"UTR gives us the fairest metric to judge players for acceptance into the tournament, and for seeding."The tournament’s compass-draw format will guarantee four matches for all entrants. “The reason we want to ensure four matches is that this tournament is all about the players,” says New Balance’s sports marketing manager, Evan Zeder. ”We want to give them as much opportunity as possible to play the sport that they love.” The emphasis on UTR also underlines the primacy of players at the NBHSTC. “UTR gives us the fairest metric to judge players for acceptance into the tournament, and for seeding,” Zeder explains. “It becomes difficult when you use other systems. For example, not all high school players enter USTA tournaments.” In addition, the New Balance event will give players exposure to college coaches, who might not attend hard-court or clay-court nationals. “A lot of junior players at those tournaments don’t play high school tennis,” Zeder says—and playing high school ball is a prerequisite for the NBHSTC. The spotlight on players extends to off-court activities as well, stretching across the four days in Ojai. There’ll be a welcome dinner and an exhibition match, a pasta party at a vintage car garage and, appropriately for California, a pool party. There will even be a players’ lounge for relaxing between matches, adding the feel of a professional event. here.
The New Balance High School Tennis Championship (NBHSTC) holds a unique place in the sport. No other national tourney stages such well-matched competition among top high school tennis players—including many state champions. Now in its fourth year, the event selects and seeds entrants based on their Universal Tennis Ratings (UTR), and with wildcards, ensures a broad geographic distribution of players. Grassroots outreach to gather those state champions, and a major commitment by New Balance assures a superb four-day experience for players and their families. Last summer, former ATP Player Council President Eric Butorac attended the NBHSTC and blogged about what a fun, inspiring experience it was—plus how he wished it had been around when he was a teenaged player. Two draws of players—64 boys and 64 girls—will converge for the NBHSTC at Weil Tennis Academy in Ojai, California, about an hour north of Los Angeles. This is the tournament’s first year in California after three years in the home of New Balance’s headquarters, Boston. Over the past two years, UTRs at the event have averaged 11.62 for boys and 8.96 for girls. It runs from July 23 to July 28. For the first time, the NBHSTC will add a mixed doubles event this year.