Eight of America’s top juniors will play in a unique tournament format, competing against some of the country’s top collegiate players in the Audi Napa Valley Tennis Classic, September 21-23 at Meadowood Napa Valley in St. Helena, Calif.
This will mark the third straight year juniors are incorporated into the 12-year-old event, a round-robin style tournament that rewards its winner with a USTA wild card entry into a USTA Pro Circuit event. The tournament will feature eight of America’s premier juniors competing against four players from six NCAA Division I schools, including California, Berkeley, Georgia, Harvard, Illinois, Stanford and Texas.
"We’re excited that another group of our top juniors gets to compete against some very strong collegians in a respected, valuable event," said Patrick McEnroe, General Manager, USTA Player Development. "Collegiate competition is a significant part of the pathway from junior tennis to professional tennis, and letting our juniors compete with college veterans will only benefit their mental and physical development."
Each school will send four players to compete alongside the eight juniors, and the 32-man field will be split into eight pools featuring three collegians and a junior (See page two for a full list of participants). Following three matches in pool play, the eight pool winners will compete in the PlayBrave USTA Wild Card Shootout, a single-elimination, 10-point tiebreak tournament. The winner of the tournament will receive a USTA-sponsored wild card into a USTA Pro Circuit event that is yet to be determined.
The Audi Napa Valley Tennis Classic is the first of three events this fall combining juniors and collegians. Similar tournaments will be held in Portland, Ore., (women’s) and Orlando (men’s) in November, featuring juniors and collegians yet to be named.
The Classic, which was founded 12 years ago by Cal coach Peter Wright and Meadowood Tennis Director Doug King, will feature junior players for the third consecutive year after being held exclusively for collegians from 2001-09. The 2010 Classic included Jack Sock, who reached the third round of the 2012 US Open, while Cal senior Nick Andrews claimed the 2011 title. This year’s roster of juniors was selected by USTA Player Development based on ATP rankings (if applicable), national junior rankings and results, and a selection of younger players for developmental purposes.
"Bringing the elite juniors and college players together in Napa provides a unique opportunity to help American junior development," said Wright. "The event was a major success last year and we look forward to another year of high-quality competition."
This will be the 12th consecutive year the event has been held at Meadowood, with Audi returning as the title sponsor.