This is the most festive holiday time of the year and yet, among junior tennis players, there is always a conflict of interest. Do you play the major tennis tournaments which always seem to take place on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas or New Years or do you spend you time with your family since these are family oriented holidays. For USTA ranked players especially, these are no ordinary tournaments. In fact, they are top of the line (and points) events like the Orange Bowl, Nationals and the Copper Bowl. And even if you are not at that level, there are a ton of local and regional tournaments. Miss them at your own risk of losing points, you are told.
What is the rationale of USTA junior competition in staging the tournaments on such inconvenient dates? I attended a USTA junior competition meeting a few years ago, where it was given: if you play on days you do not have school, then you do not lose any school time from classes. (In fact, many juniors now home school to avoid missing school time). A second rationale is that you have the choice to play or not to play and each family should make their own decision. And if you do happen to miss a holiday tournament, you can always make it up at another time. After all, only your top 8 tournaments count for your annual USTA ranking. If you play 35 tournaments per year, only the top 8 still count. Of course, you need to have at least 25 to 35 matches in a given year in order to help your ranking or your stars on tennisrecruiting.net
Some families decide in favor of doing both...the entire family goes on a vacation to the holiday tennis tournaments. After all, Florida and Arizona are attractive locations in the middle of the winter for northern players.
This conflict of interest between junior tennis tournaments and "family time" has been around as long as I have been involved in tennis. In fact, help may be on the way, as the USTA tries to redesign the structure of some tournaments to take place in just one single day, mainly at the local level, including round robin matches and a social activity afterwards.
Still, the major tournaments like Nationals and ITFs for the better ranked players will probably not change their formats anytime soon. So the choice on what to do will be yours. We welcome your comments on how you and your family are deciding.
Let me take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Happy Holiday Season !
In fact, we at Tennis: Europe have a busy holiday season because families decide to give their junior player a most unique holiday gift: Tennis: Europe. What better way to celebrate and give a gift which will long be remembered ! For further details, see our newly revised website at: www.tenniseurope.com or phone us at: 1-800-253-7486. Our new summer 2014 photos are now up. And we have added Instagram to our social media, so post your photos or like us on Facebook or Tweet us.