| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff

The USTA announced on Thursday that the USTA Pro Circuit is launching the USTA Pro Circuit Collegiate Series, a circuit of more than 10 tournaments held on or near college campuses nationwide to provide a platform for college players to gain pro experience and transition to the pro ranks. The USTA Pro Circuit Collegiate Series will consist of events that complement a college player’s schedule, with most events being held in the fall semester, and will give players the chance to collect valuable ATP or WTA ranking points.

The Collegiate Series is scheduled to begin the week of June 6 with a $25,000 men’s Futures event held at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., followed by a $25,000 men’s Futures event at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C. The series will then continue in the fall with further men’s and women’s tournaments to be named with prize money ranging from $25,000 to $50,000. Ohio State will host a $50,000 men’s Challenger in mid-September, while two $25,000 men’s Futures events will take place near the University of California, Berkeley, in October.

The USTA Pro Circuit, started in 1979, is now scheduled to feature approximately 100 events this year and will award more than $3.5 million in total prize money, the most events and prize money of any season in the history of the USTA Pro Circuit.

“One of our strategic priorities in Player Development is to increase our investment and engagement with our best American players in college,” said Martin Blackman, USTA Player Development General Manager. “College tennis is a unique American institution and provides American players with a viable pathway for continued development, not only with regards to their tennis skills, but physically and emotionally, as well. As the average age of Top 100 players on the men's and women's sides increases, so too does college tennis' role as a viable pathway for American pro development. We look forward to a new level of collaboration with the many excellent college coaches throughout the country.”

“The USTA Pro Circuit is all about developing young players and bringing world-class tennis to local communities nationwide,” said Brian Earley, Director of the USTA Pro Circuit. “We are thrilled to launch the USTA Pro Circuit Collegiate Series, which will allow college players to compete in tournaments conveniently located on or near their schools, while also giving them the opportunity to compete against some of the game’s best athletes to gain valuable pro experience. We are also excited for fans to have the opportunity to see such a high level of tennis on college campuses.”

Information on the USTA Pro Circuit Collegiate Series and the 2016 calendar can be found on https://www.usta.com/Pro-Tennis/Pro-Circuit/