The USTA recently announced the launch of the US Open National Playoffs -- an opportunity for all players 14-years-of-age and older to earn a wild card into the 2010 US Open Qualifying Tournament.
The US Open National Playoffs begins with 16 sectional qualifying tournaments held throughout the country from April through June.
The men's and women's champions from each of the sectional qualifying tournaments advance to the US Open National Playoffs Men's and Women's Championships, which will be held in conjunction with the Olympus US Open Series tournaments this summer.
US Open National Playoffs
"The US Open National Playoffs makes the US Open 'open,' where one woman and one man will earn a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament and a chance to advance to the main draw," said Lucy Garvin, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA.
"The fact that the US Open National Playoffs are supported by qualifying tournaments run by our sections makes this event even more unique, extending the reach of the US Open across the country."
With the goal of connecting more people to the US Open and expanding the tournament's reach to communities throughout the United States, players will compete in sectional qualifying tournaments hosted by 16 of the 17 USTA Sections nationwide.
The entry fee for each of the sectional qualifying tournaments is $125. All players competing must have a current USTA membership valid through August 30, 2010.
Competitors may enter into any of the 16 sectional qualifying tournaments, but they can only enter and compete in one sectional qualifying tournament. Each sectional qualifying tournament is limited to 256 players, and players will not be seeded.
Participants can be of any playing level, from aspiring novice to seasoned professional, giving everyone an equal opportunity to advance.
"While professionals are eligible to play, we expect the draws to be filled with top junior players, collegians, teaching professionals and even recreational players who will now have a chance to play themselves into the US Open for the first time," said Jim Curley, Chief Professional Tournaments Officer and US Open Tournament Director.
World-champion skier Bode Miller, a two-time overall World Cup champion, two-time Olympic silver medalist and three-time world champion, plans to compete in one of the sectional qualifying tournaments.
"Tennis has always been a part of my life," said Miller, whose family owns the Tamarack Tennis Camp in Easton, N.H., which was founded by his grandparents. Miller won the 1996 Maine state singles title for Carrabassett Valley Academy.
"The US Open National Playoffs is a great concept and I look forward to playing in one of the sectional qualifying tournaments this spring. It will give me an outlet to focus my competitiveness after the Olympics and World Cup season."
Schedule and entry information for the US Open National Playoffs Sectional Qualifying Tournaments are available online at USOpen.org. Registration begins February 1.
The US Open Qualifying Tournament will be held August 24-27 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.