UTR Applied in Match Box Scores

by Dominic Tinodi

College tennis does not enjoy the same popularity and media coverage as football or basketball. Especially not when it's "March Madness" and the focus shifts entirely towards basketball. That's why we should all be grateful for any additional coverage our wonderful sport receives, be it in print or online. "College Tennis Today" does exactly that, driven by the general lack of information on college tennis. The web site has also adopted the UTR, a new level of play rating we're very excited about.

Photo credit: Dominic Tinodi

Back in December, we wrote an article about the Universal Tennis Rating, in short UTR. While the UTR is establishing itself as a key recruiting tool for college coaches, it's exciting to see how it is now also increasingly applied for news coverage about tennis.

"College Tennis Today"

We have come across a web site, called College Tennis Today, which is doing a fantastic job in keeping track of, reviewing, and promoting college results. The author behind the blog does so mainly for men's tennis results of the top conferences and teams. And what a paradise for fans of college tennis it is:

On the blog the author provides...

  • ... game previews of upcoming matches
  • ... match recaps of the top events on game days>/li>
  • ... an overview of all scheduled D-1 matches
  • ... previews of upcoming new rankings
  • ... even links to live scores of the respective dual matches, happening as we speak

UTR applied

Something that makes us from Smarthlete especially pleased is the fact that the web site makes active use of the Universal Tennis Rating in its match recaps.

You would almost always find results in the same format, offering:

Lineup # - ITA # - Name - (Team - UTR) vs. Lineup # - ITA # - Name - (Team - UTR)

While we know that coaches increasingly use the UTR in their daily recruiting work, we have not come across another resource yet, which makes such active use of the new "tennis handicap". The great side effect of College Tennis Online's offer is that people will get used to this new way of looking at players. At the same time tennis enthusiasts will start developing a feeling for a player with UTR 13.00, 14.40, or 11.89. When glancing through the results, it's really quite intriguing to compare the many different handicaps. You are used to doing so for rankings (be it ATP, WTA, or ITA college rankings), but the UTR provides a lot more fine-tuning, as we are talking decimals even.

Interestingly, the technical algorithm behind the Universal Tennis Rating doesn't necessarily agree with the ITA ranking precisely. It so happens for example that the ITA #8 Hanfmann (14.92) currently has a better UTR than #7 Alvarez (14.47). Definitely room for discussion which one of the ratings comes closer to reality :)

There are two things that are particularly value-adding:

  1. Only 125 players are ranked by the ITA. That leaves many more great college athletes unranked, making box scores more difficult to follow. That's even more so the case if both opponents are unranked, leaving a wide spectrum of potential outcome and speculations; unless of course you take the time to review their stats. But who does that for each match really? All of a sudden, the UTR offers the opportunity of actually compare players directly before matches and analyze the battles afterwards.
  2. Young high school kids looking to get recruited have an indicator how strong a team is. Say, you're a UTR 9.40 at age 17 and would love to play for a college team, in which the #6 of the lineup is a UTR 12.00. You will most likely not receive the greatest interest from the team's coach (yet). The same goes for your chances of being offered a scholarship at that school.

Complete recap of last weekend's blog topic

To give you a taste of what the website offers, here's an example in the form of a complete match recap with all the important action covered. The topic of the article fits in perfectly as our blog last week was about the fantastic event in Indian Wells and how the organizers promote college tennis with the Collegiate Challenge. Find the complete recap of the event on College Tennis Today:

College Tennis Today - Sunday Recap

Make sure to take a look at the respective UTR score and how this translates into the ranking as well as the result of the matches...

Closing remarks

Today was aimed at trying to help you understand the function and potential of the UTR. It's a new rating tool and it takes time to be established. But platforms like the presented web site do an excellent job in promoting it. This will not only help coaches, recruits, and tennis programs in the future, but also the (college) tennis fanatics out there, who receive an exciting new benchmarks to compare student-athletes.

For those of you who have already created a free recruiting profile on Smarthlete, make sure to include your UTR. If not, get online and see how you can obtain one!

Stay tuned about the development of the Universal Tennis Rating and drop us an email in case you have any questions!

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