Tennis ratings and what they mean
Tennis ratings are used to identify an athlete’s experience level and understanding of the sport. As an athlete develops and refines their skillset, such as strokes, control of the court and forcing errors, their tennis ratings will increase. Unlike tennis rankings, tennis ratings help match athletes solely based on playing ability, without regard to age, ethnicity, gender, etc. For example, a 16-year-old male player could be matched with a 30-year-old female player if they both have a comparable tennis rating.
What is the Universal Tennis Rating and how does it work?
Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) is the official rating system for college tennis in the U.S. UTR is an indexing system that rates a player’s tennis skills using a single 16-point scale. This rating system does not consider age, gender, nationality, or locale; only playing ability. Most college tennis players and junior tournament players worldwide use the UTR system.
What are NTRP ratings?
The National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) was designed to help athletes measure their playing ability and track their progress as they develop their tennis game. The system rates tennis players on a scale of 1.0 (beginner) through 7.0 in 0.1 increments. Each rating includes general characteristics and skills that define an athlete’s playing ability. Athletes are assigned a rating based on their performance in USTA-sanctioned junior tournaments, USTA Junior Team Tennis, men’s/women’s Opens, USTA Pro Circuit events and International Tennis Federation (ITF) events held in the U.S.
The main benefit of this system is that it rewards players through their tennis development and allows tournaments to match athletes with similar playing ability, rather than by age or gender.
What is the difference between a rating and a ranking?
Unlike tennis rankings, which compare athletes of the same gender in a specific age group to one another based on their tournament performance, a player rating is a number assigned to an athlete that represents their personal playing ability, without regard to age, ethnicity, gender, etc.
How do tennis rankings work?
Each tennis tournament has a certain number of points associated with it that are determined by the size of the tournament. Tennis players earn points for how far they advance during the tournament. At the conclusion of each year, tennis players can see how well they performed in tournaments during the calendar year compared to other athletes. Because the ranking system is based on weekly tournament participation, the tennis rankings fluctuate from week-to-week.
It’s important to note that tennis rankings don’t necessarily identify the best players. For example, Andy Murray was ranked No. 832 one week, despite being one of the best men’s tennis players in the world. What tennis rankings identify is the players that had the best tournament results during the current year. Athletes who perform unexpectedly well in a tournament can make a major jump in ranks as a result, just as an athlete can drastically fall in rank if they perform poorly in a tournament. This is why college tennis recruits should never rely solely on their rankings to impress college coaches during the recruiting process.
How important are tennis rankings in recruiting?
When it comes to college recruiting, tennis rankings on Tennisrecruiting.net are where college coaches first turn to when building their list of prospects. Division 1 programs, in particular, will reference the list of top 50 players and look for athletes who are labeled as Blue Chip in their age group. Coaches will then cross-check these rankings by reviewing the athlete’s UTR rating. If a recruit is not ranked by Tennisrecruiting.net, it is unlikely that they will make a college coach’s list of potential recruits.
For international athletes, coaches will focus on those that are ranked the top in their country. This varies from country to country depending on how competition is set up and whether the country uses the UTR rating system.
Men’s tennis recruiting guidelines by NCAA Division level
|Tier 1||Tier 2||Tier 3||Tier 4|
|Top NCAA D1||Lower level NCAA D1; top level NCAA D2 and NAIA||Lower level NCAA D2||NCAA 3|
|Tennisrecruiting.net||4-star recruit, preferred 5-star+, Blue Chip||Minimum 3-star recruit, preferred 4-star+||Minimum 2-star recruit, preferred 2-star+||Minimum 1-star recruit, preferred 1-star+|
|UTR||12.5+||11.5+||9.5+||11+ for top D3 programs, 6+ mid- to lower-D3 programs|
|National Rank||Top 50–100||Top 200||Top 500||n/a|