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The UTR Pro Tennis Tour is fast approaching its third year, having created hundreds of playing opportunities for aspiring pros worldwide. Universal Tennis is not slowing down, with plans to keep offering guaranteed matches and prize money opportunities every week.
Thousands of Matches, Millions of Dollars
When the PTT launched in 2021, the first event was a men’s $25K event in Newport Beach, Calif., during the first week of January. It quickly snowballed into a full-fledged tour with hundreds of events, thousands of matches, and millions of dollars in prize money.
“I’d heard good things [about Universal Tennis],” said 11-time PTT champion Marcela Zacarias. “I was just like, ‘You know what, I’ll just go and see.’ Playing at least three matches was important to me, and then it’s great prize money—even if you lose, you can still play, and you get guaranteed money. All the tournament directors and referees have a new vibe and energy. People really want to help if you need anything.”
The PTT started out with a three-year investment of more than $20 million to provide players ranked 200-2000 with valuable guaranteed matches and prize money. Every PTT event has a minimum $25K financial commitment, and each player is guaranteed at least three matches per week due to the unique round-robin format.
“You not only get the guaranteed matches but obviously getting money and just something where you can plan around it is always nice,” said 2022 US Open doubles finalist Taylor Townsend, winner of a PTT $25K in Bradenton, Fla., in March. “I can play matches, I can be in one spot for a couple of weeks in a row, which is great, and a lot more cost-effective. .. It was awesome. I can’t say enough good things because I really had an overall very, very good experience.”
PTT events have been hosted in 24 countries and more than 55 cities in the Americas, Europe, and Asia/Pacific. New host countries in 2022 have included Argentina, Brazil, Greece, Japan, India, Italy, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom. In 2021, 85 events took place worldwide, and the event total in 2022 is on pace to reach 188.
The PTT continues to deliver value to aspiring pro players by helping them boost their earnings and improve their game. Pros can get a sense of their level by competing in PTT events and developing their games to move up to the ATP/WTA and Grand Slam level.
“I think the PTT’s perfect for development because you get a lot of matches in,” said University of Oklahoma junior Nathan Han. “Sometimes on the ITF circuit or the ATP Tour, you might go play a couple of matches, and you’re done for the week right away. And if you’re a guy that’s not winning right away and making it to the finals of those events, it can be very difficult to get your match count up.”
Developing Players for the Next Step
PTT winners and finalists have included WTA and ATP players and rising stars, such as Townsend, Jenson Brooksby, Martin Damm, Sebastian Gorzny, Catherine Harrison, Aidan Kim, Alex Michelsen, Marcela Zacarias, Li Tu, 2022 NCAA champion Ben Shelton, and Pedro Cachin, who just reached the third round of the US Open.
Plenty of participating players are collegiate athletes, either on their way to starting their college careers or thinking of pursuing pro tennis during or after college.
“I would say that PTT has helped me prepare for college mainly because there are a lot of college guys I’ve always played in these tournaments, and adjusting to a bigger game has been really helpful for me,” said Auburn freshman Nicholas Heng.
Cashing In on Prize Money
Depending on the entry list size, winners receive either $3,475 or $3,600 in prize money.
“Because of the round-robin system, I like that you play a lot of matches,” said Boca PTT champion and Stanford sophomore Alexandra Yepifanova. “I guess that’s why I came in to play matches–to prepare for college and some future events.”
Universal Tennis announced a deal with Amazon in March to live-stream future PTT matches on Amazon Prime.
“I just love being able to play so many matches,” said 21-year-old pro Hurricane Tyra Black. “It’s an amazing thing against so many high-level players, getting to play lots of matches, having the live streams so that my coach can watch back home. I can replay them, watch them myself.”
Universal Tennis recently added 43 events to the 2022 calendar and will reveal the 2023 calendar soon. Follow Universal Tennis on Instagram for more updates.
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.
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