By Nicholas J. Walz, USTA.com
The goal of making USTA League competition as level as the court surface it’s played upon appears closer than ever to being realized.
In the United States, 242,113 League players were issued a rating by the National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) in 2013, a 13-level classification system designed to assess a tennis player’s ability. From that nationwide figure, nearly 84 percent of players with a computer rating remained at the same NTRP skill level.
“The ratings overall have been very consistent the last two or three years due to the large number of players returning to the program every year,” said Jeff Waters, Managing Director of Adult Tennis.
Players can generate what is termed a self-rating through an online process if they are new to the program or if they have not generated a valid computer rating. Players who have been regularly competing in the USTA League program will likely have already generated a computer NTRP rating through their previous match play.
Of the computer-rated players, ratings for 10 percent of the players were promoted and 6 percent of the ratings were adjusted down an NTRP level. The self-rating process showed that just over 60 percent of players remained at the same skill level as their original estimate, with 18 percent promoted after 2013 and 22 percent adjusted down a level.
Fair competition is top priority for the country’s largest recreational tennis program. Shifts in ratings, both upward and downward, are made based on a variety of results and are likely to change as players progress in skill.
“Players should look it as a reward for working hard on their game, that they improved.” said USTA League National Manager Darcy Cobb. “Congratulations are in order for those who have been promoted. And those who have moved down can often play up.
“Sections also have a variety of levels where you can still play with your core group, whether it’s Mixed, Combo or Tri-Level. We do provide opportunities to keep groups together while also keeping a competitive balance.”
While NTRP rating is clearly a point of conversation among USTA League players, USTA National NTRP Coordinator Larry Jones warned to beware of third-party sites that promise estimates of yearly NTRP marks “to the one-hundredth of a point.” The third-party sites do not use the official algorithm and are often inaccurate and misleading.
If anyone has questions about NTRP, please contact a local league coordinator for the fastest response. For a list of coordinators by state, please click here