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Answering Questions About USTA Shadow Rankings

As I’ve been reporting for several months now, USTA is launching its new Junior Competition Structure January 1, 2021. To help families prepare for the new structure, USTA issued Shadow Rankings yesterday which prompted several questions about how individual junior players will be impacted by this new system. We will attempt to answer as many of them as possible in this article as well as in the Comments below.

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USTA has added information to its website explaining the new Tournament Structure as well as the Ranking Point Tables. They added another page specifically to help explain how the Shadow Rankings were calculated and how best to use them. You can find that page here. There is also a thorough FAQ helping to address common questions about the Shadow Rankings (click here).


Questions & Answers

1) There seems to be a lack of transparency in the points calculation for the Shadow Rankings – is this permanent?

The new point tables used to calculate the Shadow Rankings are publicly available on the USTA website. They were also distributed in the email announcing the rankings.

These point tables will go into effect in 2021 alongside the new nationwide tournament structure.

2) There doesn’t seem to be filtering in the Shadow Rankings. Please clarify.

In order to filter the Shadow Rankings, simply type the Section Name followed by / into the Search Box. For example, to see rankings for Boys 16s in the Southern Section, go to, scroll down to 16 and Under, then click In the search box on the top left of the page, type Southern/ (be sure to include the slash!). The page will populate with the complete list of Southern Boys 16s rankings.

3) There seems to be a number of players included in age groups which they have already aged out of – please clarify.

This technical oversight was immediately identified by the USTA team and will be corrected in the next batch of Shadow Rankings released in December.

4) For the 2021 actual ranking lists, will there be simple and clear 1-100 lists?

The USTA is currently developing a robust rankings interface that will be released in 2021. A number of components are being considered in order to maximize functionality and allow players to better understand their ranking.

5) I thought the main idea was to allow you to play across section lines to reduce travel.  Seems like USTA revamped the whole system.  Not sure each section has held their permitted Level 3 events.

The USTA will introduce the new nationwide competitive structure in 2021, which will create uniformity across all 17 sections. One benefit to this universal structure will be the ability to play across Section lines in order to reduce travel.

It should be noted that the Shadow Rankings simply applied the new point tables to 2020 events that exist under the current structure and regulations. They are designed to give players and parents a glimpse into how the new structure and point tables will affect their rankings in 2021 and beyond based upon their current schedule of events.

All Sections have had the opportunity to host both of their allotted Level 3 Closed events and we anticipate that they will all do so by the end of the year. One of the reasons for cancelling a number of National events was to allow for more Section and local play.

A big thank you to Lew Brewer and Dan Pyser at USTA for their input in answering your questions above!

If you would like to watch my interview with USTA’s Lew Brewer discussing the new Junior Competition Structure in more detail, click here. To watch a webinar hosted by USTA Midwest on the new structure, click here. For the 2021 National Junior Tournament Schedule, click here. [/swpm_protected]


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