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UTR - Universal Tennis Rating

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.

The U in UTR is Universal, which means that the same rating applies to players regardless 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 I'm not sure that those actually get used for your rating.

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 great for those interested in playing tournaments and playing in college.  But there are a few things that you'll have to get used to:

  1. Singles tends to be dominant 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.  Players who aren't on the top half of varsity 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 2 to 5.  The players in the state singles draw ranged from about 3 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. In 2023, my rating ranged between 6.7 and 7.4, and I didn't play a single match.  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.  So, on any given day, your rating is a ballpark estimate, not an exact measure.

    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.  Being afraid to learn new skills and try new things because your rating might go down leads to slower improvement over time.

Options to play through (now

There are lots of options to find play.  From the search bar, click on all events and make sure it has your location set so that it shows local events.  That will show upcoming tournaments, flex leagues and even an occasional person who just puts out that they are looking for a match (be careful with that sort of thing, though).

  • Flex Leagues are the most affordable way to get into UTR.  The cost is usually about $30-$45 for singles and you are supposed to get 4-5 matches.  These are great with one exception - a lot of the matches never seem to happen.  Most people only end up playing 2-3 of their matches.  That's still decent for the price, but you will also have some headache trying to get these scheduled and sometimes failing.  Players 16+ can enter junior or adult divisions.  Because these are scheduled by the players for both time and place, make sure you are making safe choices on where you meet or who you might bring with you.  I haven't ever heard of any problems from this, but it's still always good to be safe.

  • Tournaments are everywhere on UTR.  In fact, there are so many that a lot barely get any players.  There is also an annoying trend to have the matches as sets up to 4 instead of 6.  Honestly, I would never enter those, and I would email the tournament director in advance to find out the format.  You are usually guaranteed two matches,  unless an opponent doesn't show up.  Here is my advice if you want to do these:

    • Check the format to see if the sets are up to 6 or 4.  For me, the 4-game sets are stupid.  A match could have a score of 4-0, 0-4, and a tie-breaker.  That's like 25 minutes, where as the score would be just 4-4 in the first set of a regular match with an hour to go.  This would only be acceptable to me if you know that you will get 3 or 4 in a day, guaranteed (like a round-robin).​

    • Check the players registered.  You can see how many people are registered and their UTR ratings.  So, you can get a sense of whether the event will actually happen and if it will have the level of opponents you are looking for.  When searching, they players may be broken into sections with a drop-down for each division - so make sure you are looking for that.

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