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.