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Class Rankings Algorithm Changes

For fifty-two weeks a year over the past nine years, Tennis Recruiting has published its Class Rankings week-in and week-out. We publish the Athletic DNA Rankings for boys on Tuesdays and the Babolat Rankings for girls on Wednesdays. We believe that our ranking system provides the most predictive measure available for US junior tennis players.

That said, there is always room for improvement. Over the next few months, we plan to gradually phase in a modification to our ranking algorithm.


Description of Change

The ranking algorithm for the Class Rankings is described here. Since the launch of TennisRecruiting.net in 2005, our rankings have been calculated in two phases:

(1) A head-to-head ranking algorithm is first employed using the past 52 weeks of match results to provide a preliminary ranking of all players. This algorithm rewards players for wins over higher-ranked competition while penalizing them for losses to players with lower ranks. The algorithm also weights recent matches more significantly - counting them twice as much as older matches from a year prior. Today, this preliminary ranking accounts for 75% of the final ranking.

(2) Once the head-to-head ranking is in place, our system employs a Top-Eight Wins component that places an additional emphasis on significant wins. Each players' best eight wins over the past year account for 25% of the final ranking.

Effective this month, we will begin removing Phase 2 - the Top-Eight Wins component because we do not believe that this component contributes meaningfully to our rankings. In December - starting with this week's rankings - we will reduce the Top Eight Wins component to 20% of the final ranking, and we will continue reducing the contribution by 5% each month until it is completely removed in April 2015.


Rationale for Change

The reasons we are removing the Top-Eight Wins component are (1) our rankings will be simpler and easier to understand, (2) our rankings will be more accurate, and (3) graduating seniors who get shorter records over the course of their final year in junior tennis will no longer be penalized.

In the end, we believe that the Top-Eight Wins component has done more harm than good.



For most junior tennis players, there will not be much impact at all. One of the primary effects of the Top-Eight Wins component was to penalize players with fewer than eight wins. We expect our rankings to have fewer anomalies for junior players with shorter records.


So that's it. We are excited about making this change, and hopefully it will all take place rather seamlessly for our community.


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Page updated on Monday, November 04, 2019
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