Frequently Asked Questions About the National Tennis Rating Program

1. How does the NTRP compare to the traditional terms of beginner, advanced beginner, intermediate, etc., or the frequently used letter a, b, c. aa, bb, aaa, etc.?

A. The NTRP was designed to standardize the classification of player ability. There is so much ambiguity associated with these systems that translation is difficult. In various parts of the country for example “A” or “Advanced” is the top level of play, while in other places “AAA” is the best. In general terms, a D player would be a 2.5 and below; a C player would be a 2.6 – 3.5; a B player would be 3.6 – 4.5; and an A player would be 4.6 – 5.5; an open player would be 5.6 and above.

2. Should players rate themselves as single players, double players, or both?

A. Players should rate themselves based on their overall tennis ability. If players are stronger at singles or doubles, they should base their rating on the stronger game.

Self Verification Information

3. Must players qualify on all points of all preceding NTRP descriptions before placing themselves in a particular category?

A. No. The rating categories are generalizations about skill levels. The ultimate test is in match play results.

4. Can a player with an obvious stroke deficiency be rated at the same level, or higher, as a player who has no such deficiency?

A. Yes. Some players, for example, cannot hit topspin backhands but have certain abilities that enable them to play competitively with players who can do so. A player’s competitive record is the best test of his rating.

5. Does the NTRP rate men and women on the same scale?

A. The NTRP is used to rate both men and women, but men’s and women’s ratings are not intended to be equivalent. When rating themselves, players should use players of the same gender as reference points. However, for those individuals wishing to compete against players of the opposite gender, the following can be use as a guide. At approximately the 3.5 rating for a man, a woman with a 4.0 rating will be competitive. When a man reaches the 5.0 level or above a woman needs to be approximately 1.0 higher in order to be competitive.

6. Is it possible to use graduations smaller that .5 in rating players?

A. No, not when entering leagues by self-rating on TennisLink. The intent of self-rating is to get players on the correct level. The computer will generate a Dynamic rating in hundredths of a point for administrative use.

7. What does it mean to play “competitively” with another player?

A. A “competitive” match is one in which the outcome is unpredictable (scores such s 6-4, 6-4 or closer). When one player consistently wins with only the occasional loss of a few games, the match is not “competitive.” Properly rated, players within .2 of each other should be competitive in playing ability.

8. What does it mean to be “compatible” with another player?

A. Players with up to a .5 difference is ratings are generally considered “compatible.” At a .5 difference in ratings, the outcome is predictable with the higher rated player winning routinely. “Compatible” players however, can offer each other recreational, social, and practice benefits.

9. Can a player’s rating change?

A. Yes. The system may recognize improvement over the year and ratings may change at year- end.


10. What is the relationship between ranking and rating?

A. Ranking is based upon achievement in sanctioned tournaments, many of which are based on age divisions. Rating is based on match results, tennis background, and the NTRP Verification Guideline descriptions.

11. How should individuals rate themselves if they are formerly ranked players who have not played much in recent year or who have had a permanent injury?

A. Ratings will not be downgraded due to layoffs. A person’s rating should be closely related to his or her potential upon resuming play on a regular basis. Only permanent injuries or aging debilities should allow for downgraded ratings. Ratings should not be downgraded due to temporary injury.

12. How does age enter into the NTRP ratings?

A. The NTRP is not based on age divisions. All players of the same gender, regardless of age, should be used as reference points in determining player ratings.

13. Can the NTRP be used to rate junior players?

A. Yes if junior players participate in an adult activity using the NTRP, their ratings are in comparison to all other players of the same gender of any age – not just other junior players. Junior players should not be rated until they are experienced in match play.

14. How does mobility, age, competitive experience, and conditioning affect your rating?

Mobility: Ability to cover the court is a prime factor in competitive success. Players need to be observed in a competitive situation so that, in addition to their shot making ability, mobility can be estimated. Mobility is a more important factor in singles that in doubles.

Age and Competitive Experience: as speed decreased with age, a player’s competitive ability may be affected. At the same time, strategy and skills may have improve as a player ages. Therefore, one must rely on competitive results.

Conditioning: Temporary changes in conditioning such as a non-permanent injury should not affect a player’s rating. Players whose game and physical fitness have suffered due to lack of practice and exercise will not be match tough and should be placed in the category where they normally compete.

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