Universal Tennis Launches Foundation and Opens Hurd Award Applications

Starting in 2023, two $100,000 grants will be awarded at the BNP Paribas Open each year


January 9, 2023 (Palo Alto, CA) - Today, Universal Tennis announces the launch of the Universal Tennis Foundation and reveals that the applications for the 2023 Universal Tennis Foundation Hurd Awards are open.


Starting in 2023, two $100,000 grants will be awarded at the BNP Paribas Open each year to a male and female aspiring American tennis player who has shown a commitment to continued development in international tennis and exhibited exemplary sportsmanship in college tennis.


The Universal Tennis Foundation’s mission is to enrich lives through increased education and knowledge of tennis and to make the sport inclusive and accessible to everyone. The Foundation will cultivate programs that support youth and wheelchair tennis, bring tennis to underserved individuals and communities, and increase access to the sport by promoting its health and social benefits while maximizing the athletic potential of talent.



The Universal Tennis Foundation believes in a “pay it forward” culture, and the recipients of the Hurd Awards will serve as role models in the greater tennis community. Continuing in the tradition started by Mark Hurd and Oracle, the Universal Tennis Foundation Hurd Awards are player grants made possible by a gift from the Hurd family and will be awarded annually to assist young American players transitioning from college to elite international competition.


To be eligible, players must have played at least one season of college tennis and have either completed collegiate eligibility in 2022, announced the intention of leaving college to focus on playing tennis full time in 2022, or will complete collegiate eligibility in May 2023 after the conclusion of the 2023 NCAA collegiate season and tournament.



The deadline for applications is February 10. Applications may be submitted here. For more information, go to universaltennis.foundation.



“I’m excited to be able to work with the Universal Tennis Foundation to continue the grants started by my late husband, Mark,” said Universal Tennis Foundation chairman Paula Hurd. “Universal Tennis is a long-time supporter of collegiate and pro tennis, just like Mark was.”



During the BNP Paribas Open, Paula Hurd and Awards Council members will be on-site to discuss the awards during “Tennis Talks” on the Village Stage.



The awards will be managed and administered by the recently established Universal Tennis Foundation as part of the company’s continuing efforts to transform and innovate the game of tennis while making it more accessible to all.



“We are honored to be able to make these grants available for collegiate players eager to pursue professional careers in tennis,” said Universal Tennis Chairman and CEO Mark Leschly. “One of our company initiatives is to provide opportunities for aspiring pros to fulfill their dreams, and the Universal Tennis Foundation Hurd Awards will help players navigate the challenging pathway from college to pro tennis.”



The Universal Tennis Hurd Awards Council will evaluate award recipients. The members of the Council are committed to the growth and improvement of tennis and include:


Paula Hurd: Chairman, Universal Tennis Foundation and Member, Board of Regents, Baylor University

Lindsay Davenport: Former world #1; 3-time Grand Slam singles champion

Tracy Austin: Former world #1; 2-time Grand Slam singles champion

Mary Joe Fernandez: Former world #4; two-time Olympic doubles gold medalist

Peggy Michel: 3-time Grand Slam doubles champion; Asst Tournament Director, BNP Paribas Open

Todd Martin: Former world #4; played college tennis at Northwestern University

Gordon Uehling: Former ATP player; ITA board member; coaching advisor to Novak Djokovic

Stephen Amritraj: Former ATP player and coach; Chief Tennis Officer at Universal Tennis


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About Universal Tennis


The mission of Universal Tennis is to connect and grow the sport with innovative events and a global digital marketplace centered around level-based play. The Universal Tennis Engagement Platform is anchored by the UTR Rating, the world’s most accurate singles and doubles tennis rating system. Universal Tennis provides the tools and solutions to make the UTR Rating relevant and valuable to players, coaches, and organizers in their local tennis communities. Universal Tennis is creating opportunities and pathways for players from all over the world, in all stages of life, to find better matches and unlock a more fun and flexible tennis experience. Go to UniversalTennis.com to sign up, activate your player profile and join the global tennis community. Watch our video and connect on social @UniversalTennis to learn more.


Starting in early 2023, Universal Tennis will offer one home for tennis and pickleball, beginning a new chapter by bringing a pickleball rating and technology solutions to another racquet sport. Universal Tennis will enable its customers to use its pickleball rating and event management software to create accessible, competitive level-based events.


Media Contacts:
Ben Makarenko: bmakarenko@universaltennis.com