The Tournament Super Committee, through its Chair Patricio Mistrano, sent a letter to NRT players explaining what the Grand Prix Series is, how it will impact the game and why it was conceived.
Below is a copy of his letter:
Tuesday, August 25th.
“Dear Tournament Player: Yesterday the APTA announced that it is making some exciting changes to both men’s and women’s National Ranking Tournaments, a.k,a. NRTs. The changes being made are in line with the APTA’s mission to govern the sport; grow participation among all levels and types of players and across all regions; and improve all aspects of the game. The committee in charge of making these changes is the newly created Tournament Super Committee.
Here are a couple of Q & A that will hopefully help you understand what is changing and why:
What’s new? We are introducing the Grand Prix Series!
What is the Grand Prix Series? Besides being NRTs, there will be five tournaments designated with Grand Prix status. Kind of like Grand Slams in tennis or Majors in golf.
What is special about the Grand Prix Series? For the first time outside Nationals, there will be guaranteed points.
Which events are designated as Grand Prix? The Patterson Club Open, Chicago Charities, Duane Hayden/Long Island Women’s Invitational, Midwesterns, and Philadelphia Open.
Are these designations permanent? No. At the end of the season we will re-evaluate and perhaps keep the Grand Prix designation on those same events or not.
What are the pre-ratings for these events? The five men’s tournaments will guarantee a 3.25 rating, although ratings could go higher based on player participation. On the women’s side, 4 stars will be guaranteed except for Midwesterns, which will guarantee a 2 stars rating. Rating could also be higher based on player participation.
Is there anything else special about the Grand Prix Series? Yes! All events will be streamed live on the Platform Tennis Network and all semifinals and finals will be umpired by APTA certified umpires.
Are there any prizes for teams that do well in the Grand Prix Series? While we are still ironing out all details, and a lot depends on sponsorship support, we will present the “Blanchard Cup” to the men’s team and women’s team winners of the Grand Prix Series. What does that mean? That we will keep a Grand Prix Leaderboard and reward the winners with the Blanchard Cup (named after the co-founder of our sport Fess Blanchard), similar to the Wannamaker Cup, Claret Jug, Stanley Cup, etc. awarded in other sports.
Why did we come up with the Grand Prix Series concept? The time has come to make the game more accessible to all players and fans as well as to make it more significant for the top competition. The Grand Prix Series will bring more exposure and will help us to attract sponsors while continuing to expand into new and established platform tennis areas.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, concerns or have any ideas that could help us as we navigate these new and exciting times”.