Chris Evert to Play with ESPN’s Mike Greenberg in USTA Eastern Tournament
  | By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff

The USTA has announced that registration will close next week for the first two 2011 U.S. Open National Playoffs Sectional Qualifying Tournaments held in the USTA Southwest and USTA Eastern sections. The registration deadline for the USTA Southwest tournament, held in Scottsdale, Ariz., April 14-17, is Monday, April 4. The registration deadline for the USTA Eastern tournament, held at the USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., April 16-22, is Wednesday, April 6.

Former world number one and six-time U.S. Open champion Chris Evert and Mike Greenberg, host of ESPN Radio/ESPN2’s weekday Mike and Mike in the Morning, will team up as a mixed-doubles team for the USTA Eastern tournament. Evert and Greenberg will compete at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Monday, April 18. Mixed-doubles was added to the U.S. Open National Playoffs this year.

“I know Mike is a big tennis fan and loves the U.S. Open,” said Evert of her mixed-doubles partner. “The U.S. Open was the first tournament that sort of started my career, and I have great memories of it, and I love to support it. We'll just go out there and have some fun. That's the main thing.”

“There’s only one sport I grew up playing—it’s tennis—and I am going to try to fulfill my lifelong dream of playing in the U.S. Open,” said Greenberg of competing in the U.S. Open National Playoffs. “I am counting on Chris to carry us. She is one of the great champions of the sport and I am ecstatic about playing.”

Returning this year to the USTA Eastern tournament are Rabbi Gregg Ackerman, 62-year-old Richie Bustamante, who lost to a teenager in the first round last year, and David Spellman, who plays tennis to benefit Crohn’s disease.

The U.S. Open National Playoffs returns for a second year as a series of sectional qualifying tournaments, held in 16 USTA Sections throughout the country. Registration for each of the 16 sectional qualifying tournaments is available at www.usta.com/tennislink. The entry fee for each of the sectional qualifying tournaments is $125 for singles and $150 for each mixed doubles team ($75 per player). All players competing must have a current USTA membership valid through Aug. 29, 2011 and can be age 14 and older.Deadlines for the next set of Sectional Qualifying Tournaments are in mid-May.

The tournaments cumulate with the US Open National Playoffs – Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles Championships held during the New Haven Open at Yale, an Olympus US Open Series women’s event, in August. The US Open National Playoffs mixed-doubles champions will receive a main draw wild card into the 2011 U.S. Open. The U.S. Open National Playoffs men’s and women’s singles champions again earn a wild card into the U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament, held the week prior to the U.S. Open.

A player may only enter and compete in one sectional qualifying tournament during a calendar year; players competing in men’s singles or women’s singles and mixed doubles may opt to compete at different sectional qualifying tournaments (one for singles and one for mixed doubles). The draw size at each sectional qualifying tournament will be a maximum of 256 for each singles event and a maximum of 128 teams for mixed doubles. Participants can be of any playing level, from aspiring novice to seasoned professional, giving everyone an equal opportunity to advance.

The U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament will be held Aug. 23-26 and the U.S. Open Mixed-Doubles Championship begins Aug. 31 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The 2011 U.S. Open begins on Aug. 29.