Junior Tournaments & Rankings

More Info on the WTN

While I am still waiting for an official statement from USTA (which I expect to receive early next week) regarding how it will use the ITF’s World Tennis Number (WTN) rating system, I did want to share some other information with y’all. As I mentioned in my last article, I have reached out to my contacts at USTA, ITA, UTR, TRN, and ITF to gather as much intel as possible on this new rating and how it will impact junior tennis. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

From USTA:

USTA events will continue to count towards UTR ratings. Any issues over the past couple of weeks can be attributed to technical issues with the new platform that have been addressed. We are still in talks with the ITF about how to properly roll out the WTN in the U.S. and that probably won’t happen for another couple of months.

From UTR:

We continue to work with the USTA and expect the collaboration to continue. As UTR Pro Tennis Tour events expand across America and the globe, we still plan to include all USTA match results in junior player’s UTR so they count towards college recruiting.

As always, we are fully committed to continue supporting college coaches and tennis programs. As the official rating of college tennis and the ITA, UTR continues to be the gold standard for recruiting.

From the ITA:

Our coaches are looking forward to learning more about the WTN in the coming months. The USTA will be running some webinars for the college coaches in the coming months so they can better understand how it works and how it will apply to their recruiting. College coaches will adopt the WTN in their recruiting efforts as one more indicator/tool as to the level of a player. They will be comparing it the UTR and looking through the players’ results to get a sense of how accurate they believe it to be. Coaches will still be using TennisRecruiting.net, UTR, and doing their own homework on the players to determine how they might fit in with their own team and goals. They may end up weighing one more than the other but they won’t base decisions solely off one of these tools. I don’t see any need for panic, if anything it will hopefully help ensure a better fit for players and coaches. Maybe the WTN becomes the dominant rating system in the coming years and coaches lean more on WTN than UTR but it is too early to tell at this point.

More from the ITA:

80% of match results around the world come from 20 or so countries, so the ITF wants those countries enrolled in WTN as soon as possible. Other than that, it could be a 2-3 year window before the WTN really takes off. Over time the ITF has committed to making the WTN the criteria for tournament selection and seeding in its events. There are still several questions such as which matches get reported where? Will USTA abandon its own ranking system and use only WTN? Ultimately, WTN and UTR are doing the same thing much like an iPhone does the same thing as an Android phone. UTR has been around 10+ years while WTN is brand new and bound to suffer growing pains. We’re in the midst of a changing world of junior tennis. ITF has its Tennis Open Data Standards to keep data clean so, for example, players don’t wind up with multiple ratings with their names spelled differently.

Please continue to check back here for updates as they come in. I know many of you are concerned about how this new rating system will impact your Junior Player’s ability to get into tournaments, be seeded in those events, and how it will affect college recruiting. For now, please take comfort in the fact that all parties involved understand this is a new rating system that will likely have some bugs in the early stages. Tournament directors and college coaches are still looking at multiple ratings and rankings when selecting players. The bottom line is that no rating or ranking system is perfect so the focus should remain on players getting better each time they step foot on the tennis court. Hang in there!

 

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