| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo credit: Eric C. Peck

The USTA has announced that the U.S. Open National Playoffs will be held for the fifth season this year, expanding the footprint of the U.S. Open to cities nationwide by providing the opportunity for all players 14 years of age and older to earn a berth into the U.S. Open. The USTA Eastern Section will host their Playoffs from June 8-14 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

The U.S. Open National Playoffs include both men’s and women’s singles, as well as mixed doubles. The U.S. Open National Playoffs men’s and women’s singles champions earn a wild card into the U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament, held the week prior to the U.S. Open. The U.S. Open National Playoffs mixed-doubles champions receive a wild card into the main draw of the 2014 U.S. Open.

"The US Open National Playoffs is all about connecting people to the US Open and giving everyone the opportunity to fulfill their dreams of playing on tennis’ biggest stage” said Dave Haggerty, USTA chairman, CEO and president. “We’re thrilled to be holding this event for the fifth straight year. It truly is one of a kind, and we look forward to another exciting year of watching top junior players, collegians, teaching pros, ‘weekend warriors,’ and recreational players earn their way into the U.S. Open.”

Registration opens on Saturday, March 15, at www.USOpen.org/NationalPlayoffs. The entry fee for each of the sectional qualifying tournaments varies this year, with men’s and women’s singles entries ranging from $75-$100 per player and mixed-doubles entries ranging from $45-$60 per player. All players competing must have a current USTA membership valid through Aug. 25, 2014. 

The U.S. Open National Playoffs begin as a series of 13 sectional qualifying tournaments held in different USTA Sections across the country. The 13 men’s, women’s and mixed doubles champions or top available finishers from each sectional qualifying tournament will advance to the U.S. Open National Playoffs – Men’s and Women’s Singles Championship, held Aug. 15-18, and the Mixed Doubles Championship, held August 20-23. All three tournaments will take place in conjunction with the New Haven Open at Yale, an Emirates Airline U.S. Open Series event.

A player may only compete in singles and/or mixed-doubles at one sectional qualifying tournament during a calendar year. Players competing in singles and mixed doubles may opt to compete at different sectional qualifying tournaments for each event (one for singles and one for mixed-doubles). Participants can be of any playing level, giving everyone an opportunity to advance. 

More than 1,100 players competed in the 2013 U.S. Open National Playoffs, ranging from experienced professionals who were once ranked in the Top 50, to junior players and current/ former college standouts, to recreational players of all playing abilities and walks of life. Participants included those competing for charity, as well as pastors and rabbis, musicians, lawyers, reporters, former athletes, and stay-at-home mothers. Previous notable participants include Olympic skier Bode Miller, rapperRedfoo of the music group LMFAO, and ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, who teamed with six-time U.S. Open champion Chris Evert in mixed doubles. 

The U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament will be held Aug. 19-22 and the .S. Open Mixed-Doubles Championship begins Aug. 27 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The 2014 U.S. Open begins Aug. 25.