Women in Men's Leagues/Classes?

Vilgan

New User
Hi All,

Hitting a few barriers that have been frustrating for me and especially frustrating for a female friend of mine.

1) There are a group of about 10 of us that meet and play tennis socially, especially in the summer. We're all around the 3.0 level, at least for 2019 and only two of us are currently USTA members. Everyone was excited about the idea of making a team together, but with 8 guys and 2 women, the women would get left out. Other sports have been fine allowing women to play in men's events. Even non USTA tennis events have been fine with it. I played a men's pickleball tournament and a men's GLTA tennis tournament last year with a female friend everyone was fine with it. However, I asked 2.5 months ago if we could have a women or two on a USTA team if we all decided to give it a whirl and haven't been able to get an answer from the USTA. The local section pushed the question upwards and then followed up, but (as far as I'm aware), there has been silence from the USTA. The main thing that excites people is doing this together with our friends and if the answer is no, then I think all the non members are going to pass and we will just continue just doing our own thing.

2) There are a lot of "Men's" events at public tennis club. Not sure how this is USTA, but it's pretty frustrating for her. We just had class signups and the time that was perfect was a "Men's Only" class. We've asked in the past if she can play and the club is always super adamant that the answer is no, even though she hits harder than half the men in the men's class I took last year and every man in the class said they didn't care and just picked it due to the time. There is also a "Men's Night" but no accompanying "Ladies Night" where you can drill for 2.5 hours for a very reasonable amount ($18).

3) Not sure how flexible tournaments are, probably not, but there are times when Men's divisions have plenty and the women's brackets are much smaller. Her preference is to play men's in these situations, especially since she enjoys playing against men more (less moonball tennis, which she wins but doesn't have fun).

Anyway, would love to see the USTA be more flexible about things like this. If the goal is to encourage people to play tennis, it seems like removing barriers to do so is good. While the majority of the time the gender separation is appreciated so that women can play against women, it seems like letting women opt into playing Men's events should be fine. Other sports are fine with this and even other tennis orgs (GLTA, UTR), so would be great to see the USTA follow suit. Unfortunately, there isn't much organized team/doubles play outside of USTA and UTR tournaments don't seem to exist in the PNW yet so we have to work within the constraints of what the USTA offers.

I realize this isn't really a venue for sparking change, but given the recent posts about participation declining especially among the younger set - it seemed reasonable to highlight a possible contributing issue. People want to play with their friends, and if the USTA isn't making that happen then people find other solutions.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Interesting. Yours is the reverse of the complaint I hear from a lot of men .... a ton of women's only leagues (weekday) and women's only clinics, mixed clinics but few if any men's only clinics.

Women out number men in USTA nearly 2 to 1 in some regions ... look at a club's courts on any league day and it will be so clear who is out there and who is not.

In terms of USTA, you are asking about playing a mixed league. Get a few more females and get a mixed team .... there is a league just for that.

USTA tournaments always have womens and men's draws ... doubles tournaments nearly always include a mixed draw ... the opportunities are there. And around here the women's brackets are larger draws than the men's.

Now would you be okay with men joining into the women's league? Do you think the other women in that league would appreciate it?

Mixing the genders changes the dynamic of the game itself. This same different dynamic is why some people really enjoy mixed and others hate it.

Women are not as strong, tall, or fast as men. It is a simple fact. There may be outliers but incredibly rare, and not worth adding into the discussion.

It is okay to have men's leagues and women's leagues and mixed leagues .... there are opportunities available to you in USTA if you choose to avail yourselves of them.

You also have an option of playing a UTR (non-gender divided) event .... but no leagues are available in that format.
 

Vilgan

New User
I'm not asking about playing a Mixed League. I just captained one. I'm asking to play with friends and not have a couple excluded based on gender. The mixed league would be more valid if it was year round, but since its 9 matches in an entire year that leaves us with nothing to do the rest of the time.

UTR isn't available in the PNW. I wish it were.

We weren't asking to have men play in a women's bracket, the physical advantages make that less fun for the women. However, if a particularly strong/capable woman is fine with playing against men (as she does in various other sports), why exclude them?

Don't know how it happens elsewhere, but here brackets for women and mixed are usually a lot smaller. Heck, there's a tournament coming up in two weeks that we are playing. Here are the current signup #s (close tomorrow):

3.0 Women Singles - 0
3.5 Women Singles - 1
3.0 Men Singles - 3
3.5 Men Singles - 12

If you were a woman and wanted to play singles, wouldn't you like the opportunity to just play in the men's division? Doubles is similar, 16 in men's 3.5 and 2 in women's. Fortunately there are enough mixed teams that we'll get to play some (currently 7), but there are tournaments where the mixed is similarly absent. There was one this summer we were thinking about but it had 1 mixed signup, no women's, and tons of men.
 

ShaunS

Semi-Pro
I realize this isn't really a venue for sparking change, but given the recent posts about participation declining especially among the younger set - it seemed reasonable to highlight a possible contributing issue. People want to play with their friends, and if the USTA isn't making that happen then people find other solutions.
The USTA will probably eventually be forced into adopting "mixed" leagues as the standard in the next ten years, but they'll also probably fight it. Their strategy appears to be creating additional "restricted" leagues (ie. 18-35 or 40+), but those haven't seemed to help much where interest is already low.

There has been discussion around this in other threads (UTR I believe most recently). Juniors are used to playing/practicing "mixed" tennis, even if much of their official USTA events do split them up. The best approach for the USTA will be to push gender integration hard at their younger formats. I know the 18-39 leagues I've seen are mixed, but I don't know how it plays out.

Get a few more females and get a mixed team .... there is a league just for that.
In major metro areas, yes, there are some options for mixed teams, but it is not something that's available everywhere. I did a search for mixed leagues within 100 miles of Indianapolis for 2019, and there's only one Winter league that comes up.

USTA tournaments always have womens and men's draws ... doubles tournaments nearly always include a mixed draw ... the opportunities are there.
Similar point on this one. Mixed draws are not in most tournaments that I see locally, and I only specifically remember it in 'Doubles only' tournaments.

Women are not as strong, tall, or fast as men. It is a simple fact. There may be outliers but incredibly rare, and not worth adding into the discussion.
Tennis is one of the sports where raw physicality is least important though. The biggest difficulty the USTA faces with mixed is the fact that male and female NTRP isn't the same. If they had a gender neutral rating scale then men and women then most men and women could play together fine.

Mixing the genders changes the dynamic of the game itself. This same different dynamic is why some people really enjoy mixed and others hate it.
No doubt, I'm sure there will always be people who prefer a gender specific league. With declining participation though, the USTA needs to find ways to introduce more inclusive options though to keep leagues operating.

You also have an option of playing a UTR (non-gender divided) event .... but no leagues are available in that format.
In my experience, UTR isn't a viable choice in many (most?) areas for adult play.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I'm not asking about playing a Mixed League. I just captained one. I'm asking to play with friends and not have a couple excluded based on gender. The mixed league would be more valid if it was year round, but since its 9 matches in an entire year that leaves us with nothing to do the rest of the time.

UTR isn't available in the PNW. I wish it were.

We weren't asking to have men play in a women's bracket, the physical advantages make that less fun for the women. However, if a particularly strong/capable woman is fine with playing against men (as she does in various other sports), why exclude them?

Don't know how it happens elsewhere, but here brackets for women and mixed are usually a lot smaller. Heck, there's a tournament coming up in two weeks that we are playing. Here are the current signup #s (close tomorrow):

3.0 Women Singles - 0
3.5 Women Singles - 1
3.0 Men Singles - 3
3.5 Men Singles - 12

If you were a woman and wanted to play singles, wouldn't you like the opportunity to just play in the men's division? Doubles is similar, 16 in men's 3.5 and 2 in women's. Fortunately there are enough mixed teams that we'll get to play some (currently 7), but there are tournaments where the mixed is similarly absent. There was one this summer we were thinking about but it had 1 mixed signup, no women's, and tons of men.
Well, I am a woman, and over 40 so the age barrier to some leagues isn't there for me (and I am not whining that I can't play in the 18-39 league or that I can't play in the 55+ league)

.... and I know that I have so many opportunities for competition that I don't need to barge my way into a men's league.

But I am in a decent sized metro area with a lot of league play and mixed plays from March-end of June and again from early August through mid-October.

The only times of the entire year that I cannot play in an active scheduled league for which I am eligible: December 13th - January 4th; June 22 - July 10th

Being in a different area with fewer league options or excessive travel requirements would change the discussion for certain. And that is true for all players regardless of gender.

For my area, you are proposing a solution to a situation where there is no problem.
 

kevrol

Hall of Fame
I understand the OPs proposal but honestly if women started joining men's leagues I know a lot of guys (maybe myself included) that wouldn't play.

Maybe add a league that is open to all would be an interesting test case. You could do the folowing:

Level 1 League - Max Rating 3.0 for males, 3.5 for females
Level 2 League - Max Rating 3.5 for males, 4.0 for females
Level 3 League - Max Rating 4.0 for males, 4.5 for females
etc.
 

JLyon

Hall of Fame
Just say you feel like a man and they have to let you join the rated league, USTA is all about diversity now days.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
The USTA will probably eventually be forced into adopting "mixed" leagues as the standard in the next ten years, but they'll also probably fight it. Their strategy appears to be creating additional "restricted" leagues (ie. 18-35 or 40+), but those haven't seemed to help much where interest is already low.


In major metro areas, yes, there are some options for mixed teams, but it is not something that's available everywhere. I did a search for mixed leagues within 100 miles of Indianapolis for 2019, and there's only one Winter league that comes up.


Similar point on this one. Mixed draws are not in most tournaments that I see locally, and I only specifically remember it in 'Doubles only' tournaments.


Tennis is one of the sports where raw physicality is least important though. The biggest difficulty the USTA faces with mixed is the fact that male and female NTRP isn't the same. If they had a gender neutral rating scale then men and women then most men and women could play together fine.


No doubt, I'm sure there will always be people who prefer a gender specific league. With declining participation though, the USTA needs to find ways to introduce more inclusive options though to keep leagues operating.


In my experience, UTR isn't a viable choice in many (most?) areas for adult play.
I think your search for mixed leagues is one of those stupid tennislink problems .... can't search and find a league that isn't going to start in the next 30 days. Go to your local league webpage and you will likely find a schedule of all leagues for the year. You will likely find more mixed leagues that are available through the year (18+, 40+ and combo)

I agree that women can compete with men ... up to a point ... at similar ratings the woman should almost always lose.
 

Mongolmike

Hall of Fame
Now would you be okay with men joining into the women's league? Do you think the other women in that league would appreciate it?

Mixing the genders changes the dynamic of the game itself. This same different dynamic is why some people really enjoy mixed and others hate it.
On The Line nailed the two thoughts that came to my mind first. And let me say, I enjoy playing mixed. I'm on USTA league mixed team, and I also play in many social settings with women... a pickup group Sunday I'm in has 3 men and a lady, I'm subbing in a mixed ladder group Saturday and a I'm member in a different mixed ladder group. During the summer I play at a public park with a mixed group. No problem for me. I enjoy the interactions with women, or when playing without.

That said, the dynamics are different in mixed matches vs gender specific. I wouldn't care if USTA allowed women to play in men's leagues, but many men would. Some, because they have Bobby Riggs syndrome, others because they would play different vs a woman for fear of hurting her. I think as open as I think I am, I hit overheads at men different then I do at women. Because I do.

The other point is also valid- if women can play on men's leagues, can equal talent level men play on women's league? And there are some who would, given the opportunity.
Reminds me of the professional sports reporting inequality. Why are women reporters allowed in men's locker rooms, but men reporters aren't allowed in women locker rooms? If I was in charge, I wouldn't have ANY reporters in ANY locker room. Let the athlete decompress. Let them discuss a team sport amongst themselves in private. My god, let then shower and change without someone watching them. Different topic, I know...but when calling for gender equality, there are many a slippery slope.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
I know the 18-39 leagues I've seen are mixed, but I don't know how it plays out.
In some areas, the 18-39 still has flights for different genders. But even the "official" format is courts of men's/women's/mixed doubles and men's and women's singles. It isn't a gender neutral format where men and women can be on any court.
 

milk of amnesia

Hall of Fame
I once played in a USTA singles flex league that was opened to both genders, so it has happened in the past that the USTA supported a mixed gender league. Not enough men signed up for the men's league and not enough women signed up for the women's league so they just combined it so there were enough people to play. I had a good time and I looked for it the following year, but enough people signed up to have a league for each gender so that was the end of that.

I think that you and your friends would be better off in the long run if you started your own mixed gender league. It may be a small league for the first couple of years, but as word gets around you could have a fairly substantial group of people and you would be in control of the decision making regarding rules etc and not reliant on the USTA. I play with a group of people that started out small and has about 50 people in it now.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
I am all for open leagues personally. If women end up rated lower for whatever reasons, they would still be at level play among their peers. If they hang, and I think they would for the most part, then they play at a higher rating.

Unless it really becomes wanting to say you play at a certain rating, or like the forums where you get a garuanteed 1.0 or more rating bump when posting.
 

ShaunS

Semi-Pro
I understand the OPs proposal but honestly if women started joining men's leagues I know a lot of guys (maybe myself included) that wouldn't play.
This is why they'll need to phase it in, but it's something the USTA might be forced into with declining participation. If those players were given the choice between playing a mixed league or none they might rather accept the "discomfort".

I agree that women can compete with men ... up to a point ... at similar ratings the woman should almost always lose.
This is because the USTA doesn't have consistent ratings across the sexes. It will need to be addressed, and while it would require an effort to adjust the rating of either men/women to normalize the two the ongoing maintenance of the new standard would be no more difficult than today.

others because they would play different vs a woman for fear of hurting her. I think as open as I think I am, I hit overheads at men different then I do at women. Because I do.
Is this more of a problem because of inequitable ratings though? If that woman was at the same skill level she wouldn't likely have a problem with an overhead if that man wouldn't.

The other point is also valid- if women can play on men's leagues, can equal talent level men play on women's league? And there are some who would, given the opportunity.
I wouldn't advocate modification to the existing gender specific leagues. That is more hassle than anything is worth. I believe the USTA would benefit from making their "default" mixed leagues. When there is sufficient participation to support more specific leagues (ex. gender, age, etc) then run those as well.
 

Matthew ATX

Semi-Pro
That sucks. None of the clinics at the club I play at are gender specific; only level. The local league I play in (Austin Tennis League) is co-ed with no specific requirements for what lines or against what pairings men or women can play. Two men can play two women in doubles or any other combo. I have two girls that I always put together at D2 and they crush it. Love seeing the look on the guys' faces when they see they're playing girls, then again when they lose to them, lol.

I enjoy that league and wouldn't mind if USTA had "open" leagues like that. I would sign up.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I'm sorry, but I think things need to stay where they are.

I play ladies, and I play mixed. These are almost two different sports. The shots and strategies I need are different. I play them both and to the extent I enjoy them, it is precisely because they are so different.

I played a mixed match the other night, and do you know how many times my opponents lobbed? Zero. The only lobs I can recall from that night are the 3-4 I hit (2 of which were spectacular winners, thanks for asking!). Do you have any idea how often my 3.5 ladies opponents lob in a typical match? Too many to count (not that there's anything wrong with that!).

Let men who want to play with men play with men. Let women who want to play with women play with women. And let men and women who want to play together play together. Changing to a gender blind league would have the effect of making all league tennis the same (that is, mixed). I think many people would miss the other options.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
Is this more of a problem because of inequitable ratings though? If that woman was at the same skill level she wouldn't likely have a problem with an overhead if that man wouldn't.
Exactly. If the skill level (not USTA rating) was the same, there would be no issues.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
Changing to a gender blind league would have the effect of making all league tennis the same (that is, mixed). I think many people would miss the other options.
Not really though. As a thought experiment, let’s keep the USTA rating system nomenclature and throw all comers into the same league format. This would not be the equivalent of mixed doubles. Rating levels 2.5 and 3.0 would become almost entirely women. Level 4.5 would be almost entirely men. Level 4.0 would be mostly men with a handful of athletic women thrown in. Level 3.5 would be the only level even approaching what we think of as “mixed doubles” but since the skill levels would be so even, it wouldn’t feel like mixed does now with the tremendous disparity in skill sets.

I am actually in favor of this system. I have known several women who were just too good to play women's USTA leagues because it would be too boring for them if they sandbagged and there were not enough women on their level to form a team much less a league. They would have fit right in nicely on a solid 4.0 men’s team, probably with a dynamic rating in the 3.8-3.9 range (upper 4.0). I say let them play men’s league or go to a non-gendered system.

So essentially, even in a non-gendered league format, most men will wind up playing together and most women would wind up playing together, just as they do now. The degree of integration would be less than many here are expecting.
 
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Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
That is true.

But most players are in the vast middle, which is why they call it the vast middle.

The middle would become mixed, and a lot of people don't want to play mixed.

I wonder if schemke could tell us what percentage of players play mixed. My guess is fewer than 50% of USTA league players play in mixed doubles leagues.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
That is true.

But most players are in the vast middle, which is why they call it the vast middle.

The middle would become mixed, and a lot of people don't want to play mixed.

I wonder if schemke could tell us what percentage of players play mixed. My guess is fewer than 50% of USTA league players play in mixed doubles leagues.
I suppose if you mean that men who are now rated 2.5 or 3.0 would wind up playing mixed, sure. But 3.5 rated men would only occasionally encounter a woman, and current 4.0 men almost never would unless she was an impressive athlete.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
I'm sorry, but I think things need to stay where they are.

I play ladies, and I play mixed. These are almost two different sports. The shots and strategies I need are different. I play them both and to the extent I enjoy them, it is precisely because they are so different.

I played a mixed match the other night, and do you know how many times my opponents lobbed? Zero. The only lobs I can recall from that night are the 3-4 I hit (2 of which were spectacular winners, thanks for asking!). Do you have any idea how often my 3.5 ladies opponents lob in a typical match? Too many to count (not that there's anything wrong with that!).

Let men who want to play with men play with men. Let women who want to play with women play with women. And let men and women who want to play together play together. Changing to a gender blind league would have the effect of making all league tennis the same (that is, mixed). I think many people would miss the other options.
Part of the reason for this is the rating gap between players in Mixed as it is defined today. In a 7.0 match even if you had two 3.5 pairs, it is generally understood than the 3.5 men are a bit stronger than the 3.5 women so it would have been more like 3.5/4.0 women's pairs playing each other. In that scenario, I'm guessing there would be less lobbing than in a 3.5 women's match?

And I don't think the proposal, at least I wouldn't propose this, is to do away with men's and women's leagues, but having an option of a gender neutral league might be an interesting add.

But it also wouldn't make all league tennis Mixed. There would definitely be a bias towards lower levels being women's and higher level being men's. Not because of there aren't good and capable women's players, but there just aren't as many of them today. Similarly there are lower rated men, but also not as many of them.

Then, throw in that to truly have a gender neutral league, you'd need to have gender neutral ratings that we don't have today. We can debate for a long time the right way to arrive at a gender neutral rating, and UTR is certainly trying to have one, but the general consensus is that with NTRP you add 0.5 to a male player to have an equivalent female rating, e.g. a 3.5 man and 4.0 woman are similar.

I just wrote a post on my blog discussing what a gender neutral NTRP might look like, but here is the key chart with the one level (0.5) adjustment made to men's 2018 year-end ratings.



This confirms what I noted above, that the lower levels would be predominantly women and higher level's men, really just 4.0 would be close to an even split.

Go read what I wrote on my blog, but I think the question is, given the above distribution, would players be interested in such a league? Would a "3.5" (aka today's 3.0) man play in a league that is primarily women? Would a 4.5 female play in a league that is primarily men?
 
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schmke

Hall of Fame
That is true.

But most players are in the vast middle, which is why they call it the vast middle.

The middle would become mixed, and a lot of people don't want to play mixed.

I wonder if schemke could tell us what percentage of players play mixed. My guess is fewer than 50% of USTA league players play in mixed doubles leagues.
See my post above for my comments about the middle being mixed.

But you are being optimistic about how many play Mixed league. My numbers show about 240K played Adult 18+/40+ and just 85K played Mixed 18+/40+!
 

Max G.

Legend
That is true.

But most players are in the vast middle, which is why they call it the vast middle.

The middle would become mixed, and a lot of people don't want to play mixed.

I wonder if schemke could tell us what percentage of players play mixed. My guess is fewer than 50% of USTA league players play in mixed doubles leagues.
Mixed is weird not because of the different genders, but because of the different levels. In 8.0 mixed, you have 4.5M on the court with 3.5W - it's a crazy wide rating spread, especially since a "3.5W" is lower level than "3.5M". This means the strategy is fundamentally about protecting or taking advantage of the asymmetry.

I'd have nothing against purely skill-based leagues, like UTR. At my level (4.5M) there'd probably be very few women, but I'm sure there would be some - recent college players or something. I remember as a junior, basically all my clinics and summer camps and classes were genderblind. I remember having these very close matches with some girl that went on to play college tennis (I obviously didn't).

Of course, there's big barriers to USTA doing that. In my opinion, if leagues like that are the future, that's probably going to come about through USTA losing to UTR in the rec league space, not through USTA reforming.
 

Matthew ATX

Semi-Pro
Why? At least since the granularity of UTR is smaller, UTRx vs UTRx is likely to produce a more even result than NTRPy vs NTRPy. There will still be blowouts but I would think fewer.
Just my own anecdotal experience. I'm a UTR 7. I played a UTR 7 who is a 4.5 and lost 4&4. Then in the final of a tournament last weekend, I played a UTR 7 who is a 4.0 and smoked him 1&2.

I am 7.14 singles. I'm guessing the guy I lost to is more like 7.3 and the guy I beat is like 6.6. But rounded to whole numbers, we're all the same. Which is why I would say whole number UTR is useless.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Why? At least since the granularity of UTR is smaller, UTRx vs UTRx is likely to produce a more even result than NTRPy vs NTRPy. There will still be blowouts but I would think fewer.
no no no and no.

I am a whole number UTR 3 ... I did go up to a 4 (very very low) and now at 3.08 as UTR is doing a bunch of downward adjusting while not actually adding any matches (WTH) .... I have 11 matches that are not in there since early November and yet my rating drops a few points every day .... (how?)

UTR 3 has some 2.5s in it, 50% of the local 3.0s and majority of the 3.5s (there are a sprinkling of 4s in 3.5 and even the ocassional NTRP 3.0; additionally, there are a sprinkling of 2s in NTRP 3.5 as well and plenty of 3s in NTRP 4.0) ... I am a mid to high NTRP 3.5 depending on the day ... and no way I would lose to another 3 that is a NTRP 3.0 or 2.5 unless the rules of the game were radically altered and I wasn't allowed to serve and could only score a point on an overhead ... most of those matches would be a total waste of time for all parties involved. I am not bragging ... that is simply a fact at this point.

UTR at lower levels, and particularly for women is a total and complete joke.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
Most of the other recreational sports in which our family participates (fencing, shooting, competitive fishing) have special divisions for women, but women are also allowed to compete directly against the men if they choose.

I certainly don't mind special divisions for women who prefer not to compete directly against men, but it seems sexist not to allow interested women to compete directly against men. It seems to me akin to "playing up." Women should definitely be allowed in men's leagues and classes. There may be some relatively rare recreational fencing events that are men only, but I've never come across a shooting or competitive fishing event that excluded women or had a "men only" subdivision of the competition.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
Most of the other recreational sports in which our family participates (fencing, shooting, competitive fishing) have special divisions for women, but women are also allowed to compete directly against the men if they choose.

I certainly don't mind special divisions for women who prefer not to compete directly against men, but it seems sexist not to allow interested women to compete directly against men. It seems to me akin to "playing up." Women should definitely be allowed in men's leagues and classes. There may be some relatively rare recreational fencing events that are men only, but I've never come across a shooting or competitive fishing event that excluded women or had a "men only" subdivision of the competition.
Your post highlights the real underlying issue here. The issue isn’t about skill disparity. It’s actually because the 60+ older men who wear knee braces and can’t move well and are barely hanging on to 3.5 are the ones who give $$ to the club, pay membership fees, participate in the social life of the club, and are on USTA committees. They know that they are the ones who will be mixed in with women and have to post losing scores to women online for all to see. And they know the next time they are in the men’s locker room the other 60+ macho dudes are going to make jokes and pop them with the towel. Because that’s what awkward old dudes do in locker rooms apparently.
 

Matthew ATX

Semi-Pro
no no no and no.

I am a whole number UTR 3 ... I did go up to a 4 (very very low) and now at 3.08 as UTR is doing a bunch of downward adjusting while not actually adding any matches (WTH) .... I have 11 matches that are not in there since early November and yet my rating drops a few points every day .... (how?)

UTR 3 has some 2.5s in it, 50% of the local 3.0s and majority of the 3.5s (there are a sprinkling of 4s in 3.5 and even the ocassional NTRP 3.0; additionally, there are a sprinkling of 2s in NTRP 3.5 as well and plenty of 3s in NTRP 4.0) ... I am a mid to high NTRP 3.5 depending on the day ... and no way I would lose to another 3 that is a NTRP 3.0 or 2.5 unless the rules of the game were radically altered and I wasn't allowed to serve and could only score a point on an overhead ... most of those matches would be a total waste of time for all parties involved. I am not bragging ... that is simply a fact at this point.

UTR at lower levels, and particularly for women is a total and complete joke.
As I understand it, your score adjusts as the people you've played play more matches. So if someone you beat goes out there and beats other good players, your score would go up even if you've been idle. If they go out there and lose to a couple hacks, your score would go down.
Mine went up to 7.41 between the time I made the post above saying I was 7.14 and this morning.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
no no no and no.

I am a whole number UTR 3 ... I did go up to a 4 (very very low) and now at 3.08 as UTR is doing a bunch of downward adjusting while not actually adding any matches (WTH) .... I have 11 matches that are not in there since early November and yet my rating drops a few points every day .... (how?)

UTR 3 has some 2.5s in it, 50% of the local 3.0s and majority of the 3.5s (there are a sprinkling of 4s in 3.5 and even the ocassional NTRP 3.0; additionally, there are a sprinkling of 2s in NTRP 3.5 as well and plenty of 3s in NTRP 4.0) ... I am a mid to high NTRP 3.5 depending on the day ... and no way I would lose to another 3 that is a NTRP 3.0 or 2.5 unless the rules of the game were radically altered and I wasn't allowed to serve and could only score a point on an overhead ... most of those matches would be a total waste of time for all parties involved. I am not bragging ... that is simply a fact at this point.

UTR at lower levels, and particularly for women is a total and complete joke.
It would be interesting to see a breakdown of matches between the same NTRP and between the same UTR and to calculate the score differential to see which one produces a closer result.

My $ would be on UTR.

Another interesting experiment is to calculate the UTR differential over time: is it getting more accurate with more data?
 
I do PlayYourCourt and they just rolled out a new rating system of their own (1-99, 99 is a pro, 1 has never picked up a racquet). Some of the ratings are super goofy right now. Interested to see what it (and UTR) look like in a year or so
 

TennisDawg

Hall of Fame
I would forget about getting a USTA endorsement on mixing genders in a league. I would rather form my own league, either in a club or public facility. If players are agreeable, who cares about the USTA? USTA doesn’t respond to its customers too well if it’s out of their comfort zone.
 

Mongolmike

Hall of Fame
Some, because they have Bobby Riggs syndrome, others because they would play different vs a woman for fear of hurting her. I think as open as I think I am, I hit overheads at men different then I do at women. Because I do.
Gotta laugh because this is exactly what happened the other night when l was called to sub in a mixed gender ladder.

I was assigned to a court with 3 ladies, two with higher rating than me, one rated the same. Early in the match I hit an overhead winner which bounced up into the body of one of the ladies. She is a friend of my wife's, and l sincerely apologized for hitting too close to her that the ball bounced up into her. I felt chagrined.

Few plays later l had another overhead opportunity, and the best shot was again in the same direction as my wife's friend. I did not swing out, she kept the ball in play and her side eventually won the point.

My partner firmly admonished me and said, "HIT the ball."
I started to say l didn't want to "hit" her again, but she was having none of it.
"Just HIT the ball." she said emphatically.

I laughed and started playing normal. Full overheads, regular first serves with pace and direction even if it meant aces. So yeah, l adjusted. Part of it was it was a ladder league, so every game was important for them to move up or down, so l just played my best (for what it is) to give each of them support to win more games (3 "sets" of 10 games - although l ended up with the most wins, but mine didn't count)
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
It would be interesting to see a breakdown of matches between the same NTRP and between the same UTR and to calculate the score differential to see which one produces a closer result.

My $ would be on UTR.

Another interesting experiment is to calculate the UTR differential over time: is it getting more accurate with more data?
Whole number or specific? If whole number and if lower level female ... I would take that bet and place the house on it. ... I might take it on specific number at lower level (sub 4.0) female even.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Whole number or specific? If whole number and if lower level female ... I would take that bet and place the house on it. ... I might take it on specific number at lower level (sub 4.0) female even.
I'm talking about every UTR level and every NTRP level; the whole enchilada.
 

MisterP

Hall of Fame
I met my wife on the soccer field. We played competitive men’s indoor league together. She played ODP so she was better than most of the guys anyway. I’d be all for a coed tennis league. No issues with that whatsoever. And if you have a couple of lady ringers you wanted to add to your men’s team I wouldn’t have a problem with it. But I’m sure a lot of others would and I doubt it would fly.
 

ShaunS

Semi-Pro
I think your search for mixed leagues is one of those stupid tennislink problems .... can't search and find a league that isn't going to start in the next 30 days.
I hear you, TennisLink has improved in a number of ways but their search engine isn't one. I tried a few different times with multiple parameters, so it's probably accurate. The last search gave me results outside my defined distance, but still didn't have much more in the way of mixed. I just don't think it's very prevalent for official USTA leagues around here.

Mixed is weird not because of the different genders, but because of the different levels.
That was how my latest experience played out, and it's why I'm not in a mixed league right now. I should note that upon reflection I don't think it was a sanctioned league, but everyone was USTA players playing at their rating. It was the usual local organizer who contacts me for the USTA leagues so I didn't give it a second thought until our discussion on the subject.

Anyway, to the point, my last mixed league was less enjoyable because of a large gap between the skill level of my partner and I. They'd asked me to play with the intent of pairing her with someone stronger (relative to the league) because she was weaker. She didn't have as good of a time because she felt like her play was why we lost some matches, and that made it less fun for me. I wanted to play a perfect match to get a win so she wouldn't be frustrated, and we're both disappointed in ourselves individually (not the other person).

Of course, there's big barriers to USTA doing that. In my opinion, if leagues like that are the future, that's probably going to come about through USTA losing to UTR in the rec league space, not through USTA reforming.
Well that's sort of what I expect. In less populated regions the USTA will see they're unable to fill gender-specific leagues, and recognize that they have to run mixed to keep them going.

I would rather form my own league, either in a club or public facility. If players are agreeable, who cares about the USTA?
It's a lot of work to get a league started though, especially outside of USTA which means I'd have to make arrangements with the club myself. There are very few people with the time and gumption to do that.
 

Vilgan

New User
Regarding Mixed league participation: I think there are two downsides of mixed. First, the varying levels makes it rarely even around the court. We had a few matches like that this season but usually one player on the other side was clearly weaker (usually the woman). Matches where everyone was even and we just played tennis were the most fun imo, so a 3.5 gender neutral league would be more ideal imo. Secondly: Scheduling mixed is tough. Some weeks not enough women, some weeks not enough men. You need an oversized team to make sure you have enough of each gender every match but now you need to rotate things around to give everyone an opportunity to play. Then, once its over, now you need to wait 9 months before your team will play anymore matches (assuming you aren't going to sectionals).

Way easier to just play/have fun. Maybe people have a point about starting something new that's not USTA, but that sounds like a lot of work! :)
 

aminadream

Rookie
First:

@Vilgan, where are you in the PNW? There are UTR events here... maybe not as many, but there are options.


Second:

Every Tuesday night, I attend a 4.5+ doubles mixer at my club. Though it's technically supposed to be coed, it's usually 15 guys and then me. At first, I felt like the underdog, but looking back at the last 3 years, I think it was all in my head. I've become known as the gal that has the balls to beat the guys. Now they've started letting me play men's tournaments (though not USTA sanctioned, but club tourneys nonetheless).
  1. Step one is proving that one belongs. Man, woman, or otherwise, as long as you can hold your own (not just hit harder, but actually win sometimes), that's a good first step to proving the point.

  2. Step two is continuing to politely persist. The USTA may not ever budge, but just like with Blockbuster and Netflix, there will always be a more forward thinking approach down the road (likely UTR). In fact, it's people like you and your friend who inspire those kinds of innovative solutions to happen faster.

Third:

For those who say that playing against women is like a different sport, I'd like to suggest that you could say the same for playing a serve-and-volleyer, or a grinder, or a junkballer, or an 18 year old, or a 65 year old. We're all different in different ways. Every opponent gives you a very different experience, even those within .5 of your NTRP rating. And playing against a variety of styles only makes us stronger players.
 

cknobman

Legend
Anyway, would love to see the USTA be more flexible about things like this. If the goal is to encourage people to play tennis, it seems like removing barriers to do so is good. While the majority of the time the gender separation is appreciated so that women can play against women, it seems like letting women opt into playing Men's events should be fine. Other sports are fine with this and even other tennis orgs (GLTA, UTR), so would be great to see the USTA follow suit. Unfortunately, there isn't much organized team/doubles play outside of USTA and UTR tournaments don't seem to exist in the PNW yet so we have to work within the constraints of what the USTA offers.
While personally I dont care about playing with women, as long as their level of play dictates they belong where they are playing, I think you should consider your statement and how the reaction would be if it was reversed.

What would the reaction be if it was a man wanting the ability to opt into a womens league/tournament? Should it be expected to accept that as well?

Also there is nothing wrong with having womens and mens only teams/leagues/classes/tournaments. Not everything in the world needs to be shared all the time.
Regardless of our desires to make everything equal there are biological and physical differences that we will never overcome.
It will never be truly "equal" having men compete against women in sports that involve physical activity.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
For those who say that playing against women is like a different sport, I'd like to suggest that you could say the same for playing a serve-and-volleyer, or a grinder, or a junkballer, or an 18 year old, or a 65 year old. We're all different in different ways. Every opponent gives you a very different experience, even those within .5 of your NTRP rating. And playing against a variety of styles only makes us stronger players.
It’s not the fact that they are women per se that makes it different. It’s the difference in skill levels between the gendered NTRP ratings. A futures level female will roll a male 4.5, and to her it would be like “playing a different sport”.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
. It’s the difference in skill levels between the gendered NTRP ratings.
Yeah, ratings are based on winning not really skill level, allowing like-level players to be grouped for better competition...and more so to spread players out for better teams. It is the same when playing people from different sections even, where ratings can be +\- .5 compared to other sections.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
Yeah, ratings are based on winning not really skill level, allowing like-level players to be grouped for better competition...and more so to spread players out for better teams. It is the same when playing people from different sections even, where ratings can be +\- .5 compared to other sections.
“Winning not skill level”? What’s the difference? Some losers like to cry about their secret skill level even though they can’t win? Lol. “Wahhh! I’m secretly a 4.5 skill level but can’t win enough at 4.0 to be rated 4.5! Wahhh!”

But the point of my post is that a female 4.0 is not equivalent to a male 4.0. That’s why playing mixed feels like “playing a different sport” as posted above.
 

Vilgan

New User
“Winning not skill level”? What’s the difference? Some losers like to cry about their secret skill level even though they can’t win? Lol. “Wahhh! I’m secretly a 4.5 skill level but can’t win enough at 4.0 to be rated 4.5! Wahhh!”

But the point of my post is that a female 4.0 is not equivalent to a male 4.0. That’s why playing mixed feels like “playing a different sport” as posted above.
Pretty sure this is pretty easy to fix or adjust for. Also, if a 3.0 rated female wants to play on a 3.0 men's team and the men on that team want that, what's the problem exactly? She isn't going to be sandbagging...
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
“Winning not skill level”? What’s the difference? Some losers like to cry about their secret skill level even though they can’t win? Lol. “Wahhh! I’m secretly a 4.5 skill level but can’t win enough at 4.0 to be rated 4.5! Wahhh!”

But the point of my post is that a female 4.0 is not equivalent to a male 4.0. That’s why playing mixed feels like “playing a different sport” as posted above.
I agree but it is not necessarily the tennis skill level .... but the physical differences. that create the "different sport" sense

The 2 USO winners this year Osaka and Djoker have the same SKILL levels (uncoupled from any physical differences wielded by the user). but due to the physical differences between an elite woman and an elite man .... Djoker is faster, stronger, etc. and Osaka can never overcome that.

I often play against male 3.5s ... both in mixed and as singles hitting partners. Skillwise I can go toe to toe ... there is not a shot that they possess that I do not.

I cannot overcome the speed difference on court, the reach difference, the height difference, the strength difference ....That is what makes it a different game than playing against a 3.5 woman.
 

penpal

Semi-Pro
I agree but it is not necessarily the tennis skill level .... but the physical differences. that create the "different sport" sense

The 2 USO winners this year Osaka and Djoker have the same SKILL levels (uncoupled from any physical differences wielded by the user). but due to the physical differences between an elite woman and an elite man .... Djoker is faster, stronger, etc. and Osaka can never overcome that.

I often play against male 3.5s ... both in mixed and as singles hitting partners. Skillwise I can go toe to toe ... there is not a shot that they possess that I do not.

I cannot overcome the speed difference on court, the reach difference, the height difference, the strength difference ....That is what makes it a different game than playing against a 3.5 woman.
This is where I disagree. At the very top level of the sport, you are correct. But I've seen both women and kids practicing on nearby courts who hit harder serves/shots than me, cover the court better, and just generally would likely blow me off the court. As a 4.0-rated male I played a high school girl (she was in the 16-18 age range), as her coach wanted to have her practice against "a different type of player" than what she was used to :). We played a very competitive match, despite the fact that she was getting coaching as we went along and was trying new things. I'm confident she would have beat me handily had we been playing competitively. And it was a blast (for me, not sure how much fun it was for her).
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
I agree but it is not necessarily the tennis skill level .... but the physical differences. that create the "different sport" sense

The 2 USO winners this year Osaka and Djoker have the same SKILL levels (uncoupled from any physical differences wielded by the user). but due to the physical differences between an elite woman and an elite man .... Djoker is faster, stronger, etc. and Osaka can never overcome that.

I often play against male 3.5s ... both in mixed and as singles hitting partners. Skillwise I can go toe to toe ... there is not a shot that they possess that I do not.

I cannot overcome the speed difference on court, the reach difference, the height difference, the strength difference ....That is what makes it a different game than playing against a 3.5 woman.
"skill" includes hitting speed (which is a function of technique & timing (anticipation & movement being a big part of technique))... it's not just about being able to hit topspin or slice properly with the correct high/low or low/high swing with the right grip...
ignoring the pros...
there 12y girls that would destroy 4.5 males (including me - i've been beaten before)... despite the males being 5x stronger.
ignoring the juniors... at the rec level (anythign measured by ntrp). a female is typically a full 0.5 NTRP level below their male counter part in terms of competition...
 
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