All of this "secret rating" stuff is what turns alot of people off to USTA, IMO.
Why not make the "rules" transparent?
There are always going to be guys who try and cheat the system. You might as well define the rules clearly and obviously.
A good example of a system that I think many folks think "works" is Ultimate Tennis (formerly known as "KSwiss").
A few cut and pastes from their rulebook------
Only matches that you complete in full against your assigned opponents count towards your player rating. Defaults, incomplete matches, retirements and averages do not represent your abilities and are removed from the rating calculation. Additionally, matches played against subs are removed because players can select their own subs and subs are not motivated to play as hard as if the match counted for them. The end result is a rating that shows a statistically pure picture of how competitive you are at your current skill level.
To calculate your rating - Find the difference in the league points earned between you and your opponent for each valid match. Sum the point difference and divide by the total number of valid matches. This is the number you see in the rating column on your standings page. During the season you will notice your rating will change after each match, and will not be finalized until the end of the season.
Sample Rating Calculation
Note: Week 3 is not factored into the rating due to a sub being used.
Point Difference (rating)
17 is the total difference in points. 17 points divided by 6 valid matches equals a +2.8 end of season rating.
Our unique point system creates a playoff atmosphere all season long. Matches are more exciting, competitive and meaningful because every game counts.
You earn points based on the set scores of your matches. This encourages you to fight hard for every game and rewards you for close losses. Best of all, in the true spirit of tennis, no matter how far down you are you can always come back! Each season this creates exciting playoff point races that go down to the wire.
Our point system also dramatically improves the quality of your competition. You'll find our players will be competing at their appropriate level. Because our system measures the degree or strength of each win, skill levels can be adjusted with a far greater degree of accuracy. This produces a consistent level of competition which is the hallmark of Ultimate Tennis.
The winner receives: • 12 points for a 3 set win
• 14 points for a 2 set win
The loser receives:
One point for each game won in their two highest scoring sets. A player can receive up to a maximum of 8 points per match.
Example match score 6-4, 6-2
• winner receives 14 points
• loser receives 6 points
Example match score 6-2, 4-6, 7-5
• winner receives 12 points
• loser receives 8 points
Move Up Requirements •If your rating is -5.4 to +5.4 you remain at your current level.
•If your rating is +5.5 to +9.9 you move up 1 level.
•If your rating is +10.0 or greater you move up 2 levels.
Move Down Requirements•If your rating is -5.5 to -9.9 you move down 1 level.
•If your rating is -10.0 or lower you move down 2 levels.
Move Down Exceptions•If you moved up to a new skill level in your last season of play and finished with a -5.5 rating or lower, you will remain at your current skill level. This rule is designed to allow your game to to adjust to the higher level of play.
•If you finished the season with a -5.5 rating or lower, but in the season prior earned a rating of -4.0 or higher, you will remain at your current level for one more season.
Playoff Move Up Requirements
If you advance to the following playoff rounds you will be moved up to the next highest skill level regardless of your end of season rating.
•Draw of 2 - champion moves up
•Draw of 4 - champion moves up
•Draw of 8 - champion moves up
•Draw of 16 - finalist and champion move up
•Draw of 32 - finalist and champion move up
•Draw of 64 - semi-finalist, finalist and champion move up
•Draw of 128 - semi-finalist, finalist and champion move up