A new Competitive Play pathway is set to revolutionise Australian tennis and create better opportunities for development.
The summer of tennis officially launches today, with the new-look 2022 Summer Competitive Play Calendar driving player-centric development pathways and level-based competitive playing opportunities across the country, using the Universal Tennis UTR Rating as the new official rating system of Australia.
The changes are the culmination of an extensive Competitive Play Review and consultation, which began in August 2020 and is guided by findings of the Competitive Play Blueprint.
Aiming to ensure tennis attracts and retains players of all abilities whilst developing future champions, the long-term health of tennis in Australia remains at the forefront of Tennis Australia’s priorities.
Greater competition and guaranteed fun 🙌
Introducing the new era of Australian Competitive Play ⬇️
— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) December 1, 2021
“Transitioning to a single rating system will provide improved level-based play for players of all ages and abilities. The introduction of the UTR Rating system alongside other changes outlined in the Blueprint is all focused on creating a positive playing environment conducive to improvements in the player experience and the development of skills,” said Tennis Australia Chief Tennis Officer Tom Larner.
“Our aim is to develop and foster a holistic player pathway by investing in the longevity of the player journey. We’ve mapped out an aspirational player pathway, which identifies five key stages for developing a player with the appropriate level of competition.
“The stages, which align with the Tennis Australia Performance Pathway, include exploring, developing, emerging, specialising and excelling and will ensure all players have the opportunity to compete at their level.
“We’re excited to see more players, playing more tennis, more of the time with regular opportunities to test themselves against the best within their state and across the country,” Larner continued.
Delivering on player-centric pathways and level-based competitive opportunities, the 2022 summer Competitive Play calendar will partner with Universal Tennis and adopt the UTR Rating across all events.
“We’re excited to extend and expand our partnership with Universal Tennis to deliver the new rating system to support player development and all forms of competitive play in Australia,” Larner continued.
“Since beginning our partnership with Universal Tennis in January 2019, they have been pivotal in helping tennis to open up more opportunities for both the everyday player and performance athlete in a time highly affected by the pandemic.”
From 1 January 2022, the UTR Rating will be integrated across the Competitive Play calendar to help determine a player’s ability and to help players, parents and coaches to better identify the events and leagues best aligned to the player’s level.
The UTR Rating will be incrementally introduced into selected Inter-Club, League and Team Tennis offerings throughout 2022 as the National Ratings System is gradually phased out.
The UTR system rates all players – professional, collegiate, junior and recreational – on the same 16-point scale, regardless of age, gender or location. The Universal Tennis algorithm calculates a player’s UTR Rating based on up to 30 most recent results within the past 12 months, the number of games they win in those matches, and the strength of their opponent.
The algorithm has an expected outcome in terms of games won for every match and a player’s UTR Rating will fluctuate based on the actual results compared to the expected results. A player’s UTR Rating is therefore said to reflect their “current skill level based on actual performance” and allows players to compete locally while having their results count globally.
“We are excited to expand our partnership with Tennis Australia making the UTR Rating the official ratings solution for tennis in Australia. The UTR Rating continues to be the gold-standard and we look forward to working with the great team at Tennis Australia to continue to build on the momentous growth of the sport by making the game more enjoyable through level-based play,” said Universal Tennis Chairman and CEO Mark Leschly.