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About a year ago, Universal Tennis announced that the first UTR Pro Tennis Tour (PTT) events would be held in Dubai starting in January 2022. Hosted by Rackets Academy at Atlantis, The Palm, the PTT events marked the first time Universal Tennis had created professional tennis opportunities in the Middle East.
Starting the Year Strong
In January, the new partnership kicked off the new year with two back-to-back men’s PTT events, attracting a strong field with numerous former ATP 250 players. Some of the familiar names included former ATP Top 60 player Igor Sijsling, as well as Jonathan Eysseric and Ivan Nedelko.
Moldovian teenager Ilya Snitari would win the first-ever PTT $30K+H Dubai and reach the semifinals of the second event (which ended in a rained-out final between Oscar Jose Gutierrez and Martins Podzus).
“The organization was really great,” Snitari told Universal Tennis. “Everything was on a high level. There was obviously a difference between the ITF tournaments and the [PTT] ones in Dubai.”
Rackets followed up the great start by hosting two back-to-back women’s $25K’s at the end of March. Belgium’s Marie Benoit won the first women’s Dubai PTT in March while Dalila Jakupovic captured the second event. Jakupovic’s WTA ranking rose high enough over the next months to earn her a place in the US Open qualifying draw.
New Events Coming in November
Last month, Universal Tennis announced the addition of 43 events to the 2022 PTT calendar through December. Dubai is slated to host four more events, starting with two women’s events the week of Nov. 14 and Nov. 21. Two men’s events will follow the week of Nov. 28 and Dec. 5.
“The PTT is about giving local opportunities for players to earn prize money and play more matches. Expanding into the Middle East is just another example of how we are fulfilling that global vision,” said Mark Leschly, Universal Tennis Chairman and CEO.
Rackets offers high-performance training for players in Dubai with 17 venues, including Atlantis, The Palm, the site of the PTT events. Together, Rackets and Universal Tennis are creating lower-level pro tennis opportunities in Dubai. Rackets was already familiar with the Universal Tennis platform, having hosted events with a 600-member virtual club.
Learn More About the PTT
The PTT is open to players with a UTR Ranking of 200-2000, and wild cards can be awarded to those players with a UTR Ranking of 1-199 or above 2000. Every PTT event creates matchplay opportunities for up-and-coming, collegiate, and pro players thanks to a unique round-robin format. At every event, a group round-robin stage is followed by a World Cup-style playoff, guaranteeing multiple matches and counting all results towards the UTR Rating, the most accurate rating system in tennis. Every PTT event offers 4-5 matches and a minimum of $20,000 in prize money with an earnings guarantee for every participant.
For more information about UTR PTT and to see all of the results, click here.