Tennis Travel Adventures in Eastern Europe

Some moments on the road that don’t happen just anywhere.

The Czech Border Crossing

During my second year on the Futures tour, I teamed up again with my very first partner on tour, Petar Popovic. We signed up for a series of events in the Czech Republic. He wanted his car there as we intended to stay for a month, so we took off on Saturday afternoon from his home in Paris, hoping to arrive in Prague sometime early Sunday morning. We cruised through France and moved even faster on the autobahn through Germany. We made it as far as the Czech border. That’s where we hit a roadblock. Petar didn’t have the proper papers to get past border control. He had a Schengen region visa (Western Europe), and a Serbian passport, but neither of those was good enough to get him into the Czech Republic. Continue reading “Tennis Travel Adventures in Eastern Europe”

UTR Team Compare

Size up the matchups!

We hear the word “matchup” a lot in sports. How do these two players stack up? When Roger Federer was dominating the tennis world, Rafael Nadal still gave him plenty of trouble. Matchup trouble.

UTR’s new Team Compare feature lets you drill down into individual matchups on any two college tennis teams. Side by side, you’ll get players’ names, their UTRs, and see how they differ from their opponents across the net. Each team’s Power 6 rating will be there, too. And with its drag-and-drop feature, you can rearrange a team’s lineup to experiment with different matchups—and see how they change the Power 6 rating. Continue reading “UTR Team Compare”

Doubles Joins the Mix

Coming soon: The UTR system will add doubles results.

We knew there was a demand for doubles ratings—after all, doubles accounts for more court hours than singles. So here they come. We’ve imported more than 3 million match results for singles play, and now UTR is poised to add doubles results. It’s only the first step toward calculating doubles ratings for individual players. That’s coming at a later date. Continue reading “Doubles Joins the Mix”

UTR-Fueled Midwest Section Wins National Title

Unseeded “Boys at the Baseline” from MacDonald’s farm win out.

For the last decade, the Midwest Section has placed among the top three at the USTA Boys 18 National Team Championship. What’s more, they’ve won it four of the past eight years. Nonetheless, Midwest went unseeded into this summer’s tournament at the University of Illinois. But they left town as champions again—thanks to fine young athletes, savvy coaching, and a little help from Universal Tennis Rating (UTR). Continue reading “UTR-Fueled Midwest Section Wins National Title”

How to Make the Most of a Tennis Showcase

What to do when a college coach—or a few dozen—are in the house

I recently went out to watch some tennis at Tim Donovan’s Showcase, which has become a premier event for student-athletes who want to be seen by college coaches, especially in the northeast. Tim does a great job helping players navigate the system and find the right fit with a college. My wife (Dartmouth tennis, Class of 2008) knows about this first-hand. Maggie was an only child, so she and her parents hadn’t been through any sort of college recruiting process before and needed Tim’s extra guidance. Continue reading “How to Make the Most of a Tennis Showcase”

UTR Launches “Historic Ratings”

Team UTR has rolled out a new feature: historic ratings that let you see how a player’s rating has changed over time.

UTR, the most accurate system for rating tennis players today, now reaches into the past. Our Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) system has begun to display “historic” UTRs—giving a week-by-week graph that tracks an individual’s rating. This is available on the profiles of players whose UTR has 100 percent reliability. Each point on the historic UTR graph represents the player’s “weekly average rating” for the prior week, with the first available data point June 27, 2016. This weekly average is the mean of the daily ratings for the week. These get computed at the end of each day, taking into account any new results. Continue reading “UTR Launches “Historic Ratings””

New Balance Restores Fun to High-School Tennis

Where was this tournament when I was a junior?

This week I had the pleasure of spending some time at the New Balance High School Tennis Championship. As a Boston resident and member of the New Balance (NB) team, I’ve had this event on my radar since its inception three years ago. It brings together the top 64 boys and 64 girls who apply from around the country, and its selection process relies largely on UTR ratings, with factors like geographical diversity taken into account. Continue reading “New Balance Restores Fun to High-School Tennis”

Leveling the Runway at the Air Force Academy

UTR Power 6 Ratings help revamp a college tennis schedule

Varsity tennis at the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado poses some singular challenges. Recruiting, for example. Dan Oosterhous, head men’s tennis coach since 2009, is limited to players from the United States of America. Every cadet must secure a Congressional nomination from a home state’s representative to apply for admission—something that doesn’t concern other college coaches. (West Point, Annapolis, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy also require such nominations.) Home matches in Colorado Springs get played at 6,000 feet above sea level, where the thinner air accelerates serves and groundstrokes. Air Force athletes fly high in more ways than one. Continue reading “Leveling the Runway at the Air Force Academy”

The Complexities of the Serve

Tennis’s most dominating stroke—from your club to Centre Court

Last week at Wimbledon, we saw Milos Raonic’s serve take him all the way to the finals. His flat serves were reaching speeds of up to 147 MPH, but he also was working in a variety of kick and slice serves. Andy Murray’s return proved too strong in the final, but everyone watching witnessed what having a dominant serve can do for a player. Continue reading “The Complexities of the Serve”

Laboratory for UTR in Australia

A small tournament that made a point

The land of Rod Laver, Patrick Rafter, and Margaret Court just saw something new. A dozen boys aged 16 to 19 gathered in Brisbane in June for a new type of tennis tournament. The UTR Australia #1, presented by Study & Play USA, a college recruitment agency that matches Australian student-athletes with American colleges, showcased competitive tennis using the Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) system to create level-based play. Furthermore, the Aussie entrants had more in common than tennis: they all wanted to attend college in the States, were highly invested in their tennis rankings, and hoped that American coaches might be able to get a handle on their potential for varsity ball. Continue reading “Laboratory for UTR in Australia”