Why UTR is a deeply flawed system.

I don't think @MathGeek said the LC was going to unilaterally change the person's NTRP upward. All the LC was going to do was put the person in the next highest bracket.
That's the gist. The flaw in NTRP is that local USTA organizers are bound by ratings.

The difference is that UTR is just a rating body, they don't control what local organizers do. Thus, UTR ratings are just recommendations. Sandbagging players are not in control by virtue of dishonest ratings. Local tournament and league organizers are in control. They can place players according to their UTR ratings. OR NOT. Things that don't pass the smell test don't fly. The rating is not changed. It simply need not mandate how a local organizer places a given participant in their events. Other organizers are still free to honor a given sandbagger's UTR.

In USTA, the ultimate authority in competitive placement lies with the NTRP, which we've seen can be manipulated by sandbaggers. In UTR, the ultimate authority in competitive placement remains with the local organizer.
 
In my experience it has not been sandbaggers for the UTR tournaments just people that havent gotten an accurate UTR so the TD can adjust and get them good matches. Although the UTR tournaments I played in didnt have a "winner" per se either. You just played matches.
 
UTR is extremely inaccurate. Even Jim Courier and Lindsey Davenport have said in Tennis channel that it is just a number based on past record and isn't a accurate tool to assess who is playing better at the time of the match.
 
What number does provide an accurate tool to assess who is playing better at the time of a match? If not based on past performance, what would it be based upon?
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
I don't know that this says UTR is deeply flawed, but it seems to give little credit for losing competitive matches against higher rated players.

For example a player has 4 matches on their record going 1-3, in chronological order:

Played with a 7 vs a 9 and a 7 losing 6-3,6-3
Played with a 6 vs two 8's losing 6-4,6-4
Played with a 6 vs an 8 and a 7 losing 6-3,6-4
Played with a 7 vs two 8's winning 7-6,6-3

Current UTR is a 7 (6.68) which on the surface seems a bit low to my eye. Of course, just seeing whole numbers for the other players doesn't tell the whole picture.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
If the match that drops off was boosting your rating then your UTR could drop.
I think most ratings systems would be better with weighted inclusion criteria rather than every match counting 100% or being completely excluded at 0%.

For example, rather than all included matches counting equally, older matches could gradually decline in how strongly they contribute to a current rating. Perhaps after a year, they only are weighted at 75% of more recent matches, and then gradually declining to 0% over the second year.

Similarly, perhaps match results considered to be from less reliable sources might simply be weighted less than being completely excluded.
 
I think most ratings systems would be better with weighted inclusion criteria rather than every match counting 100% or being completely excluded at 0%.

For example, rather than all included matches counting equally, older matches could gradually decline in how strongly they contribute to a current rating. Perhaps after a year, they only are weighted at 75% of more recent matches, and then gradually declining to 0% over the second year.

Similarly, perhaps match results considered to be from less reliable sources might simply be weighted less than being completely excluded.
UTR does that. Older matches count less. Shorter matches count less. And high rating spread matches count less (2.5 spread don't count at all)
 
And high rating spread matches count less (2.5 spread don't count at all)
Does this only count for people with verified ratings? It seems wrong to disregard a match with a wide spread when someone has a skewed rating due to lack of matches. How are they then supposed to get a more accurate rating?
 
Does this only count for people with verified ratings? It seems wrong to disregard a match with a wide spread when someone has a skewed rating due to lack of matches. How are they then supposed to get a more accurate rating?
Unless its over 2.5, the match still counts but just not as much as a closer match. If it is over 2.5 then it will ignore that match until you get some results to push you into the 2.5 range.
 
Unless its over 2.5, the match still counts but just not as much as a closer match. If it is over 2.5 then it will ignore that match until you get some results to push you into the 2.5 range.
Yeah I was talking about the over 2.5 ones. But at least it gets retroactively included once they get enough matches under their belt to put them within 2.5. That seems a bit more reasonable.
 
I think you guys are arguing to the same point. The intangibles you are talking about are important, its what converts tennis skills to results, trophies and really big shiny trophies. Which makes them tangibles. If you are talking about intangibles like the future ATP rating of a 12 year old then you will be very disappointed with any rating system. UTR aims to predict which two players are likely to have a competitive match, that's all.
I've seen a good junior player went from UTR 6 to 8 in a very short time, but I think it's more to do with the system than actual skill improvement. He has very good counter puncher style games (i.e. no pace, good timing, good speed), and he wins a lot, when he plays against a 6 or 7, he would beat most of them in a 6-4 6-4 score line, and when he plays an 8 or low 9s, he can still manage to get through with 7-6 7-5 score lines. He manages to get close scores against those in 8/9 (but not 10s) in most matches, so he decides to play more adult tournaments and it feels like he's improved, and UTR's gone up by 2 just in just a few months. UTR is right in that sense, but I'm still puzzled and perhaps not fully convinced.... UTR predicts the score line, but not so much the ability or skills one might think.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
I've seen a good junior player went from UTR 6 to 8 in a very short time, but I think it's more to do with the system than actual skill improvement. He has very good counter puncher style games (i.e. no pace, good timing, good speed), and he wins a lot, when he plays against a 6 or 7, he would beat most of them in a 6-4 6-4 score line, and when he plays an 8 or low 9s, he can still manage to get through with 7-6 7-5 score lines. He manages to get close scores against those in 8/9 (but not 10s) in most matches, so he decides to play more adult tournaments and it feels like he's improved, and UTR's gone up by 2 just in just a few months. UTR is right in that sense, but I'm still puzzled and perhaps not fully convinced.... UTR predicts the score line, but not so much the ability or skills one might think.
Agree, it depends on who you play and your game style.

J
 
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.
If the problem is player ratings, then UTR is far from flawless. I checked it out today and was very surprised to see some NOTORIOUS sandbaggers in Northern California ranked WAY below their actual skill levels. That said, I appreciate that UTR doesnt allow someone's self rating to dictate things for very long, if at all.

If the problem is finding a alternative to USTA's failed rankings system, then UTR is a step in the right direction.


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.
In my experience I havent seen many people trying to inflate their ratings. I've seen just a ton of sandbagging tho.

I was reading about the French system and it seems that the handicap is built into it.
Isnt the French system more of a "open tourney" format? Early rounds are the lower ranked players and higher ranked players get byes. Sounds like a pretty cool system that would eliminate a lot of our sandbagging issues.
 
One of the biggest flaws in UTR is the lack of play between adults and juniors, which is why the ratings are never reliable and can’t be unified.

Many seniors in my area (Columbus) opt to play USTA Adult league rather than do tournaments. It’s cheaper, and you get a lot of match play against experienced opponents. Along with that signing up for a local league at the club.

The problem comes when you realize that juniors with UTRs of 8-9 are going up against guys with 4s and 5s and being taken to three sets and even losing. So the juniors utr goes down and college recruiters, especially D1 recruiters end up not talking to those kids if they drop below a certain threshold. It’s a big problem that needs fixing.

Also, my HS Coach has a UTR 6 due to adult league. Keep in mind he was a D1 College player and he’s less than 30 years old, and he consistently has played AFTER college. Yes, 6 makes perfect sense.
 
One of the biggest flaws in UTR is the lack of play between adults and juniors, which is why the ratings are never reliable and can’t be unified.
Same problem with Men playing Women. The more play there is between groups, the more "universal" UTR will be.

Many seniors in my area (Columbus) opt to play USTA Adult league rather than do tournaments. It’s cheaper, and you get a lot of match play against experienced opponents. Along with that signing up for a local league at the club.

The problem comes when you realize that juniors with UTRs of 8-9 are going up against guys with 4s and 5s and being taken to three sets and even losing. So the juniors utr goes down and college recruiters, especially D1 recruiters end up not talking to those kids if they drop below a certain threshold. It’s a big problem that needs fixing.
I do not observe UTR 5s beating UTR 9s, regardless of age. In my limited experience playing against juniors in the UTR 7-9 range, my UTR 7.8 was fairly accurate; I'm a mid-4.5.

Also, my HS Coach has a UTR 6 due to adult league. Keep in mind he was a D1 College player and he’s less than 30 years old, and he consistently has played AFTER college. Yes, 6 makes perfect sense.
Adult league doesn't cause a low UTR. Achieving less than expected results causes a low UTR. A UTR 6 is a mid-4.0: I have a hard time imagining how an under-30 ex-Div I who has kept playing can only be a UTR 6. Everyone I know that fits that description even remotely is a UTR 10 at minimum.

How seriously is he exerting himself in these leagues? Is it possible that it's social for him so he's not trying very hard?

Is this USTA league? If so, what did he self-rate at? Based on your description, he should have self-rated as 5.5.
 
UTR is extremely inaccurate. Even Jim Courier and Lindsey Davenport have said in Tennis channel that it is just a number based on past record and isn't a accurate tool to assess who is playing better at the time of the match.
Keep telling yourselves this. I've been dealing with it personally for 7 years. It's more accurate than everything. Yes, there are areas of anomalies, mostly between the larger pools of levels, e.g. 12 year old 12 utrs are different than 20 year old college utrs. However with in the respective pools it is a revolutionary tool.
 
Keep telling yourselves this. I've been dealing with it personally for 7 years. It's more accurate than everything. Yes, there are areas of anomalies, mostly between the larger pools of levels, e.g. 12 year old 12 utrs are different than 20 year old college utrs. However with in the respective pools it is a revolutionary tool.
It only works if you play tournaments and play often and at various many oppoenents. If you only play once in a while like once a month, it doesn't work. I order them to get rid of it
 
It only works if you play tournaments and play often and at various many oppoenents. If you only play once in a while like once a month, it doesn't work. I order them to get rid of it
Well at least it works some of the time then.

USTA's use of NTRP doesnt seem to work at all.
 
It only works if you play tournaments and play often and at various many oppoenents. If you only play once in a while like once a month, it doesn't work. I order them to get rid of it
If you compete once a month utr is accurate. If you play once a month I don't know how any system can assess competitive level.
 
If you compete once a month utr is accurate. If you play once a month I don't know how any system can assess competitive level.
yea once a month in a tournament and play several matches in that tournament Vs wide variety of UTR opponents. but if you play ONE match per month, NOT accurate. I order them to take down UTR system immediately
 
One of the biggest flaws in UTR is the lack of play between adults and juniors, which is why the ratings are never reliable and can’t be unified.

Many seniors in my area (Columbus) opt to play USTA Adult league rather than do tournaments. It’s cheaper, and you get a lot of match play against experienced opponents. Along with that signing up for a local league at the club.

The problem comes when you realize that juniors with UTRs of 8-9 are going up against guys with 4s and 5s and being taken to three sets and even losing. So the juniors utr goes down and college recruiters, especially D1 recruiters end up not talking to those kids if they drop below a certain threshold. It’s a big problem that needs fixing.

Also, my HS Coach has a UTR 6 due to adult league. Keep in mind he was a D1 College player and he’s less than 30 years old, and he consistently has played AFTER college. Yes, 6 makes perfect sense.
Two points:
1) Matches with a 2.5+ difference in UTR and the higher rated opponent wins dont count in UTR. If an 8 beats a 5 even if it is in 3 sets, the match wont be counted in UTR calculation. Even matches with a 1.0+ variation are weighted less in calculation. Read here https://parentingaces.com/going-deeper-inside-utr/
2) Consider playing summer ITA tourneys-2019 list just came out. Think they are cheaper and shorter than USTA jr events plus they are played at college campuses. There are 1-3 flights as player levels may range for UTR 7-13. They are considered opens so anyone-adults, jr, collegian can play who buys a $30 ITA summer membership. There is one in OH at Case plus some in PA and Indiana that might be a reasonable drive and cost if you get a couple HS friends to drive together and split an hotel. However, they are 3rd set tiebreak vs full 3rd if that matters to you. My son preferred tourneys with full 3rds but these are good options to get in matchplay in 2-3 days over a weekend.
https://itatennis.com/ITA/Events/EventsCalendar/2019_Summer_Circuit_Powered_by_UTR.aspx
 
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