Including new level-based Junior Master Championships – powered by UTR; innovative support of American junior tennis players
TEMPE, Ariz. – Oracle and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced a partnership that will include Oracle’s continued sponsorship of the Oracle/ITA Masters, Oracle/ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings, and the Oracle/ITA Arthur Ashe Jr./All-Star Outing, and add an innovative new series of level-based events for American junior tennis players.
“Oracle is committed to helping grow the game and interest of tennis in America,” said Oracle CEO Mark Hurd. “We’re proud to continue our support of the ITA in competitive intercollegiate tennis and now expanding the program to reach junior players.”
The first step in Oracle and the ITA’s plan to help strengthen American tennis is the announcement of the inaugural Oracle/ITA Junior Masters Championships, which will take place during the summer and fall of 2016.
In announcing the inaugural Oracle/ITA Junior Masters Championship, ITA Chief Executive Officer, Timothy Russell, said: “In expanding our partnership with Oracle, we are excited to add a series of tournaments for American junior tennis players that progress from regional level-based play to a high-level national championship in Malibu, California. We are also pleased to be working with Universal Tennis, with selections for the regional events to be made using the Universal Tennis Ratings, and the tournaments being administered by Universal Tennis at www.events.universaltennis.com.”
Harvard Men’s Tennis Coach Dave Fish, a member of the current ITA Board, and a long-standing advocate for level-based play, commented: “What a wonderful new opportunity, an enhancement to the world of junior tennis, building on college varsity tennis as level-based play and the ITA’s vision of what the future of tennis in America might look like.”
Eric Butorac, ATP Player Council president, accomplished doubles specialist and former Division III star at Gustavus Adolphus College, says, “I’m a huge fan of level-based play and UTR. I am thrilled that the ITA, in partnership with Oracle, has expanded the reach of the Oracle/ITA Masters into the world of American juniors. I hope that large numbers of junior players will enter the regional events, with the hope of earning their way to Malibu.”
The regional Oracle/ITA Junior Masters events, for girls and boys, will take place at 12 sites around the United States and will be held in August and September of 2016. The top 16 UTR-rated boys and girls who register in each region will participate in compass draws in those regional events with the winner of both the girl’s and boy’s events progressing to the October 13-16, 2016 Oracle/ITA Masters in Malibu, California – hosted by both the Malibu Racquet Club and Pepperdine University. The regional winners will receive up to a $750 travel/hotel stipend to play in the Masters Championships in Malibu.
Russell added: “For college tennis to thrive, American junior tennis must grow and thrive. As the ITA continues to serve college tennis, we must expand our reach in the junior competition arena even more, building on the success of the ITA Summer Circuit. In doing so we will continue to return the leaders of tomorrow.”
The Oracle/ITA Junior Masters will utilize no-ad scoring, the scoring format utilized by ITA Division I programs.
The dates and host sites for the Oracle/ITA Junior Masters Regional tournaments are listed at the UTR Events site, http://www.events.universaltennis.com. Entries open June 1, 2016.
Last year’s inaugural Oracle/ITA Masters was an overwhelming success. The men’s singles and women’s doubles final were broadcast live on Tennis Channel from the Malibu Racquet Club in Malibu, California. In 2016, the Oracle/ITA Masters will be hosted by the Malibu Racquet Club and Pepperdine University, and will undergo some modifications that will allow more players from across all Division I conferences to participate.
The 2016 event, to be held October 13-16, will invite one woman and one man from each Division I Conference to the championships to compete in both their respective singles as well as a mixed doubles competition.
The draw for men’s and women’s singles has been expanded from 16 to 32, while the doubles shifts to a 32-draw mixed doubles event. Players will be chosen based upon conference representation (similar to the NCAA Tournament). Oracle will receive wildcard selections as they did in 2015.
Oracle will also become the presenting sponsor for the events on the ITA Fall 2016 schedule, including all ITA Regional Championships.
In addition, one of the ITA’s National Championships will undergo a name change thanks to the Oracle partnership, as the National Small College Championships will now be known as the 2016 ITA Oracle Cup. The 2016 ITA Oracle Cup will feature players from Divisions II, III, NAIA and JUCO, who each compete in division-specific singles and doubles national championship tournaments. The winners of each division’s national championship then advance to a “Grand Championship” draw, and the winners of the “Grand Championship” earn a spot in the 2016 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.
Russell concluded by saying: “We’re thrilled to have Oracle intersecting with all levels of college tennis, as well as with American junior tennis, a lifeline for the future of our sport. The expansion of the Oracle/ITA Masters, the addition of the Oracle/ITA Fall Junior regional events, the branding of the Oracle/ITA Cup, and the branding of college tennis’s fall season, all bring tremendous value to our sport from Oracle and for which we are extremely grateful. We are honored and proud to share a vision match with Oracle, a forward-thinking, innovative company and one of America’s great corporate citizens, the Oracle corporation. Both Oracle and the ITA are committed to raising the profile of our great sport.”
About the ITA The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is the governing body of college tennis, overseeing women's and men’s varsity tennis at NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College. The ITA serve all of college tennis, and returns leaders of tomorrow, by administering a comprehensive awards and rankings program for men's and women's varsity players, coaches and teams in all divisions, providing recognition for their accomplishments on and off the court. For more information on the ITA, visit the ITA website at www.itatennis.com, like the ITA on Facebook or follow @ITAtennis on Twitter.
About Oracle Oracle offers a comprehensive and fully integrated stack of cloud applications, platform services, and engineered systems. With more than 420,000 customers—including 100 of the Fortune 100—in more than 145 countries, Oracle provides a complete technology stack both in the cloud and in the data center. Oracle’s industry-leading cloud-based and on-premises solutions give customers complete deployment flexibility and unmatched benefits including application integration, advanced security, high availability, scalability, energy efficiency, powerful performance, and low total cost of ownership. For more information about Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), visit www.oracle.com.
About Universal Tennis Universal Tennis Ratings provide tennis players worldwide a common scale to determine their level of play. The 16-level scale (from beginners to elite world-class professionals), precisely and reliably determines individual players’ ratings based on actual match results without regard for age, gender or where the matches are played. The Universal Tennis website allows visitors to view more than three million tennis results. College Tennis coaches utilize UTR ratings for recruiting, for scouting opponents, and also to track the levels of their current players. The ITA currently uses UTR ratings to assist with selections and seedings for select regional and national events. www.universaltennis.com.