TA Press Release, October 13, 2019
Tennis Australia and Universal Tennis announced the AO 2020 UTR Wildcard Playoff, a multi-week, multi-city event that gives all tennis players, regardless of age and ability, the opportunity to play their way into the main draw of the Australian Open 2020 via the AO 2020 Play-off in Melbourne.
The new AO 2020 UTR Wildcard Playoff will kick off in Queensland from Thursday 7 to Sunday 10 November, with New South Wales to follow from Thursday 14 to Sunday 17 November.
The top two finishers (male and female) in each event will advance to the AO 2020 UTR Wildcard Playoff Finals in Melbourne, from which two winners will gain entry into the AO 2020 Play-off, held from 9 to 15 December.
The AO 2020 UTR Wildcard Playoff will utilise the Universal Tennis tournament platform and organise draws based on a player’s Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) Powered by Oracle, to create a competitive, level-based staggered entry format.
Staggered entry draws based on UTR have quickly been gaining global traction as the preferred way to create a truly open community tournament where players are matched purely on skill level for better competition.
Tennis Australia CEO and Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said, “This is an exciting chance for us to open up opportunities for the everyday player and bring a new level of innovation to the Australian Open.
“The AO 2020 UTR Wildcard Playoff will encourage players of all levels to get excited about the sport as well as offer a creative and fun way for them to get involved.
“Our partnership with Universal Tennis is integral to our efforts to grow the game and create more opportunities for players of all levels to have a fantastic tennis experience wherever they are.”
The AO 2020 UTR Wildcard Playoff is part of a long-term partnership between Tennis Australia and Universal Tennis that aims to create more pathways within the game and increase local participation through level-based tennis.
Today, there are tens of thousands of tennis players in Australia who have a UTR, which allows them to unlock a more fun and flexible tennis experience by finding better matches and more people to play with.
“Our goal at Universal Tennis is to increase tennis participation in local ecosystems and bring players together via level-based play opportunities,” Mark Leschly, Universal Tennis Chairman and CEO said.
“Together with Tennis Australia, we are excited to offer players a new road to the Australian Open via the AO 2020 UTR Wildcard Playoff.
“Creating engaging events that allow players of any level to have a competitive match is key to achieving our shared goal of growing the game and making tennis more affordable, accessible, and fun for all.”
AO 2020 UTR Wildcard Playoff calendar:
Queensland Qualifying: Thursday 7 November to Sunday 10 November 2019
New South Wales Qualifying: Thursday 14 November to Sunday 17 November. Two finalists from each event will move on to Stage 2
Melbourne Final: Friday 6 December and Saturday 7 December 2019. Two winners receive entry into the AO 2020 Play-off
AO 2020 Play-off in Melbourne: Monday 9 December to Sunday 15 December 2019. Winner receives entry into the Australian Open main draw
Registration for the Queensland and New South Wales AO UTR Wildcard Playoff Qualifying closes on 30 October 2019 at 11:59 PM AEST.