9 Comments

  1. This feels like yet another commercial for UTR. To me UTR will only be one data point (among many) until it publishes the formula. The bottom line is that I have seen 6-0, 6-2 matches that were extremely competitive. The loser's UTR goes down when in reality it was a close match. Not according to UTR. Many times I've seen players win 6-4,7-5 (competitive) when they could have easily won 6-2,6-1 (non-competitive) but instead the winning player focused on doing something different in the match (e.g., serve & volley, harder second serve, etc.). With UTR the rating of the better player goes down. I've seen better players lose to lesser players because the better player was injured yet fought through the entire match. With UTR the rating of the better player goes down. UTR reminds me of the college football ranking system, which is not transparent. Your favorite team is blowing out an opponent then substitutes 2nd & 3rd stringers in the second half. The blowout becomes a closer, but still comfortable win. The winning team drops in the polls because it didn't win by enough.

  2. I agree that head-to-head results are better measures of ability than PPR, but UTR has too short of a timeframe for junior players. I see players fluctuate up and down as results may be based on as few as 5-6 tournaments (30 matches). One player last year rose to 12.6 then dropped to 11.6 then went back up to 12. Another player has gone from 12 to 12.7 in two months yet is ranked below 12.3 UTR players on TRN which is also a head to head system. At least on TRN, you can see history-where a player was the year before. If college coaches are going to use UTR as a recruiting tool, it would be more accurate if a player's historical ratings could be viewed. The average UTR rating over a 6-12 month period is probably more accurate than a UTR rating at a single point in time. It is not a straight upward trend for most players. If a player is from the Northeast or Midwest, their UTR might be higher in the winter as they are more used to playing on indoor courts. Floridians may see their rankings rise in the summer when there are more clay tournaments. If a player goes deep in 5 tournaments and plays 30 matches including the backdraw, his/her UTR rating will suffer if 1-2 of those tournaments are on surfaces on which that player usually does not train-that could be 40% of his/her counted matches. One major sectional tournament required for endorsement for nationals with a 128 draw was played on clay in January. Most of the clay courts in that section were frozen for 2 weeks before the tournament. Players who had access to playable clay courts in the days before probably did better at that tournament. Players who were not able to practice on clay beforehand may have lower UTR ratings for 3-4 months that will jump once results of that tourney drop off. Having a window of 50 matches or at least 6 months would reduce the seasonal fluctuation in ratings. Some players will be lucky if a college coach looks at their UTR when they are on an upswing; others may be passed over if the college coach looks at the wrong time. TRN has much less fluctuation. It is unfair when players have played and beaten the same players over a 6 month period, but certain players are rated up to .5 higher on TRN because those wins are within their match count and other players are lower as wins are outside their match count. May the guys rated .5 higher didnt even win but played a close 3 setter, but are still .5 higher than players who actually won more of those 3 setters. Until UTR includes 6 months or 50 matches in its junior ratings, juniors would be wise to avoid playing tourneys on less familiar surfaces. If they have to play for endorsement, then they should pull out once they are in backdraw. I believe players should finish tournaments and my son plays in the backdraw, but until UTR increases its junior match count, playing in the backdraw will drop many junior's UTR ratings as they will replace earlier main draw wins against higher rated opponents with wins against low rated opponents in the backdraw. There are seniors who have played few tournaments over the last year who have maintained high UTRs because they have played their 30 matches over 9-12 months. I like UTR in theory, but in reality UTR rewards players that have close matches with the highest rated players in a tourney so there is negative incentive for good practices such as playing the backdraw. UTR rates one player a 12.5 based on 12 months results and another a 12.2 based on 4 months results when the 12.2 may have much better results for the last 6 months. The same match may count on UTR for one opponent as that opponent has less than 30 matches and not count for the other player. If the match counts, it should count for both players. If the French club style local system were to prevail in the US, maybe players would not be playing up to 6-10 matches over a long weekend. That many matches is not healthy. Draws are too large in the big sections. Local play would permit more manageable draws,but until local play is the norm, please increase the junior match count or use a 6 month time frame so UTR ratings dont bounce around so much. Until UTR counts at least 6 months results, TRN is a more valid measure for US juniors. In theory UTR and TRN should be close as both are head to head, but in reality there are players rated much higher in one system than the other.

  3. Each rating and ranking system has its pros and cons. Given that many college coaches are starting to rely heavily on UTR for recruiting, I still maintain that it's crucial that parents, players, and coaches understand how it works and how it can be used to aid in tournament selection and the recruiting process. My purpose in continuing to repost these articles is to help us all be better educated. Information = Power.

  4. I check TRN every day ... a bit obsessive, I admit. My child just dropped a spot. Why? Because another player just jumped five spots and passed her! Five spots! That is incredible considering this ranking is updated every week (every other week?). And what did this player do to jump five spots? Absolutely nothing. Since March 1 the player has played a grand total of 4 matches losing 3 of them. How that gets you a jump of 5 spots boggles my mind. Until these systems (UTR and TRN) publish their algorithms there will always be lots of skepticism.

  5. Ever since UTR has gained traction, my son has gone into each match trying to limit game counts for lesser opponents. This has been contrary to working on particular aspects of his game. Instead of winning 7-5 6-4 while strengthening other aspects of his game, he's focused on getting the 6-2 6-2 score. In the long run, this is detrimental to the development of the junior game.

  6. David, what do you mean by 5 spots? 5 full utr points? .5 of a pt? or .05 of a pt?

    • I was referring to TRN ... the player went up five ranking spots in one week without playing a match.

  7. UTR has worked for my kids so far. We use it as a rough tool for measurement and a way to see progress, however little it might be. UTR has a become a bit of a second language in the household and that is not a bad thing. When somebody goes into a match where a they are way over matched they know there is a reward for fighting hard and trying to get 7 games. They might not win, but it helps change a kids attitude from " oh no I am going to get murdered again " to " Let's see what I can do here ". UTR helps me determine which draw to place my kid in a local less competitive tournament. It helps us select doubles partners. It helps me determine whether I should drive 3 hours to play in an event because I can assess the ability of the competition. I know it isn't perfect. I like the idea of including more results. I would like to see a graph for each player tracking their UTR over their entire career.

  8. sorry james I thought you were talking about UTR not TRN

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