Sorting Out The Tennis Universe!

by Peter Malcomson

December 2022 - Paid Promotion

So...Really...How Good Are You? Universal Tennis Can Give You The Answer.

Have you ever thought about how your tennis game compares to the best player in your club, or the best player in the league you play in? Or… how about that kid who got a college scholarship, or that precocious 10-year-old girl who you saw playing at a local tournament – could you hang with them? You’re pretty sure you wouldn’t get a game, or maybe not even a point, from Novak Djokovic or Simona Halep, but maybe in your wildest dreams you do! So, really, how good are you? Where do you rate?

Well, now there’s a way you can see how you stack up against anybody else who plays tennis - with Universal Tennis.

Universal Tennis, headquartered in Palo Alto, California was founded in 2008. The UTR Rating is a system that promotes fair and competitive play across the tennis world. All players, regardless of age, gender, geography, or skill level, are rated on the same scale between 1.00 and 16.50 based on actual match results. The UTR Rating provides a real-time view of a player’s true skill level. Having a UTR Rating enables any player to track their progress, find level-based play and expand their tennis network to play with more people.

All players, regardless of age, gender, geography, or skill level, are rated on the same scale between 1.00 and 16.50 based on actual match results.

Of course, there have been tennis ranking systems in place for many years, whether for professional tours, national competitions, or even regional tournaments, such as those overseen by the Ontario Tennis Association. Most of these systems cater to registered competitors and are round based, meaning that ranking points are awarded based on how far a player advances in a tournament. These rankings are critical for advanced players wishing to progress to the pro level, however, there are millions of players around the world who do not play in sanctioned tournaments but enjoy competitive play at any level – rec players. Now they can see how they stack up against their peers – and the rest of the tennis world.

How Is A UTR Rating Calculated?

What is it about the UTR Rating system that makes it such a reliable rating tool? A UTR Rating is calculated by an algorithm that uses a player’s last 30 eligible matches over a 12-month period. Players who do not play frequently can still have a reliable UTR Rating; the platform can accurately assess a player’s level based upon approximately five Verified UTR Rating matches. For each of a player’s eligible matches, the algorithm calculates a Match Rating and a Match Weight. A player’s UTR Rating is the weighted average of all their Match Ratings.


Regardless of your age, your gender or where you live, you can compare yourself with the global tennis community!

Match Rating

Every match has an expected outcome, and a player’s UTR Rating will go up or down based on the actual outcome compared to the expected outcome. Let’s say a player plays an opponent who has a higher rating than they do. The algorithm might expect that player to lose 6–2, 6–2. If that player loses the match 6–4, 6–4, then their rating will go up because they have performed better than the algorithm expected. The algorithm has been refined based on input from over 8 million actual matches. It has proven to be a very reliable system with extremely accurate ratings. Globally, there are currently over 800,000 players with a Universal Tennis profile. Ratings are available in both singles and doubles.

Play Locally. Count Globally!

Originally developed by tennis pros who wanted to prevent lopsided matches, Universal Tennis has grown into a multi-faceted platform that is now a true global rating system, capable of accurately rating players based upon their actual match results—regardless of the level they play at.

The system was quickly adopted by US college coaches as a scholarship recruiting tool. They saw the benefit of a global system based on head-to-head results, a way of comparing apples to apples. There are now over 2,000 college coaches who use UTR Rating to measure performance. Today, for a prospective scholarship candidate, their UTR Rating is the number one factor in determining where, and if, they will obtain a college scholarship.

Play your match… post your score… update your UTR!

Over the past few years an everwidening audience of tennis players have been attracted to the Universal Tennis system. Many tennis clubs and academies have decided to obtain a Universal Tennis licence to enhance their member experience. They run Club or Open tournaments, ladders, round-robins and even team practices using the Universal Tennis platform. Even two players, who just want to play each other casually, can still enter the match results and obtain an Unverified UTR Rating. The club pros love it – now there are no questions about who plays number 1 in this week’s team match – whoever has the highest UTR Rating does! As a result of all this club-level activity, thousands of new rec-level players have obtained a UTR Rating – on the exact same scale as the top pros in the world. See next page for rating chart.

Flex Leagues

More recently, Universal Tennis has created what are known as Flex Leagues. Regionally based, Flex Leagues are like a city or regionwide ladder. Players can sign up for a Flex League in their area and a Flex League Manager will divide players into groups based on their UTR Rating and create a loose schedule. Players registering for the first time that do not have a rating will be given a provisional rating based on answers to a few simple questions about their playing experience. Leagues are five weeks long and open to adult and junior players. They are also gender neutral. Level-based play ensures competitive matches, and players can choose when and where they play around their own schedule. Flex Leagues are great for players who want to broaden their network and for those with busy lives. There are live Flex Leagues in more than markets around the world including two new ones recently launched in the Toronto area.

Pro Tour

Universal Tennis launched the UTR Pro Tennis Tour (PTT) in 2021 for aspiring pros to play multiple matches and earn guaranteed prize money every week. By the end of 2022, the PTT will have awarded over $6.5MM in prize money with events hosted in 20 countries in over 50 cities. Over 150 $25K events are held each year with familiar names competing, including Jenson Brooksby, Taylor Townsend, Hanna Chang and Sebastian Gorzny.

International Scope

Universal Tennis began as an Americanbased company and for the first few years concentrated on the US junior market. As noted earlier, American college coaches began to rely on UTR Ratings for player recruitment. Currently, more than 40 National Tennis Federations submit their tournament results to Universal Tennis, with Australia recently committing to use the UTR platform for its entire competitive structure.

In 2018 a new ownership group assumed control of Universal Tennis. Universal Tennis’s chairperson and CEO is Mark Leschly, founder and managing partner of Iconica Partners, a global investment firm specializing in the intersection of technology, sports, and media, which heads the new ownership. The Tennis Channel announced its partnership with Universal Tennis at the same time, making the rating system part of the Tennis Channel’s coverage of competition. Other partners include the Novak Djokovic Foundation, Team 8, the USPTA and Tennis Australia.

Universal Tennis’ mission is to transform tennis globally by empowering players of all levels to play the game and encourage their improvement. It’s time to join the tennis universe!

Peter Malcomson is the Marketing Manager for the Ontario Tennis Association. He is the editor of ONTENNIS Magazine and as well as an occasional contributor. He also hosts the ONTENNIS podcast and produces the OTA’s newsletter SPIN Weekly.

Player Name Player Profile UTR Rating
(1.00 - 16.50 scale)
Danill Medvedev World #1 - ATP tour 15.81
Denis Shapovalov Top Ontario Player - ATP Tour 15.28
Iga Swiatek World #1 - WTA tour 13.38
Bianca Andreescu Top Ontario Player - WTA Tour 12.72
Ben Shelton NCAA #1 Male 14.45
Peyton Stearns NCAA #1 Female 11.57
Bruno Kuzuhara World #1 Under 18 Male - ITF 13.82
Petra Marcinko World #1 Under 18 Female - ITF 11.97
Gabriel Keymer World #1 Over 50 Male - ITF 10.68
Nathalie Rodriguez Boulle World #1 Over 50 Female - ITF 8.39
Aleksandar Mitric #1 Ranked U18 Male - OTA 12.09
Victoria Mboko #1 Ranked U18 Female - OTA 11.00
OTA logo and UTR logo.

Universal Tennis Teams Up with The Ontario Tennis Association

Universal Tennis and the Ontario Tennis Association have teamed up as strategic partners, aiming to make tennis more accessible, affordable and fun in the Ontario community.

Under the partnership, Universal Tennis is providing OTA member clubs the opportunity to utilize the best-in-class Universal Tennis tournament system to help run club-level tournaments, house league fixtures, team practices and ladder matches. All results will automatically feed into the Universal Tennis system, contributing to the most accurate rating possible for all participants.

There are currently over 15 clubs and academies in Ontario using the platform, allowing their rec-level players to be on the same rating platform as over 2 million other players from around the world, including the world’s best.

The OTA also recently began a pilot in Toronto, launching 2 UTR Flex Leagues, giving Toronto area players the opportunity to find more players at their own level to compete against.

Universal Tennis hopes to support Ontario’s tennis clubs, players and coaches, with the aim of creating more opportunities to promote friendly, level-based competition and open new pathways to the game for players of all levels. Through competitive play at OTA member clubs adopting the Universal Tennis Engagement platform for competitive events, rec-level players in Ontario can play locally while having their results count globally.