Goodbye, USTA. Hello UTR.

jangotango

Semi-Pro
Since aging up today from the 16U to 18U age bracket, I think it's time for me to call it quits on USTA tournaments. As an average junior player, the UTR system provides far more up sides. I can't imagine why a player belonging to the 95% of tennis players (UTR 6-7 and below) would want to spend the majority of their resources on the USTA system.
  1. Cost - The UTR tournaments in my area are far cheaper and allows a player to get more "bang for their buck." Challengers are all $48.88 + tax, and if bad weather hits, many times the tournament directors just shorten format to pony sets. Two pony matches guaranteed for $50? No thanks. Open tournaments, which don't even count towards USTA rankings, are also $50. The cheapest UTR tournaments that I've competed in have been $20+tax, in a best 2 of 3, six game set, ad-scoring format. AND it's three matches guaranteed! Whenever it's started raining in the middle of a tournament, matches have either been simply delayed with the original format, or the whole event is pushed back one day. The more expensive UTRs ($50-80 entry fees) more often than not have prize money draws, thus the added cash is needed.
  2. Accessibility - Where I am located, the closest USTA Challenger and Open are at least a 30 minute drive, in best driving conditions. L3-L2 tournaments are even farther, at least one hour, again in the best conditions. The tennis director at the local club (and my coach), told me that hosting UTR tournaments is easier, both financially and time-wise. Also, UTR allows high school teams to host their own tournaments, giving much needed money to high school tennis programs. UTR is just simply more accessible.
  3. Diversity - As we know, UTR pits players against each other by numerical rating, regardless of gender and age. This gives players access to competition against a more diverse skill and playing style group, and makes it easier to find tournaments. Anybody can play in a single UTR, instead of having to wait for their own division.
Belonging to the group of junior tennis players that has a very, very slim chance of playing for college, and aging up to where the window of making it to nationals/larger tournaments is closing, with the way USTA is structured and not adapting to their competition, I can't see why UTR isn't the way to go.
 

BallBag

Professional
Best and worst thing about UTR is that you are playing against people outside your demographic. A lot of people feel embarrassed losing to a kid or a female or both and that's going to keep traditional USTA formats going. Personally, I enjoy playing in both and I hope both UTR and USTA grow.
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
Since aging up today from the 16U to 18U age bracket, I think it's time for me to call it quits on USTA tournaments. As an average junior player, the UTR system provides far more up sides. I can't imagine why a player belonging to the 95% of tennis players (UTR 6-7 and below) would want to spend the majority of their resources on the USTA system.
  1. Cost - The UTR tournaments in my area are far cheaper and allows a player to get more "bang for their buck." Challengers are all $48.88 + tax, and if bad weather hits, many times the tournament directors just shorten format to pony sets. Two pony matches guaranteed for $50? No thanks. Open tournaments, which don't even count towards USTA rankings, are also $50. The cheapest UTR tournaments that I've competed in have been $20+tax, in a best 2 of 3, six game set, ad-scoring format. AND it's three matches guaranteed! Whenever it's started raining in the middle of a tournament, matches have either been simply delayed with the original format, or the whole event is pushed back one day. The more expensive UTRs ($50-80 entry fees) more often than not have prize money draws, thus the added cash is needed.
  2. Accessibility - Where I am located, the closest USTA Challenger and Open are at least a 30 minute drive, in best driving conditions. L3-L2 tournaments are even farther, at least one hour, again in the best conditions. The tennis director at the local club (and my coach), told me that hosting UTR tournaments is easier, both financially and time-wise. Also, UTR allows high school teams to host their own tournaments, giving much needed money to high school tennis programs. UTR is just simply more accessible.
  3. Diversity - As we know, UTR pits players against each other by numerical rating, regardless of gender and age. This gives players access to competition against a more diverse skill and playing style group, and makes it easier to find tournaments. Anybody can play in a single UTR, instead of having to wait for their own division.
Belonging to the group of junior tennis players that has a very, very slim chance of playing for college, and aging up to where the window of making it to nationals/larger tournaments is closing, with the way USTA is structured and not adapting to their competition, I can't see why UTR isn't the way to go.
All of these are valid and reasonable points.

In my Section, the quality of USTA sanctioned tournaments has steadily been going downhill for the past 10 to 15 years. I'm a few decades past the juniors, but my daughter has played in junior events, while I've played a ton of Open, NTRP, and senior age group tournaments over the years. The prices have gone up, the swag as disappeared, formats have shortened, disorganization abounds, rankings and recognition have all but been abandoned for those not in the juniors, and draws have shrunk. I put most of the blame squarely on USTA mismanagement, where they have decided to focus most of their efforts on adult tennis towards league instead of tournaments.

Unfortunately for me, there are almost no UTR events in my area. And the ones that have popped up have had entry fees higher than USTA with pro set formats, run by the same people that do the USTA events.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
Since aging up today from the 16U to 18U age bracket, I think it's time for me to call it quits on USTA tournaments. As an average junior player, the UTR system provides far more up sides. I can't imagine why a player belonging to the 95% of tennis players (UTR 6-7 and below) would want to spend the majority of their resources on the USTA system.
  1. Cost - The UTR tournaments in my area are far cheaper and allows a player to get more "bang for their buck." Challengers are all $48.88 + tax, and if bad weather hits, many times the tournament directors just shorten format to pony sets. Two pony matches guaranteed for $50? No thanks. Open tournaments, which don't even count towards USTA rankings, are also $50. The cheapest UTR tournaments that I've competed in have been $20+tax, in a best 2 of 3, six game set, ad-scoring format. AND it's three matches guaranteed! Whenever it's started raining in the middle of a tournament, matches have either been simply delayed with the original format, or the whole event is pushed back one day. The more expensive UTRs ($50-80 entry fees) more often than not have prize money draws, thus the added cash is needed.
  2. Accessibility - Where I am located, the closest USTA Challenger and Open are at least a 30 minute drive, in best driving conditions. L3-L2 tournaments are even farther, at least one hour, again in the best conditions. The tennis director at the local club (and my coach), told me that hosting UTR tournaments is easier, both financially and time-wise. Also, UTR allows high school teams to host their own tournaments, giving much needed money to high school tennis programs. UTR is just simply more accessible.
  3. Diversity - As we know, UTR pits players against each other by numerical rating, regardless of gender and age. This gives players access to competition against a more diverse skill and playing style group, and makes it easier to find tournaments. Anybody can play in a single UTR, instead of having to wait for their own division.
Belonging to the group of junior tennis players that has a very, very slim chance of playing for college, and aging up to where the window of making it to nationals/larger tournaments is closing, with the way USTA is structured and not adapting to their competition, I can't see why UTR isn't the way to go.
USTA junior tournaments in this section range from the L3 sectional championships down to L8 district tournaments, so you would certainly have tournaments with fair competition for your level, just not at the L3 and L4 level. One of your gripes is that you won't be able to make national and larger sectional tournaments, but if an L6 or L7 tournament is at your level, what's the difference between playing that and playing a UTR6-7 at your level? If UTR is better for you in your area, then fine, play UTR, but I don't really get that gripe.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
USTA is really about the following, in this order:

1. Organizing the US Open and developing American pro players

2. Adult recreational leagues

3. Everything else

Junior tournaments involving players who they already know will never make it as a pro is quite low on their priority list. But before you criticize them too harshly, this is the same with every other country’s tennis federation also.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
When my son was a junior, a lot of convenience and cost was wrapped up in the transportation and travel rather than the cost of the actual event. There were simply a lot more USTA opportunities for U18s within a 45 minute drive. He enjoyed a few UTR events, but most weekends, there were USTA options much closer and more convenient.

That may not be the case this year, depending on who gets started more quickly after COVID-19. And since my son has aged out of U18 now, UTR and various college rec options are a much more convenient alternative to USTA.
 

atatu

Legend
Most of the UTR tournaments around here use the fast four format which is ridiculous, if you plan on playing in college don't get used to that.
 

Fabresque

Hall of Fame
I’m in college now but UTR tournaments are fast 4 format around here and they do nothing for me because the next highest utr is like 3+ away from me. Also what UTR are you? I’d say if you’re 5+ you can play college tennis somewhere (D3).
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
UTR is great in Dallas, but I realize it's not great everywhere, I finally realized why there are people at every UTR Dallas event that drive in from Arkansas and even Kansas.
 

R1FF

Professional
Since aging up today from the 16U to 18U age bracket, I think it's time for me to call it quits on USTA tournaments. As an average junior player, the UTR system provides far more up sides. I can't imagine why a player belonging to the 95% of tennis players (UTR 6-7 and below) would want to spend the majority of their resources on the USTA system.
  1. Cost - The UTR tournaments in my area are far cheaper and allows a player to get more "bang for their buck." Challengers are all $48.88 + tax, and if bad weather hits, many times the tournament directors just shorten format to pony sets. Two pony matches guaranteed for $50? No thanks. Open tournaments, which don't even count towards USTA rankings, are also $50. The cheapest UTR tournaments that I've competed in have been $20+tax, in a best 2 of 3, six game set, ad-scoring format. AND it's three matches guaranteed! Whenever it's started raining in the middle of a tournament, matches have either been simply delayed with the original format, or the whole event is pushed back one day. The more expensive UTRs ($50-80 entry fees) more often than not have prize money draws, thus the added cash is needed.
  2. Accessibility - Where I am located, the closest USTA Challenger and Open are at least a 30 minute drive, in best driving conditions. L3-L2 tournaments are even farther, at least one hour, again in the best conditions. The tennis director at the local club (and my coach), told me that hosting UTR tournaments is easier, both financially and time-wise. Also, UTR allows high school teams to host their own tournaments, giving much needed money to high school tennis programs. UTR is just simply more accessible.
  3. Diversity - As we know, UTR pits players against each other by numerical rating, regardless of gender and age. This gives players access to competition against a more diverse skill and playing style group, and makes it easier to find tournaments. Anybody can play in a single UTR, instead of having to wait for their own division.
Belonging to the group of junior tennis players that has a very, very slim chance of playing for college, and aging up to where the window of making it to nationals/larger tournaments is closing, with the way USTA is structured and not adapting to their competition, I can't see why UTR isn't the way to go.
All good points... but until UTR designates a rule book, they're a bit of a joke of a sanctioning body. And Im no fan of the USTA at all. But UTR is super lame for this oversight.
 
All good points... but until UTR designates a rule book, they're a bit of a joke of a sanctioning body. And Im no fan of the USTA at all. But UTR is super lame for this oversight.
Can't the UTR tournament simply state that they'll use the USTA rule book?
 

R1FF

Professional
Can't the UTR tournament simply state that they'll use the USTA rule book?
They could. Or in some cases they state they’ll be using the ITF rules. In other cases it’s never mentioned and the event organizers arent even aware they’d need a rulebook to fall back on.

But the fact is, there is no set of rules that has been designated. It’s purely up to the UTR event organizers discretion. And in fact, the event organizer doesnt have to designate a rulebook at all. They can designate themselves as czar & make all rulings as they go.

Im not joking when I say this, the UTR executives didnt even think of a rulebook when they decided to get into event sanctioning. It was a total oversight. Pretty big blunder if you ask me.
 

carriebrown

New User
Since aging up today from the 16U to 18U age bracket, I think it's time for me to call it quits on USTA tournaments. As an average junior player, the UTR system provides far more up sides. I can't imagine why a player belonging to the 95% of tennis players (UTR 6-7 and below) would want to spend the majority of their resources on the USTA system.
  1. Cost - The UTR tournaments in my area are far cheaper and allows a player to get more "bang for their buck." Challengers are all $48.88 + tax, and if bad weather hits, many times the tournament directors just shorten format to pony sets. Two pony matches guaranteed for $50? No thanks. Open tournaments, which don't even count towards USTA rankings, are also $50. The cheapest UTR tournaments that I've competed in have been $20+tax, in a best 2 of 3, six game set, ad-scoring format. AND it's three matches guaranteed! Whenever it's started raining in the middle of a tournament, matches have either been simply delayed with the original format, or the whole event is pushed back one day. The more expensive UTRs ($50-80 entry fees) more often than not have prize money draws, thus the added cash is needed.
  2. Accessibility - Where I am located, the closest USTA Challenger and Open are at least a 30 minute drive, in best driving conditions. L3-L2 tournaments are even farther, at least one hour, again in the best conditions. The tennis director at the local club (and my coach), told me that hosting UTR tournaments is easier, both financially and time-wise. Also, UTR allows high school teams to host their own tournaments, giving much needed money to high school tennis programs. UTR is just simply more accessible.
  3. Diversity - As we know, UTR pits players against each other by numerical rating, regardless of gender and age. This gives players access to competition against a more diverse skill and playing style group, and makes it easier to find tournaments. Anybody can play in a single UTR, instead of having to wait for their own division.
Belonging to the group of junior tennis players that has a very, very slim chance of playing for college, and aging up to where the window of making it to nationals/larger tournaments is closing, with the way USTA is structured and not adapting to their competition, I can't see why UTR isn't the way to go.
Does anyone know how much you can raise your UTR in one year? My son is a Sophomore with a 8.77. Wondering how much can raise in a year?
 

a-a-ron

New User
We don't have UTR leagues in SW Ohio. USTA is prevalent here and its $20 to register for a team and matches are $18 at nice indoor facilities and matches are not timed. You even get a match beer except that's a coke or water at Leftyjunk's club. (They don't sell beer but the BYOB can be just as rewarding.) Comparing notes with other areas, I think we have it pretty good.

We use UTR ratings for various slotting with liveball or play. I had some comments here but after reading UTR's explaination of how they are calculating instead of what I was told by someone, I deleted those comments becuase I have way off. It is picking up the wrong people in some cases-I guess that's the problems when you're scraping data of the USTA site; the computers don't even like the USTA site.
 
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badmice2

Semi-Pro
Ditto here...my son is starting to get more serious with tennis and have been playing tournaments for the last few years. USTA juniors while is still ok, it's not cutting it. For Juniors, UTR guarantee 3 matches per tournaments, whereas in optimal cases there's a loser round setup for USTA. If a child is still developing, 1-and-out seems like a waste of money to invest into their development. I dont think the fast 4 format is at a disadvantage for most youth as they're still feeling their way through their game. If anything, it's better developing tool to be able to play through a tournament without worrying about a win-now mentality. For the same cost, they're getting more match experience than USTA can offer.
 

ichaseballs

Rookie
Best and worst thing about UTR is that you are playing against people outside your demographic. A lot of people feel embarrassed losing to a kid or a female or both and that's going to keep traditional USTA formats going. Personally, I enjoy playing in both and I hope both UTR and USTA grow.
for those of us less informed about UTR...
a 12 year old girl can play a 45 year old man?
 
Does anyone know how much you can raise your UTR in one year? My son is a Sophomore with a 8.77. Wondering how much can raise in a year?
I was talking to an utr event director this weekend. He told me UTR considers your last 30 matches. As you get new matches the old ones drop off from the calculation.
 

James P

Legend
Does anyone know how much you can raise your UTR in one year? My son is a Sophomore with a 8.77. Wondering how much can raise in a year?
The sky's the limit in theory. You would need to probably raise your level of competition over time. If you don't meet ATP level players, you'll probably have a limit, in realistic terms, of how high you can go.
 
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