Junior Tournaments & Rankings

Your USTA Ranking & Tournament Questions Answered

As promised, I had a video chat with USTA’s National Manager for Youth Tournaments, Dan Holman, which you can view below:

When I put out a call for questions across our social channels, I received an overwhelming response – thank you for that! I was only given 30 minutes for the interview, so I had to choose carefully the questions I asked Dan to address. For those questions we didn’t get to in the video, I sought answers from others in the know at USTA and have posted those below.

My hope is that we will continue to do these video chats with Dan on a regular basis as new updates are rolled out. In the meantime, you are welcome to continue sending me any questions you have, and I’ll do my best to get them answered directly by USTA on your behalf. Hang in there!

Additional Questions (Answers provided by USTA)

1. There are only 10 players per page on the rankings. PLEASE change it to 100 players per page.

We are continually making enhancements to the user experience and updates will continue to be rolled out.

2. When I’m on the new site and I’m on the Girls 18’s singles draw, and I refresh the page to update the draw, it defaults to Boys 14’s Doubles or some other random draw. This needs to be fixed.

We continue to address issues and make fixes as we come across them.

3. The new site also defaults to Consolation bracket and not main draw bracket. This needs to be fixed.

See above

4. What are the upcoming enhancements to the site? The user experience (especially from mobile devices) is terrible.

A more robust Player Profile will be available in early May. Also an app is in development that will contain a number of these functionalities.

5. Are Bonus Points being calculated in backdraw wins and walkovers?

Here is link that explains how bonus points are calculated

6. When will the ranking list be updated to include numbers so a player can see his/her sectional ranking without having to manually count through names on the list?

The National Standings Lists are filterable by Section to allow players to see their Section standing.

7. Why they did not increase the window of months to determine the current rankings given COVID19?

The new system was designed to incorporate 2020 match data. Migrating the unstructured match data from pre-2020 was not plausible and the decision was made to move forward with only the 2020 match data.

8. What is the USTA going to do to address local kids getting bumped out of their own local tourneys, by out of section kids traveling way more under the new national ranking system to chase “easy” points? Why would local clubs keep holding tournaments if their own players can’t get in? Can’t we have a system where tourneys are open to out of section players as long as no in section kids get bumped?

We feel one of the benefits of the new unified structure, which has become even more evident with limited play opportunities in some parts of the country, is the ability to play across Sections and have the points count towards players’ national ranking. As more Sections and regions open up and begin hosting more events, this will become less of an issue.

9. Will USTA get rid of state quotas for sectionals, and sectional quotas for national open events? Many thought that was going to be an outcome of a single national ranking. Seems wrong to be advantaged/disadvantaged if you are the 21st best player from a strong section with a quota of 20 and still ranked higher nationally and objectively better than the 7th best player of another section with a quota of 8. (just making up an example).

Sectional quotas and equitable geographic representation in nationally sanctioned events is a core philosophy of USTA National Championships.

10. Related, will USTA ever move from the points-per-round to quality wins/losses and strength of schedule (like TennisRecruiting) or to UTR ratings (which events are already using for selection). Can USTA make any case where points chasing via points-per-round produce better outcomes for junior player development?

The USTA stands behind points-per-round rankings as the best way to evaluate and select players.

11. I was wondering why there are different rules for player selection for L1, L2 and L3 tourneys. L1 has wildcards you can apply for, L2s have wildcards that you don’t have to apply for and L3s have no wildcards or allowance for high UTRs. Is there a way to simplify this process? Two wildcards or allowances per 32 players? This would allow for players who have not been able to play much due to the pandemic.

Selection process and criteria for all national events are clearly defined on the tournament websites. The Wild Card Committee uses an all-factors selection criteria.

12. I understand many of the ranking changes but I am not able to verify bonus results. In the past I double checked bonus points, but now the points are listed but there is no way to verify the results – no transparency.

An enhanced Player Profile will be available in early May. Additional information regarding bonus points is available on the USTA website.

13. Why don’t Open level points count down to 18’s points if you are still under 18?

Note from Lisa: Sorry, no answer for this question.

14. Why can 12U only play two tournaments that are out of section and have them count toward their ranking and 14U+ can only play three and have them count.

This is referring to quota, not to the National Standings List.  All results will count towards a player’s standing as long as those results are considered in a player’s top six results.  Here is a link to our junior regulations and quota is explained starting on page 19.

15. Why is it so complicated to sign up for an L3? Why does the USTA system allow 3 entries? If they want the kids to only sign up for 2 this is a correction that needs to be done to the USTA tournament entry system.

Here is the link to clarify L3 selection process

16. New L1 tournaments should be gold ball events, this will take some change in current regulations defining what a gold ball event is, can you please make that happen for May L1 and make awards retroactive to March L1?

USTA regulations define what is considered a gold ball event and what is not. These newly created events are not considered gold ball events per the regulations:

A. USTA National Championships. Annually the USTA shall sanction USTA National Championships for boys and girls in each age division (18, 16, 14, and 12) as follows:
• USTA National Spring Championships (Easter Bowl)
• USTA National Clay Court Championships
• The USTA National Championships
• USTA National Indoor Championships
• USTA National Winter Championships

17. What is your recommended pathway for players who a year ago not only would have qualified, but automatically have been accepted into, any L5 tournament?

As more areas open up and more events are held, there will be more opportunities for players to play in these types of events.

18. If they are relying on parents and players to tell them where the issues are then they will never fix all the issues because the kids that have benefitted from the rankings errors are not going to tell them. Is there not a more sophisticated way to start fresh with all the data and better coding – maybe by an outside firm that specializes in data and modeling – to get it right for everyone?

We currently have internal and external specialists working to hone and refine all areas of the digital platform, including the National Standings Lists.


One thought on "Your USTA Ranking & Tournament Questions Answered"

  1. JWurster

    Thanks Lisa for getting someone from USTA to at least sit down and pretend to really want to listen and answer questions. Unfortunately the damage has been done to a lot of older junior players. The idea that they would schedule the L1 on top of AP exams is not anything that academically-oriented players haven’t faced. Our section continues to schedule high level tournament on SAT and ACT dates. Selection for the newest L1 will not account for the changes in players rankings and ratings due to issues beyond the player’s control in 2020-2021 and will be just as messed up as all the previous 2021 L1s, L2s and L3s. The reason that they had so many players apply for recent events is not entirely because players are clamoring to play as Dan asserted in your interview. It’s because a lot players have to play every opportunity now, wherever it is, to pull their fallacious ranking up. Otherwise, they won’t get into the summer events. Another factor contributing to the increase is all these players who are now somehow high enough on the ranking list and have never played a national event their entire junior career realize they can get in. Continuing to be tied to PPR tournaments is crazy given how badly the rankings reflect a true stratification of level. Anyone can use UTR to find the outliers that don’t belong. It is not good for any 4.0 UTR to get accepted into a G18s National L2 or L3, especially the 4.0 UTR player. The USTA has failed players and for some the damage can’t be undone.

    Keep up the great work!!

    March 25, 2021 at 6:33 am

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