UTP unveils "incentive" program for top youth tennisters

By Dugout Philippines

MANILA--In a bid to promote and improve the current state of Philippine tennis, the Unified Tennis Philippines (UTP)—a newly founded organization led by the biggest tennis supporters in the country such as Cebuana Lhuillier and Palawan Pawnshop, has announced an incentive program for budding Filipino tennis superstars.

By end of 2017, a total of 24 junior tennis players—the top four boys and top four girls from each age category: under-14, under-16, and under-18 categories, will be selected to represent the Philippines in international tournaments next year based on the Unified Tennis Philippines national ranking system.

“This incentive program is part of UTG’s continuous campaign to support tennis in the Philippines and help Philippine-based tennis players get world-class training and experience so that we may achieve our ultimate goal of developing tennis players that would excel in worldwide rankings. We see a lot of potential in our tennis players and we hope that through this initiative, they will have renewed motivation and inspiration to do better and improve their skills even more,” UTP founding member and Cebuana Lhuillier President and CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier said.

Under-14 national teams will get to play at least one Asian Tennis Federation Junior tournament in Southeast Asia while Under-16 and Under-18 national team members will be sent to at least one International Tennis Federation Group 5 junior tournament in Southeast Asia.

Starting 2017, UTP has been very active in organizing more than 100 tournaments nationwide and supporting tennis clinics of former top players such as Alex Marcial, Rod Rafael, among others.

By next year, UTG also plans to build first-class training facilities for tennis athletes.

“When we started UTG, our main purpose was to really help and support budding tennis players in the country to reach their full potential and gain exposure and experiences, not only in local tennis tournaments but also in the international league. The incentive program is just one of the plans we have lined up under UTG which will be greatly beneficial to our athletes,” UTP founding member and Palawan Pawnshop President and CEO Bobby Castro said.

The WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) also awarded the rights for qualifying into the WTA futures stars event in Singapore to the Unified Tennis Philippines (UTP). The top eight players ranked in the UTP for 16-under and 14-under girls will have a chance to join the round-robin qualifying tournament to be held at Valle Verde Country Club from Sept 22-24.

Winners of the event will represent the Philippines at the WTA Future Stars main event in Singapore. The main event will coincide with the WTA Finals where the top eight players in the world will compete in the year-end tournament.

Aside from the high level of competition at the WTA future stars event, the future star players will also get to watch and mingle with their top tennis idols of the world.

Follow the site on Twitter: @DugoutPH