Originally Posted by jmnk
I also really appreciate your opinions here. So I was thinking - what would you do differently if you were designing an USTA ranking system from scratch. I can see separating singles and doubles, perhaps add some 'points' for win (so 06 76 76 win is still a winning result even though one lost more games) - but other than that I have hard time figuring out how you can improve on what they have now.
The primary thing is to give more value to winning the match, i.e. don't base it simply on game differential. I do football ratings as well and there I do find that using just the score (with diminishing returns) is generally more accurate and extra weight doesn't need to be given to winning, but that is a sport where there is one score, not multiple sets where the winner can have a negative game differential.
I might also look at a non-linear scale for the component that uses game differential (perhaps the USTA does today with the table they have, I don't know) and also give less weight to matches between mis-matched players, unless there is an upset of course.
Also, I'd probably look at another approach than the averaging the latest match rating with last three dynamic ratings approach to make more recent matches count more. I do some other things with my other ratings systems that seems to work reasonably well.
Last, I'd look at ways to try to keep thrown matches from affecting ratings too much. Potential ideas are throwing out results that are way above or below normal, or at least giving them less weight.