A Teenaged Pro Reflects on Tennis

Junior Wimbledon Champ Reilly Opelka Has His Say

One of the tallest men on the ATP tour at 6 feet, 11 inches, Reilly Opelka (UTR 14.87) is a 19-year-old to watch. Ranked among the top 300 professional men, Reilly’s won the 2015 Junior Wimbledon championship. On his way to the final, he defeated then top-ranked Taylor Fritz. Reilly took the final over Mikael Ymer (15.06), a Swedish player from an Ethiopian family, in a close 7-6, 6-4 match. Continue reading “A Teenaged Pro Reflects on Tennis”

UTR’s Resources for College Tennis

The global rating system offers many services to the campus game

Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) is expanding and strengthening its services for the game of college tennis. It’s a tool that can also make collegiate tennis coaches more successful at what they do.

For example, the arrival of Big Data—like the 3-million-plus tennis matches in the UTR database—can empower coaches in several ways, from accelerating player development to spending budgets more efficiently to navigating intelligently in a global game with a plethora of varied ranking systems.  Continue reading “UTR’s Resources for College Tennis”

Malibu, Here We Come!

Oracle ITA Junior Masters Championship Now Ready to Go

This year, the Oracle/ITA Junior Masters Championship kicked off for the first time with qualifying tournaments throughout the nation. Those tourneys are now complete, and the field has narrowed down to 16 boys and 16 girls, including tournament winners and wildcards. These athletes will head to Malibu, California, for the playoffs at the Malibu Racquet Club. Continue reading “Malibu, Here We Come!”

In Newport: Collegians on Grass!

The International Tennis Hall of Fame hosts its first college event

Two milestones happened at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, over the weekend of September 16-18. To start with, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) staged the first grass-court tournament in its history. Second, the Hall of Fame hosted its first event for college players, the Hall of Fame ITA Grass Court Invitational. These landmarks coincided: the two were actually the same occasion. Continue reading “In Newport: Collegians on Grass!”

USTA National Events Benefit from UTR

Tournaments make UTR-based seedings the “way to go”

The convenience, simplicity, and accuracy of Universal Tennis Ratings have made them an increasingly popular tool for tournament directors. Two events that the United States Tennis Association (USTA) held this summer in conjunction with the US Open tournament illustrate how UTR can streamline the process of organizing an event that attracts athletes from the entire country.

The USTA’s American Collegiate Invitational, now in its third year, ran for three days at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during the second week of this year’s US Open, from September 8-10. Winners received wild-card entries to the 2017 US Open, in either the main or qualifying draw, depending on the players’ rankings at the time of next year’s Open. Continue reading “USTA National Events Benefit from UTR”

UTR Boston Open Returns with Gusto

Level-based play rides again

The second annual UTR Boston Open displayed more convincing evidence that UTR-based events generate level-based play, whose many advantages include close, competitive tennis matches. The tournament, open to all players with UTRs of 9.5 or higher, took place at Harvard University from September 8 to 11. Like the first UTR Boston Open a year ago, it drew players from all over the northeastern United States, vying for $3,000 in prize money. Their ages ranged from 16 to 54. Harvard senior and varsity captain Sebastian Beltrame (UTR 12.90) ultimately emerged as champion, prevailing in the final over Frazier Rengifo (12.23), a Colombian national based this summer in Manchester, Massachusetts. Continue reading “UTR Boston Open Returns with Gusto”

Tournaments, French Style

Village clubs, a deft competitive format, and the winner buys.

Last summer in Lyon, France, Kenny Tao (UTR 12.99) played a surprising match at a club tennis tournament. A Californian on the Harvard varsity, Tao had been crushing American collegians. He played as high as #2 as a freshman. So Tao figured to do pretty well against a 44-year-old French club player who “couldn’t really move,” says Jean Thirouin (12.65), a Harvard teammate. (Thirouin, who has French parents and lives in Houston, played in the same Lyon event.) “But these adult players are so crafty,” Thirouin explains. “This guy had a kind of flipping backhand; he put different spins on the ball and had unbelievable touch. Kenny had no idea what to do with that—he’d never encountered such a player. The guy beat him, 2 and 2.” Continue reading “Tournaments, French Style”

Showdowns That Feel Different

UTR Changes the Game at Oracle/ITA Masters Events

Last fall’s inaugural Oracle/ITA Masters tournament—a kind of summit meeting of top college tennis players—made a splash. A joint venture of the high-tech powerhouse Oracle and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), the event aimed to expand interest in tennis in the United States. The Tennis Channel broadcast its men’s singles and women’s doubles finals from the Malibu Racquet Club in Malibu, California. Continue reading “Showdowns That Feel Different”

A Player’s Diary at the U.S. Open

How a pro player spends his hours at this Grand Slam tournament

This is a kind of diary that describes the behind-the-scenes life of a player at the U.S. Open. I can’t speak for everyone—most people are staying in hotels or apartments in New York City, whereas I’m now staying at “home” (as of two weeks ago) in Connecticut. But no two players do exactly the same things, anyway. So here’s a look at a day in my life during the Open.  Continue reading “A Player’s Diary at the U.S. Open”

Former USTA Marketing Executive Joins UTR

Sue Hunt Named Chief Marketing Officer at Universal Tennis

Universal Tennis announced today former USTA marketing exec Sue Hunt has been named its Chief Marketing Officer. Hunt will oversee the digital and marketing efforts for Universal Tennis and its Universal Tennis Rating (UTR), a new system for rating players worldwide. Continue reading “Former USTA Marketing Executive Joins UTR”