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Austin Tennis Academy Players Compete in Waco ITF

For the past 5 or 6 days, many of ATA's more experienced athletes have been competing in the Waco ITF (International Tennis Federation). ITF tournaments allow athletes to work towards a national and an international ranking and compete against peers from around the world. Congratulations to Brooke Hughes and Hunter Goertz, earned quarterfinal spots on the main draw of singles, and to Charlie Shin, who reached the semifinals or the doubles draw. To offer a more complete understanding of ITF tournaments and why they are important, ATA CEO Coach Jack Newman and Josh Hagar, who competed in Waco, answered a few questions. Read what they have to say below.

ITF team

From left : Meredith Parks, Charlie Shin, Brooke Hughes, Sydney Young, Andrew Parks, Josh Hagar, Aaron Chaffee and Hunter Goertz.

Coach Newman:

What is an ITF tournament and how is it different from USTA tournaments?

ITF Tournaments are tournaments sponsored by the International Tennis Federation instead of the United States Tennis Association. The ITF is the governing body for Tennis world-wide. ITF tournaments allow you to pursue an ITF ranking. ITF rankings are used for entry into ITF tournaments (the Waco ITF is a level 5, the lowest level, the US OPEN juniors is a Level 1 ITF). ITF tournaments are single elimination events and are 18 and under only. Anyone from 13-18 years old can play in an ITF.

Does it count for a ranking or points?

Each round advanced gives a player ITF ranking points. Those points allow players to enter higher-level ITF tournaments, culminating in the junior USOPEN.

Why is it important for our athletes to participate?

Many players who are living in the US, but are not citizens, cannot participate in USTA National tournaments. This allows them a venue to compete at a high level. These tournaments are another opportunity for ATA athletes to get exposure to higher levels of competition. For example, in this event, both Molly Fisher and Meghan O'Malley got the chance to play top 10 superchamp G18 players, a chance they would never get in USTA tournaments.

How has the tournament gone so far?

ATA players have advanced. Charlie Shin, Andrew Parks, Hunter Goertz, Josh Hagar, Brooke Hughes, Sydney Young and Meredith Parks have all advanced in the singles, Chaffee, Hagar, Shin and Andrew Parks have also advanced in the doubles.

Anything else you want to add?

Every tournament is an opportunity to test ourselves. ITFs offer younger competitors the chance to see how they can do against older players. It allows players to get information about their game. Meghan O'Malley was telling me after her match today how much she learned about what higher level players do when they play, that she did not know from playing SCMZ in Girls 14s.

Josh serve

Josh Hagar:

What is an ITF tournament and how is it different from USTA tournaments?

ITF (International Tennis Federation) tournaments are tournaments that give world-ranking points. There are 6 different levels of these tournaments. Grade A is the highest, second is Grade 1, G2, G3, etc. The Waco ITF is a Grade 5.
ITFs differ from USTA tournaments in the way that there is only one division - 18 and under. Also, the tournaments are single elimination, which makes every match nerve-racking and pressure filled

Does it count for anything as far as a ranking or points?

ITF tournaments give points for world ranking. And, depending on the tournament, you get USTA national points too. The Waco ITF (I believe) gives USTA Level 3 national points. So you get the benefit of raising (or acquiring in some cases) your world ranking as well as your national ranking.

Why is it important for our athletes to participate?

I think ITFs are the closest thing to a professional tournament. It is a fun experience getting pro treatment as far as scheduling goes, and other benefits. In ITFs, it is only one match a day, so you get plenty of recovery time between matches.

It is also a great way for ATA to represent on a larger, international scale. College coaches also like seeing players with an ITF ranking.

Last, I would say ITF competition is the best there is. Every match is competitive, even, and quality.

How has the tournament gone so far?

The tournament has been great. Many people have had good results, and are still in. ATA has shown great sportsmanship, fight, and competitive spirit. We have also proven that we are capable of competing with top international academies like IMG.

Who is still competing?

Hunter lost a quality match in the quarterfinals, as did Brooke. I lost in the round of 16 in singles and the quarterfinals of doubles with Chaffee. Sydney lost in the round of 16 to Brooke so she got ITF points. Overall, it was a great tournament for ATA.