Questions & Answers
January 1, 2017
What is NTRP?
National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) is a classification system developed in 1978 that identifies and describes the general characteristics of thirteen levels of tennis-playing ability.
What is a self-rating?
A self-rating is an entry rating level determined by the new player or a player re-entering the Adult Division with an M (mixed) or T (tournament) rating, based on questions asked in the TennisLink registration process. All players must enter league tennis with a valid computer rating or self rate using TennisLink.
What is a Dynamic rating?
A dynamic rating is the result of a player's current match averaged with up to three of your most recent dynamic results generated. A dynamic rating is calculated after each match. A dynamic rating may change with each match played by the player.
What is a year-end rating?
A year-end rating is a NTRP level assigned at conclusion of the league championship year that reflects level of ability. A player’s year-end rating shall be used to enter leagues during the following year and will be valid for up to three years for players 59 or under or two years for players 60 and over or until another rating is generated.
When are end-of-year ratings published?
NTRP ratings will be available on TennisLink around December 1.
How many matches are required to generate a Year-End rating?
A minimum of three matches in qualifying leagues or NTRP tournaments opted-in for are needed to generate a year-end rating.
What does the letter after my rating mean?
S - Self-rate
A - Appeal
C - Computer
D - Dynamic
E - Early Start Rating
M - Mixed exclusive year-end
T - Tournament exclusive year-end
For more complete definitions of rating types please see Glossary at the end of USTA Regulations booklet or document.
What is an early start rating?
An early start rating is a tentative rating for exclusive use by players who register for an early start league prior to publication of year-end ratings. The rating is based on the most current dynamic at the time of publication. Early start ratings are replaced by year-end ratings. If you play in an early start league with an early start rating, please check with your section to see if you may continue to compete on your team if your year-end rating goes up.
When are dynamic ratings calculated?
Dynamic ratings for local play are calculated nightly for the Adult Divisions. During championships, dynamic ratings can be run instantly as match results are entered. Please check with your Section to see if they run reports during the championships or if they run the reports after the championships.
Is there a difference between a dynamic rating and a year-end rating?
Yes, there are several.
- Dynamic ratings are not disclosed to players, whereas year-end ratings are published annually at NTRP levels.
- Dynamic ratings are expressed to the one-hundredth of a point, whereas year-end ratings are expressed only to the one-half point.
- Dynamic ratings are calculated regularly and based on an average of the current match plus the previous three dynamic ratings, whereas year-end ratings are based on a combination of a player's cumulative dynamic rating during the season and a comparison to an appropriate benchmark player.
Can my rating level change during the championship year?
- If you receive the 3rd strike and are dynamically disqualified at your present level.
- If an NTRP Grievance is upheld, this may also result in raising your level. (see Disqualification Process below)
If my rating changes with every match played, can I see it?
No. Ratings are only published at year end.
Does the dynamic calculation treat doubles partners differently?
Dynamic calculation maintains the rating differential between doubles partners that existed before a match. For example if a 3.3 and a 3.5 player are paired together, specific match results are applied to each player equally and the two partners will maintain the .2 differential.
Does a dynamic calculation apply to Mixed League play?
Yes, for players who participate exclusively in the Mixed Division. Mixed results will not be included in year-end rating calculations for those who play at least 3 matches in any Adult Division.
How does a mixed exclusive player get a rating?
The last dynamic rating generated with a minimum of three matches calculated in Mixed Doubles exclusively is the year-end mixed rating (M) that will be used as the NTRP start level for the next year.
Can I use my mixed exclusive rating to play in other divisions?
A mixed exclusive (M) player must self-rate in order to join the Adult Division. Mixed exclusive is a minimum NTRP start level only. A mixed exclusive rating is not supported by any NTRP dynamic disqualification calculation data and is subject to NTRP grievance.
Do USTA sanctioned tournaments count in the dynamic rating system? If so, can a tournament win be used as one of the three “strikes”?
Each Section has the option of including NTRP tournament results for year-end calculations. If your Section includes sanctioned NTRP tournament match scores, they will not be calculated into the system until after the USTA League National Championships. Sanctioned NTRP tournament results do not generate strikes; however, they will impact your year-end rating.
If my NTRP level of play is not available in my local league, what are my options?
- File an appeal to determine if you are within the appeal range
- Work with your local or district league coordinator to establish a new league at that level.
- Play in a league that offers combined ratings.
- Play USTA NTRP sanctioned tournaments.
- Play in a Flex League if offered in your area.
How high can my dynamic rating go before I earn a “strike”?
The Dynamic NTRP system allows a certain tolerance for player improvement—more for lower level players where rapid improvement is more likely; less for higher-level players. The specific improvement factor is not published because of concerns that individuals, captains or others may attempt to manage their ratings.
How can I appeal my early start or year-end rating?
Appeal on TennisLink under: "FIND NTRP RATING INFORMATION" (year-end rating only)
Who can appeal?
- Computer rated players—Up or Down
- Mixed Exclusive players—Up or Down
- Self-rated players—Up
Appeal on TennisLink when "Registering for a team"
- Early Start dynamic ratings—Down
- Computer rated players—Down
- Mixed Exclusive players—Down
What must be referred/heard by the Section or their designee?
- Self-rated players who wish to move DOWN
- All medical appeals
- Already APPEALED ratings
- Early Start dynamic ratings—Up
Each section also provides directions, deadlines and any related fee on their website.
When and how do I get a self-rating?
If you do not have a computer rating you must self-rate before entering a USTA League program. Go to national.usta.com and you will be connected directly toTennisLink. You will need your membership number, your team number, and a major credit card. Click on "Register for a Team" and follow the prompts which will lead you through the registration and self-rate process. If you are not attempting to register for a team, you may click on the self-rate link and complete the process without a team number.
What if I think a self-rated player has not rated himself or herself accurately?
On any given day, a player may play above or below his or her NTRP rating level . If you truly feel a self-rated player is significantly above level, a captain or coordinator may file an NTRP grievance. Contact your Local League coordinator.
Can I declare a different self-rating for different Adult Divisions (e.g., 3.5 for Adult 18 & Over and 4.0 for Adult 40 & Over)?
No. Once you declare an initial self-rating, you are bound by it for two years or until you generate a computer rating. So if you plan to play 4.0 in 40 & Over but also want to play 3.5 Adult 18 & Over later in the year – be certain that you select 3.5 if an option.
What if I have self-rated and played four matches in the Adult 18 & Over Division and then sign up for the Adult 40 & Over Division. Will I use my self-rating or will the system generate a computer rating for me?
The system will have a Dynamic NTRP number from all of your Adult Division play. However, you will continue with the self-rating you selected until the year-end computer ratings are published; unless of course, you are disqualified and you then must immediately move up.
Can I be disqualified if I have a valid computer rating?
No, however players whose Year End ratings have been reduced through appeal actions or players with published dynamic ratings in early-start leagues are subject to NTRP Dynamic Disqualification.
Who can be NTRP dynamically disqualified?
Year-end computer (C) players are not subject to NTRP Dynamic Disqualification. All other players who play in Adult Divisions are subject to NTRP Dynamic Disqualification.
Why would I be dynamically disqualified?
When a player receives three strikes, he or she will be notified that he or she has been NTRP Dynamically Disqualified. This happens because when a self-rating that is much too low for the player's ability is selected.
What is a strike and how do I get one?
Each time a player’s dynamic rating exceeds the maximum tolerance for the level, he or she automatically earns a "strike."
If I receive a third strike while participating in another division, but following the conclusion of my Section Championship for a given year and Division, will I be allowed to advance to Nationals if otherwise qualified?
No. The exception is if you are playing in a league using combo ratings (Mixed Adult 55 & Over, Combo). As long as the player's (at the new NTRP level of play) and his or her partner's combined ratings do not exceed the NTRP level of your team, the player will be allowed to continue to play on that team.
What are the consequences of NTRP Dynamic Disqualification?
In all cases, the player is disqualified from participation at that NTRP level in all USTA League programs. Each USTA Section will determine which of two methods the Section will follow at the local and the championship level. The effect on team standings may vary, depending on when the NTRP Dynamic Disqualification occurs:
During local league:
In all cases, the player is disqualified from participation at that NTRP level. Each USTA Section will determine what matches, if any will be reversed for the local season.
Each Section must state before the event one of two methods for NTRP Dynamic Disqualification.
- Following completion of Championship play: The player is disqualified from participation at that NTRP level for the balance of the year and the succeeding year. If the Section elects to run the computer ratings following completion of the championships, match scores by the NTRP Dynamically Disqualified player will stand.
- Throughout Championship play: If the Section elects to run calculations throughout the championship event, the player will be disqualified from participation at that NTRP level for the balance of the year and the succeeding year.
- Round Robin format: Throughout the championship, any player reaching the NTRP Dynamic Disqualification criteria will have all matches at that NTRP level reversed to 0-6, 0-6.
- Single Elimination format: Throughout the championship, the last match played by the NTRP Dynamically Disqualified player at that NTRP level will be reversed to 0-6, 0-6.
Will I be notified if I earn a “strike”?
No. Notice occurs only after three strikes are accumulated. Players often receive one or two strikes and never get the third. To needlessly worry or prevent a player from participating based on the possibility of getting a strike is not fair to the player or the team.
Will I be told exactly which matches earned me “three strikes”?
Yes. If not provided the player can ask the Section League Coordinator or designee which matches earned the strikes. All matches played are visible in TennisLink.
Who is notified in the event of a disqualification? By whom? How quickly?
Responsibility for monitoring dynamic ratings lies with the Section League Coordinator or Designee. When a "third strike" situation arises, the Section League Coordinator or Designee will first notify:
- the player’s Team Captain, using the Captain’s e-mail address as reported in TennisLink;
- the affected player, by telephone, e-mail or voicemail message, and
- the relevant District and Local League Coordinator.
Notification is made as soon as possible once a third strike has been received.
Are all players in a given NTRP level equal in ability?
No: The NTRP system identifies general levels of ability, but an individual will be rated within those levels at 50 different hundredths of a point. For example, a 3.5 player can fall anywhere between a 3.01 and a 3.50. That is the reason many people feel they are playing sandbaggers – they are closer to the bottom of that range while their opponents are closer to the top of the range.
A typical match result for a player, for example, with a 3.01 rating versus a 3.49 player, both of whom are 3.5s, would be 6-0, 6-0 in favor of the higher rated player.
The rules state that NTRP Dynamic Disqualification is not part of the Mixed Division. If I am dynamically disqualified in the Adult Division, am I allowed to participate at the disqualified level in Mixed Division for the remainder of the League Year?
No. Even though the Mixed Division does not allow NTRP Dynamic Disqualification, it must follow the rules in relation to playing at the correct level. A player who has been moved up as a result of a disqualification in the Adult Division must immediately adjust his/her NTRP level of play in the Mixed Division. The player will have two options:
- If a combined NTRP level team, he/she may continue on that team by adjusting the levels. (9.0 combined team—disqualified 4.5 player now at 5.0 must play with no greater than a 4.0 player)
- If a single NTRP level team, he/she must move up to the appropriate NTRP level or sit out the balance of that season depending on the section’s regulations. (A player on a combined NTRP level team may also choose to move up if the Section allows.)
In the Mixed Division, all matches played up until the notification of the disqualification will be counted. Any match played at the disqualified level following notification of the disqualification will be counted as defaults for the individual team match of the disqualified player and 6-0, 6-0 wins for the opponents in those individual matches.
If I am NTRP Dynamically Disqualified during the Adult Local league, what happens to my matches in other Divisions?
- If a local NTRP Dynamic Disqualification occurs during concurrent Adult local league seasons, the disqualifications shall affect the matches played by the disqualified player in both Divisions.
- If the seasons are not concurrent or over-lapping, the NTRP disqualification shall affect the matches played by the disqualified player in the season in which the NTRP Dynamic Disqualification occurred.
- The Section determines the penalties to be imposed for NTRP Dynamic Disqualifications.
Can I use my Tournament rating to play in other Divisions?
A Tournament exclusive rated player who chooses to participate in the USTA League Adult Division must self-rate in order to join this Division. A Tournament exclusive rating is not supported by any NTRP calculation data and is subject to NTRP grievances.
Do other leagues in my Section count for Year-End ratings?
Each Section may opt-in to include other Section administered leagues such as Combo and Tri-Level. If you are unsure what results are included please check with your Local, District/Area or Section League Coordinator.