Friday, September 26, 2014

USTA League 18 & over 3.0 and 5.0+ Nationals just two weeks away October 10-12

USTA League Nationals get started just two weeks from today with the 18 & over division 3.0 and 5.0+ levels being played in Tucson and Indian Wells respectively.

The 3.0 women have the full four flights with the normal four teams in three of them and five team in the fourth.  Last year's semifinalists were Northern California, Pacific Northwest, Caribbean, and Southwest but a repeat will not be possible this year with Caribbean and Southwest in the same flight this year.

In the 3.0 men's level, there are four flights of four teams each,  a total of 16 teams with the Hawaii section absent this year.  Last year's semifinalists Caribbean, New England, Southwest, and Hawaii, and with Hawaii absent there won't be a repeat of that this year, although the other three could all make it there.

The women's 5.0+ sees three flights with four teams each or 12 teams total.  Hawaii, Southwest, Northern, Missouri Valley, Florida, and Caribbean missing this year and Texas getting a wildcard to fill the flights out to 12.  The three flight winners will move on and play round-robin it appears for the championship.  Last year there were semifinals with NorCal, Texas, Southwest, and Florida and with two of those missing this year we won't see a repeat of that, but NorCal and Texas could make the final round-robin.

The men's 5.0+ has three flights with five teams each or 15 total and there are actually three wildcards to fill out the flights.  The missing sections are Hawaii, New England, Eastern, Middle States, and Caribbean with Southern, Texas, and SoCal getting the wildcards.  Last year's semifinalist of Texas, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Caribbean won't happen with three teams advancing to round-robin and Caribbean not being there, but the other three could all make the final round.

With two weeks to go, there is still time to do plenty of scouting and Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Team Reports are a great way to do that.  Contact me if interested in getting any or if you have any questions.

Update/Correction: While TennisLink shows just three teams advancing for the men's/women's 5.0+, the detailed schedule for each shows the best second place team from the three flights advancing to have a normal four team semis.

Monday, September 22, 2014

How rarely does the double bump occur? More interesting USTA League tennis stats

No, this isn't a blog post about a new Bryan brothers chest bump.

It is that time of year when USTA League players start wondering if they will be bumped up or not. Okay okay, quite a few have been wondering since much earlier in the year if the number of Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Reports I did starting in January is any indication.

I wrote yesterday about some general statistics on the percentage of bumps up/down by level and today did a report for a player that is on the verge of a double bump and it got me thinking. Double bumps do occur, I've seen a few in the past, but how rare are they? I did some analysis and here is what I found.

I looked at players that held a C/B rating at the end of 2012 and 2013 and then how many of them were bumped up or down and how far.

As I wrote yesterday, 87.7% of players stayed at the same level. Right around 4.1% were bumped down and 8.2% were bumped up. Those quick with math will see that totals 100% so were there any double bumps?

Yes, the above numbers are rounded, and indeed there were some double bump ups, but so few, 25, that it is kind of in the noise given how many players played USTA League in 2013. So yes it does happen but happened to just 0.01% of players last year.

What about the double bump down? I did not see any of those.

Do you know someone that was double bumped?  If so, it looks like you are one of the few.

Pacific Northwest USTA One Doubles Sectionals - Northwest Washington rules again

In the PNW section of the USTA we have a One Doubles league in the Summer and its Sectionals were held this past weekend.  It is a league that as the name implies is just one doubles court and is sort of analogous to one court of Tri-Level that is played in other sections.  In fact, winners of the Sectionals go to the Tri-Level Nationals forming the team from the Section.

And as was the theme with the 18 & over and 40 & over Sectionals, Northwest Washington ruled winning 7 of the 9 levels played.  The only ones they didn't win were the 3.0 and 4.0 women's flights.

Congratulations to the winners and good luck at Nationals.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Will my USTA League NTRP rating be bumped up or down this year? How many are bumped up or down each year?

It is late September and with that most if not all sections have held their playoffs and determined who will be going to USTA League Nationals in October and November. Some sections have Fall leagues that count towards NTRP ratings calculations, but for most players, all of their league play is complete and the matches that will affect their rating have been played.

That means that we can start taking a look at how many players are likely to be bumped up or down. But first, lets look at some statistics on bumps from last year.

This chart shows the percentage of players bumped up, staying at level, and bumped down by level.

Not surprisingly we see the most bump ups occurred from 2.5 and the most bump downs from 5.5. But in the 3.5 thru 4.5 levels where the bulk of league tennis is played, there were remarkably few bumps last year with just 7.6%, 4.9%, and 3.6% being bumped up and 3.7%, 5.0%, and 6.9% being bumped down. That means right around 89-90% stayed at their level for 3.5s thru 4.5s.  Overall, about 87% of C/B rated players stayed the same at year-end.

So, what about this year? Year-end ratings obviously aren't out yet, they won't be until December 1st in all likelihood, but I can use the ratings I calculate for Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Reports to make a pretty good guess as to what the bump percentages will look like.

The predicted 2014 chart doesn't look radically different from the 2013 chart. What stands out the most is probably the increase across the board of bump downs but the bump ups have increased too.

In the 3.5 thru 4.5 levels the bump ups are 10.4%, 6.7%, and 5.2% while the bump downs are 7.5%, 9.0%, and 11.4%. This means just 82-84% are staying at level.

Are my estimates perfect? No, but they were about 95% accurate at year-end last year so it will be interesting to see how closely what I've calculated above matches what actually happens at year-end.

And of course, if you don't want to wait for December 1st to find out if you will be bumped up, my reports will give you a very good idea of where you will end up, so contact me if you'd like to get a report and find out.

Note that I'm using dynamic ratings for the 2014 analysis above, and year-end ratings will incorporate benchmark calculations as a result of Nationals and tournament results in sections that include them. Plus the USTA could elect to do manual overrides or mass bumps up/down as they did a few years ago. But I do comment in reports I do on how the year-end calculations may affect a player's rating.

What do you think, will 2014 be a bit more volatile than 2013 was?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Do you have to sandbag and have self-rated ringers to get to USTA League Nationals?

With USTA League Nationals starting in less than a month now, it is interesting to look at the make-up of some of the teams headed there.  There is a belief that some hold that a "normal" team has no shot at making it to Nationals, and only those teams that have self-rated ringers or have implemented the "2-year plan" to sandbag and get bumped down in order to stack have a chance at getting there.  I wanted to see if this was indeed true.

The summary of what I found from looking at a handful of teams is that the perception is not the rule and many "normal" teams do make it to Nationals, but there are a few that go about getting there using perhaps less than honorable methods.

First, I looked at several 40 & over 4.0 teams that have qualified for Nationals.

One team had a roster of 18, but even with a roster that big only has one player that was a 4.5 the previous year or at 2013 year-end and he appealed down from 4.5 to 4.0. They did have four self-rated players but I have three of them rated at 3.69 or lower.  So this seems to by and large be a "normal" team.

Another team also has a large roster at 18, and had just one player that had been a 4.5 in 2013 and one other than had been a 4.5 several years earlier and was able to self-rate at 4.0.  They too appear like a "normal" team.

Another team has a roster of 19, and they do have five players that were 4.5s in 2013.  This gives a hint of potential sandbagging, but 5 of 19 is not a huge percentage, so while perhaps not "normal", this doesn't appear too egregious.

Then I looked at several 18 & over 4.0 teams that have qualified for Nationals to see if the different age division has a different experience.

One team has a large roster (22) and was an early start league team so their situation is a little different and it is interesting to look at who was bumped up but still gets to play. It looks like they only had one in this category, a 4.0 that was bumped up to 4.5 at year-end, and did have one self-rated 4.0 that was DQ'd up to 4.5 and so not eligible. There is another self-rate that has not been DQ'd yet but nearly was, and two other self-rates that are not near a DQ. So several self-rates, two questionable but just one caught, but none that appear to have been 4.5s throwing matches to get bumped down.

Another team does have five of a roster of 19 that were 4.5s last year. They also have two self-rates but neither looks like a ringer. Hard to say if the five 4.5s were fortuitous or planned.  This is perhaps "normal" but on the fringe a bit.

Another team only had one of a roster of 17 that was a 4.5 last year and a couple self-rates, one a 3.5 and the other not near strikes.  This seems pretty normal.

So of six teams I looked at, only two appear questionable.  So it appears you certainly can get to Nationals without sandbagging your way there.

Now, I did happen to do a report on a 40 & over 3.5 team that I would most definitely say has sandbagged their way to Nationals.  Here is the makeup of this team:

Five that were 4.0B/4.0C from 2012 that finished with a 2013 3.5C
Three that were 4.0B from 2011 or 2012 that appealed their 2013 4.0C to a 3.5A
One 4.0S from 2013 that finished with a 2013 3.5C after three lopsided Fall league match losses
Three 3.5B from 2013
Three self-rated

That is a full 9 of 15 that were 4.0s last year, and throw in the self-rated this year and you are up to 12 of 15.  And these players being worthy of being 4.0s isn't just theoretical.  My ratings have 4 rated at at 3.72 or higher and another 3 at 3.55 or higher and this is backed up by the early start ratings in their section.

You might ask, did these players really throw matches to get bumped down?  Here are a few of the bumped down 4.0s records:

  • 24-1 this year playing 3.5 but 2-18 last year playing 4.0 including a sets won/lost of 6 and 36 and twice as many games lost as won.
  • 22-1 this year playing 3.5 but 0-10 last year playing 4.0 including no sets won and 31 games won vs 120 lost.
  • 13-6 this year playing 3.5 but 0-6 last year playing 4.0 including no sets won and 16 games won vs 72 lost.
I could go on, but you get the point.

This team should be favored to win it all at Nationals, but there may be another team or two that have employed the same tactics and will challenge them.  Let's hope they get beat and it doesn't pay off for them.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

It is mid-September, 2014 USTA League Nationals start soon, full schedule

Most every section of the USTA has completed their 18 & over and 40 & over Sectionals which means the Nationals for those divisions is nearly upon us.  Plus this year unlike the past few, not only are the "Adult" Nationals being held in the October timeframe, but the Senior/55 & over are as well. And Mixed oftentimes held at a different time of the year is now in November.

The USTA has a PDF with the schedule but here is a summary as well.


Date Division Level Location
Oct. 10-12 18 & over 3.0 Tucson
Oct. 10-12 18 & over 5.0+ Indian Wells
Oct. 17-19 18 & over 4.0 Tucson
Oct. 17-19 18 & over 2.5 Indian Wells
Oct. 24-26 18 & over 3.5 Tucson
Oct. 24-26 18 & over 4.5 Indian Wells
Oct. 24-26 40 & over 3.0 Rancho Mirage
Oct. 31-Nov. 2 40 & over 3.5 Tucson
Oct. 31-Nov. 2 40 & over 4.5+ Indian Wells
Oct. 31-Nov. 2 55 & over 6.0 & 8.0 Surprise
Nov. 7-9 40 & over 4.0 Rancho Mirage
Nov. 7-9 55 & over 7.0 & 9.0 Surprise


Date Division Level Location
Nov. 14-16 18 & over 2.5, 7.0, & 9.0 Tucson
Nov. 14-16 40 & over 6.0 & 8.0 Surprise
Nov. 21-23 18 & over 6.0, 8.0, & 10.0 Tucson
Nov. 21-23 40 & over 7.0 & 9.0 Surprise

So we are just 4 weeks away from Nationals starting!  Good luck to all the teams headed there.

I was fortunate to go to Nationals once in Tucson and it was a great experience.  Some teams go to enjoy it and get everyone that travels into an equal number of matches, and others go focused on winning and playing their best line-up every match.  Of course, sometimes the latter turns into the former after a few matches.

In either case team reports can be a great way to get a view of your own team or scout opponents, the latter can be useful to balance winning and getting all your players in a match, or just figuring out the best way to arrange your line-up to give your team the best chance of winning.  Contact me if you are interested.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

USTA League Middle States early start ratings are available

Another USTA section has released their early start ratings for 2015 leagues starting this Fall.  See their blog write-up for details.

As usual, I've done reports for players in the section so went to do some checks.

Between individual and team reports I did, I only missed on one player that I checked.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

USTA League Eastern section early start ratings are available

The most recent section releasing their early start ratings is the Eastern section.  They have lists for men and women and these ratings will apply to Fall Day Leagues, Tri-Level Leagues and Mixed Doubles Leagues that start prior to the end of the year.

As usual, I've had some customers from the section get Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Reports and I checked the most recent 10 reports I did and correctly predicting the early start ratings for 9 of them.  This continues the accuracy from prior early start list checks I've had in the Florida, Pacific Northwest, Texas, and Northern sections.