Team Championships in Croatia (over a week AFTER EU dropped USA from the safe list).
  • September 6, 2021: Spain adds vaccination for Covid-19 as requirement for entry into Spain from a country not on the safe list (previously neither a negative covid test nor vaccination for Covid-19 was required to enter from the USA since it was on the “safe list”.) The USTA did not require that its team members be vaccinated in order to participate in this event.
  • September 8, 2021: USA Super Senior players informed that the USTA was withdrawing the United States from “competition in the ITF Super SeniorTeam {sic} World Championships…to be held in Mallorca, Spain”.

Rationale used by USTA:

  • A variety of factors
  • Ongoing Covid Level 4 status in Spain
  • Travel warning issued by US, EU and Spain regarding travelers entering from the United States (basically Americans now have to be vaccinated to enter from September 6th).
  • The fact that (allegedly) Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia had recently withdrawn from the championships. (In fact, none of these countries ever entered this event nor had they entered the Seniors or Young Seniors World Team Championships.)

As you can see from the timeline, the travel warning issued by the US State Department was issued in July, but the USTA waited till September 8th to withdraw the US teams.

The removal of the USA from the European “safe list” occurred August 30th, yet the USTA allowed the Young Seniors teams to travel to Croatia for the team championships there.

The only differences between the event in Croatia for the Young Seniors and the event in Mallorca for Super Seniors appear to be age, the requirement for a vaccine to enter Spain (which should make it more not less safe from Covid) and the Level 3 vs Level 4 (which goes back and forth often) Covid status of Croatia (though right now Covid rates are very similar in the two countries and lower than the USA according to some statistics).

Addendum: Senior Team players had to show proof of vaccination to USTA; this was not initially a requirement from the USTA for the Super Senior Team members.

Needless to say the players are quite disappointed and the USTA waited to pull the teams till quite late. There was no communication regarding this decision after August 30th till September 8th. The announcement was sent in batches to the players…90 minutes apart. I didn’t hear about the USTA pulling the teams from the USTA but from Fromuth, which was arranging for team uniforms (which also were cancelled though many players had already received them). The rationale that GBR, NZL and AUS pulled their teams (which had never entered and which were not in Croatia either) as a reason to pull the USA teams makes one wonder what the real reason was that the super senior teams were withdrawn but not the young seniors playing right now in Croatia.

USA players can of course still participate in the Individual World Championships and several are planning on doing so, including myself.


2 Responses to USTA Removes USA Super Senior Teams from ITF World Championships in Mallorca

  1. Impressive reporting! I hope your travels go smoothly.