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Old 09-26-2012, 04:26 PM   #99
dallasoliver's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 297

Originally Posted by dannythomas View Post
Just came across this thread and apologies for re-opening the debate. My opinion is that the TR rankings are in many ways more meaningful than the USTA ones. When you look at the reasons some players are ranked higher or lower on the TR system it is because it devalues the points earned by kids / parents who drive up and down their State or even the country looking for cheap points from tournaments with low level competition. TR recognizes that and it is good.
One point I would like to make is that there is no recognition of doubles results in the TR system. In this respect I think the USTA system is better where 15% of doubles points count. I wonder why TR cannot do this, i would have thought college coaches are interested in doubles performance too ?
Hi Danny -

This is a question that has come up a lot over the years. (I actually took some of the material in this response from a previous posting.)

We currently do not include doubles play in our rankings or feature them prominently at Why is this? I personally love doubles, and Julie Wrege (one of our founders who spent many years running the Girl's 14 Nationals in Atlanta) has always pushed for doubles to have prominence.

Our position is NOT because we find doubles unimportant. On the contrary, we would love to feature doubles more prominently. We are not doing more with doubles because it is a very difficult problem to tackle with a head-to-head ranking system.

Let me take a break to provide some background. (Apologies to those of you who already know all of this.) There are two kinds of ranking systems: (1) points-based systems, where players are fundamentally awarded points based on how far the progress in tournaments, and (2) head-to-head systems where players are assigned rank values based on who they beat. The USTA and (most of) its sections use points-based systems, and uses a head-to-head system.

Handling doubles in a points system is straightforward - just assign points to both players based on the round that they reach. You can even have a combined ranking that is a combination of point values from both singles and doubles.

In a head-to-head system, ranking with doubles is not so obvious. We tried some na´ve things - like crediting both winners and penalizing both losers - but the resulting rankings were horrible. Combining doubles with singles failed just as badly. A second problem we ran into was data quality. We spend an enormous amount of time and money getting accurate data for singles. While the data quality for singles is pretty good, we have found it difficult to get good data for doubles.

So, to answer your question, we have approached this problem a couple of times, but the task always seemed daunting with no good solution - and even if there was a good solution we are unsure if we would be able to handle the problems of getting the data.

In the end, we have always decided to tackle much smaller problems that we knew we could solve - like including player photos, ranking recruiting classes, etc. We are a small company with very limited resources - we can only tackle a small number of features each year, and we want those features to have a good bang for the buck.

Hopefully we will find a way to feature doubles some day, but that day is probably far in the future.

Originally Posted by dannythomas View Post
Also why do star ratings start from 6th graders ? There are a lot of 4th and 5th graders playing competitive tennis. I cant imagine it is because college coaches start being interested in players at age 11 but not 9 and 10. Just seems a little arbitrary and it would be nice to extend it to younger kids.
We talked about this when we started out. And you are correct - our choice of 6th grade is somewhat arbitrary. Here are a few reasons we start at 6th grade:

(1) Data for rankings really comes available in the 12-and-unders. There just isn't much data for the 10-and-unders. Most kids play 10&U until some time during the 5th grade.

(2) Honestly, ranking/rating elementary school kids at a website called seems a bit creepy. Our website does show some unofficial rankings for elementary school kids, but that is more of a mistake than anything else.

(3) We (obviously) have to cut things off somewhere. Middle and high school seems like a reasonable place to start.

(4) We debated whether or not to start our rankings/ratings in 9th grade, but introducing things in middle school gives players and parents a chance to learn about our site before it matters - so it is somewhat of an education and marketing tool for us.

I hope this helps.

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