Junior Tournaments

USTA NorCal is excited to announce its partnership with the Universal Tennis Ratings® to pilot the use of ratings in junior tournaments. NorCal, true to its innovative spirit and cutting edge reputation, is excited to be the very first USTA section to partner with Universal Tennis Ratings.

Click here if you're ready to find out your Universal Tennis Rating® and see where you rank among the sections top 50 men and women.

What are the Universal Tennis Ratings®?

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What’s unique and innovative about UTR® is that it pulls in data from more sources that any other rating tool. UTR® incorporates ATP, WTA, ITA (collegiate tennis), ITF, as well as USTA National, and some USTA sectional matches (data input at the local level at this point tends to vary around different regions of the country).  What this allows UTR® to provide is a universal scale for a tennis players to self-assess.  This is the first time our sport has had one common denominator; whereby a local player starting to engage and love the sport can compare themselves to the top juniors, to the best men’s and women’s open players locally, to each and every college player and program around the country, to pro circuit players, and also compare themselves to the very top pro tennis players like Federer, Nadal, Williams, and Sharapova.

In a nutshell all Sanctioned NorCal yellow ball junior events count towards UTR®, as well as Men’s and Women’s Open events. All USTA National play counts also. Non sanctioned events do not count.

What matches count towards a player’s UTR®?

UTR® is an algorithmic based ratings scale that takes into account a players last 30 matches, or 12 months of play.  Only SINGLES matches are used to calculate a player's UTR®.The rating takes into account the level of both opponents, as well as the score of the match. A ‘competitive match’ is where the loser wins just more than half of the games of the winner. For instance a 6-4 6-3 match would be deemed competitive. (Note: This is just a numeric line in the sand, it is not to say that a 6-2 6-2 match cannot be very competitive also). Most rating tools just look at the win/loss, but UTR® allows there to be a win/win in tennis – where the winner progresses in the draw, but if the loser (and lower rated player) can make it a ‘competitive match’ then their rating will improve also!

Who gets a Universal Tennis Rating®?

ALL OUR JUNIORS, AS WELL AS OUR MENS/WOMENS OPEN PLAYERS ARE UT RATED! NorCal is excited to announce that all players who have played in a sanctioned norcal junior event, or a men’s or women’s open, will have generated at UT Rating®. This is a great value add for our section as NorCal is the first section to offer this benefit to its members. Our players now have another way to measure their progress in tennis, to assess their opponents, to understand the level of play at tournaments they may want to enter, as well as to realistically understand where they might likely be able to play college tennis.

The ITA, some four years ago, was the first governing body to partner with UTR®. All Division I, II, and III players are rated and this has several positive benefits. Player who are not ranked in the ITA polls (the top 125 players only are ranked) now have a way to measure their performance and improvement. College coaches have widely embraced UTR® because it gives them a common ground for recruiting. Whilst TRN has proven very helpful for college coaches, UTR® can actually illustrate where a recruit would insert themselves into that coaches current lineup, which is something that the TRN star system cannot do.  Generating reliable UT Ratings® for our players helps equip our players with an extra benefit  as they seek college roster spots and scholarship dollars.

How often are ratings updated?

USTA NorCal sends in data from all sanctioned junior events, as well as Men’s and Women’s Opens – on a weekly basis. However players ratings can fluctuate slightly on any given day, almost like a stock price. This is because players are ‘mathematically connected’ to all the players they have competed against, and players their opponents have competed against, and so on.

Which tournaments will use UTR®?

In addition to having earned a UT Rating by NorCal tournament participation, NorCal also offers 2 new events that are Level Based. The ‘SUPER SERIES’ events will be organized according to level, as also our new ‘COED ROUND ROBINS.’

Also of note is the fact that the ITA Summer Circuit (July 2014) uses the UT Ratings to organize the players in a meaningful way for competition. NorCal piloted the use of the UT Ratings in 2013. Our Directors (Redondo - UOP, Alipaz – St Mary’s, Steidlmayer – UC Davis, and Cunningham - Sonoma State) and players found it to be so beneficial that the ITA Summer Circuit has adopted the use of UTR across the whole country for 2014. Congratulations to our college coaches for leading the way.

Is UTR® used for selection?

Yes – in both the above mentioned tournaments (Super Series as well as Coed Round Robins) as well as our Level 4 national events, known as “excellence” events. up to 12 spots in our Excellence events can be earned by players who have high UT Ratings. For instance in our 32 excellence draws, up to 12 players will be selected according to UTR®, as long as the lowest UTR player has a higher rating, than the 20th ranked player on the selection list for that specific event.

Why is USTA NorCal piloting Universal Tennis Ratings®?

The Junior Council seeks to achieve these principles for our competitive structure:

  • Allow players identify their level and play in level-appropriate competitions
  • Maximize the number of competitive matches (matches where losing player wins ½ of the games played)
  • Create a structure by which players earn advancement from one level to the next
  • Help players understand their potential prospects for playing college tennis
  • Be simple to understand

Your NorCal Junior Council, as well as a Taskforce of top coaches, and experienced tennis constituents, have long deliberated on methods and means of achieving these philosophical principles. What we found after close analysis of the data, is that a vast majority of matches at USTA Sanctioned events are non-competitive matches. Our Excellence and Sectional events reach a threshold of around 2/3 noncompetitive, and 1/3 completive  matches.  In several of our draws  it was found that there was a huge span of levels within the same draw. One draw could have the players up to 8 UT levels apart. With the data generated by the use of UTR® we know that players within 1.0 of each other are highly likely to have a competitive match. Players up to 8 levels apart should not face each other in sanctioned competition.

UT Ratings can help our section achieve all of the above mentioned principles. We will be using UTR® to measure the competitiveness of our events. The ‘gold standard’ for competitiveness is 55% on the women’s side, and 70% on the men’s side. This means that the most competitive events to be analyzed have 55% and 70% competitive matches respectively. College Tennis, as well as ATP and WTA events reach this gold standard.  

USTA NorCal is aiming to change the landscape locally by improving the local competitive experience of our young players. The use of ratings helps us to ensure more equitable matchups, and minimize the number of non competitive matches, or ‘morbid matches’ as they are called. If players have better and closer matches as they are testing the waters in tennis, and if they experience a minimal number of blowouts, then hopefully incresed participation will result.

Players most need level appropriate matches and positive competitive experiences, right here in our backyard, each and every weekend.

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