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2012 US Open National Playoffs Information

 
Overview
The US Open National Playoffs is a series of tournaments that gives any player 14 years of age or older who meets the eligibility requirements the opportunity to qualify for the 2012 US Open. Thirteen USTA sections will run a Sectional Qualifying Tournament to include a men’s singles, women’s singles and mixed doubles division between April 1 and July 4. With a maximum of a 256 singles draw and a 128 mixed doubles team draw, players/teams will compete in a single elimination draw. Singles players will play to the best-of-three tiebreak sets and mixed doubles teams will play two tiebreak sets, no-ad scoring, with a match tiebreak in lieu of a third set. Within each division, the top two players/teams will be seeded based on their ATP/WTA computer ranking (if any). The winner of each Sectional Qualifying Tournament in each division (men’s singles, women’s singles, mixed doubles) will advance to the US Open National Playoffs Championships in their respective division taking place in New Haven, CT at Yale University during the New Haven Open at Yale, a WTA event, part of the US Open Series (August 17-20 for singles, August 22-25 for mixed doubles). The winner of each Singles Championship (1 male, 1 female) will receive a wild card entry to compete in the 2012 US Open Qualifying Tournament (August 21-24) and the winner of the Mixed Doubles Championship (1 team) will receive a wild card entry to compete in the 2012 US Open Mixed Doubles Championship (commencing August 29) at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
 
Dates of Play
All Sectional Qualifying Tournaments will take place between April 1, 2012 and July 4, 2012 (some exceptions may be granted). Click here for a complete schedule. Be sure to check the tournament’s home page on TennisLink for exact start dates and times.
 
The US Open National Playoffs Championship will take place in New Haven, CT at Yale University during the New Haven Open at Yale (a WTA event / part of the US Open Series). The Men’s Singles Championship and Women’s Singles Championship will be held August 17-20, 2012 with the Mixed Doubles Championship taking place August 21-24, 2012.
 
Player Eligibility
By nature of the US Open National Playoffs concept, the Sectional Qualifying Tournaments are as inclusive and open as possible with the following guidelines & restrictions in place:
• Players must be 14 years of age or older (as of August 27, 2012).
• Open to Amateurs and Professionals.
• U.S. citizenship is not required.
• No domicile restrictions for players.
• A player must be a current USTA member and must maintain his/her membership through and inclusive of August 27, 2012.
• All players must be in good standing with the ITF, including but not limited to complying with WADA.
• Able/non-able bodied players may compete alongside one another and shall abide by their respective rules of play.
• A player may only enter and compete in one (1) Sectional Qualifying Tournament during a calendar year in each division; players competing in men’s singles or women’s singles and mixed doubles may opt to compete at different Sectional Qualifying Tournaments (one for singles and one for mixed doubles).
• Participation in the US Open National Playoffs will not impact a player’s ability to secure a 2012 US Open Qualifying Tournament or Main Draw Wild Card or receive a Direct Acceptance into the 2012 US Open Singles Championship or 2012 US Open Mixed Doubles Championship.
 
Draw Size / Seeding / Byes
The draw size at each Sectional Qualifying Tournament will be a maximum of 256 players for men’s singles, a maximum of 256 players for women’s singles and a maximum of 128 teams for mixed doubles. Tournaments may not cap the draw size below these numbers. All players will compete in a single elimination draw.
 
Within each division, the top two players/teams competing in the Sectional Qualifying Tournament will be seeded using their ATP/WTA computer ranking (if any). In order for a singles player to be seeded, the player must have a ATP/WTA singles ranking. In order for a team to be seeded, both members of the team must have a ATP/WTA doubles ranking. The computer ranking list dated seven days prior to the Monday of the tournament week will be used when determining seeds. If there are not two players/teams with a ATP/WTA computer ranking, then no players/teams will be seeded. Byes, if any, will be given to the top seed first followed by the second seed. The rest of the byes, if any, will be evenly distributed throughout the draw.
 
The draw size at the Championships will be a maximum of thirteen in each division. The top four players competing in a Championship will be seeded using their ATP/WTA computer ranking (if any). The computer ranking list dated seven days prior to the Monday of the tournament week will be used when determining seeds. If less than four players/teams with a ATP/WTA computer ranking are competing in a Championship, then only those ranked will be seeded. Byes, if any, will be given to the top seed first followed by the remaining seeds. The rest of the byes, if any, will be evenly distributed throughout the draw.
 
Match Format
All men’s singles and women’s singles matches will be played to the best-of-three tiebreak sets. If the Referee needs to take steps to shorten the tournament (i.e. due to inclement weather, health concerns, or safety concerns) to keep the tournament on schedule, the tournament may switch to any other scoring method (i.e., No-Ad Scoring, 10-Point Match Tiebreak in lieu of final set or Pro Sets) with prior approval by the National Tournament Director or authorized representative. All mixed doubles matches will consist of two tiebreak sets, no-ad scoring, with a match tiebreak in lieu of a third set (first team to 10 points). At deuce, the male player will serve to the opposing male player and the female player will serve to the opposing female player. The tournament may not switch to any other scoring method for the mixed doubles competition.
 
Surface Type
All US Open National Playoffs matches will take place on hard courts. Outdoor courts are preferred although indoor courts may be used at the tournament’s discretion.
 
USTA Membership Requirement
All players competing in a Sectional Qualifying Tournament must be current members of the USTA and their membership must be valid through August 27, 2012. Players will be required to submit their USTA Membership Number during the online registration process for the tournament. Players who need a USTA membership or need to renew their existing membership will be directed to do so during the online registration process for the tournament. Adult players (i.e., participants 19 years of age and older) will be offered a one-year Special Rate Adult membership for $30.00 (valid for both new and renewing members.) Youth players (i.e., participants age 18 and younger) will be offered a one-year Junior membership for $20.00. New/renewed memberships will be valid for one (1) year from the date of submission. Players may compete in any Sectional Qualifying Tournament regardless of their membership section.
 
Entry Fee
The entry fee for players competing in a Sectional Qualifying Tournament will be as follows:
 
• Men’s Singles Only = $100.00 per player
• Women’s Singles Only = $100.00 per player
• Mixed Doubles Only = $120.00 per team ($60.00 per player)
• Mixed Doubles & Men’s Singles = $160.00 per player
• Mixed Doubles & Women’s Singles = $160.00 per player
 
The entry fees do not include any processing fees. For players competing in mixed doubles, it will be the responsibility of one of the team members to register and pay for both players during the online registration process. A player’s entry fee will only be processed if he/she is accepted into the tournament.
 
Entry Process
Entry for each Sectional Qualifying Tournament must be completed online through TennisLink at www.usta.com/TennisLink prior to the entry close date for that tournament. Entry will be open for all Sectional Qualifying Tournaments on March 15, 2012 and closed no later than ten days prior to the start of the tournament. Late entries will not be permitted after the entry close date under any circumstances and no alternates will be allowed (even to replace withdrawals). Click on one of the USTA sections under Sectional Qualifying Tournaments on the main page for information on their tournament and a direct link to register.
 
The Tournament Director will run a "Lottery Selection Process" via TennisLink within 48 hours after the entry close date which will automatically accept all entries if the total number of entries into the Sectional Qualifying Tournament is less than or equal to 256 for men’s singles, less than or equal to 256 for women’s singles, and less than or equal to 128 for mixed doubles. If the total number of entries into the Sectional Qualifying Tournament is greater than the above, then the "Lottery Selection Process" will automatically determine accepted entries at random. Entries will not be refused on the basis of race, creed, sexual orientation, color, or national origin. All players accepted into the Sectional Qualifying Tournament will receive an email notification via TennisLink indicating as such and will be posted on the tournament’s home page once the "Lottery Selection Process" is run. All players not accepted into the Sectional Qualifying Tournament will receive an email notification via TennisLink indicating as such once the "Lottery Selection Process" is run.
 
All players are required to complete a "US Open National Playoffs Player Release and Consent Form" prior to the player’s first match. The release will be posted for download on the tournament’s home page on TennisLink as a PDF file. Players will be asked for this form upon check-in at the tournament.
 
Entry Restrictions
Players are only allowed to enter and compete in one Sectional Qualifying Tournament during a calendar year in each division. Players competing in men’s singles or women’s singles and mixed doubles may opt to compete at different Sectional Qualifying Tournaments (one for men’s singles or women’s singles and one for mixed doubles).
 
Players competing in mixed doubles must play with the same partner for all matches they are eligible to compete in as part of the US Open National Playoffs (i.e., Sectional Qualifying Tournament, Mixed Doubles Championship, US Open Mixed Doubles Championship) and no substitutions shall be allowed under any circumstances after the entry close date. Prior to the entry close date, players may change partners via TennisLink.
 
If a player is not accepted in a Sectional Qualifying Tournament once the "Lottery Selection Process" is run, then the player will have the ability to enter another Sectional Qualifying Tournament that still has open registration (if any). If a player withdraws online from a previously entered Sectional Qualifying Tournament prior to the entry close date, then the player will have the ability to enter another Sectional Qualifying Tournament that still has open registration (if any). If a player withdraws from a previously entered Sectional Qualifying Tournament after the entry close date, then the player will not have the ability to enter another Sectional Qualifying Tournament that still has open registration (if any).
 
Player Withdrawal / Alternates
A player may withdraw online before the entry close date without penalty as a player’s entry fee will only be processed once the "Lottery Selection Process" is run through TennisLink and he/she is accepted into the tournament. A player may not withdraw online after the entry close date. If a player withdraws after the entry close date by contacting the Tournament Director, he/she is not entitled to receive a refund; however, such a decision will be at the Tournament Director’s discretion. A player should not withdraw from a Sectional Qualifying Tournament except for illness, injury, personal circumstance, or previously authorized entry into another tournament. If a seeded player/team withdraws more than 24 hours prior to the start of the first match of the tournament, the player/team who would have been seeded next will be placed on the vacated line and that player’s/team’s original line will become a bye. If a seeded player/team withdraws less than 24 hours prior to the start of the first match of the tournament, it will result in a walkover.
 
Making the Draw
The draw will be conducted by the Tournament Director or authorized representative in consultation with the Tournament Referee. Since late entries are not permitted, the draw should be conducted within 24 hours of running the "Lottery Selection Process" but no later than two days prior to the start of the tournament. Once the seeds and byes have been designated (if any), the draw will be uploaded to TennisLink and posted on the tournament’s home page. A player may submit a request to the Tournament Director for special scheduling before the draw is made; however, such requests will be granted at the Tournament Director’s discretion.
 
Match Officials / Ballpersons
The regulations for the US Open National Playoffs are The Rules of Tennis as published by the International Tennis Federation (ITF Rules of Tennis). With the exception of the finals, all Sectional Qualifying Tournament matches will be player-officiated with a minimum of one Roving Umpire for every three courts in use plus one Tournament Referee or one Tournament Deputy Referee present at all times while matches are in progress to handle player disputes. Players will follow The Code in all player-officiated matches (first round through semifinals). Each final match will be officiated by a Chair Umpire plus five Line Umpires. All matches at the Championships will be officiated by a Chair Umpire plus five Line Umpires. The USTA reserves the right to determine if electronic review will be used at the Championships. Electronic review will not be used at any Sectional Qualifying Tournament.
 
Role of Court Officials
In matches where a Chair Umpire is assigned, the Chair Umpire will be the final authority on all questions of fact during the match. The players have the right to call the Referee or Deputy Referee to court if they disagree with a Chair Umpire’s interpretation of tennis law. In matches where Line Umpires are assigned, they make all calls relating to that line. The Chair Umpire has the right to overrule a Line Umpire if the Chair Umpire is certain that a clear mistake has been made. The Chair Umpire is responsible for calling any line or net where no Line Umpire is assigned.
 
Ballpersons
The use of ballpersons at each Sectional Qualifying Tournament will be at the tournament’s discretion. Ballpersons will be used for all matches played at the Championships.
 
Clothing / Shoe Restrictions
The Tournament Director or Tournament Referee will determine any reasonable restrictions related to clothing and/or shoes for their Sectional Qualifying Tournament; however, shirts must be worn by players at all times while matches are in progress and players must wear non-marking tennis shoes. Any additional restrictions will be communicated by the Tournament Director or Tournament Referee to all players in advance of their participation. Players who compete in the Championships will abide by all US Open clothing/shoe restrictions. These restrictions will be communicated by the Tournament Director to all players in advance of their participation.
 
Match Rest Periods / # of Matches per Day
Players shall adhere to continuous play, 20 seconds between points and 90 seconds for a changeover. At the end of each set, there will be a set break of 120 seconds. The minimum rest between matches will be 60 minutes if a match lasts less than 90 minutes or 90 minutes if a match lasts more than 90 minutes; either of which may be extended by the Tournament Referee at his/her discretion. No player will play more than three matches per day, a maximum of two of which may be singles. A player may play two singles matches and one mixed doubles match per day or one singles match and two mixed doubles matches per day. A match should neither start nor a suspended match resume before 8 a.m. or after 10 p.m.
 
Ball Type / Ball Policy
Wilson will be the official ball of the US Open National Playoffs. The number of balls for play at each Sectional Qualifying Tournament match is four. For the early rounds (first round through semifinals), ball changes will only take place if the match goes to a third set. Ball changes during each final match will be at nine and eleven. Players are not guaranteed balls for practice.
 
Prize Money / Awards
Given the amateur status and/or age of players eligible to compete in the US Open National Playoffs, prize money will not be awarded at any Sectional Qualifying Tournament or at the Championships. The winner of each Sectional Qualifying Tournament will receive an invitation to compete in their respective Championship. Should the winner of a Sectional Qualifying Tournament elect not to compete in the Championships for any reason, the runner-up of the respective Sectional Qualifying Tournament will be invited to attend. Should the runner-up elect not to compete in the Championships for any reason, the tournament will waive their Sectional Qualifying Tournament spot in the respective Championship. Sectional Qualifying Tournament winners who choose not to compete in their respective Championship will be disqualified from competing in any Sectional Qualifying Tournament the following year. Sectional Qualifying Tournament winners who qualify for both the Singles Championship and the Mixed Doubles Championship and choose not to compete in one of the Championships will be disqualified from competing in the other Championship (exceptions may be made at the discretion of the National Tournament Director – e.g., due to a partner’s injury). There will be no additional entry fee required for the Championships. All players competing in the Championships will be responsible for all costs and expenses associated with their participation (e.g., travel, accommodations, meals, etc.).
 
The winner of each Singles Championship (1 male, 1 female) will receive a wild card entry to compete in the 2012 US Open Qualifying Tournament (August 21-24) and the winner of the Mixed Doubles Championship (1 team) will receive a wild card entry to compete in the 2012 US Open Mixed Doubles Championship (commencing August 29) at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Should the winner of a Championship elect not to compete in the US Open Qualifying Tournament or US Open Mixed Doubles Championship for any reason, the runner-up will be invited to compete. Should the runner-up elect not to compete for any reason, then the winner of the playoff match for third place will be invited to compete. Should the third place finisher elect not to compete for any reason, then the fourth place finisher will be invited to compete. Should the fourth place finisher elect not to compete for any reason, the designated wild card will be used at the USTA’s sole and absolute discretion. All players who accept a wild card entry into the US Open Qualifying Tournament or US Open Mixed Doubles Championship will be responsible for all costs and expenses associated with their participation (e.g., travel, accommodations, meals, etc.). Anyone competing at the 2012 US Open must sign a standard entry form before being allowed to compete.
  
Accommodations
It is at the tournament’s discretion if they wish to provide accommodation options and/or reduced hotel rates for players. Such information should be posted via the tournament’s home page on TennisLink.
 
Player Rankings
All US Open National Playoffs events will be included in the USTA National Rankings for Professional Tennis (uced hotel rates for playewill only receive points by reaching the quarterfinal, semifinal or final round of any US Open National Playoffs event according to the guidelines established by the USTA. The USTA reserves the right to make changes to the tournaments used and the point structure at any time.
 
Anti-Gambling
All players competing in the US Open National Playoffs and individuals associated with the operation and/or management of the US Open National Playoffs must refrain from participating in or aiding and abetting, directly or indirectly, any form of gambling or betting on the outcome of any tennis match staged in connection with any professional tennis event, including but not limited to all events associated with the US Open National Playoffs and other USTA events.
 
Anti-Doping
The USTA believes that the use of illegal drugs is inconsistent with and contrary to the best interests of the sport. While the USTA is committed to ensuring a fair and drug-free competition, drug testing will not be required or administered at any Sectional Qualifying Tournament. Players and Tournament Officials participating in the Championships may be required to undergo drug testing. Players who receive a wild card entry into the US Open Qualifying Tournament or US Open Mixed Doubles Championship through the US Open National Playoffs may be required to undergo drug testing either as a result of governmental or other binding regulations imposed upon the event, or as a result of a drug testing program that is approved and applicable to all players competing in the 2012 US Open.
 
 
 

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