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Frequently Asked Questions about NTRP
Even though the National Tennis Rating Program has been
around for many years the league department at the USTA Colorado still receives more questions about
NTRP than any other subject. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about
General NTRP Questions
Each published rating will have a
"Rating Type" associated with it. The following table defines each of these
||Early Start Rating
||Mixed Exclusive Year-end Rating
What is NTRP?
National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) is a classification system developed in
1978 that identifies and describes the general characteristics of
thirteen levels of tennis-playing ability.
What is a self-rating?
A self-rating is an entry rating level determined by the new player or a
player re-entering the Adult or Senior Division with an M (mixed) or T
(tournament) rating, based on questions asked in the TennisLink registration
process. All players must enter league tennis with a valid computer rating or
self rate using TennisLink.
What is a Dynamic rating?
A dynamic rating is the result of a player's current match averaged with
up to three of your most recent dynamic results generated. A dynamic rating is
calculated after each match. A dynamic rating may change with each match played
by the player.
What is a year-end rating?
A year-end rating is a NTRP level assigned at conclusion of the league
championship year that reflects level of ability. A player’s year-end rating
shall be used to enter leagues during the following year and will be valid for
up to three years for players 59 or under or two years for players 60 and over
or until another rating is generated.
When are end-of-year ratings published?
NTRP ratings will be available TennisLink around December 1.
How many matches are required to generate a Year-Eng rating?
A minimum of three matches in qualifying leagues or NTRP tournaments opted-in
for are needed to generate a year-end rating.
What is an early start rating?
An early start rating is a tentative rating for exclusive use by
players who register for an early start league prior to publication of
year-end ratings. The number is based on the most current dynamic
rating at the time of publication. Early start ratings are replaced by
year-end ratings. If you play in an early start league with an early
start rating, please check with your section to see if you may
continue to compete on your team if your year-end rating goes up.
What is a benchmark player?
Benchmark players are most often players who
participated in the USTA Adult and the USTA Senior League District, Sectional, and
National Playoffs. A benchmark player is one whose rating has been determined by
the computer using a combination of the dynamic rating and the match results.
A large number of player’s ratings are derived from comparing their match
results, directly or indirectly, to the benchmark player’s match results. The
"B" next to a player's rating does not indicate (in any way) if the
player is low, mid or top of level.
Why are NTRP ratings important?
The best league competition takes place when players play
at their correct level. Playing up weakens match play at the higher level. The
Colorado Tennis Association strongly recommends players play at their rated
What matches are included in the ratings?
All NTRP tournament results, except mixed doubles,
and all USTA and CTA league matches, except mixed doubles and World Team Tennis, are included.
Two results are needed to generate a published rating. Players who play
only mixed doubles will generate a mixed doubles exclusive rating provided they play 2 or more matches. Players who only play tournaments generate
a tournament exclusive (T) rating.
I played with only one doubles partner last year.
I moved up but she didn’t. Why?
Doubles partners can have different ratings if one
or both players played matches in addition to those with their doubles partner.
I had a 3-7 win/loss record last year and was moved up.
One of our doubles teams went undefeated and remained at the same level. How
does that happen?
Remember that NTRP ratings are based on who you played and
how well you played against them, not whether you won or lost. Look at your
individual match record. Were your losses against players who also moved up and
were the scores close? Were your wins decisive? Did the doubles teams have
several three set wins against players in the same level or even a lower level?
All of these factors are taken into consideration when the ratings are
I’ve been a 3.5 player all my life and I now have a 4.0 rating.
I’m afraid I’m going to get whooped this year. Help!
NTRP ratings are calculated to the
one-hundredth of a point with lines drawn every one-half point. For
example, a 4.0 published player may have an actual rating anywhere from 3.51 to
4.00. This means your opponent may be within a tenth of a point of you or
there may be almost a half-point difference between you. It’s the luck of
Can I see my actual NTRP rating?
No. The USTA does not want to see “bottom of level” players
turned away from teams in favor of a player rated at the “top of the level.”
I didn’t play last
year so I don’t have a current Year-End NTRP rating. What should I do?
Ratings are valid for 3 years for anyone under 60 years of age and
for 2 years for anyone 60 and over. If your last published rating is
within that time frame, it remains valid for the current league and
tournament season. If you look up your rating and see a "0", your rating is
How often are dynamic ratings calculated?
Local play is calculated nightly for the USTA Adult and USTA Senior
During championships, dynamic ratings are run instantly as match
results are entered. In all other divisions, match ratings are
produced at year-end.
Is there a difference between a dynamic rating and a year-end rating?
Yes, there are several.
|Dynamic ratings are not disclosed to players, whereas year-end ratings
are published annually at NTRP levels.
Dynamic ratings are expressed to the one-hundredth of a
point, where year-end ratings are expressed only to the
Dynamic ratings are calculated regularly and based on an average of
the current match plus the previous three dynamic ratings, whereas
year-end ratings are based on a combination of a player's cumulative
dynamic rating during the season and a comparison to an appropriate
Can my rating level change during the championship year?
||If you receive
the 3rd strike and are dynamically disqualified at your
||If a Self-Rate
Eligibility Grievance is upheld, this may also result in
raising your level. (see Disqualification Process #24-30)
If my rating changes with every match played, can I see it?
No. Ratings are only published at year end.
Does the dynamic calculation treat doubles partners differently?
No. Dynamic calculation maintains the rating differential between
doubles partners that existed before a match. For example if a 3.3 and
a 3.5 player are paired together, specific match results are applied
to each player equally and the two partners will maintain the .2
Does the dynamic calculation apply to Mixed Doubles League play?
Yes, for players who participate exclusively in the Mixed Doubles
Division. Mixed Doubles results will not be part of generating a
player’s year-end rating except for those players who play exclusively
How does a mixed exclusive player get a rating?
The last dynamic rating generated with a minimum of three matches calculated in
Mixed Doubles exclusively is the year-end mixed rating (M) that will be used as
the NTRP start level for the next year.
Can I use my mixed exclusive rating to play in other divisions?
A mixed exclusive (M) player must self-rate in order to join the Adult, Senior
and Super Senior divisions. Mixed Doubles exclusive is a minimum NTRP start
level only. A mixed exclusive rating is not supported by any NTRP dynamic
disqualification calculation data and is subject to NTRP grievance.
Do USTA sanctioned tournaments count in the dynamic rating
system? If so, can a tournament win be used as one of the three
Each section has the option of including tournament results for
year-end calculations. If your section includes sanctioned tournament
match scores, they will not be calculated into the system until after
the national championships. Sanctioned tournament results do not
generate strikes; however, they will impact your year-end rating.
Open/Age Division national tournament results are entered into the
NTRP system after league national championships.
If my NTRP level of play is not available in my local league,
what are my options?
||File an appeal
to determine if you are within the appeal range
||Work with your
local or district league coordinator to establish a new
||Play in a
league that offers combined ratings.
||Play in a Flex League if
offered in your area.
How can I appeal my year-end rating?
Appeal on TennisLink under: "FIND NTRP RATING INFORMATION" (year-end rating
Who Can appeal?
Players with 5 or fewer matches used in the Year-End rating
Computer rated players—Up or Down
Mixed Exclusive players—Up or Down
Appeal on TennisLink when "Registering for a team"
Early Start dynamic ratings—Down
Computer rated players—Down
Mixed Exclusive players—Down
What must be referred/heard by the Section or their designee?
Self-rated players who wish to move DOWN
All medical appeals
Already APPEALED ratings
Early Start dynamic ratings—Up
70 year old and over Year-End promotions
Each section also provides directions, deadlines and any related fee on their
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When and how do I get a self rating?
If you do not have a computer rating you must self-rate before
entering a USTA league program. Go to
TennisLink. You will need your membership
number, your team number, and a major credit card. Click on “Register
for a Team” and follow the prompts which will lead you through the
registration and self-rate process. If you are not attempting to register for a
team, you may click on the self-rate link and complete the process without a
team number. Click
HERE for further information and a demo.
What if I think a self-rated player has not rated himself or herself
On any given day, a player may play above or below his or her rating.
If you truly feel a self-rated player is significantly above level,
you may file a self-rate grievance. Contact your local league
Can I declare a different self-rating for different League Divisions (e.g.,
3.5 for Adult and 4.0 for Senior)?
No. Once you declare an initial self-rating, you are bound by it for
two years or until you generate a computer rating. So if you plan to
play 4.0 Senior but also want to play 3.5 Adult later in the year – be
certain that you select 3.5 if an option.
What if I have self-rated and played four matches in the Adult Division and
then sign up for the Senior Division. Will I use my self-rating or will the
system generate a computer rating for me?
The system will have a Dynamic NTRP number on you from your adult
play. However, you will continue with the self-rating you selected
until the year-end computer ratings are published; unless of course,
you are disqualified and you then must immediately move up.
Can I use my Tournament rating to play in other Divisions?
A Tournament exclusive rated player who chooses to participate in the USTA
League Adult, Senior and/or Super Senior Divisions must self-rate in order to
join these Divisions. A Tournament exclusive rating is not supported by any NTRP
calculation data and is subject to NTRP grievances.
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Can I be disqualified if I have a valid computer rating?
No. Players with a Computer (C) or Benchmark (B) rating cannot be
dynamically disqualified. Only players with the following rating types
can be dynamically disqualified: Appealed (A), Self-Rated (S), Mixed
exclusive (M), Tournament exclusive (T), Dynamic (D).
Why would I be dynamically disqualified?
When a player receives three strikes, he or she will be notified that he or she
has been NTRP Dynamically Disqualified. This happens because the dynamic NTRP calculation has calculated a rating that is too high for the
current play level.
What is a strike and how do I get one?
Each time a player’s dynamic rating exceeds the maximum tolerance for
the level, he or she automatically earns a “strike.”
If I receive a third strike while participating in another division, but
following the conclusion of my Section Championship for a given year and
Division, will I be allowed to advance to Nationals if otherwise qualified?
No. The exception is if you are playing in a league using combo ratings (Mixed
Doubles, Super Senior, Combo). As long as the player's (at the new NTRP level of
play) and his or her partner's combined ratings do not exceed the NTRP level of
your team, the player will be allowed to continue to play on that team.
How high can my dynamic rating go before I earn a “strike”?
The Dynamic NTRP system allows a certain tolerance for player
improvement— more for lower level players where rapid improvement is
more likely; less for higher-level players. The specific improvement
factor is not published.
What are the consequences of disqualification?
During the local league:
In all cases, the player is disqualified from participation at that
disqualified NTRP level and all scores for matches played by the
player during USTA Adult or USTA Senior will be reversed for standings
If a player receives a third strike during Districts or Sectionals (USTA
Adult or USTA Senior only), the following action will be taken:
Throughout Championship play: (This method is used by the
If the section elects to run calculations throughout the championship
event, the player will be disqualified from participation at that NTRP
level for the balance of the year and the succeeding year.
Round Robin format: Throughout the championship, any player reaching
the DQ criteria will have all matches at that NTRP level reversed to
Single Elimination format: Throughout
the championship, the last match played by the player at
that NTRP level will be reversed to 0-6, 0-6.
Why are all scores reversed? This doesn't seem fair to our team.
Since the player's results indicate that he/she has been playing
above the tolerance level for a strike to occur, the player's team
should not benefit from his/her results.
Will I be notified if I earn a “strike”?
No. Notice occurs only after three strikes are accumulated. Many
players receive one or two strikes and never get that third. To needlessly
worry or prevent a player from participating based on the possibility
of getting a strike is not fair to the player or the team.
Will I be told exactly which matches earned me “three strikes”?
Yes. If not provided the player can ask the Section League Coordinator or
designee which matches earned the strikes. All matches played are visible in
Who is notified in the event of a disqualification? By whom? How quickly?
In Colorado, responsibility for monitoring dynamic ratings lies with the
District League Coordinator. When a “third strike” situation arises, the
will first notify (a) the player’s Team Captain, using the Captain’s
e-mail address or phone as reported on TennisLink; (b) the affected player, by
telephone, e-mail or voicemail message and (c) the Section League Coordinator. Notification is made as soon as possible
once a third strike has been received. Hard copy will be mailed to
player’s address as it appears on the team roster.
Are all players in a given NTRP level equal in ability?
No. The NTRP system identifies general levels of ability, but an
individual will be rated within those levels at 50 different
hundredths of a point. For example, a 3.5 player can fall anywhere
between a 3.01 and a 3.50. That is the reason many people feel they
are playing sandbaggers – they are closer to the bottom of that range
while their opponents are closer to the top of the range.
A typical match result for a player, for example, with a 3.01 rating versus a
3.49 player, both of whom are 3.5s, would be 6-0, 6-0 in favor of the higher
The rules state that NTRP disqualification is not part of the
Mixed Doubles Division. If I am disqualified at the Adult or Senior
Divisions, am I allowed to participate at the disqualified level in
Mixed Doubles Division for the remainder of the league year?
No. Even though the Mixed Doubles Division does not allow
disqualification, it must follow the rules in relation to playing at
the correct level. A player who has been moved up as a result of a
disqualification in the Adult or Senior Divisions must immediately
adjust his/her NTRP level of play in the Mixed Doubles Division. The
player will have two options:
If a combined NTRP level team, he/she may continue on that team by
adjusting the levels. (9.0 combined team—dq’d 4.5 player now at 5.0
must play with no greater than a 4.0 player)
If a single NTRP level team, he/she must
move up to the appropriate NTRP level or sit out the balance
of that season depending on the section’s regulations. (A
player on a combined NTRP level team may also choose to move
up if the section allows.) In the Mixed Doubles Division,
all matches played up until the notification of the
disqualification will be counted. Any match played at the
disqualified level following notification of the
disqualification will be counted as defaults for the
individual team match of the disqualified player and 6-0,
6-0 wins for the opponents in those individual matches.
If I am NTRP disqualified during the Adult Local league, what
happens to my matches in other Divisions?
If a local NTRP Dynamic
Disqualification occurs during concurrent Adult and/or Senior local league
seasons, the disqualifications shall affect the matches played by the
disqualified player in both Divisions.
If the seasons are not
concurrent or over-lapping, the NTRP disqualification shall affect the matches
played by the disqualified player in the season in which the NTRP Dynamic
The Section determines the
penalties to be imposed for NTRP Dynamic Disqualifications.
Our player was granted an appeal to play at this level, so he/she should be
exempt from dynamic disqualification, right?
No. A granted appeal to a specific NTRP level does not exempt a
player from dynamic disqualification.
Was this disqualification a result of someone filing a
grievance or complaining about the player's NTRP level?
No. A dynamic disqualification is a completely separate process than
an NTRP Grievance. In addition, any complaints that could have been
filed about the player's NTRP level would have no bearing on the DNTRP
Is there a rating professional or someone who can observe this player to
support our claim that he/she should not be disqualified?
No. The visual rating process is no longer observed by the USTA, so
there is no person who is qualified or acknowledged to be able to
visually rate a player anymore.
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