September 19, 2022
The next few posts will help USTA players hack their ratings by dealing with several questions about win loss records in USTA tennis leagues.
This question comes from a reader in the Middle States section.
Question: "Hi, I feel that my win loss record is incorrect and this is affecting my rating. It should be 9-8 and instead shows more than 8 losses. I feel that my USTA rating would improve if this were corrected. Thank you very much,"
It's possible that your USTA rating may be impacted by the incorrect record. Most players should want every match result to be recorded accurately - meaning the score and player names should be recorded accurately. But win/loss record does not directly impact a USTA rating.
Here's what the USTA states in its NTRP FAQs web page:
"Win/loss records do not directly affect the year-end calculation. A player’s rating may have improved (in hundredths), but it may not have improved enough to move them up into the next level. Even if players are in the same NTRP level, they can have a different start rating based on their previous Year-End rating. If they had matches against different opponents, that could also cause a deviation between their ratings in hundredths.""
What does this mean?
Let's look at an example that compares two players. Player A has a win/loss record of 0-10. Player B has a win/loss record of 3-1. These win/loss records don't tell you much with regard to the impact on USTA dynamic rating and whether a player gets bumped up or down at year end.
Let's start with Player A and their 0-10 record. This player has a USTA dynamic rating of 3.01. First of all, what's the USTA rating of a player with a dynamic rating of 3.01?
You need to understand dynamic ratings to understand how wins/losses and win/loss records affect USTA ratings. If you don't then you should read one of our articles that explain the differences between USTA dynamic ratings and USTA ratings. Start with our FAQ #9, which you can find here.
So Player A with a 3.5 level rating and a dynamic rating of 3.01 loses 10 matches in a row. Every one of their 10 opponents had a dynamic USTA rating in the range of 3.45 to 3.6. All 10 losses will result in extremely small changes to Player A's dynamic rating. Practically, the USTA dynamic rating change will not be noticeable. At year end the player will remain a USTA 3.5 player.
Now let's look at Player B and their 3-1 record. This player has a dynamic rating of 3.49. This is a strong 3.5 player on the cusp of moving up to 4.0. They happen to match up against Player A (the one with a dynamic rating of 3.01) three times and win 6-1, 6-1 each time. They go home after each match feeling great. But their dynamic rating hardly budges for the same reason that Player A's dynamic rating does not change.
Why? The USTA expects a 3.49 player to win against a 3.01 almost every time. And therefore the USTA does not bump the winning player's dynamic rating up or the losing player's dynamic rating down in any meaningful amount.
Then Player B's sole loss is to a player with a dynamic rating of 3.15 - a player that's getting better and stronger every week. The USTA algorithm expects Player A with their 3.49 dynamic rating to beat the 3.15 player. So the loss results in dynamic rating drop and Player B remains a 3.5 level player at year end.
Now, what to do about the posted match results that you did not play in? This is an interesting situation and one that some ambitious and unscrupulous captains appear to abuse.
Good players want their records to reflect matches played. This ensures that year end ratings place players in the "right" level. The best way to achieve this is to review the scores posted into USTA's Tennislink - stats and standings. After every match within 24-hours, a player should check the score entered into TennisLink. And not just the score, but also the names of the other player(s). If any name or score is not right, contact your captain or the local league coordinator to have the entered result corrected.
Why? The wrong score, wrong opponent(s), or even wrong doubles partner, will result in the wrong impact on your dynamic rating. And possibly your year end rating.
Why within 24-hours? Because TennisLink allows results to be challenged and changed by local league coordinators within a certain time period after a match. After that time has passed, changing a score or player name for a match will be very difficult if not impossible.
And every USTA player on a roster should check their tennis record once in a while, even if they've not played, to see if there's been a mistake and their name appears in a match that was not played by them.
So how can an ambitious and unscrupulous captain hack or abuse the USTA system to manipulate dynamic and year end USTA ratings? By entering wrong names or scores into Tennislink. If you don't see how this hack works, contact us.
April 8, 2022
We continue to receive inquiries every week about the best strategy for "How can I raise my USTA Ratings" or "What's the best way to lower my USTA Ratings".
At first this seemed to be a Covid pandemic related request but the questions keep pouring in. Within a few days of USTA announcing that league play would resume in 2021, traffic and inquiries surged. We saw comments such as "other players are rated lower and are stopping us from making a run to NATIONALS!!!!"
A common theme seems to be, "How can I make sure that I'll win and help my team make sectionals?"
As mentioned before, these seeming thoughts reveal a lot of what USTA league players want and seem very much in line with what drives social media trends, advertising, and behavioral economics.
Tennis League Analytics has plans to begin to share what strategies or "hacks" might work and how you can win or lose more tennis matches. We hope to shed some light on what many players seem to want to know: How do I hack game the USTA Dynamic Rating System?
Meanwhile, look through the archives and read through articles that describe who tends to win and lose tennis matches. These data driven research results reveal very useful information about how to change tennis ratings.
April 11, 2021
Throughout the year 2020, when the economy was pressured by the pandemic, Tennis League Analytics noticed a pattern that at first seemed odd but was truly revealing. Interest and demand for our services increased. This was even after USTA stopped all league play.
The nature of the tennis stats, tennis record, and analytics requests were a little different. Rather than flight scouting reports for local league or championship play, the demand focused on individual player ratings. And seemed to be of the nature "How do I game the rating system".
Then within days of USTA announcing that league play would resume in 2021, traffic and inquiries surged.
The collective perspective seemed to be, "I have not played competitive tennis for a year. Now that play is opening up, how can I make sure that I'll win."
These seeming thoughts reveal a lot of what USTA league players want and seem very much in line with what drives social media trends, advertising, and behavioral economics.
In 2021 Tennis League Analytics will begin to explore how understanding these mindsets can help you win more tennis matches. And ultimately, we'll get to what everyone seems to want to know. How do I game the USTA Dynamic Rating System?