A tennis player’s rating is roughly equivalent to a handicap for a golfer. It is an attempt to assign a number to a player that reflects that player’s skill level. Players with similar skill levels can then play together in a match that is relatively competitive.
Ratings in the GVTL (Greater Volusia Tennis League) use the same numerical scale as the NTRP (National Tennis Rating Program) ratings promulgated by the USTA (United States Tennis Association), but GVTL ratings are not sanctioned by the USTA. The GVTL ratings and NTRP ratings are not necessarily equivalent, nor are they intended to be. Ratings range from a low of 1.5 for a beginning player to a high of 7.0 for a world-class professional. Most GVTL ratings range in the middle from 2.5 to 5.0. Ratings are maintained separately for singles play and doubles play.
A GVTL Certified Verifier assigns the initial player's rating. A GVTL Certified Verifier is typically the club professional or tennis director at a facility where the player intends to play on a league team. The GVTL Certified Verifier usually will ask the player to demonstrate his/her skills against one or more players with similar abilities. The GVTL Certified Verifier judges the player on strokes, consistency, power, variety, aggressiveness, anticipation, and other factors. Initial ratings are assigned in half point increments, such as 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 and so on, which reflect the level of play at which they may compete.
Once a player begins to participate in league play, his/her rating can be adjusted based on performance against other participants. Each match provides an opportunity to measure the relative performance of participants and, at the end of the season, all players’ ratings are updated to reflect their performance.
A player’s rating is calculated and maintained to two decimal places. Players are aligned in Levels that reflect a range of ratings. For example, the 3.5 Level currently consists of players whose ratings range from 3.30 to 3.79. Therefore a 3.72 rated player might be in a match with a player whose rating is 3.32.
Examples of Adjusting Ratings
Each match represents an opportunity to adjust a player’s rating. Adjustments are based solely on two factors: the score of the match and the relative ratings of the participants. Here are some illustrative scenarios:
Connie (rated 3.4) loses to Sue (rated 2.5) by the score of 6-2, 6-1. Sue will earn a relatively large rating increase because she beat a higher rated player by a large margin (12 games to 3). Connie will receive a negative rating adjustment of the same magnitude.
Tom (4.2) beats Harvey (3.7) 6-4, 2-6, 7-6. Tom earned zero positive adjustment because he barely beat an opponent with a lower rating. Tom won 14 games while Harvey won 16. Harvey will suffer no negative adjustment.
June (3.5) and Linda (3.3) beat Marge (3.7) and Sherry (3.1) 6-3, 6-4. The combined ratings of the two teams are equal (6.8) so this should have been a close match. The margin of victory (12 games to 7) would result in a modest increase in both June/Linda’s doubles rating and a similar decrease in Marge/Sherry’s.