Should there be separate ratings for singles vs doubles? Now my reports show it

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by schmke, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. schmke

    schmke Hall of Fame

    Jan 20, 2010
    The idea of having separate ratings for singles vs doubles comes up periodically when ratings are discussed, and there is some merit to the idea as with today's technology, courts, and playing styles, somewhat different skill sets are required to do well at each.

    I've never heard the USTA mention that anything like this is in the works, so I don't think we should hold our breath that it will happen, but for those curious about it, I've updated my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Reports to break out the summary stats by singles and doubles and also to show the singles and doubles match ratings in different colors in the chart. See the blog for more details, but here is an example.

    John Doe
    Current NTRP: 4.5C
    Estimated DNTRP: 4.29
    Match Record: 19-8
    Singles Record: 13-3
    Doubles Record: 6-5
    Sets Won-Lost: 43-20
    Games Won-Lost: 281-191
    Best Match Result: 4.82 on 3/18/13
    Worst Match Result: 4.01 on 7/17/13
    Highest Estimated DNTRP: 4.49 on 3/18/13
    Lowest Estimated DNTRP: 4.26 on 7/17/13
    Singles Average Match Rating: 4.4
    Doubles Average Match Rating: 4.25


    In this case, this player is noticeably higher rated when he plays singles than doubles.

    What do you think? And do you think there should be separate singles and doubles ratings?
  2. directionals

    directionals Rookie

    Jun 20, 2012
    yes for separate ratings. Singles and doubles rankings are different at the pros level.
  3. Moz

    Moz Hall of Fame

    Sep 3, 2007
    I don't know of any other country that has a rating determined by singles and doubles results. I think they should be separate.
  4. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

    Jun 2, 2007
    There's a guy I play with who is easily a 5.0 doubles player, but I know a few 4.0 singles players who would take him down simply due to his lack of fitness.

    I've always wondered why the USTA doesn't provide one for each. It should be easy enough to enter & track.
  5. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

    Aug 10, 2010
    I think the problem is not with having/tracking different ratings for doubles and singles but the way USTA team tennis is set up.

    The main season for USTA tennis is 2 singles lines and 3 doubles lines, trying to manage a team where many of your players could play singles but not doubles (or vice versa) would be a nightmare.

    In order to have separate rankings I think they would have to rethink the structure of USTA teams.
  6. Islandtennis

    Islandtennis Rookie

    Dec 20, 2006
    I agree wholeheartedly that separate ratings for singles and doubles would be more accurate at describing a particular individual.

    However, this gets back to the argument of a ranking vs. a rating. The purpose of the rating is to facilitate relatively competitive matches and to encourage team play. It is not to rank the best to worst player in a given area by DNTRP.

    Can you imagine having team comprised of 4.0 Doubles and 4.5 Singles players or vice versa. Which level would you play at? If you played at 4.0, what would you do if you needed your 4.5 Singles / 4.0 Doubles guy to play Singles to avoid a court forfeit.
  7. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

    Jan 27, 2010
    Newtown, PA
    In order to address the logistics of this, I think you would still have to have just one published rating level for the purpose of signing up for a team, but what could be improved is tracking DNTRP separately behind the scenes in order to make the match rating calculations more accurate. For example, you would have 2 different DNTRPs (like 3.73 for singles and 3.81 for doubles), but you would still have a single rating level (4.0 in this case) to sign up for league play. The open question is if you are indicated in separate levels, would you get your highest rating or some kind of blended rating (i.e. track a third overall DNTRP to set you level). So, if you had a 3.52 singles rating (i.e. 4.0), a 3.21 doubles (i.e. 3.5), you could either get your 4.0 rating since that's your highest, or calculate a combined rating (maybe 3.40) and set your level based on that (3.5 in this case).

    They could theoretically publish all three for sections where there are singles only or doubles only (i.e. combo or tri-level) leagues, but you would be able to register for a singles-only rating only in singles-only leagues.
  8. jservoss

    jservoss Rookie

    Jul 5, 2012
    Kirkland, WA
    But if I ever feel like I'm too close to getting bumped up I was hoping to bank on playing a few singles matches to bring my rating back down.

    Would that be considered sandbagging even if I gave 100% effort in the singles matches, just knowing that I'm a stronger at doubles than single?
  9. schmke

    schmke Hall of Fame

    Jan 20, 2010
    All good comments.

    I agree for some, but not all players, having separate ratings is needed if you want to be as accurate as possible. They are simply better/worse at singles vs doubles and with a single rating, the best you can get is a weighted average of what their two ratings would be.

    Now, for players that play predominantly singles or doubles, this isn't a big deal as even with a few of the "other" matches thrown in, your rating probably won't move significantly. But some play a lot of each, and for some their individual ratings could be a few tenths or more apart.

    Before we get up in arms saying that not having separate ratings for these players is a travesty, lets remember that when the two ratings are a tenth, or even two tenths apart, it is more likely that they both fall in the same NTRP level than separate ones, so the majority of these players would be at the same level for both singles and doubles. And in the case I highlighted, the ratings were 0.15 apart and both still in the range for a 4.5.

    But let's assume we do have separate ratings, and they fall in separate levels, then what? Some of the comments thus far have pointed out the difficulty in handling this. Is the player forced to play only at the higher of the two levels? Or does a captain have the complication of having to manage a roster where he can play Sam as a 4.0 in singles but 4.5 in doubles? This could make it difficult to put together a roster where the captain has any line-up flexibility.

    I think J_R_B suggested having a blending rating used to determine what level you can play, but still publish the separate ratings/levels. I guess this wouldn't be a whole lot different from the current system as far as what level you can play at, but would make it clear in recruiting and scouting opponents who ringers are, e.g. the guy with a 4.5 singles rating but 4.0 blended rating because he played enough doubles where he doesn't do as well.
  10. schmke

    schmke Hall of Fame

    Jan 20, 2010
    I wouldn't consider it sandbagging if you are indeed playing your best in those matches. The system gives you a single rating today and you very well may be asked to play singles next year too, so having your rating reflect in part your singles play makes sense.

    I guess an alternative would be some sort of system like golf where only your best results count, so if you are better at doubles than singles, your singles results end up not counting at all.
  11. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

    Apr 20, 2010
    Yes, fitness can make a someone much better at doubles.

    Also, skill set can be drastically different. For example, a player with a strong baseline game, adequate serve and below average volleys could be a stronger singles player than he is double player. It makes sense. I played on several teams where I won more than 50% against our #1 singles player in doubles while he beat me more than 50% in singles. I was a bit older but probably as fit. I think it was more skill set and temperament as singles and doubles are very different games.
  12. tdhawks

    tdhawks Semi-Pro

    Apr 24, 2012
    I know of a few as well. And the same vice versa with singles guys who cannot compete at the same level for doubles.

    I agree, it would be great if they'd do this.
  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Heck, I"m a lowly 4.0 in singles, but in doubles, if the 3 other guys are 4.5 to 5.5, I can hold my own pretty much every time.

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