Monday, July 16, 2018

New USTA Tennis Centers in the Pacific Northwest

I just received an e-mail from my section about a new initiative to revitalize and manage indoor and outdoor tennis centers, starting with a few facilities in Vancouver and Tacoma.

You can visit https://pnwtenniscenters.com/ to see more and learn about the Galbraith Tennis Center in Tacoma and Vancouver Tennis Center.

The Tacoma facility used to be a Bally's Fitness and had been in the news a year ago about becoming a USTA facility, but now it is official.

It appears VTC is undergoing some renovations in a month and will reopen in September.

It is always great to hear about new or renovated facilities.  Thanks to the USTA and others involved for making this happen!

How about we get a new facility in Seattle now where we are court constrained in the Winter and Spring? :)

If you win the second set, are you more likely to win the match tie-break? Interesting tennis league stats

In USTA League tennis, the majority of matches are played with a 3-set format where a match tie-break (first to 10 win by 2) is played in lieu of a full third set.

I've often wondered, and sometimes been asked, if the player/pair winning the second set has a better chance of winning the tie-break because they have the momentum, or if the player/pair winning the first rests up in the second and they come back, or if anything really can happen in a tie-break and it is a toss-up.  Well it is time to do some research and find out!

For this analysis I'm going to look at matches played in 2017 in the 18 & Over leagues and just look at the percentage of time the winner of the first/second set win the tie-break.

First, just looking at all matches played, the data tells us that 49.4 percent of first set winners win the tie-break, while 50.6 percent of second set winners do.  Statistically, this says it is a toss-up, although one might argue a slight bias towards the second set winners.

But what if we slice the data different ways?  First, by gender:

  • Male - 49.1% for first set winners, 50.9% for second set winners
  • Female - 49.%% vs 50.5%

So there is the same general toss-up but perhaps slight bias for the women.

Then by level:
  • 2.5 - 52.9 vs 47.1
  • 3.0 - 49.6 vs 50.4
  • 3.5 - 49.3 vs 50.7
  • 4.0 - 49.1 vs 50.9
  • 4.5 - 49.3 vs 50.7
  • 5.0 - 46.9 vs 53.1

Only at the extremes of 2.5 and 5.0 do we see the data stray from the general averages, and there are far fewer matches at these levels so there is a greater chance for some outlier data the skew things.  But even at these levels, there is not a dramatic advantage to either set winner, although interestingly at 2.5 the second set winner wins the match less often!

I did also look at the data by gender and level but nothing stood out, it was consistent with the above.

So it appears there is certainly not a dramatic advantage to the second set winner in a match tie-break, but perhaps an ever so slight one.  Like they say, anything can happen in a tie-break!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

2018 USTA League playoffs continue - Florida and Mid-Atlantic in action this weekend, Southern Sectionals soon

It is July and that means more Districts and Sectionals are being played on the road to Nationals.

Florida has 40 & Over Sectionals taking place for the 3.5 and 4.5+ levels at the National Campus in Orlando.  This follows the 3.0 and 4.0 levels having been played last weekend also at the National Campus.  The 18 & Over Sectionals will be played in August over two weekends, the 11th-13th and then 18th-20th.

In Mid-Atlantic, Virginia 18 & Over 3.0, 4,0, and 5.0 Regionals were played last weekend July 6-8, and 2.5, 3.5, and 4.5 will be played next weekend the 20th-22nd.  Their 40 & Over will be played August 24-26.

Maryland gets going with 18 & Over 2.5, 3.5, and 4.5 this weekend, and 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0 in two weeks July 27-29.  Their 40 & Over will be August 17-19.

Sectionals in Mid-Atlantic will be August 10-12 for 18 & Over and September 14-16 for 40 & Over.

In Southern, leagues are played a bit earlier and States have all been played and 18 & Over Sectionals is next weekend July 20-23 in Mobile and 40 & Over is the following weekend also in Mobile.  So by the end of the month we'll have quite a few more teams selected for Nationals.

The new Nationals invitees will join those from NorCal, SoCal, and Southwest that have already played Sectionals.

As always, if you are headed to any playoff event and want to scout teams, my flight and team reports are great resources to assist with that, and there are already teams that have used reports to qualify for Nationals this year.

And if you've already played your last playoff matches and want to get a report estimating where your rating is and details on all your played matches, individual reports will fit the bill.

For any report, contact me for more details.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Video from USTA NTRP meeting in Seattle now available

Those of us in the Seattle area were fortunate to have Heather Hawkes from USTA National visit us a couple months ago to hold an information meeting on NTRP ratings.  I wrote up a summary of my takeaways from it, but what could be better than seeing/hearing for yourself?

Well, now you can!  Jill Borgida, our League Coordinator in the Seattle area has made a video available so now anyone that missed the meeting can see Heather's presentation and the answers to folk's questions for yourself.  Thanks Jill!  You can see/download the video here.

For those not from Seattle, the majority of the subject matter applies to all USTA League players so it applies to you too, so give it a view if you are interested.

Note that the recording is 90 minutes so allocate a chunk of time if you want to listen to the whole thing.  But the presentation part is only about 35 minutes so a reasonably quick view.

For those that don't have that time, here is a brief table of contents should you wish to jump to a certain part or topic of interest:

  • 1:15 - Introduction
  • 8:10 - NTRP description, history, purpose
  • 12:10 - Why players move up or down
  • 15:35 - 3-strike disqualifications
  • 18:10 - Appeals
  • 19:55 - Myths about NTRP
  • 21:50 - Third party sites (pay close attention to what is said at 24:30 😀)
  • 25:20 - UTR
  • 26:30 - Senior appeals
  • 28:45 - Common questions
  • 31:00 - Playing up
  • 32:25 - Early start ratings
  • 37:30 - Q&A begins

Does this answer questions you have?  Or raise more?  Regardless, let me know if you have others as I may have answers.

Friday, July 6, 2018

USTA NTRP Nationals 2019 schedule published - How can you get a rating to qualify?

Those of you that regularly read my musings here know that the USTA introduced an NTRP National Championships event held earlier this year.  This is a Nationals for NTRP tournament players, as opposed to USTA League players, and gives tournament players an opportunity to advance and compete against players of the same level from other sections of the country.  Read what I wrote last year for more details.

The 2018 events were held in April and each section determined how players advanced, but in most if not all cases advancement was based on NTRP tournament results from 2017 and perhaps a Sectionals tournament for those that qualified.  Two Nationals events were held, one for 18 & Over singles and doubles and another for 50 & Over singles and doubles.

The schedule for 2019 has been published and is now four events.  The singles and doubles at each age level have been split into separate events leaving us with this schedule:
  • March 29-31 - 18 & Over 3.0 thru 5.0 singles at Academia Sanchez-Casal in Naples, FL
  • March 29-31 - 50 & Over 3.0 thru 4.5 singles at Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex in Surprise, AZ
  • April 5-7 - 18 & Over 3.0 thru 5.0 doubles at Academia Sanchez-Casal in Naples, FL
  • April 5-7 - 50 & Over 3.0 thru 4.5 doubles at Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex in Surprise, AZ

One new thing is the addition of the 3.0 level for both age groups and the 5.0 level for 18 & Over.  This will give more players an opportunity to experience Nationals which is great.

Another change is the splitting of singles and doubles, perhaps due to expanding the levels and the additional court requirements.  This split is nice in that it gives a player a more reasonable chance to compete in both singles and doubles, but having the 18 & Over and 50 & Over events on the same dates means a 50+ player has to pick one or the other if they happen to qualify for both.

On one hand, that gives the under-50 crowd more of their own event as you might expect those over-50 to focus on their event, but it also takes away an opportunity for those older players that can still play with and like to test themselves against younger players at a Nationals event.  In general, I like the changes though, but perhaps the events won't go head to head on the calendar in the future.

The format appears to be remaining basically the same.  It will use the Fast Four format and each player will play in one of eight 4-player round robin groups that advance to four 8-player compass draws.  From what I heard, the format had mixed reviews as it is different than normal play and what most play in tournaments.  The plus is that it allows more matches to be fit into a 3-day weekend, the minus is that you can't start slow or get behind in a set as it goes quick.

The event in Surprise will certainly be on hard courts, but Academia Sanchez-Casal has a lot of clay courts so my guess is that event may be primarily or entirely on clay.  That is great for those players that play year-round on clay, but I'm guessing the majority of tournament players play predominantly on hard courts so we'll see how that goes.

So how do you qualify to go to NTRP Nationals?

First, you have to play in NTRP tournaments!  For each event you play, you accumulate points and each section then determines how they will pick the players to advance.

Some sections will hold a Sectional tournament where players qualify for it based on tournament play during the year.  Others will just use the tournament rankings from the accumulated points to determine the representatives directly.  Check with your Section Coordinator with the format your section will use.

Second, as I understand it, self-rated players cannot advance to Nationals so you must have a year-end NTRP rating.  It may seem like this is a given, you play tournaments and you'll get a rating, but not all sections have included tournament results in year-end ratings, and some players that play just tournaments continue to be self-rated.

This means that a tournament player would also have to play USTA League to get a year-end rating and thus be qualified.  This is certainly doable for most players, and many already play League, but there are some that prefer tournaments to league play and do not play both.

In order to get tournament only players eligible for NTRP Nationals, more sections are considering including tournaments in year-end ratings.  Which sections do/don't include them is somewhat fluid, but as I write this my research shows the following do or plan to for 2018:

  • Eastern
  • Intermountain
  • Mid-Atlantic
  • Middle States
  • Northern California
  • Northern
  • Pacific Northwest
  • Southern California
  • Texas

That is just over half, so as of now, a lot of players that play only tournaments would continue to remain ineligible for NTRP Nationals.  But more sections may elect to include tournaments before year-end ratings are calculated though.

Checking some statistics, it appears less than 2K players ended 2017 with a tournament exclusive (T) rating.  I'll have to do some more research to see how many played tournaments and not league and didn't get a rating, but I'd say there is a good chance there are at least 2K more since only about half the sections include tournament matches.

What do you think?  Do you play NTRP tournaments?  Is qualifying for NTRP Nationals one of your goals for this year?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The path to USTA League Nationals: How it varies by section

We are getting to the time of the year when playoffs are being played, be they local playoffs, Districts, or Sectionals, all in the pursuit of making it to Nationals.  I sometimes get asked about the path to Nationals or how one can get there, so I thought I'd write on the subject.

I've written bits and pieces before including how short the journey can be in Hawaii, but also how other rural areas can have similarly short paths to Nationals.  But I hadn't taken a comprehensive look across all the sections to compare them so thought I would.

First, I thought I'd take a look at one of the league type/level that is most played across the country, 18 & Over 3.5 women.

Here is a table with several stats for the teams from each section that went to Nationals.  It shows the team matches played in the regular season and playoffs, the number of championships (e.g. local playoffs, States/Districts, Sectionals) that had to be played, and the number of flights played at championships.  The latter stat tells you if a team for example had to play both a round-robin flight and then a semis and/or final flight at a championship.

SectionMatchesChampionshipsFlights
NO. CALIFORNIA2622
PACIFIC NW2123
MIDWEST2122
SOUTHWEST2022
TEXAS1934
FLORIDA1824
MIDDLE STATES1823
SOUTHERN1835
EASTERN1733
INTERMOUNTAIN1734
MID ATLANTIC1723
SO. CALIFORNIA1722
NEW ENGLAND1624
MISSOURI VALLEY1522
NORTHERN1512
CARIBBEAN1211
HAWAII1011

The Northern California team had to play a whopping 26 matches to get to Nationals!  Several others had to play 20 or more and there are a lot in the upper teens.  Hawaii almost made it playing just single digits!

For comparison, here are the 3.5 men.

SectionMatchesChampionshipsFlights
NO. CALIFORNIA2322
SOUTHERN2223
MISSOURI VALLEY2222
MID ATLANTIC2122
MIDWEST1933
PACIFIC NW1823
SO. CALIFORNIA1822
EASTERN1733
NEW ENGLAND1622
HAWAII1611
TEXAS1623
SOUTHWEST1522
NORTHERN1412
INTERMOUNTAIN1422
MIDDLE STATES1422
CARIBBEAN1111

We see that four sections had to play over 20 matches to get to Nationals, while some were in the low to mid-teens, Caribbean having the easiest path with just 11 matches and one championship played.  Interestingly Eastern had three championships to play, but only got to 17 total matches to qualify for Nationals.

What about at a level where there are fewer players and teams like 5.0 men?

SectionMatchesChampionshipsFlights
MIDWEST2333
MID ATLANTIC1722
NO. CALIFORNIA1722
PACIFIC NW1523
INTERMOUNTAIN1422
SOUTHERN1334
TEXAS1322
FLORIDA1011
SO. CALIFORNIA1011
MIDDLE STATES1022
EASTERN911
SOUTHWEST911
MISSOURI VALLEY911

The Midwest appears to be very competitive for 5.0 men, they are the only section with over 20 matches and well ahead of the rest.  We see three sections not even having to play double digits to get there.

What about 40 & Over?  Here are the 4.0 women.

SectionMatchesChampionshipsFlights
NO. CALIFORNIA2433
MIDDLE STATES2022
MISSOURI VALLEY1933
TEXAS1924
MIDWEST1934
EASTERN1833
INTERMOUNTAIN1834
NEW ENGLAND1623
SOUTHWEST1622
SOUTHERN1524
FLORIDA1413
HAWAII1411
MID ATLANTIC1423
SO. CALIFORNIA1422
NORTHERN1212
CARIBBEAN1011
PACIFIC NW923

Northern Cal is over 20 and in the lead again.  Note that they classified their local playoffs as a championship this once (they normally just treat it as an extension of the regular season) so they also show three championships played.  And we see another single digit matches played, this one from the Pacific Northwest which seems odd.  But this is a case of a team from a small/rural area where the regular season is just four matches played over a weekend.

And to round things out, here are the 4.0 men for 40 & Over.

SectionMatchesChampionshipsFlights
NO. CALIFORNIA2144
SOUTHERN1923
EASTERN1622
MIDDLE STATES1622
NEW ENGLAND1522
HAWAII1511
INTERMOUNTAIN1534
PACIFIC NW1523
MIDWEST1533
TEXAS1412
MISSOURI VALLEY1322
FLORIDA1313
SOUTHWEST1311
NORTHERN1211
MID ATLANTIC1211
CARIBBEAN1111
SO. CALIFORNIA1122

Northern Cal again in the lead.

What can we learn from this?  The path to Nationals can be very different based on where a team is from.  The longest path is usually over twice as long as the shortest path.  There is a fair amount of consistency in which sections have the longest path, but still some variability there if a team from a small area manages to advance.

If there is interest, I can look at other league types and levels, let me know by leaving a comment.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Poll: Changing a USTA League season schedule - What went into the decision making process for Southwest Washington

I wrote about the 2019 schedule for Northwest Washington (Seattle), and other areas in the Pacific Northwest section have some similar changes with the addition of the 18-39 league for example.

What I learned in the past week is that in Southwest Washington (Tacoma/Olympia) has not only added the 18-39 league, but has moved some other leagues around.  Specifically, this year, 40 & Over was played January thru March (Winter), and 18 & Over April thru June (Spring) as normal leagues.  The 55 & Over league was played in the Fall as an early start league.

TLDR: I go on for a bit below, and please do read it if you have time, but the short story is the schedule change has been made to try and increase participation, and while I hope participation does increase, I'm skeptical it will as it seems there are some factors that are going to make that difficult that may not have been considered or given enough weight.

Now, on to the details!

For 2019, Southwest Washington is swapping the slots for 55 & Over and 40 & Over, the latter becoming an early start league played this Fall and 55 & Over moving to the January thru March slot as a regular league.

Why was this change made?  The main reason appears to be that there has been a drop in participation in the Winter/Spring leagues and they are looking to try to do things to reverse this trend.  Here is the chart that was provided in a document on the schedule changes from the coordinator.


We can see that 18 & Over has dropped a bit each year, down 89 registrations or 8% from 2015 to 2018.  The 40 & Over also dropped, 5% from 2015 to 2017 but came up a bit for 2018 to make the 3-year drop just 41 or 4%.  Regardless, the decline appears to be real in both leagues, a total decline of 130 or 6%.

So what might be causing the decline?  The schedule change document mentioned that players had made comments that having the two different leagues played back to back caused them to decide to play just one or the other and not both like they had in the past.  It also said a survey was done, where some of the comments presumably were made, that indicated support for 40 & Over to be played in either Winter or Fall, although it did indicate there was more support for leaving it in the Winter (3.34 vs 2.48 weighted score).

If this is all true, one can see how a change might be a worthwhile thing to try to see if it helps participation.  But is there other data to consider?  Does the data support this conclusion?  Or what are the implications of a change like this?

First, what is missing from the above chart is the 55 & Over participation numbers.  By my calculations, those have gone up each year since 2015 from 460 to 524, an increase of 64 or 14%.  The increase of 64 does not completely offset the loss of 130 from the other two leagues, but still gives reason to believe there may be something else going on.

What that something else might be is that players are simply getting older.  In the three years from 2015 to 2018, all those age 52-54 turned 55 and became eligible to play 55 & Over, and common sense says they will have decided to play in that league and may decide to drop 18 & Over as they no longer need to play the "youngsters" to get a second league in.  And some of those 55+ players may have reached retirement age and/or decide to spend some of the Winter in the desert which makes them unavailable for the 40 & Over season.

If both of these factors are significant contributors to the decline, it may be that the 40 & Over and 18 & Over leagues being back to back is not as big a factor as the comments indicate, and instead the real issue is that the void created by some players getting older is not being filled with new players under 40.

Second, are the players playing in multiple leagues declining?  Or are the individual leagues declining on their own?

My analysis shows that 655 players were rostered on both an 18 & Over and 40 & Over team in 2015.  This declined to 591, or down 64, in 2018 so yes, fewer players are playing in both leagues.  But we can also look at other combinations.

The count of those playing both 55 & Over and 18 & Over went 227, 215, 249, and 227 in the four years ending 2018.  So on average, this has stayed pretty flat.

The count of those playing both 55 & Over and 40 & Over went 261, 313, 316, and 335, an increase of 84, so a pretty dramatic increase.  In fact, this increase was more than the 18/40 decrease.

So what does this tell us?  The decline in 18/40 but flat in 18/55 would seem to support the notion that players prefer to play both leagues when there is a gap between them.  However, the increase in 40/55 would seem to support what I wrote above, that the player population is growing older and is just more comfortable doubling up in 40/55 than with 18 & Over.  It is likely that both are a factor, but the increase in 40/55 being larger tells me the age factor is larger.

Third, what are the implications of this change?  It may seem simple, but given the nature of each league and the early start league rules, it is actually quite significant.

As an early start league, players in the 2019 40 & Over league will now register with their 2017 year-end rating.  These players will be eligible at that level on their teams through local playoffs in December, but if they are bumped up at 2018 year-end will be ineligible to continue playing on their team at Sectionals at their rostered level.  In fact, a team could have enough players bumped up that they win local playoffs and can't even field a team at Sectionals.  Correspondingly, if a player is bumped down at year-end, the 40 & Over season will already have been played and these players won't be able to play 40 & Over at their new level until the 2020 season.

Note that it is the demise or early start ratings that makes both of these issues worse than they would be otherwise.

Both of these early start implications are going to put the Southwest Washington teams at Sectionals at a disadvantage.  On the first point, they could lose their best players to bump ups while teams from other areas playing 40 & Over in the Winter or Spring won't be affected.  On the second point, all of the other areas will have been able to include bumped down players to their rosters.  Now, admittedly, this is only going to impact the one or two teams at each level that advance to Sectionals, but it is going to make it a lot tougher for those teams to compete with the other areas, particularly those from Portland and Seattle that already had an advantage of having many more players to draw from.

Now, you might argue that when 55 & Over was an early start league the same issues existed.  That is true, but just sort of.  First, most other areas run their 55 & Over as an early start league so no one was disadvantaged by doing it differently.  Also, 55 & Over is a combination league, that means a 7.0 team for example can have 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0 players on the roster, so there is more flexibility to absorb a player being bumped up at year-end that 40 & Over does not have.

One advantage Southwest Washington will have with 55 & Over is that they will be able to have the just bumped down players on their rosters where the other areas won't.  But there are fewer levels/teams/players in 55 & Over so the advantage will benefit far fewer players and teams, and it is a smaller advantage and less likely to come into play given the combination nature of the league and fewer levels played.

So, IMHO, 55 & Over seems much more well suited to being the early start league than 40 & Over.

Another dynamic with leagues in the Northwest is when players may migrate south for the Winter or vacations.  The typical time for this is January thru March which is smack dab during the 55 & Over season now.  The gotcha here is that the players most likely to do a Winter migration are probably those age 55+.  So that growth I noted above in the 55 & Over league may turn around as players may be out of town during that season now.

I've written a lot, hopefully it all made sense, but what do you think, particularly if you play in Southwest Washington?  Is this schedule change for the better?  Is it worth trying something different to try to increase participation?  Or is it going to make it more challenging for older players to play league and is ignoring the real issue which is the lack of new under 40 players?

I think there are some challenges to this schedule working out for the better, but I do hope it does and participation goes up, and teams that go to Sectionals feel they can compete.

If you are so inclined, please leave a comment here or on Facebook, and vote in the poll below if you are from Southwest Washington.


Do you like the Southwest Washington schedule change?

Yes, it will increase participation
Yes, it is better for my schedule
Yes, it gives SWW 55 & Over teams an advantage at Sectionals
Don't care, I'll play the same leagues regardless
No, it puts SWW 40 & Over teams at a disadvantage at Sectionals
No, it doesn't address the real reason for the decline in participation
No, it is worse for my schedule
You may vote for multiple selections.
See this blog for details on the changes to the schedule.
Create a Poll with PollMaker

Friday, June 22, 2018

More information on the USTA's new Coed/Adult 18-39 league

I wrote about the Pacific Northwest's 2019 USTA League schedule recently and noted that there was a new league being added, Coed 18-39.  You can see a little blurb about the league in general on the USTA site here, but I've learned more about this new league and here are the details.

The league is new for 2018 and is being adopted in quite a few sections this year and more plan to implement it in 2019.  From what I can tell, Eastern, Intermountain, Midwest, Missouri Valley, Northern and Southern California, and Texas have it this year, and I know at least PNW is adding it next year.  Note that not every area in the above sections is implementing it, being in its first year it appears there are specific areas it is being introduced in, and appears they are targeting college towns or other areas with larger number of young players.

As the name above indicates, it is co-ed, and is for players 18-39 (I had to work to deduce that!).  However, if you look on TennisLink it is shown in the Adult 18-39 league type.

The format is going to follow a modified Tennis on Campus format which itself is a modified World Team Tennis (WTT) format.  Specifically, there will be singles courts for men and women, doubles courts for each, and a mixed doubles court.  Each court will be a no-ad set and a player may play on two of the courts, e.g. a female player could play on both the women's doubles and mixed doubles courts.  Substitutions during a match that you may have seen used in the regular WTT format will not be allowed though.

While the above is the stated format, a section can elect to modify it somewhat as it sees fit.  For example, the singles courts may be omitted making it just three courts of doubles.  And the NTRP levels eligible for a team also varies.

Some examples of how it is rolling out are:

  • Southern Cal has it in the Beach Cities area and it is a Tri-Level league with two flights, one 3.5-4.5 and the other 4.0-5.0.  They are playing three courts of doubles (men's, women's, mixed).
  • Northern Cal has it in a number of areas and it is a combo league on the half point (6.5, 7.5, 8.5) also with three courts of doubles.
  • Missouri Valley and Texas appear to have separate men's and women's flights at normal NTRP levels, each with one court of singles and two of doubles so theirs isn't co-ed, at least at the local level.
  • Midwest appears to be Tri-Level and three courts of doubles.
  • Colorado is men's and women's on standard NTRP levels and two courts of singles and one of doubles.
  • Eastern has three sets of doubles at an Open level and just in Rochester it appears.

Some of this variation is likely due to this being brand new and some areas converting other local leagues they may have had in the past to this new format so we may see more similarity in format next year.

What about playoffs and Nationals?  I don't believe anything is set in stone yet, but my league mentions a possible invitational in the future and I've heard 2020 my be the goal for that.

What about ratings?  It appears, at this point at least, there is no set rule on whether matches will count for ratings or not and it will be up to sections to decide, similar to how they have the option for other secondary leagues to count for ratings or not.

The driver for this league appears to provide an additional option for younger players and in a format that is unique, fun, and similar to a format they may have played in college as part of a Tennis on Campus program.  I have to say that I wouldn't mind trying it out and I bet others over 40 would too, but for now we'll have to wait.  And we have our own 40 & Over Adult and Mixed leagues already anyway, do we really need another?

What do you think?  Is the league available in your area and are you playing in it?  Are you over 40 and would like to play in it?  Let your voice be heard!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Seattle area teams headed to 2018 Pacific Northwest USTA League 18 & Over Sectionals

The 18 & Over local playoffs were held in the Seattle area and teams are headed to PNW Sectionals to be held August 10-12 in Portland.

I believe that at each level, the winner of local playoffs advances plus the finalist as a wildcard.  This can influence the finals as teams don't have to win to advance and sometimes will use the match to get more players a playoff match.

The 2.5 women saw #3 RBW-Harnish and #1 HBSQ-The All Nets-Flock play in the final, RBW taking a 2-1 win, all the matches in straight sets.

The 3.0 men's final had two ETC teams, #1 Blasko vs #4 Lash, and Blasko got the 5-0 win.

The women's 3.0 final had #1 RBW-Sakoda playing #3 AYTC-Serve Us A Double-Thomas with RBW winning 3-2, all three wins in fairly easy straight sets.

The men's 3.5 final had #1 seed RBW-Chan playing #3 MC-Fight Club-Vashist and it was a 5-0 win for RBW.

The 3.5 women saw #4 TCSP-Alexis Olympia FC-Miller facing #5 RBW-Moskos and pulling out a 3-2 win, one of the courts in a match tie-break.

At 4.0, the men's final had #3 MI-Sedlacek taking out #1 PSC-Smashers-Volli-Tortop in a close 3-2 win, one court in a match tie-break.

And the 4.0 women had #4 AYTC-Hood playing #1 PSC-Tzeng in the final and AYTC taking a 4-1 win.

For the 4.5 men, two AYTC teams played, #1 AYTC-4.5 o'clock somewhere-Reni taking the 5-0 win over #2 Frosted Tips-Grayson.

The 4.5 women had #4 AYTC-Godfrey playing #1 NTC-Sutter and NTC taking the 5-0 win.

Last, at the 5.0+ level, the men had #3 BETC-Brown facing #4 FC-Basha Tennis and FC taking the 2-1 win.

Congratulations to all.  Good luck at Sectionals!


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Breaking News for Seattle! New league for 2019 and wildcard weekend for 2019 Northwest Washington local playoffs

I just wrote about the upcoming 18 & Over local playoffs taking place in Seattle this weekend, and I happened upon the 2019 league schedule that has been posted.

For the most part, the schedule is the same as we are accustom to.

Adult 55 & Over and Mixed 18 & Over are both early start leagues that will be play September thru November/December with playoffs at the start of December.

Adult 40 & Over as well as 18 & Over will be played as this year, January thru March and March thru June respectively.  Similarly, Mixed 40 & Over will be June thru August like this year, One Doubles will be a Summer league, 65 & Over will be in the Spring, and Mixed 55 & Over will be in the summer.

But there are two big new things that have shown up on the schedule.

First is a new 18-39 coed league.  As noted above, those over the age of 40 have their Adult league the first three months of the year, but those under 40 are left out.  This new league will be run during the same period and use the World Team Tennis format of doubles for men and women, singles for men and women, and a mixed doubles match, so 5 matches total.

Alas, I'm over 40 so won't be able to take part, but I'll be interested to see how the league goes and what participation is.  I think this league is being rolled out in other areas and sections too so I'll write more about it as I learn more, but please contact me or leave a comment with what you think or if your area is adopting this league.

Update: I wrote more on this 18-39 league here.

Second, our local playoffs for Adult 18 & Over and 40 & Over were a bit smaller this year with fewer sub-flight second place teams advancing, but this appears to be going back to normal with all second place teams advancing.  In order to accomplish this there will be a new "Wildcard Weekend" a week before the local playoffs actually take place and complete.  Expanding the time the matches can be played over makes more courts available which I think is a great way to address the issue.  Thanks Jill for listening to feedback and coming up with a solution!

My understanding is that the wildcard weekend will be played more like local league matches at the home team's respective facility and not part of a block of matches at a designated playoff site as the actual playoffs will continue to be.  I don't see a problem with this and hope, and think it will, works well.

What do you think?  Do you like these changes?  I have to say I do as they are great ways to provide more playing opportunities for players in our area, and other areas that adopt similar approaches.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Seattle area 18 & Over local playoffs this weekend - A quick preview

Local, state, and even sectional playoffs are taking place in several places around the country in June.  In my neck of the woods in Seattle, our 18 & Over local playoffs start this Wednesday and are played through the weekend.

Note that these playoffs are a bit smaller than past years as not every 2nd place team in each flight advanced, in some cases just one, so some good teams may not have even made these playoffs.

Here are some quick previews using my ratings' and the top averages for each team to seed them.

The 2.5 women have 5 teams so there is a "play in" game on Wednesday to get to the semis, and interestingly my #2 seed is playing in that match.  It could make the semi on Saturday very competitive.

The 3.0 men have 4 teams in the semis to both be played Saturday, and my #1 and #2 seeds play in one match, one being the wildcard, while #3 and #4 play in the other.

The women's 3.0 draw is the largest with 8 teams, so every team will have to win two matches to make the final and get a bid to Sectionals.  For the most part, my seeds match the draw so the top-teams have a good chance to win their quarter-final matches on Friday and make the semis and decide things there if things go by the numbers.

The men's 3.5 draw has 5 teams so another "play in" game also on Wednesday, my seeds also nearly a perfect match to the draw.  The top teams have a good chance to make the final, but the #2 seed has a lot tougher road than the #1 seed.

The 3.5 women is another 8 team draw and this one looks to have a lot of opportunity for upsets.  In two of the matches, my ratings have a pretty clear upset predicted, and the top-2 seeds could face each other in a semi-final.

The men's 4.0 draw has a "play in" game too, and does have my #2 seed playing on Friday.  And other than the top seed, the teams are grouped very close so there could be some competitive matches.

The 4.0 women has 6 teams so two quarter-finals on Saturday, and my top seed is playing in one, and my #4 seed has a bye into the semis.

The 4.5 men is a simple 4 teams in the semis, and the draw matches my seeds, although one semi has near equals playing what should be a close match.

The 4.5 women is also 4 teams, but here my clear top-2 seeds are playing in one semi, so a weaker on paper team is going to make the final and get a bid to Sectionals.

Last, the 5.0 men have 4 teams and my top-2 teams are on opposite sides of the draw so can make the final against each other.

For those teams wanting more details on their opponents, I can do flight reports or team reports on any and all teams.  Contact me if interested.

Monday, June 4, 2018

2018 USTA League playoffs continue - Just played and upcoming events

It is June, and more areas have played or will soon by playing local or district/state playoffs.  A few even have Sectionals just played or to be played soon.

In Southern, Kentucky just held their 40 & Over States and has 18 & Over to be played in three weeks.  Arkansas just finished part two of both their 18 & Over and 40 & Over States.  Georgia is finishing their 40 & Over States today and has 55 & Over next weekend.  Mississippi has their 40 & Over States coming up next weekend and Louisiana has their 18 & Over played over the next two weekends.  North Carolina has their 18 & Over States in two weeks followed by the 40 & Over the following week.  So it is a busy month in Southern.

Florida held 40 & Over Mixed Sectionals part 1 this past weekend and has part 2 in three weeks, and finishes the delayed 55 & Over Sectionals in two weeks.

This coming weekend has Southern California holding their 40 & Over Sectionals.

And in what I've written on the past few weeks, I missed that Southwest held their 40 & Over Sectionals last month so along with NorCal 40 & Over, some teams are already headed to Nationals!

In my area, Seattle in the Pacific Northwest, the 18 & Over regular season just finished and local playoffs are in two weeks.  Elsewhere in the PNW, Eastern Washington has their 40 & Over playoffs in three weeks, and 55 & Over Sectionals are at the end of the month.

What have I missed?  Do you have any playoffs scheduled for June?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Previewing 2018 USTA League Nationals - The top women's 40 & Over 4.5+ teams

Most sections and areas are now playing their USTA League regular seasons, some have even completed them and had local or state/district playoffs.  So it seems like a good time to take a look at who the top teams are and who may be vying to make it to Sectionals and Nationals.

The metric I'll be using is the top-8 average for each team using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and for these lists include the top-40 teams and ties.  And to keep a little intrigue and anonymity, I'll be listing the area for the teams but not the team names.  Contact me if you are interested in a report with the team specifics and more details.

I started the 40 & Over division with the 4.0 men and women3.5 men and women, 3.0 men and women, 4.5+ men, and now the 4.5+ women.

RankLocationAverage
1SOUTHERN / GEORGIA / GA - ATLANTA - 20184.61
1SOUTHERN / GEORGIA / GA - ATLANTA - 20184.61
1SOUTHERN / SOUTH CAROLINA / SC - LOW COUNTRY-LCTA4.61
4SO. CALIFORNIA / SAN DIEGO4.58
5FLORIDA / REGION_2 / DUVAL4.57
5NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 4.5 - UP4.57
5NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 4.5 - DN4.57
8NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 4.5 - MP4.55
8FLORIDA / REGION_6 / SOUTH PALM BEACH4.55
8FLORIDA / REGION_3 / PINELLAS4.55
8FLORIDA / REGION_6 / SOUTH PALM BEACH4.55
8SOUTHERN / GEORGIA / GA - ATLANTA - 20184.55
8PACIFIC NW / NORTHERN OREGON4.55
14NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 4.5 - LP4.54
14NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 4.5 - MB4.54
14NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 4.5 - MA4.54
17SO. CALIFORNIA / SAN DIEGO4.53
17SOUTHERN / GEORGIA / GA - ATLANTA - 20184.53
17NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 4.5 - MP4.53
17SO. CALIFORNIA / SO.CALIFORNIA / SAN GABRIEL VALLEY4.53
21TEXAS / DALLAS4.52
21NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 4.5 - SA4.52
23SO. CALIFORNIA / SO.CALIFORNIA / SAN FERNANDO VALLEY4.51
24NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 4.5 - UP4.50
24FLORIDA / REGION_6 / INDIAN RIVER/MARTIN/ST. LUCIE4.50
24SOUTHERN / NORTH CAROLINA / NC - METRO (Chl)4.50
24NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 4.5 - MA4.50
24NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 4.5 - UP4.50
24TEXAS / DALLAS4.50
30PACIFIC NW / SOUTHERN OREGON4.49
30SO. CALIFORNIA / SO.CALIFORNIA / ORANGE COUNTY4.49
30NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 4.5 - SA4.49
30NORTHERN / NORTHERN / TWIN CITIES - 20184.49
34FLORIDA / REGION_8 / BROWARD4.48
34MIDDLE STATES / PHILADELPHIA4.48
34SO. CALIFORNIA / SO.CALIFORNIA / ORANGE COUNTY4.48
34SO. CALIFORNIA / SO.CALIFORNIA / SAN GABRIEL VALLEY4.48
38NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 4.5 - SA4.47
38NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 4.5 - DS4.47
38FLORIDA / REGION_54.47
38NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 4.5 - SA4.47
38TEXAS / DALLAS4.47
38SO. CALIFORNIA / SO.CALIFORNIA / BEACH CITIES4.47
38PACIFIC NW / NORTHERN OREGON4.47

Southern, NorCal, and Florida dominate the top again.  But just one team will advance from Nationals from each, so this speaks more to the competition there will be at Sectionals.

If you are interested in a report like the above with even more information for your local league flight or to scout any level of playoffs, a flight report will fit the bill.  Not only will you get the top-8 average for each team, but the overall average and a summary showing how each team has played their courts so you can see if they are stronger/weaker in singles vs doubles and if they tend to stack or not.  Contact me if interested.

Previewing 2018 USTA League Nationals - The top men's 40 & Over 4.5+ teams

Most sections and areas are now playing their USTA League regular seasons, some have even completed them and had local or state/district playoffs.  So it seems like a good time to take a look at who the top teams are and who may be vying to make it to Sectionals and Nationals.

The metric I'll be using is the top-8 average for each team using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and for these lists include the top-40 teams and ties.  And to keep a little intrigue and anonymity, I'll be listing the area for the teams but not the team names.  Contact me if you are interested in a report with the team specifics and more details.

I started the 40 & Over division with the 4.0 men and women, and 3.5 men and women, 3.0 men and women, now the 4.5+ men.

RankLocationAverage
1SOUTHERN / GEORGIA / GA - ATLANTA - 20184.68
2SOUTHERN / SOUTH CAROLINA / SC - HILTON HEAD-HH4.67
2EASTERN / METROPOLITAN REGION / Manhattan4.67
4FLORIDA / REGION_54.64
4NO. CALIFORNIA / Men's 4.5 - SF4.64
4FLORIDA / REGION_3 / PINELLAS4.64
7NO. CALIFORNIA / Men's 4.5 - DS4.63
7NORTHERN / NORTHERN / TWIN CITIES - 20184.63
7SOUTHERN / NORTH CAROLINA / NC - WESTERN NC (Mtn)4.63
10NO. CALIFORNIA / Men's 4.5 - EB4.62
10SOUTHERN / TENNESSEE / TN - MEMPHIS4.62
10SOUTHERN / SOUTH CAROLINA / SC - LOW COUNTRY-LCTA4.62
13FLORIDA / REGION_4 / ORANGE/SEMINOLE/LAKE4.61
13SO. CALIFORNIA / SO.CALIFORNIA / ORANGE COUNTY4.61
13SOUTHERN / GEORGIA / GA - ATLANTA - 20184.61
13SOUTHERN / NORTH CAROLINA / NC - LAKE NORMAN4.61
13NO. CALIFORNIA / Men's 4.5 - SM4.61
13MID ATLANTIC / MARYLAND / MONTGOMERY COUNTY4.61
19MISSOURI VALLEY / HEART OF AMERICA / Heart Of America Leagues4.60
19SO. CALIFORNIA / SO.CALIFORNIA / ORANGE COUNTY4.60
19TEXAS / AUSTIN4.60
19FLORIDA / REGION_7 / COLLIER4.60
19SO. CALIFORNIA / SO.CALIFORNIA / ORANGE COUNTY4.60
19SO. CALIFORNIA / SO.CALIFORNIA / SANTA BARBARA4.60
19NORTHERN / NORTHERN / TWIN CITIES - 20184.60
19NORTHERN / NORTHERN / TWIN CITIES - 20184.60
27NO. CALIFORNIA / Men's 4.5 - EB4.59
27TEXAS / DALLAS4.59
29TEXAS / DALLAS4.58
29NO. CALIFORNIA / Men's 4.5 - FA4.58
29SO. CALIFORNIA / SAN DIEGO4.58
29SO. CALIFORNIA / SO.CALIFORNIA / ORANGE COUNTY4.58
29TEXAS / DALLAS4.58
29SO. CALIFORNIA / SO.CALIFORNIA / ORANGE COUNTY4.58
29SOUTHERN / NORTH CAROLINA / NC - LAKE NORMAN4.58
36SOUTHERN / NORTH CAROLINA / NC - ENO RIVER (Dur)4.57
36FLORIDA / REGION_3 / HILLSBOROUGH4.57
36NO. CALIFORNIA / Men's 4.5 - MA4.57
36TEXAS / AUSTIN4.57
36PACIFIC NW / NORTHWEST WASHINGTON4.57

This is a plus league so these teams do have 5.0s rostered and that is part of the reason for the higher numbers, but there are some good teams notably from Southern, Florida, and Northern California.

If you are interested in a report like the above with even more information for your local league flight or to scout any level of playoffs, a flight report will fit the bill.  Not only will you get the top-8 average for each team, but the overall average and a summary showing how each team has played their courts so you can see if they are stronger/weaker in singles vs doubles and if they tend to stack or not.  Contact me if interested.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Previewing 2018 USTA League Nationals - The top women's 40 & Over 3.0 teams

Most sections and areas are now playing their USTA League regular seasons, some have even completed them and had local or state/district playoffs.  So it seems like a good time to take a look at who the top teams are and who may be vying to make it to Sectionals and Nationals.

The metric I'll be using is the top-8 average for each team using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings and for these lists include the top-40 teams and ties.  And to keep a little intrigue and anonymity, I'll be listing the area for the teams but not the team names.  Contact me if you are interested in a report with the team specifics and more details.

I started the 40 & Over division with the 4.0 men and women, and 3.5 men and women, 3.0 men, and now the 3.0 women.

RankLocationAverage
1NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 3.0 - MA3.36
2SOUTHERN / ALABAMA / AL - BIRMINGHAM - 20183.25
3SOUTHWEST / SOUTHERN ARIZONA3.17
4SOUTHWEST / NORTHERN NEW MEXICO3.16
4SOUTHERN / GEORGIA / GA - CLARKE OCONEE - COTA - 20183.16
6MISSOURI VALLEY / OKLAHOMA / OKLAHOMA CITY3.15
6SOUTHERN / ALABAMA / AL - BIRMINGHAM - 20183.15
8SOUTHERN / SOUTH CAROLINA / SC - LEXINGTON-LATA3.14
9NEW ENGLAND / NORTHERN CONNECTICUT3.13
10MISSOURI VALLEY / IOWA3.11
10TEXAS / FORT WORTH3.11
10TEXAS / SAN ANTONIO3.11
10MID ATLANTIC / VIRGINIA / NOVA3.11
14SOUTHERN / LOUISIANA / LA - NEW ORLEANS3.10
14SOUTHERN / GEORGIA / GA - ATLANTA - 20183.10
14SOUTHERN / TENNESSEE / TN - NASHVILLE3.10
14FLORIDA / REGION_8 / SOUTH MIAMI/DADE3.10
14SOUTHERN / SOUTH CAROLINA / SC - GREENVILLE-FTA3.10
14SOUTHERN / SOUTH CAROLINA / SC - GREENVILLE-UPTA3.10
20NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 3.0 - SF3.09
20TEXAS / FORT WORTH3.09
20SOUTHERN / KENTUCKY / KY - LOUISVILLE3.09
20NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 3.0 - DN3.09
20SO. CALIFORNIA / SO.CALIFORNIA / BEACH CITIES3.09
25MISSOURI VALLEY / HEART OF AMERICA / Heart Of America Leagues3.08
25MIDWEST / WISCONSIN / MADISON3.08
25SOUTHERN / ALABAMA / AL - TUSCALOOSA3.08
25MIDWEST / OHIO VALLEY / CHARLESTON3.08
25TEXAS / SAN ANTONIO3.08
30NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 3.0 - SA3.07
30SOUTHERN / SOUTH CAROLINA / SC - FLORENCE-PD3.07
30NEW ENGLAND / NORTHERN CONNECTICUT3.07
30NEW ENGLAND / SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT / Southern CT3.07
30MISSOURI VALLEY / HEART OF AMERICA / Heart Of America Leagues3.07
35SOUTHERN / ARKANSAS / AR - CENTRAL LITTLE ROCK3.06
35SOUTHERN / ARKANSAS / AR - CENTRAL LITTLE ROCK3.06
35SOUTHERN / SOUTH CAROLINA / SC - BEAUFORT COUNTY- CCTA3.06
35MIDWEST / OHIO VALLEY / COLUMBUS3.06
35NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 3.0 - DS3.06
35NO. CALIFORNIA / Women's 3.0 - DN3.06
35SOUTHWEST / NORTHERN NEW MEXICO3.06
35SOUTHERN / SOUTH CAROLINA / SC - GREENVILLE-UPTA3.06

Like for the men, there are several early start Southern teams with players who are now 3.5s, but Northern California leads the way with a team with a whopping 3.36 top-8 average, but guess what?  They didn't even make it to Sectionals let alone win there so they won't be at Nationals.  Perhaps they had availability issues, but two of their top-8 didn't play at all at Districts and their top-2 only played 2 of the 3 matches.  That is why the matches are played and not just figured on paper by the ratings!

If you are interested in a report like the above with even more information for your local league flight or to scout any level of playoffs, a flight report will fit the bill.  Not only will you get the top-8 average for each team, but the overall average and a summary showing how each team has played their courts so you can see if they are stronger/weaker in singles vs doubles and if they tend to stack or not.  Contact me if interested.