What Are the Various Levels of Tennis Players?

People enjoy rating everything. As a result, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that tennis players are no exception to this rule. However, interested individuals should know there isn’t a universal system for this process.

Instead, there are several used for different people under different contexts. That makes sense because a system meant to serve one function isn’t necessarily capable of doing everything else people might have in mind.

As such, it is better to have multiple systems, which work well so long as interested individuals know what each one is meant for.

What Are the Systems Used For Rating Tennis Players?

My Tennis HQ says these are the four most common systems for determining different levels of tennis players:


The NTRP is a number-based rating system. According to the USTA, it starts at 1.5 and continues until 7.0. The lowest rating includes beginners, whereas the highest rating includes the best of the world’s best. As such, the NTRP stands out by being capable of rating any tennis player.

Each of the ratings has criteria that tennis players must meet before being entitled to be rated thus. Due to this, the NTRP isn’t arbitrary. Instead, there is a sense of logic underlying everything. Of course, the NTRP isn’t perfect because human judgment still plays a role, but it could be much worse than it is.

The Criteria of Various NTRP Ratings

Regardless, interested individuals might be curious about the criteria for some of the ratings. A tennis player with a rating of 1.5 isn’t considered ready for competition.

That is because they are still working on the most fundamental aspects of the sport, so much so they are described as focusing on getting the ball into play for the most part.

By 2.0, the tennis player has overcome that hurdle, though they are still struggling to find the right place to hit the ball and other basics.

Similarly, the next step up sees the tennis player reaching the point of being capable of playing in social matches, meaning they are still very much in need of honing their skills.

Higher-rated tennis players are supposed to have much more developed capabilities. For instance, someone rated 5.5 can use various strategies while competing under serious pressure.

By the time someone reaches 6.0, they can be considered highly-trained tennis players capable of competing on national and similar levels. Those rated 6.5 to 7.0 are counted among the best in the world.


Interested individuals should be able to tell that the NTRP has its strengths and weaknesses. It is simple. Better still, it is easy to use. Unfortunately, the NTRP isn’t specific enough to suit the purposes of everyone who uses these systems.

As such, it shouldn’t be hard to see why there is a place for UTR, which is another number-based rating system that patches some of these issues. Thanks to that, it sees widespread use on the collegiate level.

In short, the UTR rates tennis players on a sixteen-point scale that uses up to two decimal places. The lowest possible rating is 1.0. In contrast, the highest possible rating is 16.50.

This range means the UTR can be much more specific about someone’s tennis skills than its counterpart, thus making it that much more useful for people who care about exactitude.

After all, two people who share the same NTRP rating can be very different from one another. The same remains somewhat true for two people with the same UTR rating, though to a much-reduced extent.

Leander Paes

The Determination of UTR Ratings

Universal Tennis has revealed much about the determination of UTR ratings to interested individuals. Essentially, a tennis player’s UTR rating is the weighted average of their performances from the last 30 eligible matches.

As such, one match is not equal to another. Instead, some are more consequential, while others are less so based on several factors. First, matches that last longer have more weight.

Second, matches featuring tennis players of closer capabilities have more weight. Third, matches featuring tennis players that play more have more weight. Fourth, matches that took place more recently have more weight.

The UTR rating is extremely important in various contexts. In particular, it is something that tennis players prize when working to catch the interest of university recruiters.

There are events specifically meant to help these people raise their UTR ratings. Moreover, it isn’t unknown that tennis players prioritize raising their UTR rating over winning competitions, which makes sense when it can have such long-term consequences.

Jenson Brooksby


People might have heard of the ITF, ATP, and WTA systems. These don’t apply to the overwhelming majority of tennis players in a personal sense. Despite that, the ITF, ATP, and WTA systems are surprisingly well-known because they are relevant to professional tennis players, who get the bulk of the public’s interest for understandable reasons.

Understanding the ITF, ATP, and WTA

For context, the ITF is the International Tennis Federation, while the other two are the Association of Tennis Professionals and the Women’s Tennis Association.

The ITF oversees tennis and its cousins. Meanwhile, the other two govern men’s and women’s professional tennis. These three organizations are partners, meaning they work together to oversee professional tennis.

Professional tennis players earn points in these systems by playing in these organizations’ events. ITF events are notable for giving not just ITF points but also either ATP or WTA points.

Thanks to that, someone who does well in ITF points will gain the right to participate in either ATP or WTA events. That matters a great deal because most of the money in professional tennis is found at the highest-profile competitions.

Most professional tennis players make little money, particularly since they have many costs to cover. Those at the top can expect much better results, though their money-making potential lies in their marketability as much as their tennis skills.

Either way, earning points in these systems is the path by which professional tennis players can reach the top of their sport in every possible sense.

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