Learn What A “Tennis Rating” Really Means And How It Can Help You Find The Perfect Tennis Partner

A tennis rating is a number given to a player that represents their level of skill. A tennis rating also shows a player’s relative strength in comparison to other players in the rankings and can only be obtained through tournament play.

Tennis Player Ratings

The USTA uses the basic tennis rating system (NTRP), which has existed for a long time. However, other tennis rating systems, such as UTR or WTN, have evolved to create a consistent worldwide set of ratings for players of all skills. So how are you supposed to track them all and figure out which one you belong in?

The chart below provides some guidance on how the current rating systems correlate. In addition, below is a more detailed explanation of the NTRP/USTA, the UTR, and the international rating system, also called WTN (former ITN). Skip ahead to your preferred topic if you like:

Quick Navigation

  1. National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP)
  2. Universal Tennis Rating (UTR)
  3. World Tennis Number (WTN)
Tennis Rating Conversion Chart

1. National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP)

The National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) was designed in the 1970s by the United States Tennis Association (USTA), America’s regulatory organization for tennis. When tennis became popular in America in the 1970s, the USTA devised a vehicle for adults to compete in the sport: the USTA League Tennis program. The NTRP was created in collaboration to broaden the definition of various playing levels beyond mere beginner, intermediate, and advanced. It was then used in League and Tournament play to allow adults to compete against similarly skilled opponents.

While grouping players by age may appear to be a logical fit, it may not be the optimal method because players mature and progress at various rates. This is when ratings come in handy. A rating is a measure for gauging a person’s present playing ability and can be used to track their growth as they improve their games. A correct rating should allow players to participate in level-based competition, ensuring a satisfying experience.

An NTRP Rating, which ranges from 1.5 (beginning) to 7.0 (touring pro), is a numerical indicator of tennis ability that corresponds to a set of general characteristics that break down the skills and abilities of each level in 0.5 increments. After only a few matches, these ratings help determine a player’s NTRP skill level and do not fluctuate significantly. Rather, they gradually rise or decrease over time to reflect consistent player skill level as proven by play results.

The NTRP system employs a series of ratings to describe the standards of the players, which are evaluated at the end of each season. Players can estimate their own rating at first, but if they choose too low a score in the expectation of winning a lot of matches, the USTA will nullify their results retroactively.

Determine Your NTRP Rating:

A. Begin with 1.5. Read through all the categories carefully before deciding which one best describes your current skill level. Make sure you qualify on all points from all previous levels and those in the level you select.

B. When rating yourself, imagine you’re playing against a player of the same gender and skill level.

  • 1.5 This player has little experience and is still focused on getting the ball into play.
  • 2.0 The on-court experience will benefit this athlete. This player has apparent stroke deficiencies but is comfortable in singles and doubles.
  • 2.5 Even though court coverage is poor, this player learns to read where the ball is going. Can hold a short slow-paced rally with other players of similar tennis playing ability.
  • 3.0 This tennis player is relatively consistent when hitting medium-paced shots. Still, he is not comfortable with all strokes and lacks execution when attempting directional control, depth, or power. As a result, one-up, one-back is the most common doubles formation.
  • 3.5 This player’s stroke dependability has improved with directional control on moderate shots, but he lacks depth and variety. This tennis player is more aggressive at the net, has better court coverage, and works on teamwork in doubles.
  • 4.0 This player’s strokes are consistent, with directional control and depth on both the forehand and backhand sides on moderate shots and the ability to use lobs, overheads, approach shots, and volleys with some success. When serving, this player occasionally forces errors. Rallies may be lost as a result of impatience. In doubles, there is apparent teamwork.
  • 4.5 This player is learning to control the tempo and has begun to grasp the utilization of power and spins. He has good footwork, can control shot depth, and is learning to vary his game plan based on his opposing player. This player has the ability to hit first serves with power and accuracy, as well as place second serves. However, on difficult shots, this player tends to overhit. Therefore, in doubles, aggressive net play is expected.
  • 5.0 This player has excellent shot anticipation and frequently has a standout shot or attribute around which a game can be built. This player can hit winners or force errors off short balls, put away volleys, execute lobs, drop shots, half volleys, and overhead smashes. Most second serves have good depth and spin.
  • 5.5 As a major weapon, this player has gained power and/or consistency. In a competitive situation, this player can switch strategies and styles of play. In a stressful situation, he hits dependable shots.

from 6.0 to 7.0

  • The 6.0 player has typically received extensive training for national tournament competition at the junior and collegiate levels and a sectional and/or national ranking. As a result, the 7.0-level player is a world-class performer.

Junior NTRP

Junior NTRP ratings are separated into tiers ranging from 2.0 to 7.0. For junior players, the rating scale is in tenths, beginning with 2.0 and increasing to 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, and so on, until you reach 7.0, the highest rating.

Ratings are generated after a kid plays four matches against another rated player. They are then updated and recalculated every time they play a match over a rolling 18-month period, with more importance given on recent matches. The more a person plays, the more accurate his or her ranking becomes. Most notably, players can self-rate for organizers of more informal events. 

When grouping players, individuals with ratings differences of up to .5 are generally deemed “compatible.” The outcome becomes more predictable at a .5 difference in ratings, with the higher-rated player winning more frequently. Click here for more info on the official USTA website.

2. Universal Tennis Rating UTR

The Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) is the gold standard for all tennis players worldwide, indicating their current ability level based on actual performance. The only tennis rating system globally is results-based, with all players evaluated on the same 16-point range regardless of age, gender, or region. Professionals, collegiate, juniors, and recreational players use UTR in the tennis community. In addition, it is the only tried-and-true rating system that lets you track your progress in real-time. Click here for more info on the official UTR website!

3. World Tennis Rating (ITF)

This system, developed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in 2001, allows players to be rated from WTN 1 to WTN 40. WTN 1 represents a high-level player (with an ATP / WTA ranking or a similar playing standard). In contrast, WTN 10 represents a player just beginning to compete (can serve and return) on a full-court using a regular ITF-authorized ball. Click here for more info on the official ITF website!