Qualifying for Nationals – 2023 Edition

The process of qualifying (and registering) for USAP National Championships has changed (yet again) so I feel like I have to write an update. In the beginning, you just had the 12 regional tournaments. You simply had to earn a “golden ticket” (aka win a Gold medal in your division) at one of these regional tournaments and you were guaranteed a spot in the national tournament.

It was simple but not definitely not easy. You had to fend off other hopefuls who, more often than not, are playing according to their UTPR which is generally much lower than their actual skill level. It was tough, but at least it was pretty straight forward.

In 2022 USAP introduced the Diamond Amateur Championship (DAC) – a national level tournament in Florida – that adds a layer of complexity to the process. Basically, instead of qualifying you for Nationals, the 12 regional tournaments now feed into the DAC which is held in December each year. Earning a Gold medal at the DAC qualifies you for Nationals the next year. That’s basically your “golden ticket” so to speak. At the beginning of last year, I wrote an updated article to reflect these changes.

Fast forward to 2023. USAP partnered with PPA which resulted in further changes, including a change in venue. This year USAP National Championships will be held at Brookhaven Country Club in the Dallas, TX area (rather than Indian Wells, which is where it has been for the past few years). I have mixed feelings about this change because I really wanted to experience playing in Indian Wells but, on the other hand, I am really happy that the tournament is now within driving distance so we can bring our dog Saki with us.

Here are some other changes, besides relocating the tournament from California to Texas:

  • More “golden ticket” events – In addition to the 4 tournaments in 2022 and 5 in 2023 that allowed players to earn pre-registration (aka “golden tickets”) for Nationals, 3 more tournaments were added. These are the PPA Texas Open, PPA Seattle Open, and PPA Kansas City Open highlighted below. I think initially Beer City Open was also a “golden ticket” event but got dropped off the list between last year and this year. Things are constantly changing.
    • 2022 APP Sunmed Houston Open (October 19-23, 2022)
    • 2022 APP Sunmed Hilton Head Open (October 26-30, 2022)
    • 2022 USAP Margaritaville National Championships (Nov. 5-13, 2022)
    • 2022 USAP Diamond Amateur Championships (December 1-7, 2022)
    • 2023 APP Daytona Beach Open (February 8-12, 2023)
    • 2023 APP Mesa Open (March 29-April 2, 2023)
    • 2023 APP Vlasic Classic (May 10-14, 2023)
    • 2023 APP New York City Open (May 24-28, 2023)
    • 2023 Selkirk Texas Open (May 31-June 4)
    • 2023 APP Newport Beach Open (June 28-July 2, 2023)
    • 2023 Baird Seattle Open (July 27-30)
    • 2023 Kansas City Open (August 24-27)
  • Updated fee structure – Below is the updated fee structure. I believe it is quite a bit more than previous’ years fees.
    • Registration Fee per person:
      • Adults – $155
      • Juniors – $55
    • Referee Fee (applies to all registered players): $35
    • Event Fee per person:
      • Pro – $140 per event
      • Senior Pro – $120 per event
      • Amateur – $55 per event
      • Junior – $15 per event
    • Registration and Weather Insurance Policy $20 (optional)
    • Software Service Fees:
      • Pro – $25 per event
      • Senior Pro – $25 per event
      • Junior & Amateur – $5 per event ($10 maximum)
    • Withdrawal Fee: $25 fee charged (read all the FAQ on the tournament page to know when this applies)
  • No more “phased” lottery – In the past, medalists from regionals and “golden ticket” tournaments received priority via a phase lottery approach. This year all players who competed in these tournaments are eligible for the lottery with no special priority given to the medalists outside of those who earned Gold medals in the “golden ticket” events who have guaranteed spots.

Registration for the 2023 USAP National Championship tournament is now open but players who feel that their UTPR could change are encouraged to wait until July 1, 2023 to register. Once you have completed registration, you are locked in at your 2-digit UTPR as of your registration date. There will be no way to change skill divisions if your UTPR goes up or down. The 2-digit UTPR updates on a quarterly basis on the following dates: January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1. Therefore, if you feel that your UTPR could change, it’s best to wait until after July 1 to sign up.

Some key dates:

  • June 8, 2023 – Registration opens. Players may register on pickleballtournaments.com and will be classified under one of the following based on eligibility:
    • Confirmed – you’ve met all the requirements and your event(s) are confirmed
    • Non-Confirmed – your registration is pending review
    • Lottery – you did not meet the requirements by the registration deadline and your event registration has been moved to the lottery
  • September 8, 2023 – Deadline for registration and meeting all registration requirements.
  • September 22, 2023 – Lottery winners announced and notified.

More information regarding this year’s tournament and registration process can be found on the USAP National Championships site. If you have further questions, you may email them to nationalsreg@usapickleball.org. Good luck and see you in Dallas!

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