Back in September, computer tech company Oracle announced it would partner with InsideOut Sports & Entertainment to roll out six men’s and women’s money tournaments for the remainder of 2019 with plans to add 35 more Oracle Pro Series tournaments across the United States in 2020.
The tournaments would give young men’s and women’s tennis professionals the opportunity to springboard from college and junior tennis into the pro ranks, earning prize money and valuable ATP and WTA ranking points much like the USTA Pro Circuit has done for more than 40 years in the United States.
Merging with some existing USTA Pro Circuit events, the Oracle Pro Series events are now a part of the USTA’s Competitive Pathway circuit and a positive step for players, tournament directors and fans. Several new and already existing open money tournaments – or Futures events – will take place right here in Southern California starting with the former SoCal Pro Futures tournament Jan. 6-12 at Marks Tennis Stadium on the campus of USC.
Since 2016, the pro tennis season has begun at USC with the playing of the $25,000-level Futures event won last year by USC No. 1 player Brandon Holt, who beat former Trojan Emilio Gomez in the final and top U.S. junior Jenson Brooksby in a memorable three-set semifinal battle.
“We are really looking forward to Oracle coming on board and being involved,” said first-year USC men’s coach Brett Masi, who will serve as the tournament director for the year’s first pro event, which is free to the public.
Masi said all the regular community events that have taken place over the past few years won’t change and that a free Kid’s Day clinic is scheduled for Semifinal Saturday, Jan. 11. “We expect the same great tennis and all of our players are entered. We hope to attract a lot of other top players in the area to compete,” he said. “We want to encourage everyone to come out and enjoy the week of pro tennis at USC.”
The following week, the Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club will host the season’s second men’s pro tournament with another $25,000 Oracle Pro Series tournament. That same week of Jan. 13-19, Pepperdine University in Malibu will also host a women’s $25,000 Oracle Pro Series tournament.
(See below for the USTA’s Competitive Pathway’s Southern California tournaments for the first eight months of 2020).
For more than 20 years, the Claremont Club has been an integral stop for the USTA Pro Circuit. Longtime Claremont Club Director of Tennis Barry Friedman oversaw a men’s tournament each fall that attracted local college and junior players. In October, the Claremont Club hosted the first men’s and women’s Oracle Pro Series event.
“I think it’s a positive thing that Oracle has stepped in and wants to continue putting on these pro-level events with InsideOut Sports,” said Friedman. “It’s positive because young tennis pros from all over the world can continue to play these events and get the opportunity to rise up in the rankings, which has always been the goal of the USTA Pro Circuit.”
The Claremont Club and Friedman have been contacted about hosting an Oracle Pro Series $25,000 women’s tournament Sept. 28-Oct. 4. Friedman said he’s looking forward to continuing his relationship with Oracle Pro Series in 2020 and the future.
Friedman said the biggest difference with hosting an Oracle Pro Series compared to a USTA Pro Circuit tournament is that he is not responsible for any prize money or paying for officials.
“For many years, we had to get sponsors to not operate at a loss and sometimes just break even,” Friedman said. “With the Oracle Pro Series, I don’t have to spend as much time looking for sponsors and more time focused on running a first-class event because they pay all the prize money and for the officials. They’ve taken over that responsibility. It’s been great for us, and great for tennis in our area.”
To read more about the Oracle Pro Series locations and dates for 2020, click HERE.
2020 Men’s Competitive Pathway SoCal events from Jan. 1 through the US Open:
2020 Women’s Competitive Pathway SoCal events from Jan. 1 through the US Open: