Why UTR is a deeply flawed system.

Simon_the_furry

Hall of Fame
UTR is a flawed system, and myutr is a poorly-designed website. This is why. Hear me out:

  • High school matches cannot be recorded unless the ENTIRE TEAM is registered with UTR. This effectively means no high school matches ever get recorded.

  • Casual club matches cannot get recorded either, which paints an inaccurate picture of a person's actual performance due to a smaller sample size.

  • There is no comment section for opponents to tag the player with specific attributes.


  • Lastly, there is very limited info that can be gained from reading someone's UTR profile, which means it is harder to research someone's game.
These issues make UTR, in my opinion, a very poor solution to the very complicated problem of player ratings.
 
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BallBag

Semi-Pro
I don't think UTR is trying to be like a Facebook for tennis. UTR is trying to be a reliable tennis player rating database. Since UTR is already used for evaluating players for collegiate scholarships ($$$), it cant accept results from non officiated matches. Otherwise anyone can report fictional results to inflate their rating.
 

atatu

Hall of Fame
It's not a perfect system, but it's also a pretty new system. Just to respond to a few things:

- I wasn't aware that HS matches cannot be recorded unless the entire team is registered, that must be a new thing, as recently as October of last year, they were recording HS matches that my son played.
-Casual club matches are pretty meaningless and should not be recorded, given the amount of manipulating that can go on in that scenario.
-Not sure why you think it's ridiculous that there is a charge to register a UTR event, there are costs associated with holding USTA tournaments too.
-Why is it a good idea for have a comment section ? I can imagine all kinds of drama associated with that.
-Disagree that there is limited information that can be gained from a players profile, if that player has played a significant number of matches, you can learn a lot about their level. I do agree that if a player has not played many recorded matches, you can't learn much from their profile.
 

Simon_the_furry

Hall of Fame
I don't think UTR is trying to be like a Facebook for tennis. UTR is trying to be a reliable tennis player rating database. Since UTR is already used for evaluating players for collegiate scholarships ($$$), it cant accept results from non officiated matches. Otherwise anyone can report fictional results to inflate their rating.
I understand this, but UTR should be able to take more data points than it does.
 

Simon_the_furry

Hall of Fame
It's not a perfect system, but it's also a pretty new system. Just to respond to a few things:

- I wasn't aware that HS matches cannot be recorded unless the entire team is registered, that must be a new thing, as recently as October of last year, they were recording HS matches that my son played.
-Casual club matches are pretty meaningless and should not be recorded, given the amount of manipulating that can go on in that scenario.
-Not sure why you think it's ridiculous that there is a charge to register a UTR event, there are costs associated with holding USTA tournaments too.
-Why is it a good idea for have a comment section ? I can imagine all kinds of drama associated with that.
-Disagree that there is limited information that can be gained from a players profile, if that player has played a significant number of matches, you can learn a lot about their level. I do agree that if a player has not played many recorded matches, you can't learn much from their profile.
I agree that there is a lot of manipulating that can go on in club matches, but I think that if both players confirm the score, it should be able to count towards UTR.

As for the comment section, I think that it shouldn't be a conventional comment section, but more of a section to tag opponents with specific attributes, such as their playing style (S&V, baseline, all-court, junkballer, retriever, etc.).

As far as a charge, I think you are probably right about that, come to think of it.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I will confirm, UTR does not include high school varsity matches, at least not in Nevada ... exactly 0 of my daughter's matches (or any of her teammates) were recorded for regular season, districts or regionals. Those that made it to States as individuals did have those record in UTR but no others.
Don't know about the team registration thing ....
 

brettatk

Semi-Pro
Does UTR only concentrate on certain sections of the country? I only have 6 USTA matches listed from the past year in UTR. I've played over 24 matches. If Tennisrecord can get all match data it shouldn't be that hard for UTR to do it.
 
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OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Does UTR only concentrate on certain sections of the country? I only have 6 USTA matches listed from the past year in UTR. I've played over 24 matches. If Tennisrecord and get all match data it shouldn't be that hard for UTR to do it.
I had to send in a "missing matches" request to UTR as they were not including any matches from 4.0 league for the entire district for 40+ or 18+ YTD2018

They fixed it in a few days, but it had been a few months of data, and then only some of it filtered through
 

BallBag

Semi-Pro
I don't know much about how HS matches are run, are all HS results kept on one website? Are the results even available online? If the results are scattered across a multitude of platforms and databases then I wouldn't expect UTR to mine all those results manually.
For USTA it's a different story, I do not understand their selection criteria for which matches they include. Since rec players dont get that many matches and all the data is in one place, I would think they would take anything USTA has on record. Also, considering major breakthroughs in your game do not happen often past age 20, I don't see a reason to sunset year old matches. Makes sense for juniors who might play 20 tournaments per year and improve 2 levels in that year but not for older rec players.
 

Cobaine

Semi-Pro
UTR is a good system, and will get better as it becomes commonplace. In fact, I heard from an inside source that around the time of the US Open, the USTA is going to announce a partnership that will see UTR replace NTRP.

I’m looking forward to it, but whingestorm that will follow on these boards will be epic.
 

Limpinhitter

G.O.A.T.
UTR is a flawed system, and myutr is a poorly-designed website. This is why. Hear me out:

  • High school matches cannot be recorded unless the ENTIRE TEAM is registered with UTR. This effectively means no high school matches ever get recorded.

  • Casual club matches cannot get recorded either, which paints an inaccurate picture of a person's actual performance due to a smaller sample size.

  • There is no comment section for opponents to tag the player with specific attributes.


  • Lastly, there is very limited info that can be gained from reading someone's UTR profile, which means it is harder to research someone's game.
These issues make UTR, in my opinion, a very poor solution to the very complicated problem of player ratings.
Does the UTR have any use other than as an alternative to NTRP ratings?
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
UTR is a flawed system, and myutr is a poorly-designed website. This is why. Hear me out:

  • High school matches cannot be recorded unless the ENTIRE TEAM is registered with UTR. This effectively means no high school matches ever get recorded.

  • Casual club matches cannot get recorded either, which paints an inaccurate picture of a person's actual performance due to a smaller sample size.

  • There is no comment section for opponents to tag the player with specific attributes.


  • Lastly, there is very limited info that can be gained from reading someone's UTR profile, which means it is harder to research someone's game.
These issues make UTR, in my opinion, a very poor solution to the very complicated problem of player ratings.
More data is almost always better than less data. As far as I can tell, UTR generally includes more data than NTRP, but less data than it could. My inner circle of tennis friends has taken to scouting most opponents both by reviewing their USTA records and their UTR records. In every case, we can find more data on UTR. However, some google searches and searches of records of events UTR tends to miss turns up even more match results for most players.

Even though it misses some matches, we've still found UTR to be a reliable indicator of whether a given match can be expected to be competitive or lopsided. Is it more reliable than the information available on USTA? It can be for players with little recent information in the USTA data base. Can it be inaccurate? Sure, for players whose experience in the past year or two is mostly outside either. But on the whole, the information gathered in the UTR system is more valuable to have than not having it, AND the UTR tournaments provide many more opportunities local to us.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
One thing I also find interesting is how your UTR can change overnight.

For an adult I play a lot of matches. I average 2-3 USTA league matches per week ... it seems to only count a certain number ... as of today, anything prior to Oct 15, 2017 have been dropped from my rating ... sometimes that means a wild swing up (or down) overnight if they drop off 3 really good matches or drop off 3 mediocre or poor match results.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
I had to send in a "missing matches" request to UTR as they were not including any matches from 4.0 league for the entire district for 40+ or 18+ YTD2018

They fixed it in a few days, but it had been a few months of data, and then only some of it filtered through
How did you do that? My best win of the year isn't listed. It's on tennislink but not UTR.

J
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
On the far right of your login under myutr.com go to the little drop down, go to Contact Support, drop down for Report Missing Tournament / Scores

Include a link to the tennislink information in your comments (per their request)

done and done.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
On the far right of your login under myutr.com go to the little drop down, go to Contact Support, drop down for Report Missing Tournament / Scores

Include a link to the tennislink information in your comments (per their request)

done and done.
Thanks!

J
 

brettatk

Semi-Pro
I submitted that I was missing scores last week. They replied back saying they continually update all year. Sounds like they go Section by Section. This morning I got an email saying new scores were submitted. It added 3 matches I played during the 18+ season. It's still missing over 50% of my scores from the last year. Maybe accuracy is better in other parts of the country but from what I've seen in my area it's severely lacking and the UTR numbers are way off from their guidelines.
 
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heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
UTR is a good system, and will get better as it becomes commonplace. In fact, I heard from an inside source that around the time of the US Open, the USTA is going to announce a partnership that will see UTR replace NTRP.

I’m looking forward to it, but whingestorm that will follow on these boards will be epic.
I was reading about the French system and it seems that the handicap is built into it.
 

WhiteOut

Semi-Pro
I've been thru the thread, and also the UTR support/FAQs, and can't find the answer to these two questions:

1. When pulling in scores from USTA, is it only pulling in scores where BOTH players have a UTR rating/registration? I could see how this would be a big limiting factor. It appears about 8 junior players know about UTR where I live. If I say 'UTR' to someone around here, they'll like tell me to go see a doc and get something for that!

2. Along the same lines, the support/FAQ says for USTA, it only pulls in tournament data. Why would it not pull in league data? Obviously league data would not create any sort of big rise or fall in an individual's UTR rating (since they would be playing within their own NTRP or +.5 at most), but overall, more (qualified/validated) data is better than less...
 

BallBag

Semi-Pro
I've been thru the thread, and also the UTR support/FAQs, and can't find the answer to these two questions:

1. When pulling in scores from USTA, is it only pulling in scores where BOTH players have a UTR rating/registration? I could see how this would be a big limiting factor. It appears about 8 junior players know about UTR where I live. If I say 'UTR' to someone around here, they'll like tell me to go see a doc and get something for that!

2. Along the same lines, the support/FAQ says for USTA, it only pulls in tournament data. Why would it not pull in league data? Obviously league data would not create any sort of big rise or fall in an individual's UTR rating (since they would be playing within their own NTRP or +.5 at most), but overall, more (qualified/validated) data is better than less...
For your first question, I already had some of my USTA league matches in UTR's database, so they do not start collecting your data when you register.

I believe they scrape data from the USTA database (much in the same way TR or TLS do) to populate their own database. Maybe they ask permission first, unlike TR or TLS.
 

jmc3367

Rookie
I agree that the system has some issues but it is a bit of a work in progress. I do like the thought of being able to compete across ages and genders. I think that once the system has a few years worth of data and a few tweaks it will be great. It would be nice to play a tournament with more than 4 doubles teams or more than 4 singles players.
 

mmk

Hall of Fame
I agree that the system has some issues but it is a bit of a work in progress. I do like the thought of being able to compete across ages and genders. I think that once the system has a few years worth of data and a few tweaks it will be great. It would be nice to play a tournament with more than 4 doubles teams or more than 4 singles players.
A guy I play used to brag about making the semi-finals of a tournament, turned out there were 4 singles players.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
A guy I play used to brag about making the semi-finals of a tournament, turned out there were 4 singles players.
That would be like me bragging about getting to the consolation finals in my ITF Seniors MD50 tourney.
There were seven teams and we got a bye lol.
 

jmc3367

Rookie
My view is those who show up have already beaten everyone who stayed home.
some truth in this statement for sure. it would be nice to play a few tournaments that have 16 people or teams in them. I thin the time will come (2 years or so) where UTR will help make this possible only because you will get some juniors playing
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
some truth in this statement for sure. it would be nice to play a few tournaments that have 16 people or teams in them. I thin the time will come (2 years or so) where UTR will help make this possible only because you will get some juniors playing
Another advantage of UTR tourneys is the possible doubles pairings. An adult can pair with a junior, two widely separated juniors (in age) can pair if their abilities align, and no need to separate sexes, just abilities.
 

woodje12

Rookie
What was that about Churchill and democracy, "UTR is the worst tennis rating system except for all the others."

It ain't perfect but it is improving and the others are horribly prone to cheating. USTA's scourge is self-raters and a system that takes far too long to move someone up; ALTA is better but is only for teams and can still be gamed to some degree at first but self-corrects more quickly at least; UTR just needs more data and time IMHO.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
My UTR amusement of the day.

I have a regular dubs partner. She and I have played 95% of our matches together since Oct1 of 2017. (I have one match, a huge win of 0&1 with a different partner, she also has 1 match with another partner, a loss, both some time back) We were both at a UTR of 2, then 3. As of the latest input of 2 more matches for each of us, both with each other, her UTR moved up to 4 and mine dropped back to 2. Brilliant. Their algorithm is messy at best.
 

Max G.

Legend
What was that about Churchill and democracy, "UTR is the worst tennis rating system except for all the others."

It ain't perfect but it is improving and the others are horribly prone to cheating. USTA's scourge is self-raters and a system that takes far too long to move someone up; ALTA is better but is only for teams and can still be gamed to some degree at first but self-corrects more quickly at least; UTR just needs more data and time IMHO.
UTR will also be gamed as soon as people care enough to game it. It's not *being* gamed right now for adult tennis because it isn't being used for anything worth gaming it for.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
Any system based on the behavior of humans will be deeply flawed, but that says more about the behavior humans than the given system.

The fact that UTR events group a range of ratings based on who signed up for a given tournament rather than on absolute ratings makes it harder to game. In NTRP, gaming primarily takes the form of wanting to be the best player rated at 3.5 (or whatever), so players "manage" by trying to avoid getting bumped up. With UTR, players don't know before a tournament whether a given rating will place them near the top, middle, or bottom of the players in a given bracket.

Sure, there will eventually be approaches to managing UTR, and these will probably amount to game shaving. However, at some point the algorithm can catch on and change how different matches are weighted to determine the rating in a manner that counts matches where players are less willing to purposefully drop games more heavily.
 

woodje12

Rookie
UTR will also be gamed as soon as people care enough to game it. It's not *being* gamed right now for adult tennis because it isn't being used for anything worth gaming it for.
Sure every system is prone to a certain amount of gaming but I'd place my bets on a system that has some serious analytics chops behind it (UTR with Oracle among others). Plus I would imagine as you go up it becomes harder to point shave to the point where people lose if they're not careful.

I have already seen how UTR is being used in high school tennis in GA so teams can't stack or engineer their lineups (required to play it straight up). The key is that juniors have a large data set to draw from, whereas UTR is really just getting started on the adult side. I know I only see a fraction of my USTA matches included so it's just OK at this point but I expect it to improve over time as it adds more data and secondarily as the algorithms are fine tuned.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Interesting I now have a UTR rating of Doubles 5.59 lol. I guess my results from my recent ITF tournament were entered into the system. I'd self rated when i started at 4.0 but I guess since it was an open level tournament and I got some games off a good team, I got a ratings bump.

But i can safely say I'm not a 6 doubles player. Clearly the system is flawed when there are to few data points. I wish there was a better way to get more data points into the system in Canada but we seem to largely use it only for juniors. It's not a big thing in the adult realm which is too bad.
 

BallBag

Semi-Pro
There are a lot of posts complaining about UTR not being accurate for you or someone you know.
Unless you are looking to play tennis in college or are playing in UTR tournaments, your rating doesn't really need to be very accurate.

If you do intend to play college tennis, your rating should be very accurate because all your results are uploaded and calculated.

If you are playing UTR tournaments your initial rating is close enough to put you in the right bracket and you will have a more representative rating after your UTR tournament results start flowing in.

If you just like complaining about the number next to your name on the internet , UTR will provide endless fodder until you actually use it for its intended purpose.
 

Max G.

Legend
That's the thing. The "U" in UTR stands for universal, and there's people all around saying that it's a great ranking system for everybody.

If it's a system that primarily works for junior/college tennis or for people who play tournaments rather than leagues, and not for everyone, it's been mis-advertised.
 

BallBag

Semi-Pro
That's the thing. The "U" in UTR stands for universal, and there's people all around saying that it's a great ranking system for everybody.

If it's a system that primarily works for junior/college tennis or for people who play tournaments rather than leagues, and not for everyone, it's been mis-advertised.
My mom and the mail man don't have a good rating either. They should scrap the whole thing.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
Interesting I now have a UTR rating of Doubles 5.59 lol. I guess my results from my recent ITF tournament were entered into the system. I'd self rated when i started at 4.0 but I guess since it was an open level tournament and I got some games off a good team, I got a ratings bump.

But i can safely say I'm not a 6 doubles player. Clearly the system is flawed when there are to few data points. I wish there was a better way to get more data points into the system in Canada but we seem to largely use it only for juniors. It's not a big thing in the adult realm which is too bad.
I'm not sure whether or not you can say your doubles ranking is accurate unless you play some matches against others with a comparable doubles ranking in the same system.

I'll be attending (as a viewer, not a participant) my first UTR tourney this weekend to see how it all goes. I'm not quite ready to sign up for a tourney yet, but I could see it happening in 2018 if I like what I see and stay healthy enough for events with 3-4 full matches late in the year.

I've realized that playing against my 17 year old son has really helped keep my game sharp in ways that playing older folks does not (though playing older folks is really fun also). Apparently, the best way to find younger opponents when he goes to college in August is to sign up for UTR tournaments. At first, the accuracy of my UTR rating won't matter, as I'll most assuredly be placed into the lowest division or draw of the event, and having seen most of these juniors play, I'd be lucky to average -3 and -3 each match. But after a few events, my UTR will become accurate because it will adjust to the same pool of players in the local UTR matches.

But even losing -0 and -0 to many of these players can be a valuable experience. First of all, it's fun to see what these juniors do against my style of play which is something they hardly ever see. Can I get them to play my game instead of theirs? Will they adjust to my strengths and weaknesses? How many games can I bring to deuce? Secondly, as my son has progressed over the past years, he often goes -0 and -0 ish against the next tier of players, and this is the first step in figuring them out and adjusting his game, improving, and eventually being competitive against them. Thirdly, even if I lose all my matches, I still get some exercise and the satisfaction of beating everyone who stayed home.

Finally, my schedule and priorities just don't allow me to play adult leagues. There are UTR tourneys within 45 minutes almost every weekend; whereas, there are less than six dedicated "adult" tourneys within the same driving distance this year.
 

SDRIA

New User
When evaluating a junior for his/her potential success as a professional, because UTR does not factor in intangibles, I find it useless and ineffective in this area. If it could factor in intangibles, I believe that many players with higher UTR numbers would see their UTR numbers drop for lack of intangibles, and some players with lower UTR numbers would see their UTR numbers rise for an abundance of intangibles.
 

jcgatennismom

Professional
When evaluating a junior for his/her potential success as a professional, because UTR does not factor in intangibles, I find it useless and ineffective in this area. If it could factor in intangibles, I believe that many players with higher UTR numbers would see their UTR numbers drop for lack of intangibles, and some players with lower UTR numbers would see their UTR numbers rise for an abundance of intangibles.
What do you define as intangibles-work ethic, mental toughness, strategic awareness, competitiveness, etc ? Just curious. One big problem with UTR is that it only counts games, not wins or sets so a player who won 0-6 7-6 7-6 would be rated lower than his losing opponent. UTR somewhat rewards the players who keep matches close but can't close. However, coming back from a disastrous first set to win in tiebreak in the next two sets would show mental toughness, competitiveness, strategic knowledge, etc.

In watching some college matches, sometimes it seems factors of whether the match is away or at home or just how much the player is hungry to win may matter more than UTR. I have seen some college matches or games within matches where a much lower UTR rated player, e.g. a guy who is down like 0-5 all of a sudden goes on a rampage and almost gets the upset. If you were to watch the player when he was on the hot streak, you would not believe the player was ranked 1.5 UTR below his opponent. UTR is also a measure of opportunity, e.g. players who have more opportunities to play higher ranked players even if they lose usually will be ranked higher than players who just play others at their level. There are some talented juniors who go on to play D3 and their UTR goes down-not because they are not playing well, but because they seldom get to play players ranked above 13. However, come summer, if they play some prize $ or other events, they can pull their UTR back up.

Juniors need to play more Futures/Future Qualis this year before the Quali draws are drastically cut in 2019 to see how they do vs guys who already have ATP points. That is more valuable than just looking at UTR.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
What do you define as intangibles-work ethic, mental toughness, strategic awareness, competitiveness, etc ? Just curious. One big problem with UTR is that it only counts games, not wins or sets so a player who won 0-6 7-6 7-6 would be rated lower than his losing opponent. UTR somewhat rewards the players who keep matches close but can't close. However, coming back from a disastrous first set to win in tiebreak in the next two sets would show mental toughness, competitiveness, strategic knowledge, etc.

In watching some college matches, sometimes it seems factors of whether the match is away or at home or just how much the player is hungry to win may matter more than UTR. I have seen some college matches or games within matches where a much lower UTR rated player, e.g. a guy who is down like 0-5 all of a sudden goes on a rampage and almost gets the upset. If you were to watch the player when he was on the hot streak, you would not believe the player was ranked 1.5 UTR below his opponent. UTR is also a measure of opportunity, e.g. players who have more opportunities to play higher ranked players even if they lose usually will be ranked higher than players who just play others at their level. There are some talented juniors who go on to play D3 and their UTR goes down-not because they are not playing well, but because they seldom get to play players ranked above 13. However, come summer, if they play some prize $ or other events, they can pull their UTR back up.

Juniors need to play more Futures/Future Qualis this year before the Quali draws are drastically cut in 2019 to see how they do vs guys who already have ATP points. That is more valuable than just looking at UTR.
Very good post. My UTR is a point and a half higher when I play tournaments than when I play leagues and I'm not any worse in summer!

J
 

BallBag

Semi-Pro
Very good post. My UTR is a point and a half higher when I play tournaments than when I play leagues and I'm not any worse in summer!

J
Is that because you are playing better at tournaments or because you are playing better players at tournaments?
 
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