Frequently Asked Questions - Rankings
Many players ask us questions about our website and rankings. The answers to 95% of these questions are listed here. If you do not see the answer to your question, please send us an email or contact us.
What rankings are available at TennisRecruiting.net?
TennisRecruiting.net puts out two sets of rankings for boys and girls each week: the College Recruiting Lists and the TennisRPI.
What are the College Recruiting Lists?
Take a look at the College Recruiting List description.
What is the TennisRPI?
Read the About the TennisRPI Lists page.
Why does TennisRecruiting.net show both Recruiting Lists and TennisRPI lists?
The two ranking systems are very different. They measure different criteria, and we believe both criteria are interesting.
The College Recruiting Lists use a system that we have spent years refining, and we believe that it is an excellent measure of which players are currently playing the best tennis. This ranking system is the same widely-accepted system that has been used by college coaches since March 2004 at TennisInformation.com.
The TennisRPI is modeled on the well-known Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) algorithm that is "the gold standard" of college athletics. The RPI is used by the NCAA Selection Committee for choosing teams for the NCAA Tournament in College Basketball, and RPI calculations are used in college football, baseball, softball, and other sports.
Both of these ranking systems are very interesting, and so we provide both lists at TennisRecruiting.net.
How are the TennisRecruiting.net rankings different from those put out by the USTA and TennisInformation.com?
There are two important differences between the TennisRecruiting.net rankings and those put out at other websites: (1) head-to-head rankings and (2) class rankings.
The TennisRecruiting.net rankings use a head-to-head system, while the USTA rankings use a points system. In a head-to-head system, your ranking is based solely on the quality of your opponents, regardless of which tournament or what round you played them. In a points system, each tournament is assigned a point value, and points are earned for each round you reach in a tournament, regardless of the quality of your opponent.
The TennisRecruiting.net lists are the only U.S. rankings broken down by graduation year rather than by age. Such a breakdown is important since colleges recruit based on graduation year - and many players play out of their natural age division.
How do I improve my rankings?
Simply put, the two things you can do to improve your ranking are to play tournaments often and play competitive opponents. Wins over players ranked above you help you considerably, as do more recent wins over competitive opponents.
Losses to players ranked considerably higher than you and wins over players ranked considerably lower than you will not contribute to your ranking, so there is no advantage to racking up a large number of wins in tournaments with players that don't match your ability. Similarly, losses to a seeded player much better than you, resulting from the luck-of-the-draw will not penalize you. Matches that are important are between players that have similar abilities, i.e. competitive matches.
One factor in the College Reqruiting list rankings is the average of the opponent's quality of a player's best 8 wins. In an elimination draw, the best win for a player is most likely the last win prior to losing since opponents tend to get better as the tournament progresses. Consequently, it would make sense to have played in at least 8 tournaments before you are maximizing this factor. In a tournament that you win, you may not have played one of your best 8 opponents, so winning a tournament does not necessarily improve your ranking. Of course, the more tournaments a player plays, the more chances there are to improve this best-8-wins factor.
What is so important about ranking by graduating class?
Rankings by graduation year are important to college coaches. Colleges recruit based on graduation year, and age-based rankings - particularly two-year rankings like 18 & Under and 16 & Under - are too coarse for college coaches.
I play tournaments in both the 18 & Under and 16 & Under age divisions. Which tournaments will count towards my College Recruiting List and TennisRPI rankings?
We include all tournament results in all age divisions when calculating rankings. It makes sense to use all data in the ranking calculations since there is a great deal of play between age levels. In fact, we think that our rankings are superior because we use so much data.
Why should my 16 & Under matches count for my 18 & Under ranking?
Again, we are not ranking in age divisions - but rather by graduating class. Tennis is a sport where there is a great deal of play between players of different age levels and skill levels. With so much cross-play, there is enough "connectivity" between different players to use that data to produce better rankings. We believe that the information from these matches is important to produce the best-possible rankings.
Which tournaments will be used in the TennisRecruiting.net ranking calculations?
Tournaments that count are in 5 groups:
- ITF grade A,1,2,3 plus any ITF tournament played in the USA.*
- USTA National Schedule tournaments.*
- All tournaments in the National Showcase Series.
- Sectional tournaments that are designated to count for USTA National rankings (12 per section).
- Historically strong tournaments where in the previous year over 60% of the players are National Players. We currently do not have a published list of these, but this is on our list of future additions to the site.
- National Showcase tournaments.
- Dynamically determined events in tournaments where at least 25% of the players in the event are National Players, minimum two. For boys' and girls' 12 and under events the percentage requirement is relaxed to 20% since group 2 tournaments in this age division have smaller draws.
- ITF grade 4 or 5 tournament where a US player earns a win in the main draw.
We term a National Player as any player that has earned a win in at least one of our group 2, group 3, group 4, group 5, or group 6 events in the 12 months preceding the tournament in question. (See the next FAQ question for more information on National Players.)
You can determine ahead of time if a tournament is in groups 1-6, but group 7 tournaments, which are the bulk of them, are determined after the tournaments are played.
* For results to be entered into our database on TennisRecruiting.net, we require that the published Competitor List include the complete name of the player, the city, state or country of residence and an identifying player number (either USTA or IPIN). Tournaments that do not list this information will be excluded from entry into our national ranking database.
What do you mean by National Player? Is being a National Player important?
A National Player is a USTA junior who has participated in and has at least one win in a tournament in groups 2, 3, 4, or 5 above. (See previous FAQ question.) The concept of a National Player is important for a head-to-head recruiting system like those employed at Tennis Recruiting - National Players provide a measure for cross-play.
National Players are used to determine which tournaments go into groups 5 and 6 in future years. Tournaments in group 5 have a significant number of National Players (i.e., greater than 60%), while events for tournaments in group 6 will only be included if the percentage of National Players is at least 25% - with a minimum of two National Players in each event.
I see a problem with my player record. How do I fix it?
All corrections or additions to player records for TennisRecruiting.net rankings should be e-mailed to Julie Wrege.
I noticed several kids who have incorrect graduation years. What gives?
There are many players for whom we do not have confirmed graduation years, and so we have estimated the graduation year for some players. These players are flagged as having "provisional" graduation years on their profiles.
Players or their parents can update their graduation years by registering for a free account and then updating their class. If you see someone with an incorrect graduation year, encourage them to update it!
If "more data is better", then why don't you simply use all match results from all junior tournaments?
It sounds like a good idea to include all tournaments, but using all tournament data is a mistake that many people (including us!) have made in the past.
An important considerations when doing a head-to-head ranking is how "well connected" the players are. Head-to-head rankings are excellent when players have a lot of matches against the competition. But things can break down when there are subsets with no cross-play.
For example, a head-to-head system cannot objectively compare:
- Player A who reaches the semifinals in several super-national tournaments.
- Player B who is undefeated - but only competes in local tournaments.
While Player A is almost certainly better, there is no data the ranking system can use to differentiate the tournaments without classifying the tournaments. By restricting the set of tournaments we use to ensure good connectivity, this case never comes up.
For these reasons, we restrict the tournaments considered to large national, sectional, and district tournaments where we expect the players will be well-connected.
Why am I not showing up on the TennisRecruiting.net rank lists?
To be eligible for a ranking, a player must compete in at least three tournaments during the previous twelve months and win at least four matches over ranked players.
I did not play a single match last week. So why did my ranking change in the latest list?
There are three reasons such a change might happen:
- All players’ records are evaluated for each list publication. Although you may not have competed, other players did, and all this data is now a part of the overall ranking data. Consequently, players whom you have played moved up or down, and you may have also.
- Only data from the past 12 months counts. Every player - including you - had a week of old data drop off your player record.
- An emphasis is now put on recent wins. Each week some wins may drop off your record or be counted less than in the previous calculation.
What is the Hot 100?
Check out the Hot 100 Description.
How are defaults, withdrawals, walkovers, and retirements handled in the ranking system?
A default, withdrawal, or walkover where there is no score should be recorded on the player record with an asterisk (*) attached. This means that these matches do not count in the TennisRecruiting.net ranking system. If you see a "Def," a "Wd," or a "Wo" recorded on the player record and there is not an asterisk attached, this is a mistake and you should notify Julie Wrege.
If a match has started and retirement (Ret) or default (Def) is affixed to the score, then these matches do count for ranking - except when it is a 15-0 retirement or a 1-0 retirement required by the section or district to avoid penalty points or to qualify for further endorsement.