Sustaining the momentum it gained from its successful campaign last year, the Unified Tennis Philippines has lined up a record 70 junior, 14 senior and seven Open tournaments this year as part of its commitment to produce world-class Filipino players as well as further developing the sport in all levels.
The busy schedule also includes a trainers’ Open and 12 UTP Tennis Challenge Series.
“Getting these Filipino athletes out there to compete with other world-class tennis players has been our lifelong dream. I’m glad that we have gained traction since we’ve rolled out UTP’s programs two years ago and so we will continue to fulfill our mission to discover fresh talents and improve the quality of our tennis players from the professional level down to the grassroots level by providing them with proper training and international exposure,” said Jean Henri Lhuillier, president and founder of UTP, which includes Cebuana Lhuillier, Palawan Pawnshop, Babolat, HEAD, Chris’ Sports, Dunlop, Toby’s Sports, Wilson, Decathlon, Mr. Freeze and Madison Galleries.
The Cebuana Lhuillier and Palawan Pawnshop age groupers recently kicked off their respective circuits at the Meralco Tennis Club in Pasig and at the Actifit Sports Center in Valenzuela, respectively. Both tournaments drew more than 250 local junior, pro, and senior players led by top juniors John David Velez, Sebastien Lhuillier, Joewyn Pascua, Macie Carlos, Bliss Bayking, and Anna De Myer.
UTP will soon announce the cut-off period for selection of the 2019 UTP National Juniors Tennis through social media. Last year, UTP formed several teams that played in Malaysia and Indonesia and were successful in producing winners in the ATF (Asian Tennis Federation) and ITF (International Tennis Federation) tournaments with the Eala siblings Alex and Miko reaching the finals.
New initiatives and programs are also under way, including the introduction of an online tournament registration in the second quarter of the year and staging of more level-based tournaments for club players such as the UTP Tennis Challenge series.
The UTP will also send players to this year’s WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) Future Stars event in China with Dunlop providing the official ball of all Palawan Pawnshop and Cebuana Lhuillier tournaments.