A Wave of Innovation Professional Tennis: CDT Partners with Universal Tennis’s Pro Tennis Tour
Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) was founded in 2008 to serve as the gold standard of tennis ratings and provide the most accurate measure of skill level for tennis players worldwide. Within 10 years, UTR had gone from hosting one-off local events to acting as a resource for clubs to deliver events at both local and national scales and help facilities connect with their surrounding player bases.
In 2018, Cliff Drysdale Tennis (CDT) became one of UTR’s early partners to implement their platform at CDT-managed clubs across the country. Many CDT facilities began with monthly tournaments for juniors and adults which proved effective at garnering community participation in the sport while offering facility members a chance to test their games in a competitive setting and meet new local players in the area.
Recently, however, several CDT locales have expanded into the realm of UTR Pro Events, known as the “UTR Pro Tennis Tour.” Designed for aspiring tennis professionals, these $25K prize money events span 14 countries across Americas, Europe and the Middle East, with Australia on deck to join the list soon. UTR Pro Tennis Tour (PTT) events also boast a unique round-robin format, which guarantees players at least four matches against level-based competition. UTR’s Pro Tennis Tour hosts 100+ events throughout 2022, providing financial opportunity for thousands of players who would normally have to hang their racquets up.
In addition, to the clear benefits for players, CDT’s curated list of UTR PTT hosts have seen club-level benefits of their own. Two such landmark facilities are John Newcombe Country Club and Weston Racquet Club.
JOHN NEWCOMBE COUNTRY CLUB
New Braunfels, Texas
John Newcombe Country Club (JNCC), a private membership club in Central Texas, dipped their toe into the UTR waters with monthly tournaments for aspiring juniors and recreational adult players. The events’ popularity spread quickly, and ultimately catapulted a schedule of more than 50 events spanning junior and adult events, prize money tournaments and now, professional UTR tournaments.
The club’s first UTR PTT event was slated for February 2022, and while it was an exciting milestone in and of itself, JNCC Club Manager, Mallory Taylor, saw an opportunity to connect club members, local tennis players and community members with a week’s worth of activations alongside the tournament.
“Our first step was to leverage our community partnerships and membership connections to simply get the word out,” said Taylor. “In the end, our local connections paid off and we managed to secure a main sponsor, party rental sponsors, drink and food sponsors, print sponsors and even water sponsors. By the time the event started, we were ready for a weeklong, live streamed, professional tennis event!
“The kickoff to the week was a player sponsor party,” continued Taylor. “We wanted to help celebrate the support we had received from our members and sponsors, while also giving them an opportunity to socialize with the tournament players.”
And the event’s success did not go unnoticed. Jason Pardon, the UTR Tournament Director at the event, mentioned that it was one of the only players parties of its kind on the PTT tour, and that it was extremely popular with all participants.
Other highlights of the week included a Chamber of Commerce night to provide local businesses the opportunity to network amongst each other, see the tournament firsthand and garner extra exposure to the club in the process. During finals weekend, club staff hosted a waffle bar and brunch alongside a local whiskey partner to conclude the PTT event on a high note that members would remember.
“Within days of the finals, members were already asking about dates for the next pro event,” said Taylor. “Leveraging UTR to bring front-row professional tennis to our club proved impactful for our club and our community, and we are already looking forward to the next one – just like our members!”
WESTON RACQUET CLUB
Like JNCC, Weston Racquet Club (WRC) was no stranger to UTR events and play options for juniors as young as seven years old to adult players. The South Florida complex, however, made their debut on the PTT circuit in December 2021 with a weeklong Women’s $25K event.
“For our first pro event, we did not focus on sponsorships or off-court activations so much as planning and executing a successful tournament,” said Albert Fernandez, Director of Racquets at WRC. “Most of all, we were excited to bring professional tennis to our members’ backyard. They are a dedicated group who enjoyed getting up close and personal with the professional action.”
Considering tennis’s popularity in South Florida, WRC had plenty of eyes (and players) for the facility’s first UTR PTT event, including Cliff Drysdale Tennis’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Don Henderson and Scott McCulloch, respectively.
“The main perk from partnering with UTR for a professional tennis tournament was their turnkey tennis support; prize money, tournament matches, draw postings and match schedules, to name a few, were all taken care of,” Fernandez said. “With the tournament logistics accounted for, our team was able to focus on spreading the word of the event throughout our membership and the Weston community.”
Between the two parties, the tournament was a huge success. CDT leadership recognized the event as a benchmark to host future UTR PTT events across other company locations and paved the way for clubs such as JNCC to follow suit.
In 2022, Rome Tennis Center at Berry College in Rome, Georgia and Polo Tennis Club in Austin, Texas, continued the wave of UTR PTT events across the CDT network with successful tournaments at their respective venues.
“We are supporters and advocators of Universal Tennis events,” said Scott McCulloch, Chief Operating Officer, “and CDT is looking forward to bringing top tennis to more of our locations in the coming years.”
As the momentum continues, keep an eye out for more UTR professional tennis to land at one of your CDT facilities so you can experience the action for yourself!