The Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) has entered into an agreement with Universal Tennis LLC, whereby Universal Tennis is now providing the BLTA, its tournament organizers and players with access to UTR, the company’s renowned rating system and technology platform.
Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) is the world’s most accurate and reliable method of rating tennis players. UTR rates all tournament players, from beginners to top professionals, on the same 16-point scale, regardless of age, gender, nationality, skill level or location. All ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) and WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) players have UTRs, as do all college players and most junior and adult tournament players. Players have profiles and match histories on the UTR website (www.myutr.com), and their UTRs are expressed as a number between one and 16.50, with up to two decimal points. For example, Rafael Nadal’s UTR is currently 15.80, Novak Djokovic’s is 15.77 and Serena Williams’ is 12.98. Most National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I male players have UTRs between 12 and 15, and division one female players are usually between 9 and 12.
UTR uses an algorithm, which derives players’ ratings from sanctioned tournament results. The algorithm calculates ratings from the last 30 eligible matches played within the preceding 12 months. The main data points are the percentage of games won (not simply the won/loss result) and the opponent’s rating. Each match played, generates a rating and a player’s UTR is a weighted average of all eligible matches. Several factors are used in the match weight calculation, including match format. A match with a three-set format receives more weight than a match with a short set or eight-game pro set format.
Players, coaches, tournament directors and national federations now employ UTR in various ways, including recruiting players for college teams, selecting entrants for tournaments and seeding tournaments. Most notable for Bahamian players is the collegiate tennis point: UTR is now the official rating system for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). This is because UTR provides a way to evaluate the caliber of international recruits on a global scale. UTR is now quite literally the gold standard for evaluating and matching college recruits with college programs, both within the United States and internationally.
UTR is not just for aspiring collegiate players in The Bahamas. It provides a real-time view of a player’s true skill level. Having a UTR enables all players to track their progress, and to find closely matched competition, regardless of age or gender. UTR’s capacity to facilitate level-based play – thereby giving players good matches – makes it an extremely efficient engine for developing players’ skills and enjoyment of the game.
It should be noted that UTR is used in conjunction with the BLTA’s existing national ranking system. The UTR system is an addition; it does not change or replace any part of a national ranking system.
UTR is more important now than ever before. With international tournaments canceled and travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19, it is especially critical that BLTA-sanctioned tournaments count toward players’ UTRs. The more matches played, the better a player’s UTR. The BLTA is very pleased to share this good news: when tournaments resume in The Bahamas, the results of all BLTA-sanctioned tournament matches will be fully integrated into the UTR platform.
BLTA President Perry Newton stated: “It is a satisfying feeling to finalize this arrangement with the UTR to create local access to the UTR system for our junior and adult tennis athletes via our BLTA-sanctioned tournaments, which can produce many benefits. We continue to work to enhance the tennis product.”
BLTA officials are optimistic that the integration of UTR will produce the desired results.