This year’s US Open field is loaded with UTR Pro Tennis Tour (PTT) talent. Three men’s wild cards have all competed on the PTT to hone their games for the next step: Alex Michelsen (UTR Rating 15.25), Learner Tien (13.84), and Ethan Quinn (14.13). Four PTT women are featuring in the main draw: Katie Volynets (11.86), Taylor Townsend (12.24), Kayla Day (11.83), and Kimberly Birrell (11.68).
The UTR Pro Tennis Tour, also known as the PTT, is a developmental tour that was launched by Universal Tennis in 2021 to provide aspiring pros with multiple matches and guaranteed prize money. Over 180 events per year have been held in 26 countries around the world with millions awarded in prize money.
Michelsen’s UTR Rating has jumped from 14.01 to 15.25 in the past eight months. The 19-year-old played his first pro tennis match on the UTR PTT in 2021 and won his first PTT $25K title in Newport Beach at the end of 2022.
His pro career has truly taken off in 2023. Earlier this summer, he stormed to the final of an ATP 250 in Newport, R.I. with wins over Maxime Cressy, Mackenzie McDonald, and John Isner. The teenager was committed to start his college career at the University of Georgia this year but he has turned professional instead.
Quinn, another Newport PTT competitor, is entering the US Open after earning a wild card by winning the individual NCAA title in May. He has chosen to leave the University of Georgia to pursue his pro aspirations. Michelsen and Quinn are both making their US Open debuts with Michelsen taking on Albert Ramos Vinolas and Quinn facing Bernabe Zapata Miralles.
Tien, just 17 years old, played on the PTT in Newport Beach, achieving a semifinal run in 2022. He was on the roster for the University of Southern California this year, but like his PTT colleagues, the teen has turned pro. When the US Open main draw kicks off next week, he'll face a stiff challenge in the first round when he battles Frances Tiafoe.
Yet another rising star, 20-year-old Zachary Svajda (14.50) played on the PTT in 2021, and he just qualified for the main draw. Like Tien, Svajda has played the US Open before. In 2021, as a wild card entry, Svajda won his opening round match before falling to Jannik Sinner in four sets.
In the women’s field, 21-year-old Volynets qualified for the main draw. It marks her third time in the main draw of her home Slam, though her best major performance was at the 2023 Australian Open when she reached the third round. Australian Birrell is into the main draw by way of a lucky loser spot, and opens against Jennifer Brady.
After welcoming her son in 2022, Townsend made her comeback to pro tennis by winning a PTT $25K event in Bradenton in 2022. Last year’s US Open doubles finalist, she’s playing both singles and doubles in New York.
And last but not least, the PTT's Kayla Day will open against Sorana Cirstea. Day played in four PTT events in 2021, in Newport Beach and Las Vegas.