Paula Hurd and Universal Tennis Launch Initiative to Support Aspiring Young American Pro Players

Paula Hurd and Universal Tennis Launch Initiative to Support Aspiring Young American Pro Players

$100,000 grants will be awarded annually to one male and one female player, announced at the BNP Paribas Open

(Indian Wells, CA) - Paula Hurd and Universal Tennis today announced the creation of the Universal Tennis Hurd Awards. Continuing in the tradition started by Mark Hurd and Oracle, player grants sponsored by the Hurd family will be awarded annually to assist young American players as they transition from college into the professional ranks.

Starting in 2023, two $100,000 grants will be awarded each year at the BNP Paribas Open to a male and female professional who have demonstrated exemplary sportsmanship and an aptitude for success on the pro tour. They must have played at least one year of collegiate tennis prior to turning professional. Details on criteria, application and selection coming soon.

On Tuesday, March 15 at 12 p.m. PT, Paula Hurd and Awards Council members will be on-site at the BNP Paribas Open to discuss the awards during “Tennis Talks” on the Village Stage.

“I am very pleased to continue this transition started by my late husband Mark and to partner with Universal Tennis for these awards,” commented Paula Hurd. “Universal Tennis continues to bring innovation to the game and have long supported collegiate tennis and the transition to the professional game.”

The awards will be managed and administered by Universal Tennis as part of its continuing efforts to transform and innovate the game of tennis making it more fun, accessible, and affordable. As we move ahead, we plan to add additional partners and expand the program.

“I am grateful we can support Paula to honor and recognize our friend Mark, his love of tennis and his passion for supporting aspiring young players,” said Universal Tennis Chairman and CEO Mark Leschly. “Like the UTR Pro Tour we launched that provides millions in financial support to aspiring professionals, this generous initiative by Paula and her family will help alleviate challenges players face in making the transition from college to the professional tour.”

Award recipients will be selected by the Universal Tennis Hurd Awards Council. The members of the Council are all committed to the growth and improvement of tennis and will include Paula Hurd and individuals with a mix of backgrounds with the ITA, Tennis Channel, former collegiate and tour players, and professional champions.

These council members are:

  • Lindsay Davenport: Former world #1; 3-time Grand Slam singles champion
  • Tracy Austin: Former world #1; 2-time Grand Slam singles champion
  • Mary Joe Fernandez: Former world #4; two-time Olympic doubles gold medalist
  • Peggy Michel: 3-time Grand Slam doubles champion; Asst Tournament Director, BNP Paribas Open
  • Todd Martin: Former world #4; CEO International Tennis Hall of Fame; played college tennis at Northwestern University
  • Gordon Uehling: Former ATP player; ITA board member; coaching advisor to Novak Djokovic
  • Stephen Amritraj: Former ATP player and coach; Chief Tennis Officer at Universal Tennis


About Universal Tennis

The mission of Universal Tennis is to connect and grow the sport with innovative events and a global digital marketplace centered around level-based play. The Universal Tennis Engagement Platform is anchored by the UTR Rating, the world’s most accurate singles and doubles tennis rating system. Universal Tennis provides the tools and solutions to make the UTR Rating relevant and valuable to players, coaches, and organizers in their local tennis communities. Universal Tennis is creating opportunities and pathways for players from all over the world, in all stages of life, to find better matches and unlock a more fun and flexible tennis experience. Go to to sign up, activate your player profile and join the global tennis community. Watch our video and connect on social @UniversalTennis to learn more.

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