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The ITF’s World Tennis Number

Over the past few years, we have heard a lot of talk and speculation about the International Tennis Federation (ITF) creating a rating system of its own to compete with UTR. Earlier this week, they announced the launch of the World Tennis Number (WTN), and almost immediately the chatter began about how it will impact junior players on a quest to play college tennis or turn pro. Over the next week or so, I’m hoping to help clear up some of the questions by sharing what I’m learning from my contacts at ITF, USTA, ITA, UTR, and Tennis Recruiting. As more information becomes available, I will update you via this website, so please keep checking back.

Firstly, let me say that the WTN is the creation of the ITF, itself a not-for-profit organization (UTR, by contrast, is a for-profit entity). There are in excess of 200 member tennis federations in the ITF with the largest being the 4 Grand Slam Nations. The ITF aims to get all 200+ federations enrolled in the WTN system – so far, there look to be about 30 federations signed up to use WTN.

Secondly, it is up to each tennis federation to educate its members on how it will use WTN. The ITF has provided very minimal information and education around its new rating system. Different from the way UTR rates players, the WTN scale starts at 40 for a beginning player and goes to 1 for a top-level pro.

Thirdly, and most importantly, Tennis Parents and Junior Coaches should remember that the focus should be on daily improvement on and off the court as opposed to what a particular rating or ranking system says. WTN is still very new and still in its roll-out phase so, for now at least, let’s not get too locked in to which matches and tournaments count toward which rating or ranking. If it’s in your child’s best interest to play a USTA tournament, then sign her up. If it’s in your child’s best interest to play a UTR tournament, then sign him up. As long as these kids are practicing and competing and continuing to improve, their ratings and rankings will reflect that.

For our US readers, if you are interested in becoming educated about the WTN, please reach out to your Junior Comp representative at your section’s USTA office and ask. If you’re located outside the US, your local federation should be able to provide you with this education as well. The more parents who request information, the more likely we all are to get what we need to better understand this newest member of the Ratings/Rankings landscape.


    Davefish1 on 24th Jul 2024

    Well said, Lisa. Ratings are simply numbers, not indicating potential, character or grit. They are a navigational tool to be used properly by players to optimize their competitive balance, and for providers to provide opportunities that support this process of player development. We must tell players the truth – there are no shortcuts. Embrace the hard work of development. Look for ways to meet challenges, not avoid them. Tennis is difficult. As famed psychologist Abraham Maslow once said, The greatest satisfaction comes from mastering something that is truly difficult.”

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