Most students enrolled in classes are ready for some type of tournament play. There are several options available to them including Team Tennis, Mid-Cities Tournaments, Challenger and various other tournaments. Kids must have a USTA membership to play in any of these tournaments. Go to USTA.com and follow the prompts if you need to order a USTA card.
Often, a good way to start your child playing competitive tennis, is to play Team Tennis. It’s low-key and fun and puts boys and girls together on the same team. Matches are played on Sunday afternoons at local facilities.
When your child is ready to start playing tournaments, the best place to start is in the Mid-Cities tournaments. These tournaments are played on Saturdays, and are held at local facilities. Kids play an 8 game pro set for every match. You can sign up until the Wednesday before the tournament.
When playing in a tournament, your child should have the following in his/her tennis bag: 2 identical rackets, practice warm up balls and a new can of balls, a jump rope to warm up for a couple of minutes before each match, sunscreen, including sunscreen for your lips, power bars, 2 pairs of socks, 2 additional shorts/skorts and shirts, band-aids (especially band-aids for blisters), a hat or visor, wristbands, a towel, extra vibration dampeners for strings and written notes with helpful hints for different strokes.
Tournaments for Players ages 7 until the month you turn 11
Players under 11 years of age play tournaments following USTA 10 and Under Guidelines. This system promotes play in both orange ball and green ball events for players under 11. These are 1 day tournaments.
- Orange Ball Division: Minimum age is 7. Play is on a 60 foot court with orange balls. Racket must be 25 inches long or less. Match consists of no-ad scoring with 2 out of 3, 4 game sets. In lieu of a 3rd set, a 7 point tiebreaker is used.
- To qualify for the Green Ball division, a player needs 20 stars (participation credits). You get 2 stars for playing in a 10 & Under Challenger and 2 more stars for winning the Challenger. You can only play in one Challenger per month.
- Green Ball Division: A player will be eligible to play the Green Ball Division until the month he turns 11. Play is on a regular 78 foot court with Green or Dot Balls. Racket can be 27 inches or less. Match consists of no-ad scoring with 2 out of 3, 4 game sets. In lieu of a 3rd set, a 7 point tiebreaker is used.
- To qualify for 12 & Under Challenger’s (regular yellow ball), the same format is followed as in the transition from Orange Ball to Green Ball, with 20 stars needed.
Tournaments for Players ages 11 and older
Once your child has some success at the Mid-Cities level, they might want to start playing Challenger Tournaments. Deadlines to enter are usually about 3 weeks before the event. A player can play in multiple Challengers per month. These tournaments are played on a Saturday and Sunday, and are much more competitive. Kids play 2 out of 3 sets, and if they lose in the 1st round, they go into the consolation rounds. For every win a player earns points: 4 points in the round of 16, 8 points for making it to the quarterfinals, 16 points for the semis, 32 points for the finals and 65 points for winning the whole tournament. To qualify for Champs, a player has to earn 65 Challenger points within the most recent 12 month period, with the best 4 tournaments being counted towards the total.
Click on Tournament tab for the level your player is at, CMZ for Champs, Challenger for Challenger Tournaments and Additional Tournaments schedule of local Mid-Cities and other local tournaments. To sign up for any of these tournaments, go to www.texas.usta.com. Click on “Junior tournaments” and then “monthly schedule.” Next click on the month in which you want to play the tournament. Scroll down until you find the tournament you are looking for. You can then register for the tournament online.