Saturday, January 6, 2018

Previewing the 2018 Pacific Northwest Seattle area 40 & over league

The 2018 40 & over league in the Seattle area started last night, but it is never too late for a quick preview.

This preview will identify the top team or two for each gender and level using the top-8 average for each team using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings.

First, I'll take a look at the women's flights.

The 2.5 women have several strong teams, but TSCP-Davis is the pre-season favorite.  Keep in mind that there are usually lots of self-rates and improving players so lots of things can change.

At the 3.0 level, there are four flights so quite a few teams, but one stands above the rest going into the year and that is TCSP-McCaslin.

The 3.5 women has five flights so a lot of teams, but again, one stands above the rest and that is HBSQ-$mallz.

The 4.0 level once again has one team well ahead of the rest and it is  CP-Keogh, but they have a really big roster so how often will they play their best players.

The 4.5+ level has just two flights but one team, NTC-Ogborn, appears to be the favorite.

Next, on to the men.

The 3.0 men is tight with PL-Licholai and RBW-Rockets-Faloon but there are a few teams with a lot of self-rates so these two may or may not be the favorites.

There are four flights of 3.5 men and CP-Gents-Paulson is the favorite.

At the 4.0 level, NTC-SMACK-Reddy has a modest lead over the other teams, but it is close behind them.

Last, the 4.5+ level two teams, BETC-Submariners-Nguyen and NTC-Dalkin appear to be the favorites.

There you have it.  Favorites don't always win, so none of the other teams should get down if I didn't name them, and if anything, these favorites now have a target on their back so watch out!

If you'd like a full flight report for the flight your team is in, I can provide all of the details including full roster averages and top-8 averages, just contact me.

USTA League for 2018 is off and running

We aren't even a week into 2018, but USTA League matches are already being played.  In my area, our 40 & over Adult leagues started yesterday and other sections and districts have already started or will be soon.

With a new year comes aspirations for success and improvement, both individual and team, and my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Reports can help with preparation and tracking of both.

Individual reports provide detailed statistics, rating information, and a match by match chart to allow you to see how you've done overall and in different aspects of league play.  You can get a report for last year to see how you did and where you ended the year, or any other prior year for that matter, or as you play in 2018 can get reports throughout the year to monitor progress.

Team reports provide a nice summary of the ratings for an entire team along with records and courts played information, plus a partner report showing how each player has done with their different partners.  All of this can be very useful for a captain to size up how their players stack up and what partnerships work well, all useful in planning for a season.

A variation of a team report is a Team Recruiting Report but focuses on some aspects you want to know when recruiting for a team or before any matches have been played like records and ratings in singles vs doubles and in the different leagues.

Last, for captains wanting to scout opponents, Flight Reports give an informative summary of the overall and top-8 average ratings for all the teams in a flight so a captain can see who the strongest/weakest teams are, both top to bottom as well as if the best players are used.  With this in hand, a captain can know when they need their best players or when they can mix in others players to ensure players get matches in but the team results can be maximized.

Reports can be generated for any USTA League player, team, or flight.  If you are interested, contact me for more information or to request a report.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Conversations About Tennis with Carl Bialik - Podcast with me on USTA Ratings!

If you've followed sports/political statistics, you've probably come across Carl Bialik, a journalist who has written for the Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, and FiveThirtyEight among others.  He has a passion for tennis though and has a regular podcast, Thirty Love: Conversations About Tennis, where he talks with guests on a variety of tennis related topics.

He contacted me recently about recording a podcast with him to discuss USTA League and NTRP ratings and I agreed, and you can now listen to it on his site or on iTunes.

Thanks Carl!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

New Report! - Team Recruiting Report

It is December, 2017 year-end ratings have come out and now captains are working on rosters, deciding who to keep from last year, and what holes to fill and who to recruit to fill the gaps.

To aid in doing this research and recruiting, I've created a new report, a Team Recruiting Report.  It is similar to a team report, but breaks out a number of details a captain will find useful when forming a team, such as records and match ratings in singles vs doubles, and how those same two stats varied by league played in.

Here is an example:

P14.5C/4.0C9104.053.651D-8 2D-3 3D-39-10 / 3.822-3 / 3.627-4 / 3.86
P24.5C/4.0C1224.023.81D-5 1S-2 2D-1 2S-57-1 / 3.975-1 / 4.096-2 / 4.056-0 / 3.98
P34.0C/4.0C983.913.91D-2 1S-7 2D-2 3D-12-5 / 3.937-3 / 3.950-1 /9-7 / 3.94
P44.0C/4.0C1133.853.841S-8 2S-311-3 / 3.984-2 / 3.987-1 / 3.98
P54.0C/4.0C313.83.81D-3 2D-13-1 / 3.83-1 / 3.8
P64.0C/4.0C643.793.831D-1 2D-1 3D-46-4 / 3.742-0 / 3.821-1 / 3.63
P74.0C/4.0C993.753.921D-2 1S-3 2D-5 2S-5 3D-13-6 / 3.896-3 / 3.922-4 / 3.787-5 / 3.95
P84.0C/4.0C563.753.731D-3 2D-1 3D-65-6 / 3.693-4 / 3.732-2 / 3.61
P94.0C/4.0C573.743.751D-5 2D-2 3D-25-7 / 3.712-4 / 3.823-3 / 3.63
P104.0C/4.0C983.733.71D-3 1S-1 2D-4 3D-31-1 / 3.598-7 / 3.795-4 / 3.874-4 / 3.7
P114.0C/4.0C793.723.631D-7 2D-1 3D-57-9 / 3.712-2 / 3.791-5 / 3.634-2 / 3.78
P124.0C/4.0C323.693.71D-2 2D-13-2 / 3.693-2 / 3.69
P134.0C/4.0C113.673.672D-21-1 / 3.771-1 / 3.77
P144.0C/4.0C993.633.671D-9 2D-3 3D-10-1 /9-8 / 3.712-5 / 3.764-3 / 3.673-1 / 3.7
P154.0C/4.0C743.63.711S-2 2D-1 2S-4 3D-44-2 / 3.773-2 / 3.643-2 / 3.674-2 / 3.75

This gives a nice summary of an entire team or list of players so you can see who your singles players are, and if someone's rating is being buoyed or hurt by doing well or poorly in a particular league.

This report also includes the partner report showing how many times each player played with another candidate/rostered player and how they did together.

If you are interested in a recruiting report, contact me at  Since this is a new report, I'd love to get feedback and will be discounting the price for a few weeks while I iron out any issues and tailor it to what folks are looking for.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Breaking News - USTA League 2018 Nationals Schedule Released - Texas and Las Vegas added to the mix!

It was just brought to my attention that the schedule and locations for 2018 USTA League Nationals has shown up in places.  The link on TennisLink to the Nationals schedule still goes to the 2017 schedule, but the site I was pointed to is a USTA site so I have no reason to believe it isn't accurate.  And last year the schedule showed up in early January so the timing is similar.

So yes, we are talking about 2018 Nationals already!

After the weather related fiascos of this year including many delays, shortening of matches to pro-sets, short sets, and no-ad scoring, and even declaring co-champs when semis and finals couldn't be played, and yes, no semis meant as many as four co-champs, I'm sure many are wanting to see if there are any changes, and there are!

First, here is the schedule:

Oct. 5-7Orlando, FLHard18 & over 5.0+
Oct. 5-7Arlington, TXHard18 & over 4.0
Oct. 12-14Orlando, FLHard18 & over 3.5 and 2.5W
Oct. 12-14Las Vegas, NVHard18 & over 3.0
Oct. 12-14Arlington, TXHard18 & over 4.5
Oct. 19-21Las Vegas, NVHard40 & over 4.5+
Oct. 19-21Arlington, TXHard40 & over 3.5
Oct. 19-21Orlando, FLClay55 & over 6.0 and 8.0
Oct. 26-28Las Vegas, NVHard40 & over 4.0
Oct. 26-28Mobile, ALHard40 & over 3.0
Oct. 26-28Orlando, FLClay55 & over 7.0 and 9.0
Nov. 9-11Mobile, ALHardMixed 18 & over 6.0 thru 10.0
Nov. 16-18Orlando, FLHardMixed 40 & over 6.0 thru 9.0

As far as the age groups go, this is a similar schedule to 2017 and past years with 18+ going first, then 40+, and then 55+ and Mixed.

Regarding locations, Mobile is unfortunately still a host site but will be used just twice, 40+ 3.0 and 18+ Mixed, although it is all of 18+ Mixed so should there be any bad weather that weekend, a lot of tennis could be impacted.

But the big news is two new sites that haven't been used recently, or perhaps ever, in Arlington and Las Vegas.  But Arizona is now completely missing, California is still missing, and Ft. Lauderdale is gone after one year and significant delays due to weather.

In adding Vegas and Arlington, the USTA was perhaps reading my blog and saw the poll I did earlier this year where response was that Las Vegas and Texas should be added in the future!

Note that as you might expect, Orlando means the USTA National Campus.  Las Vegas will be at the Darling Tennis Center, Arlington will be at the Arlington Tennis Center, and Mobile is where it has always been.

I think this is an improvement over last year, while Mobile still shows up it is limited to two weekends and Ft. Lauderdale is gone.  I think Vegas makes sense and Arlington does too.  It is still a little disappointing to not have Arizona or California in the rotation, but this does have some events in the West or Central regions making the travel requirements for folks a little more balanced.

There you have it, what do you think?

Friday, December 8, 2017

2017 USTA League Year-End Rating Analysis - 5.0 Bump Up/Down Percentages - Interesting Tennis League Stats

I already wrote about the 2017 year-end bump up/down percentages and also by gender, and started looking at levels with the 4.0 men and women3.5 men and women, 4.5 men and women, 3.0 men and women, and now the 5.0 men and women.

First, the 5.0 women by section.

As you might imagine, at the 5.0 level very few players are bumped up, and indeed just a few sections had a noticeable number bumped up and even those were in the los single digit percentages.  There were a lot of bump downs though, over 15% in most sections and well over 50% in Hawaii.

And then the 5.0 men by section.

The stats for the men are similar to the women, but not as extreme.  As many as 4% were bumped up and more sections had noticeable bump ups, and Hawaiian men only had about 33% bumped down and some other sections below 15%.

What do you think?  What does this mean for 5.0 play in your section in 2018?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

USTA NTRP National Championships - Another opportunity for recreational tennis Nationals!

Anyone who reads my blog or follows USTA League tennis is aware of the National Championships that the USTA holds each Fall where players who played USTA League locally are able to advance through local playoffs, Districts/States, Sectionals, and make it to Nationals where they can compete against teams from 16 other sections to win a championship.  Championships are held at NTRP levels for both Adult (men's teams and women's teams) and Mixed teams.

But the USTA doesn't run just USTA League.  There are tournaments held throughout the year that are sanctioned by the USTA and these include both NTRP tournaments and as well as Open/Senior tournaments that are open to all of any age (Open) or of a minimum age (35+, 40+, 45+, etc.).

For the Open/Senior tournaments, there are select tournaments identified as championships that draw the very best in pursuit of winning the title.

What has been missing, until now, is the identification of a "champion" for NTRP tournament play.  Recently, the USTA has introduced the NTRP National Championships which is a "new national adult tournament that leverages the NTRP rating system as a way to create level-based competition at the 18 & over and 50 & over age groups".

The tournaments will be held for 18+ in Surprise, AZ April 6-8 and for 50+ in Naples, FL April 20-22 and include play at the 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5 levels in both singles and doubles.  The page says they there will be four-player round robins feeding into compass draws so each player/pair should get a number of matches in.

Interestingly, the scoring format is listed as Fast Four.  This has been experimented with in some events including the ATP NextGen tournament a month or so ago, and entails best-of-three set matches to four games with a tie-break at 3-3 in a set and tie-breaks the first to 5 win by one.  I like the idea of not having match tie-breaks for a third set, but am not sure about first to four sets.  But I guess if you are going to play upwards of 6 matches in three days, some sort of short format is needed.

To advance a player will need to play NTRP tournaments in their section and using criteria set by each section, quality to be a section's representative to the event.

Some sections will hold a Sectional tournament where players qualify for it based on tournament play during the year, say the top 8 or top 16 at a level advancing to Sectionals.  Others will just use the tournament rankings to determine the representatives directly.  See the link above with links to rules for various sections or contact info for each section's coordinator.

It is interesting to note that a couple sections have explicitly stated that self-rated players are not eligible to advance to Nationals.  I think this makes sense, you don't want to encourage players to self-rate too low to unfairly dominate at too low a level, especially since there are no 3-strike DQ's from NTRP tournament play.  There are some that feel that self-rated players shouldn't be eligible to go the USTA League playoffs or Nationals!

As there is often confusion about rankings vs ratings, particularly as it relates to NTRP play, a little clarification is probably a good idea.  See what I wrote several years ago for more details, but the summary is that a player generates an NTRP rating and associated year-end NTRP level from play in USTA League play (and sometimes NTRP tournament matches are included too), while a player separately accumulates points from NTRP tournament play based on how far they advance in a draw, and their ranking is just based on where the show up (rank) in the list of players with points.  So these are separate and distinct things.

In any case, this is a new opportunity for recreational players who have an NTRP rating/level to advance to a Nationals and get to play against peers from other sections.

What do you think?  Will you set new goals to play more tournaments because of the NTRP National Championship?