Types of Junior Tournaments

Here in the San Fernando Valley, we are very fortunate to have several different types of tennis tournaments and other match play events for junior players:

  • USTA/SCTA sanctioned tournaments—These tournaments provide a path to increased competition and let you earn sectional and national ranking points.
  • Universal Tennis (UTR) events—These are one-day or multi-day events that offer level-based matches to build your UTR Rating.
  • USTA Junior Team Tennis (JTT)–This is a junior league that consists of multiple matches in a season.  The matches are USTA-sanctioned and also let you earn sectional and national ranking points depending on your results and your team’s results.

USTA/SCTA Sanctioned Tournaments

The Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA) is our section of the USTA and is the recognized governing body for tennis in Southern California.

Sanctioned tournaments are run according to USTA’s and SCTA’s tournament rules, and typically have one or more roving officials who will monitor players’ compliance with the rules.

There are seven levels of junior tournaments that are sanctioned by the SCTA.  (The selection process for levels 6 – 1 is based on ranking.

  • Level 7 (Novice or Entry Level) tournaments—these are one-day events in a “round-robin” or another format, intended for beginning tournament players.  The 12U division will offer green and yellow ball events.
  • Level 6 (Satellite or Local Level) tournaments—these are multi-day events for players who have a little bit more tournament experience.
  • Level 5 (Sectional Open) tournaments—these tournaments are for players at a more advanced level who have moved beyond the satellite competition level.
  • Levels 4 through 1 (Open)–these tournaments provide strong competition, and at the higher levels you can earn USTA national ranking points.

There are also non-sanctioned tournaments that do not contribute to a player’s ranking points, but they can still be valuable for helping to build a player’s competition skills.

Each tournament has divisions by age group for boys’ singles, girls’ singles, and (sometimes) doubles and mixed doubles.  For example, a tournament might offer divisions for players who are 10U (10 years old or under), as well as 12U, 14U, 16U, and 18U.  If you are aged 12, for example, you could play in the 12U or higher divisions, but you cannot play in the 10U division.

How to Find Sanctioned Tournaments

You can find local sanctioned tournaments by going to SCTA’s tournaments page and searching by zip code.

Your NJTP coach can offer advice on which type of tournaments you should be playing at each stage of your tennis development.  We’re here to help, so just ask!

How to Sign Up For Sanctioned Tournaments

Once you have found a sanctioned tournament you’d like to play in, there are just a few steps:

  1. You must have a valid USTA membership through the end of the tournament.  If you need to obtain or renew your USTA membership, click this link.
  2. Then, use USTA’s TennisLink tournament search page and find your tournament.
  3. On the tournament page, be sure to read: a) the list of divisions for the tournament, to make sure you are eligible to play; and b) the Important Info section, which may contain information about the match format, tournament location, dress code and other things you need to know about the tournament.
  4. Click the red Register Now button to register for the tournament!

Universal Tennis (UTR) Events

The UTR Rating is a newer type of tennis rating system that assigns a numerical rating to each player based solely on their match results that are reported to the UTR system (which typically includes USTA-sanctioned matches as well as Universal Tennis matches).

The UTR Rating is designed as an indicator of your tennis skill, regardless of gender or age.  It is computed based on your actual match scores, relative to the expected scores based on the rating of each of your opponents.

The UTR Rating is updated after each of your matches’ scores are reported, and so it gives you a dynamic indication of how well you are doing in your match play.

For players looking to play on a high school or college team, the UTR Rating is an important part of your “tennis résumé,” as it gives coaches and scouts a clear idea of what your level of tennis is.

NJTP is now hosting Universal Tennis match play events at El Cariso Park.  See the NJTP events page on Universal Tennis for details and to sign up!

Next: Junior Rankings and Points

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