Highland Park head tennis cooach Dan Holden.The “system” in question is UTR’s new Team Match Reporting (TMR) tool, currently in beta testing with high-school programs around the United States. One of them is Highland Park, an established tennis powerhouse in Texas. TMR is a streamlined digital/online system for collecting the results of a team tennis match and reporting them to UTR, where they will update the ratings of all involved athletes. “Once we get the roster entered, it has worked beautifully,” Holden says. “It’s easy to plug in, easy to get to, and not difficult at all to use. It’s simple.” Before TMR arrived, Holden’s team delegated a parent of one of the captains to log match results, get them to newspapers, and post them on the team’s website; the results did not feed into any ranking or rating system. TMR has made the process faster, easier, and more accurate, and makes the results of high-school matches “count,” because they will now build each athlete’s individual UTR.
(Photo Credit: Jon Eilts)
(Photo Credit: Jon Eilts)
“Now that UTR is expanding into high-school tennis, our students can get on that road toward a college scholarship without having to stress out about USTA Super National events,” Holden says. “College coaches don’t ask what somebody’s national ranking is nearly as much anymore. They want to know their UTR. Rankings are skewed, and everybody knows that not all juniors have the opportunity to play, say, in the Super Nationals—they may not be ranked high enough in their section to qualify. Actually, there isn’t a lot of difference between the 8th-ranked and the 12th-ranked players in the Texas section—but only the top eight make it into the Super Nationals.” There are six to eight high-school teams in the Metroplex that will be feeding their singles and doubles results into UTR via TMR. “I can foresee 30 to 40 more match opportunities per year for high-school teams to use this,” Holden says. “These additional matches, along with private tournaments, significantly boost the number of matches that count for their UTR.” For example, take the recent Cowboy Toyota DFW UTR Super Series, which kicked off over the April 29-30 weekend with 144 entrants organized by UTR into 18 draws of eight players each. It not only sold out quickly, but “they had to back up the entry deadline and shut it down early,” because demand was so great, says Holden. The series may stage eight or nine similar events over the next year. Such tournaments can draw “older guys, like ex-college players in their 20s or 30s,” he notes. “And current college players who are back for the summer will drop in to keep their games sharp.”Students across the country to acquire player ratings in UTR pilot program. Learn more here.
“Why not have high schools do what the colleges are doing?”“UTR is so much more accurate,” Holden declares. “Tight, level-based matches are the kind of close competition that teaches kids to win. With UTR there are no trash matches where you win, 0 and 1. You have to be clutch and play your best when the chips are down. I think this system is fantastic.”
Ensworth's Ben Firestone wins Draw 2 over Ensworth's Maggie Cannata at Ensworth School Grand Opening UTR.“Why not have high schools do what the colleges are doing?” says Greg Chambers, director of tennis at Ensworth School, a private K-12 school in Nashville, Tennessee. “When they start to follow what the colleges are doing UTR is now the official rating system of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association>, it will explode.” Regarding TMR, for which Ensworth is another beta-testing site, he says, “It works great. And that team match counts now, it has meaning.”
"We need to help kids understand that UTR is way more accurate than the ranking systems—it’s not even close."Chambers has spread the word to a dozen other high-school teams on Ensworth’s schedule. “If everything is done right—it takes five or 10 minutes to input a team’s roster—it