| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff

The 2011 year-end NTRP ratings for the current 335,000 USTA League players are scheduled to be published to Tennislink on Monday, Nov. 28. Most players will be maintaining their current levels of play, but for those who see their rating change, we are providing information about why you may have moved up or down.

In addition, USTA League will be changing its structure and format for the 2013 National Championships, which will affect many league seasons in 2012. With the new structure, the USTA League National Championships will fall under just two divisions: Adult and Mixed. The Adult Division will be broken down into 18 & Over, 40 & Over, and 55 & Over with a potential 65 or 70 & over league type considered for the future. Sections are encouraged to add a 65 or 70 & over league type locally. The Mixed Division will be 18 & Over, which is the same as the previous format, with the potential to add a 40 & over league type in the future.

Also among the important changes is the addition of singles play for the 40 & Over group. Singles play (for the 18 & Pver and 40 & Over) will have a five-court play format of two singles and three doubles matches for all levels except the 2.5 and 5.0 Levels, which will have one singles and two doubles matches. Players in the 55 & Over division will play three doubles matches and the Mixed format remains unchanged.

As they had previously, players will continue to compete by NTRP rating within each division. Please click here for more information about the new structure.

NTRP Ratings
►Why did my NTRP level change or not change this year? What is the process for deciding change?
Most people are maintaining their same level. When you are in a lower level, your opportunity to improve should be greater, so you will see more movement at the lower levels than the higher levels. We scheduled the release of the year-end ratings through a process that is spelled out in the USTA NTRP Computer Rating System. We work through a documented process we have used for years and the whole purpose is to ensure the integrity of NTRP and that players are playing at the appropriate levels.

There is an appeal process in place for year-end ratings if you think you have not been rated appropriately. It is not that easy to move up a level, however, unless you have clearly demonstrated skills that would place you in the higher level.
Your NTRP rating is based on your match results. It is not based on age, but on your overall tennis playing ability. Also, if you played in a National or Section Championship, you do not automatically move up. No one on your team might move up. It is based on your season and based on your playing history.

For new players who started with a self-rating, the self-rate questionnaire gives you the best opportunity to self-rate appropriately. Where that hasn’t occurred, the system will indicate that.

USTA Leagues Restructuring
With the USTA League changes for 2013, how does this effect a player in 2012?
Those players who participate in early start leagues will be affected as soon as spring 2012. Sign-ups and registration for 2013 leagues are then and at that time players will have to adjust to the new restructuring of the program. Check with your Section association to see how the restructuring will affect you.

With the changes to the USTA League program, what benefits will the new age divisions have for players over the current ‘Adult’, ‘Senior’ and ‘Super Senior’ divisions?
What it does is provide an opportunity for a vast majority of our players to participate in singles as well as doubles, with singles added for the 40 & Over players. That is one of the major benefits. In many other local leagues, it is generally doubles only except where local league regulations provide for a different format of play. It gives a competitive player an opportunity to play both. It lets them play with other players around their age as well, but if someone wants to play against a younger player, they can still do so.

Players in the 40-49 age group now have two play opportunities, as they can compete in 18 & over and 40 & over and 55-59 year olds now have three play opportunities. The new format also benefits anyone over 40 who wants to play singles, but not necessarily against 18-year olds.

Another benefit is the change from a three to five team format. It allows for larger teams and there is no question that people like the larger team feeling. At the championship level, it will be five matches (for the 18 & Over and 40 & Over divisions only). Locally, if people don’t want to play the five court format, they can play something else, but they must when they reach the championship level. The five-court format is two singles and three doubles for all levels except for 2.5 and 5.0, who will play one single and two doubles, because they are generally smaller teams.

The new format also allows for 65 and/or 70 & Over play and we are encouraging sections to offer that. We are looking forward to providing National Championships for those divisions as well when there are sufficient numbers.

Why is the USTA League program restructuring?
To accommodate more of our players. Our program used to have mostly players aged 35-45 but now more of our players are older. There are a lot of people competing age 40-55 and we did not offer anything different from their local leagues, but now we have singles for that age group. We have the opportunity to expand and players will have more of an opportunity to advance and have a competitive level of play. We do not want to take away playing opportunities. Local play where each person or team can go out with the opportunity to win is the whole idea of the program.