Sunday, December 28, 2014

2015 has already begun, last chance to get extended 2014 reports,

Most of you know that 2014 year-end ratings came out at the beginning of this month, and if you've been reading this blog, you know that these ratings actually included matches played through just 11/9/14.  So what happens to the matches after 11/9?

They actually are part of the 2015 league year.  That year generally runs from November thru October, the specific end date depends on when Adult Nationals finish, and year-end ratings generally come out the Monday after Thanksgiving (to confuse things though, the USTA gives a year-end rating date of 12/31).  So there is no other place for the matches after 11/9 to go than into the 2015 calculations.

So if you've played matches after 11/9, you've actually started 2015 already!

So if you get an Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Report now, what do you get?  For the next couple days, you actually have a choice.  If you'd like your 2015 report showing just the matches since 11/9, I can do that.  But if you'd like an "extended" 2014 report, I can still do it thru 12/31.  This will show you your normal 2014 report, but just tack on the matches after 11/9 as if it was all part of the same year.

Not only does the extended report save you money by giving you two reports in one in a way, this sort of gives you a "what if" so you can see what your year-end rating might have been if those last few matches had been included in 2014.  And I've seen a few cases where someone's rating did go above/below a bump threshold after 11/9.

As always, if interested, contact me!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Another last minute Christmas gift option - Gift certificates for 2015 Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Reports

It is Christmas Eve and what to do for your tennis playing friend that told you about Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating reports.  You know they already got their report for 2014, they showed it to you, so the Christmas stocking stuffer report won't do the trick, but how about a gift certificate for future reports?

I'm now offering gift certificates to be used during 2015.  See below for an example.  Like the stocking stuffer reports, they will also be provided in a printable PDF to put in that Christmas stocking.

And a gift certificate doesn't have to be for just one report.  Getting an initial report and then updates throughout the year is a great way to monitor a rating and progress towards a goal, so you can purchase an initial report and any number of updates.  As a bonus, if you purchase a certificate with an initial report and four or more updates (five or more total reports), the total price will be discounted 10%.

For those of you looking for a way to lower the cost of getting reports in 2015, yes, not only can you get gift certificates for your friends and teammates, but you can purchase one for yourself and take advantage of the 10% discount.

Contact me with any questions or to order any gift certificates.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas reports now include a single page PDF, perfect for stocking stuffers for that tennis nut in your family

Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating reports are a great Christmas gift for any of your USTA League playing family and friends, and I've improved the offering by now including a nicely formatted PDF with the summary, partner report, and match/dynamic ratings chart all fitting on a single page that can be conveniently printed and used as a stocking stuffer.  It doesn't include my explanations or other text, but I'll still include that in the e-mail that is sent.

Here is an example.

I'll be including the PDF for no extra charge the rest of the year upon request, so contact me and let me know if you want a report and if you want the "stocking stuffer" option!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

2014 USTA League year-end bump percentages for NTRP 4.5 broken out by section and gender - Interesting tennis league stats

Continuing on the quest to see how players were bumped up/down at different levels, here are charts showing how players at the 4.5 level were bumped up or down by section and gender in the 2014 year-end NTRP ratings.

Unlike what we saw for he 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0 levels, there is not the bias towards more bumps up than down with many sections have more players bumped down than up, particularly for the women.  There are a few exceptions though.

For the men, most sections had more bumps down than up or close to it.  Narrowly having more bump downs were Eastern, SoCal, and Texas, and Caribbean had a fair number more, but once again, the Pacific Northwest was hammered with nearly 25% of the 4.5s bumped up to 5.0 and less than 5% bumped down.

For the women, there were even fewer bumps up, just the Pacific Northwest and SoCal having more players going up than down.  Interestingly, Caribbean women received no bumps up, just bumps down.

Need a last minute Christmas gift for a USTA League tennis nut? An Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Report could be it!

Christmas is less than a week away and you still haven't gotten a gift for a teammate or that tennis nut family member.  The malls are crowded and picked over and buying online may not make it in time unless you pay extra for faster shipping.  What to do?

An Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Report could be the perfect gift.  Reports are generated and sent the same day (or first thing the following day if ordered very late) so it will get there in time, and it is a great way to let your tennis fanatic know how their matches really rated during the year and how close they really were to (not) being bumped up or down.

Contact me for more information or to request a report.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

New Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Report Chart

I've made a few tweaks to the chart included with an Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Report and an example is below.

Singles and doubles matches were already in a different color in the chart, but I've cleaned it up a bit and now also call out those matches that were in the playoffs so you can more easily see those results.

What do you think?

2014 USTA League year-end bump percentages for NTRP 3.0 broken out by section and gender - Interesting tennis league stats

Continuing on the quest to see how players were bumped up/down at different levels, here are charts showing how players at the 3.0 level were bumped up or down in the 2014 year-end NTRP ratings.

Given the bias towards bump ups we saw from the 3.5 level, it isn't a surprise to see more bumps up than down, but the 3.0s take it to another level.  This is probably to be expected as 3.0 is a level many new players start at and as they improve, they'll be bumped up.  So there are certainly a lot of new 3.5s to replace those that got bumped up to 4.0.

And while a few sections stand out being bumped up more than others, notably Caribbean and Southern California, there are fewer anomalies at this level.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The depths some players will go to to try to not get bumped up - The dark side of USTA League

I recently became aware of another seemingly blatant attempt by a few players to deliberately manipulate their ratings down to avoid being bumped up.  While not on the scale of the 2014 3.0 men's Nationals team I wrote about before as it wasn't an entire roster, it is arguably more egregious because it was by established players and the excuse of being new or not knowing simply doesn't fly.

This situation happened in my back yard in the Pacific Northwest and involved our One Doubles league.  This is a summer league we have that involves a team of at most 4 players playing a single doubles match for each team match.  You can think of it as our version of Tri-Level, we just split a Tri-Level team into individual teams.

This league is played in the summer, usually right after our local playoffs.  So teams have finished their "normal" seasons and are playing for fun or to get to play outside (most of our normal leagues are indoors) and while there are playoffs and you can advance to the Tri-Level Invitational, it isn't as widely played and generally not as serious as the 18+ and 40+ leagues.

The team in question had players from a local 4.0 playoff winner that was advancing on to Sectionals and ultimately Nationals, so had done very well.  It turns out that only 3 of the rostered players ended up playing in the One Doubles league, and they were all very high rated 4.0s.  One was an early start bump to 4.5 and my ratings had the other two very close.

If they were to do well in playoffs, they would likely be bumped up to 4.5 and in apparent fear of this, they went about using the One Doubles league to throw matches to manipulate their ratings down.  That is appalling enough, but the degree to which they did it takes things to the next level.  Remember now, this is normal doubles played against other 4.0s and these guys are higher rated 4.0s.

One player played 6 matches, losing every one, the closest score being a 6-1,6-3 loss and a full 8 of the 12 sets being 6-1 or 6-0 losses.  Another played 4 matches also losing every one, the closest score being 6-2,6-1.  The third played 2 matches winning a total of 6 games.  And even worse yet, some of the opponents were 3.5s playing up.

The ratings they generated from these matches were clear aberrations and not consistent with what they had done all year.  Were these players injured?  Did they lose their ability to play?  Not the case at all.  Each player subsequently did well at Sectionals and Nationals against stronger competition going 5-2, 5-3, and 5-3 there.  Was it because One Doubles was outside?  No, their Sectionals and Nationals were outside too.

So it seems pretty clear that all 6 of the matches played were deliberately thrown in an effort to manage their ratings down.  There are not strong enough words one can use to condemn this behavior and since this is a blog and will live on forever on the Web somewhere, I'll refrain from going overboard, but it is very very sad to see someone stoop to this level as it isn't fair on numerous levels.

First, they are trying to defraud the system and manipulate their ratings so they can play at a level they shouldn't be eligible to.  This goes against the spirit and rules of USTA League.  No, the USTA isn't perfect, but when players play normally, the system works pretty well.

Second, it isn't fair to their competition who signed up for a league to play competitive matches.  Playing a match where your opponent is likely or apparently missing shots deliberately or goofing off or whatever they did to lose so badly is not achieving this goal and diminishing the experience of playing in the league.

Third, it isn't fair to their opponents and given how the system works, all of their opponents' opponents, etc., as it is skewing ratings that could lead to other players being bumped up or down that shouldn't.  For example, a 3.5 playing these very strong 4.0s and getting a 6-1,6-1 win is going to have their rating incorrectly go up which may lead to them being bumped up when they shouldn't be.

So I'm sure some of you are wondering, were they successful?  The answer is thankfully no, they were all bumped up to 4.5 at year-end, their Sectionals and Nationals results were good and moved their ratings back up from where they were after the One Doubles league.  Additionally, I have not verified this, but the USTA may have thrown these matches out as while the scores are still shown on TennisLink, it also seems to indicate the League Coordinator changed them to default wins for the opponents.  So it appears someone caught on and the team was DQ'd from play.  I'd hope the results were ignored for ratings purposes too give how they would skew results for others.  But should more be done?

In my view, what should happen in clear and blatant cases like this is the team/players should be DQ'd, the matches not used for ratings, and the players should be given a ban from playing in any USTA sanctioned event.  There is simply no place for behavior like this.  While I'm sure this situation is very much an exception and not the rule, it is one of the things that gives USTA League a black eye and the revenue lost from a hand full of players being banned is more than offset by keeping players that leave because of behavior like this and the improved and fair competition you'll get when these types of shenanigans are weeded out.

I do not know one way or the other if there has been any ban or reprimand at all in addition to the DQ'ing of the matches and team from the league.  I would hope so and if so, kudos to the USTA.  If not, please document rules that allow bans to be imposed in these situations so these types of players can be gotten rid of.

2014 USTA League year-end bump percentages for NTRP 3.5 broken out by section and gender - Interesting tennis league stats

I wrote about how the NTRP 4.0 level players were bumped up or down in the 2014 year-end NTRP ratings, now it is time for the 3.5s.

We can see that the men were bumped up and lot more than down, and had three sections with bump rtes over 18% and several more close behind.

The women weren't quite as extreme, but still had several sections with bump up rates over 15%.

Did this may 3.5s really improve that much?  Or is the USTA trying to weaken the level by moving all the better 3.5s out?

Monday, December 8, 2014

2014 USTA League year-end bump percentages for NTRP 4.0 now broken out by gender - Interesting tennis league stats

I wrote about the overall bump percentages for 4.0s in USTA League play this year-end, but grouping men and women together doesn't tell the whole picture.  So below are separate charts for men and women 4.0s showing the percentage of 2013 year-end 4.0s that were bumped down to 3.5 or up to 4.5.

We see some differences between the men (left) and women (right), although the top-4 sections for bump ups for both men and women are PNW, NorCal, SoCal, and Texas.  The PNW 4.0 men were given the highest percentage of bump ups by a healthy margin but the SoCal women, and even the NorCal women beat out the PNW.

The Caribbean women had the largest percentage bumped down, but the men were bumped up more. Perhaps Caribbean should be the early favorites for 3.5 women Nationals next year.

Interestingly, the Northern men had a high percentage of bump ups even though neither 18+ nor 40+ made the semis at Nationals.  They did finish second in their flight in 18+ but third in 40+ so this number of bump ups and the low percentage of bump downs for them is odd.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

2014 USTA League year-end bump percentages for NTRP 4.0 - Interesting tennis league stats

Continuing on the break down of the 2014 year-end USTA League NTRP ratings bumps, below is a chart showing how the 4.0 level bumps occurred by section.

The Pacific Northwest led the way with the most bumps up, nearly 14% of 4.0s were bumped up, but that section also had over 7% bumped down which was not the least by any stretch, so there was movement both directions.

Southern and Northern California were next and interestingly, NorCal had even more bump downs as a percentage than PNW.  Texas was next with the 4th most bumps up.

These three sections did do well at 4.0 Nationals so it sort of makes sense.  But Caribbean had a large number of bump ups overall but was well back at the 4.0 level with more bump downs than up.

Friday, December 5, 2014

2014 USTA League year-end bump percentages by level - Interesting tennis league stats

I've written about the year-end bump percentages by state and section, so the next logic step is to look at them by NTRP level.

It is probably no surprise that the lower levels have more bump ups than down, and the higher levels have more down than up.  It looks like 4.0 is where it is most balanced, about the same number of bump ups as down.

How did this compare with last year?

There were quite a few more bumps this year than last.  Last year, 5.01% of 4.0s were bumped down and 4.83% were bumped up.  This year, 7.8% down and 8.37% up.  So a greater number moved, and the bias went from slightly down to slightly up.

More to come.

The mythical double bump not so mythical anymore

In USTA League play, the double bump used to be rare.  It hardly ever occurred and when it did, it was newsworthy.  In 2014 though, while not common place by any stretch, it did happen a lot more than in the past.

I wrote a few months ago that double bumps were very rare, just 25 my count at the end of 2013, but there were a whopping 160 in 2014.  In the grand scheme of things with a few hundred thousand players, neither number is very large, but it is over 7 times larger this year than last.

Whether this was a one time event as adjustments were made in some sections this year or we will see this more often will be determined.  But it is certainly interesting to see happen.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A side effect of all the 2014 USTA League bump ups - Early start teams are decimated

With the large number of bump ups that occurred as part of the 2014 year-end ratings, an interesting side effect has occurred.  Early start teams are being decimated, particularly in those sections where the ratings increases were especially aggressive.

As background, many sections have 2015 leagues that start during 2014.  This is often due to court availability or other scheduling reasons or wanting to spread leagues out across the year and not try to have them all starting at the same time in January-March of 2015.  Since it is a 2015 league though that will have Nationals in the Fall of 2015, it doesn't really make sense to allow someone to play with their 2013 year-end rating, but since the league starts before 2014 year-end ratings are out, what to do?

Early start ratings are the solution.  They are basically a snapshot of a player's dynamic rating as of a cut-off date that is a month or two before the early start leagues start.  In most sections this falls in the July/August timeframe for leagues starting in September and October.  This will usually identify players that are going to be bumped up or down at year-end and gets them playing at the right level for 2015.

However, early start ratings are not perfect, and sometimes players will be bumped up or down in year-end differently than they were for early start.  In the case where a player wasn't bumped for early start but is at year-end, what happens to that early start team then?

Not every section is the same.  Some (case A) force the player to play at their new level immediately.  Others (case B) let them finish the regular season at their rostered level but have to play at the new level beyond that.  A few (case C) let the player continue playing at their rostered level the entire season through Nationals.

Which of these is the most equitable is debatable, but what is clear is that with the larger number of players being bumped up, those teams that have the case A or B rules could be significantly affected.  Players are either not eligible at all, or must now play with a lower rated partner which can make it difficult for a team to have enough valid players to play a match.

But even the case C rule teams can be affected.  While players are allowed to play at their rostered level, there is a clause still promotes them to their year-end level on the team if their rating reaches the "clearly above level" (strike level).  This is arguably fair to the team's opponents, why should they have to play a "4.0" that is now a strong 4.5, but just like the case A and B teams, this can wreak havoc on a roster.

For example, I just learned about an 8.0 Mixed team that had four of their 4.0 men be clearly above level and told they have to play as 4.5s now.  The problem is there are only two 3.5 women on the team that can even play with the glut of 4.5 men.  Further, there is now only one 4.0 man left to play with the glut of 4.0 women.  This team has effectively been force to play their two 3.5 women and one 4.0 man every match.  And with the regular season over this weekend, there is no opportunity to add any players to be able to field a team more easily.  They were playoff bound but may have to pull out.

I don't know the right answer.  It doesn't seem fair to opponents to have to play out of level players.  But it also doesn't seem fair to decimate a team that played by the rules and fielded a team using the published early start ratings.  And it is hard to tell a section that they have to wait for year-end ratings and can't have early start leagues.

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

2014 USTA League year-end bump percentages by section - Interesting tennis league stats

I wrote about the 2014 USTA League year-end bump percentages by state a day ago.  It seemed natural to show the break down by section as well.

Caribbean and Pacific Northwest dominate again as expected, but some of the individual states get lost in their section so don't stand out as they did before.  This results in Southern California, Texas, and Northern California stepping up to fill out the top-5.  Southern is close behind and interestingly New England is next.

What sections had the least bumps?  Midwest, Intermountain and Missouri Valley lead the way.

So no big surprises given the by state data, but it is good to see it by section.

A 55+ team report customer won USTA League Nationals - Congratulations

I just belatedly noticed/learned that a 55 & over team I helped won their Nationals.  Congratulations!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

2014 USTA League year-end bump percentages by state - Interesting tennis league stats

USTA League year-end ratings are out for 2014 and consensus is that there have been a lot more bumps up than down.  As fun as it is to look at the strange situations that we hear about or hear the complaints from players being bumped up, that doesn't necessarily represent the majority, so naturally, I had to see if the data supported this.

Without further adieu, below is a chart showing the percentage of players bump up and down by state.  Apologies for it being so tall, but with 50 states plus D.C. and a total across the league, it was unavoidable.

Update: I added a second chart sorted by bump up percentage at the bottom.

Nationally, there were more than twice as many bumps up than down, 14.3% to 6.4%.  So the feeling that there were more bumps up than down was more than true.  Now, this isn't uncommon.  Last year there were 8.2% up and 4.1% down, but this years ratio is higher, 2.24 vs 1.99, but the sheer number of players bumped one way or the other is higher this year with nearly 20% of players being bumped this year vs just over 12% last year.

So is the perception that some sections were hit harder than others true?  The chart below is by state so isn't a perfect tool to determine that, but we can get a great idea.

If we ignore North Dakota (very few players so a statistical anomaly), the state with the highest bump up percentage and highest ratio is Puerto Rico.  Ok ok, it isn't a state, but work with me.  PR had just over 22% of their players bump up and just 5.4% bumped down.

But PR didn't have the highest ratio.  That award goes to Washington which had 21.5% bumped up and 4.8% down, a ratio of 4.5 compared to 4.1 for PR.

Next was Oregon with 20.3%/6.1%/3.31 and Utah with 18.5%/4.5%/4.2.

Given how the sections did at 2014 Nationals, it probably isn't surprising to see WA and OR so high as the Pacific Northwest section "won" the 18+ division points title, tied for the 40+ lead, and finished 4th overall.  So it appears the USTA really did focus bumps on at least this section that did very well at Nationals.

But what about the others?  Texas won the overall points title and they were just 11th on the list with 15.9%/6.5%/2.5.  These numbers are above the national average but just barely so they were not singled out like PNW was.

The Northern and Southern California also did well at Nationals and California was 12th on the list with 15.8%/6.3%/2.5, very similar to Texas and not singled out.

A couple states from Southern were higher on the list, Louisiana with 17.9%/5.8%/3.1 and Tennessee with 17.6%/5.5%/3.2 and Southern also did very well at Nationals.

On the other end of the spectrum, one state did have more bump downs than up.  Ignoring Alaska (another anomaly), it was Delaware with 9.3%/9.5%/0.99.  Others with low bump up percentages include Wisconsin (7.8%/7.5%/1.03), Nebraska (8.8%/6.9%/1.27), Vermont (9.4%/6.1%/1.54), and Colorado (10.7%/7.5%/1.42).

It is interesting that Colorado was so low while Utah was so high given that they are both in Intermountain, so whatever the USTA did was not necessarily applied to entire sections.

In any case, it does appear that the USTA has in general gone out of their way to bump more players up than in the past, and to do so somewhat in sections that did well in Nationals, although PNW and Caribbean were hit harder than other sections.

Here is a chart sorted by bump up percentage, highest first.

What? No way! Why? How can I appeal my USTA League year-end rating?

With USTA League year-end ratings coming out late last night, I imagine the remarks made in the post are probably pretty common today.

It appears the USTA let playoff results carry more weight this year and had how a section's team did at Nationals affect the other players from that section a lot more than in the past.  This has resulted in sections that did well at Nationals having a lot more bump ups than normal or expected while others that didn't do well maintained or even had some players not bumped up that might have been otherwise.

Reports are that at least for the levels that won Nationals, sections like NorCal, SoCal, Texas, and PNW have been bumped up a lot, while others like Northern and Missouri Valley have been spared.

My guess is that the USTA is trying to do a better job leveling the playing field at Nationals and "punishing" those that did well by bumping more players up.  The theory is that 2015 Nationals should have more parity.  We will see how it works.

I will be doing more objective analysis of the ratings soon, but wanted to share some of the subjective observations I've made or been made aware of so far.

People that were bumped up (or down) and don't understand can always get an Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Report that will help explain how it all works.  And if you are interested in appealing, check out the appeal rules from last year (I think they are still the same) to see if you might be eligible to do so.

Note that if you are familiar with seeing "B" ratings, while those calculations are still done, you won't see that designation any more.

Keep the comments coming on this blog or on Facebook or Twitter.

What happened to USTA NTRP benchmark or "B" ratings?

With the release of the 2014 USTA League year-end ratings, I don't believe that you will see any more "B" ratings for ratings dated 12/31/2014.  This was announced in a newsletter I received awhile ago, although it was perhaps just a PNW newsletter and not sent to all USTA league members.

Here is what was specifically written:
Rating Type “B”: This rating type will no longer be published but process will remain unchanged.  Championship players will not be allowed to appeal their ratings down for one year after playing in Championship matches but will be allowed to appeal their ratings up if they otherwise qualify.
 So benchmark calculations are still done, they've just elected to not publish who is/isn't a B.  And they've also made it so benchmarks can be eligible to appeal up.

I'm guessing this was done because people were confused by who was/wasn't a "B" or what it meant.  So they just removed it so it isn't published.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Initial observations from 2014 USTA League year-end ratings

USTA League year-end ratings are out and here are some initial observations.

There seems to be a definite upward bias with more players being bumped up than expected, and certainly a lot more bump ups than bump downs.  Some of these bump ups are happening in sections that did well at Nationals, but I'm hearing of bump ups in other sections too.

I don't know if there was any sort of rebalancing the levels or redefinition of levels/thresholds, but it seems like it as match results alone don't appear to support some of the bumps that have taken place.  And there being so many bump ups with so few bump downs seems to support that.

What are some of the strange bump ups or downs that you have seen?

2014 USTA League year-end ratings are out - No more "B" ratings

USTA League 2014 year-end ratings have been or are being published on TennisLink.

My initial checks are that my estimates and reports are accurate for the vast majority of players, but I've missed on a few that are really baffling.

The most baffling is a 4.0 that didn't play up and went 10-2 but had two losses in playoffs that got bumped up, no surprise, but to 5.0!

I'll share more strange ones as I see them.

But one thing I should have blogged about and didn't is that while benchmark calculations are still being done, players are not going to have the "B" designation anymore.  I'm not sure why the USTA changed this, but they did and it was in a newsletter I saw a few months ago.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

News Flash - USTA League 2014 year-end ratings may not be out on Monday!

USTA League year-end ratings have usually be released on the Monday after Thanksgiving, at least the past few years.  We've all assumed it would happen that way again this year, but I just learned the ratings release may be delayed a day or two so don't expect to see them on Monday.

The reason?  Adult Nationals have finished up around the end of October the past few years which gives the USTA a full four, sometimes five, weeks to do all the year-end calculations.  This year they were played through November 9th which leaves only three weeks to meet the same Monday after Thanksgiving deadline.  My guess is that was a little too tight which is causing the delay.

So expect the ratings to be out on Tuesday or Wednesday this week, but I imagine it could be later if something goes wrong or there are complications.  And I suppose there is a chance they are still out on Monday but from what I hear that isn't the case.

That means there is still time to get an Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Report if you are anxious to know where your rating might end up or just want to see more details on how your matches rated individually and how your rating progressed throughout the year.  That isn't to say getting a report after ratings come out isn't useful, last year I did a bunch for players that wanted to know why they were/weren't bumped.

Or, if you are a captain and looking to recruit players and don't want to wait to find out what level a player is going to be, I can do team reports or lists of ratings to help captains decide who to recruit.

Contact me if you are interested in any reports or leave a comment on the blog if you have any questions.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

USTA League Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Report Black Friday Sale

USTA League year-end NTRP ratings should be out early next week, they are traditionally a Cyber Monday event, but if you are impatient or wanting to get more detail than just your 2015 rating level, I'm having a sale on both individual and team Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Reports today thru the end of day Friday November 28th, 2014.  All 2014 reports will be 50% off the regular price.

For those that may be new to my ratings and/or this blog, I calculate estimated Dynamic NTRP ratings for players that play USTA League and generate individual and team reports showing summary statistics for the year and a chart showing match by match how the player's dynamic rating has changed.

Here for example is a chart for a 4.5 player that had a good year and improved their rating after an early dip early in the year, but is likely to remain a 4.5 at year-end and not be bumped up to 5.0.

If all you care about is your year-end rating and don't care how you got there or why it isn't higher/lower, my reports aren't for you.  The single rating the USTA gives you next week is enough for them.  But I have found many players are curious and want to know why they weren't bumped up or down or want to see how their game is progressing, information you will never get from what the USTA publishes.

And if you are a captain and want to see how your team stacks up, or if you are recruiting and want to identify the highest rated players to go get, reports can be an invaluable resource.  And with the new partner reports I've added, you can get real data telling you which partners play the best together from a ratings perspective.

If you are interested in taking advantage of the 50% sale thru tomorrow, contact me with any questions or your information and I'd love to generate a report for you.

Monday, November 24, 2014

2014 USTA League Mixed Nationals are complete, year-end ratings out in a week

The second and final weekend of the 2014 USTA League Mixed Nationals is complete and there are new Nationals Champions to recognize.

See the full list of champions for details, but two sections, Hawaii and Southern California stood out led the way with 2 titles each and 13 points overall.  Caribbean, Southern, and PNW were not far behind and nearly every section had a team make the semis.

Congrats to all.

The next big USTA League event is year-end ratings that should be out the beginning of next week if all goes according to the normal schedule.

Update: It looks like ratings may not be out until Tuesday now.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

2014 USTA League Mixed Nationals wrap up this weekend

With the first weekend of Mixed Nationals complete, the second and final weekend of play begins tomorrow.

The 40 & over 7.0 and 9.0 levels will be playing in Surprise while the 18 & over 6.0, 8.0, and 10.0 levels will be in Tucson.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

First weekend of 2014 USTA League Mixed Nationals complete

The first weekend of Mixed Nationals is complete and I've updated the 2014 National Champions page with the results.  What section will do well this coming weekend and accumulate the most points?

Caribbean and Southern Cal are leading the way thus far with two titles each, but Hawaii, Southern, and PNW are all within striking distance.  And with another five titles up for grabs, really any section is still in the running.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

2014 USTA League Nationals this weekend - What? I thought they were done?

I recently wrote that 18 & over, 40 & over, and 55 & over Nationals were complete.  So why am I talking about Nationals this weekend?  Because Mixed Nationals are still to be played.

This weekend finds the 18 & over 2.5, 7.0, and 9.0 playing in Tucson while the 40 & over 6.0 and 8.0 are in Surprise.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

When will USTA League 2014 year-end NTRP ratings be published?

The 2014 USTA League year is over, as far as matches counting towards your rating, so if that is the case, when will the year-end ratings be out?

Traditionally it is the Monday after Thanksgiving, and I have no reason to believe this year will be any different, so December 1st is the date to look for.

Should I hear anything different, I'll post something here.

As always, I can generate a report showing an accurate estimate of what your dynamic rating is.

Update: I have learned the ratings may not be out on Monday but may be delayed a few days.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The 2014 USTA League year is over, what's my NTRP rating going to be?

2014 USTA League Nationals are complete and champions have been crowned.  With their completion the 2014 league year is now over and the USTA will go about calculating year-end ratings which should be released in three weeks on December 1st if things go as they normally do.

This means that matches played through yesterday 11/9 will count towards your 2014 year-end rating but those played from today forward, even though they are in "2014" will count towards your 2015 NTRP rating.  And I suspect if a match was played this weekend but not entered yet, it may not get included for 2014 so make sure those results get entered quickly.

It has always seemed a bit odd to me that the 2014 year-end ratings show as having a rating date of 12/31 on TennisLink, but the cut-off date is about 2 months before that and they are actually released about a month before that date.

In any case, if you are anxious about knowing what your rating is going to be, the best way to find out early is to get an Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Report.  My ratings have been 90-95% accurate in predicting year-end and early start ratings and when getting a report you get much more than just a number, but instead a full analysis and chart showing match by match performance breaking out singles and doubles statistics and matches separately so you can see how you do in each. And I'm still offering the partner report at no extra charge which shows how your performance varies with different doubles partners.

In addition to individual reports, team reports are available or I can generate ratings lists if you want to see how a team's roster did or start scouting and recruiting for a 2015 team.  Leagues are starting soon or have already started and finding out who will be bumped up or down early can give you the edge in getting to the right players early.  I worked with several teams in 2014 to identify players to recruit and several made it to Nationals.

But reports don't have to be just for yourself or your team.  We are approaching the holiday season so getting them as gifts is a great thing to do for your tennis crazy friends.

If interested in a report or ratings lists, contact me for details.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

2014 USTA League Nationals for 18+, 40+, and 55+ are complete - The "best" sections determined, congratulations Pacific Northwest, Southern Cal, Florida, and Texas

This weekend was the final set of USTA League Nationals in the 40 & over and 55 & over divisions and they are now complete.  See this full summary of all the 2014 champions for reference.

The 55 & over division held their 7.0 and 9.0 levels and Southern Cal and Southern won the women's and men's 7.0 respectively while Southern and Northern Cal won the women's and men's 9.0.

The 40 & over finished up with the 4.0 level and the women's title went to Mid-Atlantic beating out the Pacific Northwest.  See this update for some of the details from the flights.

I wrote quite a bit about the men's 4.0 level and in the final, Hawaii continued their run beating Texas 3-2, each of the 3 court wins in a match tie-break.  I have not heard any details yet, but I imagine that was some kind of exciting finish.

So which was the "best" section?  There are probably lots of definitions of best, but I looked at National titles won and a points system that awards 4, 3, 2, and 1 points system for finishing 1st thru 4th.

The 18 & over division already finished and was led by Pacific Northwest and Southern Cal with 3 titles, but PNW had more points with 20 to lead the way and gets the honor.

The race for the best section in the 40 & over division was tight as ever with 4 teams finishing with 10 points, but with 2 titles, Southern California gets the nod over Hawaii, Pacific Northwest, and Southern.

Florida won the most 55 & over division titles with 3 and Southern matched their point total of 14 and Texas was just 1 point back.

If you add it all up though, a section that wasn't the best any individual division tallied the most points at 40 and that was Texas.

Congratulations to all who made it to Nationals, that alone is a great accomplishment.  It is now time to look forward to 2015 and with leagues already started and/or forming there isn't any rest.

2014 USTA League 40 & over 4.0 Women's Nationals Update

I've been following the men's 40 & over 4.0 Nationals closely as it is the level I play at, but the women are playing too.

In the 5 team flight, Mid-Atlantic and Southern tied at 3-1, but Mid-Atlantic had a 2 court advantage on the tie-breaker (they also beat Southern 5-0 and had it wrapped up before their last match) and advanced to the semis.

The second flight was a doozy with Pacific Northwest, Midwest, and Hawaii all finishing 2-1, each going 1-1 amongst themselves.  PNW advanced on courts won, 11-4 to Midwest's 10-5.

The third flight was a straightforward 3-0 win for New England with an impressive 12-3 courts record.

The last flight was even more competitive with Northern California, Middle States, and Florida all going 2-1 and NorCal advanced with a 9-6 courts record beating out Middle States' 8-7.

In the semis, Mid-Atlantic put the beat down on New England 5-0 while PNW eked out a 3-2 win over NorCal with one win in a match tie-break.

Look for an update on who wins later.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

2014 USTA League 40 & over 4.0 Men's Nationals Semifinals Preview

The semifinalist have been decided at the 40 & over 4.0 Nationals with three of the favorites advancing.  If the ratings were pretty good predicting the flights, what about for the semis?

In the first semi, Texas faces Pacific Northwest.  Texas went 4-0/14-6 in their flight while PNW went 3-0/13-2.  So it would seem PNW did better, but perhaps they just had an easier road which is backed up by the original preview.  What about their ratings?

At the start of Nationals, Texas' top-8 averaged 4.19 while PNW's was 4.17, so edge to Texas.  But after their play in their flights, Texas stayed at 4.19 and PNW also stayed the same at 4.17.  However, one of Texas' top-8 hasn't played at Nationals so appears to not be there, so taking them out drops their average to 4.18.  Same for PNW and their average drops to 4.16.

Now, Texas has played more of their lower rated players during Nationals, so if this continues they may lose their advantage, so who wins will come down to who plays and the match-ups, but it appears on paper Texas has a slight advantage.

The second semi is Mid-Atlantic vs Hawaii.  Both teams went 3-0, Mid-Atlantic winning each match 3-2 and finishing 9-6 on courts while Hawaii went 11-4 on courts.  What about their ratings?

At the start of Nationals, Mid-Atlantic's top-8 averaged 4.17 while Hawaii, the unexpected member of the final 4 was at 4.02.  But through their flight play, Mid-Atlantic fell to 4.13 while Hawaii jumped up to 4.11.  But again both teams are missing one of their top-8 and without them they fall to 4.09 and 4.07 respectively.

Mid-Atlantic seems to have a slight advantage in this semi but it is close enough that it could certainly go the other way and Hawaii has been winning matches they shouldn't have on paper already.

In either case, it appears the Texas/PNW winner should be favored in the final.

2014 USTA League 40 & over 4.0 Men's Nationals Day 2 Update

After day 1 of the 40 & over 4.0 Nationals, most of the favorites were doing well but there was one upstart.  So who made the semis?

Upstart Hawaii was 2-0 after day 1 and just needed to win 1 court today to advance, but they went out and won 3-2 to go 3-0 and 11-4 on courts.  They are on to the semis tomorrow.

The other team that was well ahead in their flight was Pacific Northwest.  They only needed to win 2 courts to advance, but they won 5-0 to take any drama out of it and finished 3-0/13-2.

Next, Southern was not able to pull the upset losing 3-2, meaning Mid-Atlantic went 3-0/9-6 advancing to the semis.

Last, in the 5 team flight it came down to the last match.  After losing a close first match 3-2, Midwest came back and won 2 straight to give themselves a shot as they played Texas in the last match of the day.  To aid their chances, Texas had to go back to back playing Southern Cal who was still in it immediately before playing Midwest.  Texas beat SoCal meaning Midwest had a shot if they could win 4-1.  Alas, Texas won 3-2, but two of the wins were in match tie-breaks so it was close, and they pulled off a 4-0/14-6 record to get to the semis.

Looking back at how I handicapped the flights, Texas was the favorite and they won.  Mid-Atlantic was a clear favorite and they won.  PNW was a clear favorite and they won.  The only upset came when Hawaii rated third in their flight played above their ratings and beat out Northern.  So, either Hawaii was underrated, possible given they are on an island and don't have rounds of playoffs to beef of their ratings with, or they just stepped up and played better than expected.

So, what do the ratings say for the semis?  Look for that preview shortly.

Friday, November 7, 2014

How well do NTRP ratings predict winners at USTA League Nationals

I am closely following the 2014 USTA League 40 & over Men's 4.0 Nationals this weekend and wrote earlier in the day 1 review that using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and taking the top-8 average for each team correctly predicted 14 of the 17 team matches today.  While the NTRP ratings goal is not necessarily to be predictive, that is a pretty good record.

But what about predicting the individual matches?  Here is what I found from today's matches.  The table below shows the ratings gap between the players/pairs and how often the favored team won vs upset.


Probably no big surprises here, the smaller the gap, the more likely it is that there might be an upset.  In fact, when the teams were nearly dead even, the lower rated player/pair won 60% of the time.  Now this is a small sample so don't read too much into it.

It is a little surprising to see there were more upsets when the gap was 0.35-0.55 than 0.25-0.35, but again, this is a small sample.

To compare, here is the same analysis for the 18 & over 4.0 Men played a few weeks ago.


In the 18 & over division, the higher rated player/pair seems to have won slightly more often.

What do you think?  Is this close to what you'd expect?

2014 USTA League 40 & over 4.0 Men's Nationals Day 1 Update

I wrote a preview of the 40 & over 4.0 Men's Nationals last night, and with day 1 in the books, here is an update on how things went.

The first flight with 5 teams had:

  • Southern Cal beat Midwest 3-2
  • Texas beat Caribbean 4-1
  • Southern Cal beat Caribbean 5-0
  • Texas beat Eastern 3-2
  • Midwest beat Eastern 3-2
In the post last night I'd handicapped each team and each one of these matches went as expected.  The key match tomorrow will be Southern Cal vs Texas, but Midwest vs Texas could be a good one too as that is Midwest's only way to get back in the race.

The second flight had:
  • Mid-Atlantic beat Florida 3-2
  • Intermountain beat Southern 3-2
  • Southern beat Florida 3-2
  • Mid-Atlantic beat Intermountain 3-2
Close matches all around, but again, all went as predicted.  The ratings go 9 for 9 thus far.  Mid-Atlantic appeared to be the class of the flight and appears to have a stranglehold, but with all the matches going 3-2, Southern still has a shot to get in the mix if they could pull off the upset.

The third flight had:
  • Pacific Northwest beat Middle States 4-1
  • New England beat Northern Cal 3-2
  • Middle States beat New England 3-2
  • Pacific Northwest beat Northern Cal 4-1
The first upset of the day occurred when New England beat Northern Cal, but otherwise these all went as predicted.  12 for 13 on predictions.  And PNW appears to have this all but wrapped up having to just play New England that is 5-5 on courts while PNW is 8-2. A loss where they win 2 courts has them advancing to the semis.

The last flight had:
  • Hawaii beat Southwest 4-1
  • Northern beat Missouri Valley 3-2
  • Hawaii beat Northern 4-1
  • Southwest beat Missouri Valley 3-2
This flight had 2 upsets in the second 2 matches, Hawaii and Southwest showing they were perhaps underrated.  Southwest needs help though as they already lost to Hawaii, and in fact Hawaii just needs to win 1 court tomorrow to wrap up their semi-final slot.

So the predictions finished up 14 for 17 on the day.  Certainly not any reason to not play the matches, but things playing out pretty much true to form.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

2014 USTA League 40 & over 4.0 Men Nationals Preview

The last weekend of Adult league Nationals is this weekend and I'll be following the Men's 4.0 level closely.  A local team that was in the same local playoffs my team was is there, and I've done some reports for some attendees, so there are a few aspects I'm interested in.  So here is a preview.

For each flight, I've calculated the average rating for the top-8 players to indicate strength.  Of course, it isn't just an average that matters, it is who plays and the actual match-ups plus how players play on that given day, but it is an indication of who is stronger on paper.

The first flight is the 5 team flight:
  • Texas - 4.19
  • Southern California - 4.16
  • Midwest - 4.15
  • Eastern - 4.11
  • Caribbean - 3.85
Other than Caribbean, this flight is crazy strong with 4 of the 5 teams with a top-8 average of 4.11 or higher.  And Caribbean simply doesn't play as much or against as many players/teams, so they could just be untested and better than their ratings.  Tough flight, the match-ups captains can get will likely determine the winner.  It will be hard for any team to go undefeated.

The next flight has:
  • Mid-Atlantic - 4.17
  • Intermountain - 4.10
  • Southern - 4.06
  • Florida - 4.04
Mid-Atlantic looks very strong, but all four teams with a top-8 average over 4.0, none will be a pushover.  Mid-Atlantic may look like the favorite but anything can happen.

The third flight has:
  • Pacific Northwest - 4.17
  • Northern California - 4.09
  • Middle States - 4.08
  • New England - 3.99
A similar gap between the two top teams, but NorCal and Middle States will give them a run.

The last flight has the following teams:
  • Northern - 4.13
  • Missouri Valley - 4.08
  • Hawaii - 4.02
  • Southwest - 3.99
This appears to be the weakest flight on paper, but one of the teams will make the semis and then you never know what might happen.

It will be interesting to see if things play out by the numbers or if there are upsets.  I'll post updates throughout the weekend.

2014 USTA League Nationals enter their last week

The 2014 USTA League Nationals are nearly complete, the last set of Adult divisions and levels starting Friday.

The last 40 & over level is in Rancho Mirage where the 4.0 teams will be playing.  Then the 55 & over 7.0 and 9.0 levels are playing in Surprise Arizona.

Once they complete on Sunday, the 2014 league year for Adult league play will be complete.  There are two weekends of Mixed Nationals still to play though and those are the next two weeks.

Good luck teams.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

USTA League 2014 year end nearly upon us - Match cut-off date for ratings is November 9

USTA Nationals for the 18 & over, 40 & over, and 55 & over divisions complete this weekend ending on Sunday November 9, and with that, the 2014 league year will be complete.

As is typically the case, and I've confirmed with a league coordinator, this means that the last date for matches to count towards 2014 year-end calculations is also November 9.  So you have just a few more days to get a match in if you think you are close to being bumped up and want that last good result to get there.

Once all the matches are in, the USTA will spend the rest of the month calculating year-end ratings and if all goes as it usually does, year-end ratings will be available the Monday after Thanksgiving, which would be December 1st.

And as is always the case, if you'd like a estimate of what your dynamic rating is, I can generate individual or team reports.  And on request, reports now include partner reports showing how you do with different partners.  See my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Reports page for more information and contact me with any questions or if you'd like to get a report.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

2014 USTA League 40 & over 4.5+ National Champions crowned - Southern Cal and Middle States

The 4.5+ level of the 40 & over division of USTA League finished up their Nationals today and the women's title was won by Southern California and the men's by the Middle States.  See the 2014 National Champions page for the full list of 2014 champs.

2014 USTA League 40 & over 3.5 National Champions crowned - Southern Cal and Pacific Northwest

The 3.5 level of the 40 & over division of USTA League finished up their Nationals today and the women's title was won by Southern California and the men's by the Pacific Northwest.  See the 2014 National Champions page for the full list of 2014 champs.

While the Dynamic NTRP rating is not necessarily intended to be a predictor of match results, I do periodically look at how my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings do predicting matches.

In the case of the men's title, it went pretty much as expected.  I wrote earlier predicting the semis and pointed out PNW looked the strongest and they beat Intermountain as expected.  The other semi was too close to call and was a 3-2 win for Hawaii.  In the final, PNW was again the favorite on paper and came through to win while Intermountain was the favorite in the 3rd/4th place match and they won.

I will write more about how the ratings do predicting as Nationals wrap up.

2014 USTA League 40 & over 3.5 semi-finals prediction

The USTA League Nationals for the 3.5 level of the 40 & over division are taking place and the semi-finals and finals are today.  Here is what the ratings say about the match-ups.

In one semi-final, Pacific Northwest plays Intermountain.  PNW lost their first match, but came back strong to win their flight while Intermountain went 3-0 taking the drama out of it.  PNW's top-8 are slightly stronger than Intermountain's (3.64 average vs 3.57), so if the teams play straight-up, you'd expect a PNW win with competitive matches on each court, but at least a 3-2 win but more likely 4-1.  But Intermountain could pull the upset if they get the right match-ups.

The other semi has Hawaii playing Midwest, Hawaii easing to the 3-0 flight win while Midwest went 2-1 and got in on a tie-breaker.  Hawaii's wins were close though two 3-2 and one 4-1, and with their top-8 average of 3.54 match up very closely to Midwest with an average of 3.55.  The winner here will depend on match-ups and how everyone plays today and is too close to call.

Should PNW come through in the first semi, it appears they would be the favorite over either opponent.  Intermountain would be pretty close to either of the others but perhaps a slight favorite.

As always, line-ups matter, and of course how players play on a given day is most important.  The team with the higher top-8 average doesn't always win.

Good luck teams.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

2014 USTA League Nationals 40 & over 3.5 Update

The USTA League 40 & over 3.5 Nationals are taking place this weekend and we appear to have the semifinalists decided.

For the women, in the 5 team flight, Southern Cal and Mid-Atlantic tied at 3-1, but Southern Cal won the courts won/lost tie-breaker even though they lost 3-2 to Mid-Atlantic.

The other flights were not as dramatic with Midwest, Middle States, and Northern Cal each going 3-0, although Midwest won fewer courts than Pacific Northwest (9-6 vs 11-4), but won the head to head match which matters more.

The men, Hawaii and Intermountain won their flights going 3-0, but the other flights were closer.

In the 5 team flight, Pacific Northwest lost their first match 5-0 to Southern Cal, but proceeded to win their next 3 and got the help they needed winning the flight with a 3-1 record with three 2-2 teams behind them.

In the last flight, Midwest and Northern tied at 2-1, Midwest winning the flight having won more courts, 11-5 vs 9-6, despite losing the head-to-head match.

Good luck tomorrow teams!

2014 USTA League Nationals 40 & over 4.5+ update

The USTA League 40 & over 4.5+ Nationals are taking place this weekend and we appear to have the semifinalists decided, well almost.

For the women, there are four 3-0 teams making the semis, but three of them won each match 3-2 so it was a lot closer than it might look.  Those three teams are Texas, Southern, and Middle States while Southern Cal was the exception going 13-2 on courts to dominate their flight.  We will see tomorrow if their favorite status holds up, but they do look strong with 7 players rated 4.52 or higher going into this weekend, but the other teams have strong rosters too, they just perhaps had tougher flights to make it through.

The men, it was a lot closer.  Hawaii edged out Southern Cal on the courts won/lost tie-breaker despite losing to them head to head 3-2.  Middle States edged out Texas on the courts won/lost tie-breaker but did beat them head-to-head as well.  Nor Cal did win their flight 3-0 losing just 3 courts.

The last spot is still being decided as the 5 team flight is playing their last two matches.  Pacific Northwest is leading at 3-0 but is playing 2-1 Intermountain while 2-1 Southwest is playing 0-3 Caribbean.  A three-way tie at 3-1 is possible, although if PNW loses just 3-2, it looks like they'd win the tie-breaker.  I'll update this result later today.

Update: PNW beat Intermountain 4-1 so they advanced to the semis.

Friday, October 31, 2014

2013 USTA League Nationals results for reference

I was asked about trends at USTA League Nationals and if certain sections always do well, so I've started documenting past years Nationals in addition to this years.  So check out the 2013 Nationals Results to see how your section fared and periodically check out the 2014 Nationals Results to compare to this year as the next two weeks finish up.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

2014 USTA League Nationals continue with 40 & over and 55 & over divisions

The USTA League Nationals have completed the first 3 of the 5 weeks, but just half of the titles have been given out.  The last 2 weeks will be busier with matches taking place at 3 sites.

The 40 & over division is in its second weekend of play with the 3.5 and 4.5+ levels being played this weekend, the 3.5 in Tucson and the 4.5+ in Indian Wells.

The 55 & over division gets started with both the 6.0 and 8.0 levels being contested, both of these in Surprise Arizona.

I may post some updates during the weekend, but also check in here to see a record of all the winners to see what section comes out on top.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Keeping track of the 2014 USTA League Nationals Champions

We are three weeks in to the 2014 USTA League Nationals and the 18 & over division is complete.  The 40 & over started this past weekend and will finish over the next two weeks along with the 55 & over division.  I thought it would be interesting to keep track of what section won each gender/level in each division and so have created this page that I'll be updating through the rest of Nationals.

With half of the championships complete, the Pacific Northwest and Southern California lead the way with three titles each.  But Southern and Texas are close behind with two titles a piece.

This coming weekend is the biggest of the five weeks with eight titles up for grabs in the 40 & over 3.5 and 4.5+ levels and the 55 & over getting started with the 6.0 and 8.0 combined levels.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

And the new 2014 Nationals Champions are ...

The 2014 USTA League Nationals continued this weekend with the 18 & over 3.5 and 4.5 and 40 & over 3.0 taking place.  The six new National Champions are:

18 & over 3.5

  • The women's team from Southern California beat the Midwest team 3-2 in the final, the wins in straights, and the two losses in match tie-breaks.
  • The men's team from Northern California beat Caribbean 3-2, one of the wins in a match tie-break so very close.
18 & over 4.5
  • The Florida women's team beat Texas 4-1.
  • The Pacific Northwest men's team beat Southern 3-2, one of the wins in a match tie-break.
40 & over 3.0
  • The women's team from Southern beat Texas 3-2.
  • The men's team from Caribbean beat Southern 4-1.
Interestingly, the six winners are from six different sections.  We'll check back each weekend to see if this continues or if any section steps forward.