Every week at $25K professional tennis tournaments around the world, UTR PTT events host group play before the tournament’s final stages, often the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals.
The round-robin group matches give aspiring professional players, such as Laskutova, guaranteed match play and time to work their way into form, all while earning guaranteed prize money that every PTT $25K tournament offers. Worldwide, there were nearly 200 UTR Pro Tennis Tour tournaments held in 2023.
UTR PTT Format
The innovative format of UTR PTT tournaments is just one of the reasons thousands of aspiring pro tennis players around the world, including Laskutova, play the tournaments again and again.
“That's why I like the UTR system, that we can play a lot of matches in the group. And while I play in the group, I'm able to feel better during the tournament, and then when it's playoffs, I already feel better in terms of competing,” Laskutova told UTR Sports.
“You never know what happens in the first match… you never know if you're a bit tired some day or maybe you get an opponent that just feels good and plays good that day, and you don't. But [with UTR PTT], you always get another chance.”
Not that Laskutova has needed any do-overs. This year, the 27-year-old Russian competed in five PTT tournaments. She won three of them and compiled a 24-3 record overall. Laskutova lost in the group stage only once.
“Sometimes I wish it could be better, but I think it was not a bad year,” she said.
Guaranteed Prize Money
The entire UTR PTT format, not just the guaranteed matches, seems to help Laskutova play her best tennis. The guaranteed prize money helps her relax, she said, and she enjoys the variety of opponents who compete at PTT tournaments across the globe.
“When you go into the tournament, even if you feel great, you still never know how it’s going to go and how you're going to do,” she said. “But again, this format and the fact that you know how much you will earn, it helps you visualize how it might go, how it can go. And also you feel a little bit secure. Because even in the worst case, if you don't do good at all, you're still able to get some money.”
Laskutova, however, isn’t eyeing her prize money check mid-week. She’s as competitive as ever, as evident by her eight PTT titles in the past two years.
But reaching those final stages of the $25K events helps her relax and reach her top level. “If I get to semifinals, I have no more pressure,” she said.
From College Tennis to UTR PTT
Laskutova played collegiate tennis for four years at the University of Tulsa. She was a four-time all-conference selection and the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year for 2017-18.
She suggests the UTR Pro Tennis Tour to all aspiring professional players as well as collegiate players, and those looking to improve their UTR Rating in order to play college tennis.
Players with a higher UTR Rating, including herself, can gain confidence, earn money, and work on shots and tactics they might not often try at bigger tournaments, she said.
And juniors looking to play in college can earn prize money as well and see what exactly they need to improve so they can bolster their UTR Rating and play competitively at the next level.
“I would definitely recommend the PTT tournaments to players of all levels,” Laskutova said.