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UTR - Universal Tennis Rating

Coming to Sherwood Tennis in 2023

Our goal for this summer is to host UTR events in Sherwood to raise money for the tennis teams.  To help prepare for that and to help get players in the loop, we'll try to use UTR a bit during the season to get players rated.

I'll try to hit the most important information about UTR first.  People who want more detail can read until they've had enough.

UTR is a rating system in use worldwide.  They automatically pull in and rate players in pro events, USTA tournaments, adult USTA leagues, high school matches from 25 states (not Oregon unfortunately) and all their own events.  It is the #1 tool for colleges assessing potential players.  If you want to play in college, the first question that 90% of coaches will ask is, "What's your UTR?"


You can register for a free account/profile at  If you do that and want to be added to the Sherwood High School teams, let Todd know.  Players on the free plan can enter events.  Paying members ($120/year) can see more information and get a $12 discount per official event they enter.  Stuff we do with only our high school teams will be free.  So don't pay the $120 unless you plan to play a lot of official events per year.

The U in UTR is Universal, which means that the same rating applies to players regarless of gender and age.  That means that many UTR events are co-ed, and some have no age groupings.

Once you play a match that gets recorded in UTR, you'll start to build a rating.  It becomes more accurate the more matches you play.  Those matches can be formal in tournaments or leagues, or informal like high school challenge matches.  Even just matches against a friend can be entered into the system, but both players should agree that it will be a rated match in advance.

Most of the local events through UTR work pretty hard to use your rating to set you up with evenly matched opponents.  It helps to pay attention to the tournament information though.  We can help you with that if needed.

How Ratings Work:  I don't know the exact formula for UTR, but pretty much all tennis ratings work as follows:

  1. When the system sees two names paired up against each other, it uses their ratings to take a guess as to how the match will go - both who will win and the score.

  2. Once it sees the actual score, it compares that to it's expectation.  The player that did better than expected will have their rating go up.  The one who fell short will see their rating go down.

  3. That all means:

    1. Winning does not mean your rating will go up.

    2. Losing doesn't mean your rating will go down.

    3. The score matters - so play fight for every game.

    4. Finally, don't be afraid to play people rated above you.  Put up a good fight and your rating may improve even if you lose.

UTR is going to be a cool addition for those interested.  But there are a few things that you'll have to get used to:

  1. Singles tends to be predominant in UTR.  As in, some events will let you enter doubles, but you may be the only team entered.  95% of juniors playing UTR are in it for singles.  That's not a bad thing - you should be playing singles.  But having more doubles competitions would be nice.

  2. The UTR scale goes from 1-16.  You will probably be rated between 1.0 and 1.99.  The one thing I hate about UTR is that they have so many players crammed into the lowest rating.  It's kind of depressing.  But setting a goal of being 2+ is a good goal to have.  From the high school girls tennis perspective, here are a few benchmarks:

    1. Remember - UTR is a system for people who are competing in tennis.  Beginners who aren't ready to compete just aren't in the system.  That's part of why lots of you will start out as 1s.

    2. Most varsity players will fall between 1.15 and 1.6.  People who are contenders to qualify for state in our league are probably about 1.8+.  Notice that still leaves room for JV players.  And Sherwood's JV players have typically shown that they can compete with lots of varsity players.

    3. The players in the state doubles draw ranged from about 1.6 to 4.5, plus the state champions who were 7+.  The players in the state singles draw ranged from about 2.5 up to 9.

  3. In official events, you will probably play some people much younger than you, especially if you are rated under 2.  It may seem weird to get matched up with someone much younger than you, but the odds are that they've been playing longer than you.  Lots of kids in these events started playing when they were about 6.  And they take it very seriously, so get ready for a tough match.

  4. You have to resist the urge to obsess over your rating for 2 reasons:

    1. My rating has moved up and down 0.4 points recently, and I haven't played a match in 9 months.  When someone I played 9 months ago has a great match, my rating goes up because they moved up.  If they have a bad day, my rating goes down.

    2. Improvement in tennis comes from a mix of playing worse because you are practicing new techniques, and then playing better because you end up with better technique.  You will move up very slowly (or not at all) if you are too worried about your rating to try new things.

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