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Monday, October 5, 2009

New Ratings Revealed on Tennis Recruiting Network; So. Alabama's Jack Baker Wins 100K in Table Tennis; Radio Tennis Covers A-A Tues.; Kubler = Nadal?

It's a big day at the Tennis Recruiting Network, with their annual release of the ratings for the 2009-10 school year. Blue chips from last year may fall to five-stars, while those who just completed excellent seasons may add another star or two, or reach the top 25 heights where blue chips reside. For a complete list of all the blue chips, see today's release.

Last week I read this espn.com story about former University of South Alabama's Jack Baker reaching the final four of the hardbat table tennis tournament in Las Vegas. Although the competition was taped back in June, it didn't air until yesterday, and it was Baker winning the $100,000 first place prize money. Great Britain's Baker, who finished the 2008 season ranked 27th in the country, and was a quarterfinalist at the 2007 All-American in his junior year, was obviously an excellent collegiate player, but he was unlikely to win that much playing on the professional futures circuit, with most events paying barely $1000 to the tournament's winner. How likely are former college stars, reluctant to undertake that grind, to instead take up hardbat table tennis? And how much do those two skill sets overlap? I guess we'll find out next year. A press release on his victory is available here.

Ken Thomas of radiotennis.com announced Monday that he will be at the Riviera on Tuesday to cover the qualifying for the ITA Women's All-American before heading to Troy, Alabama for next week's Pro Circuit challenger. To listen to his webcasts, which are free, go to radiotennis.com. The women's qualifying draws are available at the ITA tournament website.

The first round of men's All-American qualifying is still in progress in Tulsa. Click here for the ITA tournament website.

I received this interesting bit of news from Andy Yanne, writing for the Hong Kong Tennis association, who discovered that 16-year-old Jason Kubler of Australia is the first junior boy since Rafael Nadal in 1991 to lead his team to both World Junior Competition and Junior Davis Cup championships as the No. 1 singles player.


notatennisrecruitingfan said...

Why is everyone so impressed with tennis rectuiting.net ?
I have spoken to many college coaches and they do not use them and say they would not pay a 3rd party site for information.
They only update rankings once per year - I'm sure due to lack of manpower. Yawn Yawn that the rankings have updated. Seems like just a site for them to make money.

justthefacts said...

to notatennisrecruitingfan

what is a concern about tennisrecruiting is that this is not an official organization and has its own ranking criteria which is a mystery to me

John said...

To anyone who follows tournaments closely, tennisrecruiting's rankings, which are updated weekly (star rankings annually), are a MUCH better indicator of a player's relative ability than the USTA rankings which are a joke.

Every college coach I've talked to loves tennisrecruiting and if can usually see the printouts on their clipboards at tournaments.

tennisforlife said...

notatennisrecruitingfan - you should get your facts straight- tennisrecruiting updates its rankings every week, tuesdays for boys and wednesdays for girls. They have become the defacto official junior tennis ranking site. Juniors wouldn't care about their USTA ranking at all if it didn't affect national tournament acceptance and seeding. It has become the main informational site for college coaches. With a paid subscription a player can see which coaches have been looking at their results and I can attest to the fact that the pages are viewed extensively by a wide range of coaches from Div ! to Div 3.

It is actually a very well run and informative site.

Man in the Moon said...


tennisrecruiting.net is the best, yes best site for following ALL the junior players.

It is comprehensive, accurate, and really a treat to read.

It does not have to be an official site of the USTA ( which by the way- has an absolute horrible ranking system).

It is very similar to other sports (bb, football, lacrosse - that use ranking combines - that also are not official.)

The writers are also extremely knowledgeable - and are some of the best known people in the industry - and have been for a very long time ( in some cases legends).

I know many, many Div 1 coaches who follow tr.net religiously.

It is also great for the players and parents.

Much truer read and backed up by facts than most, if not all of the other tennis websites.

Most College coaches use tr.net as a barometer to measure junior talent - that is a fact.

I have no idea what they make or don't make - but I know they provide a great service to the tennis community.

A true gem!!!

Win said...

As previously noted they update weekly. More importantly they are the people that provided the rankings for USTA prior to the advent of the present PPR system. Supposedly they have modified that program to let matches have less impact as time passes. I am not so sure they have done that. I am sure that with the USTA system forcing more play the results from the old Star system are improved over the results they generated when they provided the service to USTA. Even with the hiding that people did when it was used by USTA it was superior to the present USTA system. You could not chanage your ratings by how many tournaments you entered.

Win said...

Tennis recruiting uses a modified version of the star system usta used for years. They claim it has been modified to decrease the value of tournaments as they age. I am not so sure of that. The real good thing is that with the ppr system utilized by usta now the hiding that used to occur with the star system is pretty much gone. That makes the star system a much more accurate gauge of ones present development.

Tennissc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
parent said...


The site is not based on development. It is based on results. Development, especially for groups younger than 15 is a very different thing.

TRN has helped us said...

TRN has helped my college bound son tremendously. We know what coaches are looking at him which allows him concentrate efforts in the right direction. For instance, he may have one coach look at his profile 3 times, another 50 times, gives us the ability to really know who interested. just wished they included doubles!!

DallasOliver said...

I appreciate that many people have rushed to the defense of TennisRecruiting.net (TR.net), but I do want to make a couple of points to those taking shots at the USTA...

TR.net's rankings have very different goals than the USTA rankings. One obvious difference is that the TR.net rankings are based on graduation year while the USTA rankings are based on age groups, but there are other differences.

The TR.net rankings use a complex head-to-head system that combines elements of the old STAR algorithm and another algorithm we developed and tried out in some USTA sections called WinRank - and we think that this ranking is a pretty good predictor of who will beat whom based on past performance.

On the other hand, the USTA rankings are official rankings used - among other things - to qualify for various tournaments. The points-based system (PPR) that the USTA uses is easy to understand - and players know exactly what they need to do to qualify for various tournaments. That simplicity is a very desirable quality given its use for qualification - there was a lot of confusion around qualification when head-to-head rankings were used earlier this decade.

In the end, both rankings are interesting, and college coaches certainly consider both.

Let me finish by saying that we at TennisRecruiting.net are proud of our role in the community, but know that we are not trying to compete with the USTA in any way. We tried to fill a void we saw in tennis - by doing for tennis what independent sites like Rivals and Scout do for football and basketball. We are trying to create a "buzz" around tennis - and we do many things (rank recruiting classes, rate players, etc.) that governing bodies like the USTA simply cannot do. We try to support the USTA any way that we can (like promoting Tennis On Campus... and Campus Showdowns). We are all in this to grow the game of tennis.


justthefacts said...

To Dallas

Wish there was more transparency in how you calculate rankings, schedule strength. Do you weight the strength of a tournament like all the other ranking systems? Do do you weight wins against top international players as most of our top juniors play mostly international tournaments? When I looked at your recent rankings I could help but notice that one of your blue chip boys who has played the toughest jr schedule available (all the Jr. Slams and Grade 1) and did better than most of the Americans, who played the French and Wimbledon, didn’t even make your top 20 for schedule strength? I find just plain weird. So, transparency would help skeptics like myself. Also, some of your rankings don’t add up either based on the overall strength of wins and loses.

DallasOliver said...

justthefacts -

FYI, answers to many of these questions can be found in our FAQ, and I have also addressed many of these questions in "Junior League & Tournament Talk" forum over at Tennis Warehouse's "Talk Tennis" message boards. You can search the forums for my posts (dallasoliver).

Addressing your questions briefly:

- Our FAQ includes an overview of the College Recruiting List ranking algorithm, and the TennisRPI algorithm uses the well-known RPI algorithm.

- Schedule strength is a factor of the RPI algorithm and defined based on various win percentages. RPI SoS is widely published by many sources. It is interesting - but it is far from perfect for junior tennis. Note that SoS does not factor into our primary rankings (i.e., the College Recruiting Lists).

- Tournaments are not weighted at all. As with any head-to-head system, what matters is who you beat rather than where you beat them. Beating Federer at the US Open should not count more than beating him at Indian Wells.

- We do use results against international players.

- Regarding the Blue Chip boy with the low SoS, again, the SoS is well-defined by others and is not our algorithm. The numbers are the numbers.

justthefacts said...


Thanks but your system/explanation is Greek to me. But I do have one simple question. What is schedule strength? I will use the example I was looking at with the class of 2011. Mitchell Frank has played the toughest sched including 3 of the 4 jr slams but is ranked 4 in terms of schedule strength. Junior Ore has played the next toughest junior schedule among that group and is ranked 148 or something. That to me makes no sense unless schedule strength means something else entirely.

markus said...

Schedule strength means a list of players one plays against (i.e. average rank)and not the type of tournament. There usually will be some correlation though, as in junior slams you'd are more likely to play against higher ranked players, but not neccesarily.

DallasOliver said...

Strength of Schedule is defined precisely here:


Hopefully that helps.


justthefacts said...

to markus

Thanks for the clarification but this support my point. So if schedule strength means as you put it “Schedule strength means a list of players one plays against (i.e. average rank)and not the type of tournament. There usually will be some correlation though, as in junior slams you'd are more likely to play against higher ranked players, but not neccesarily.”

Then if that’s the tennisrecruiting.net lacks schedule ranking lacks credibility. With that standard at least two players who have their schedule strength ranked over 100, Junior Ore and Harry Fowler, who both have played the toughest schedules available to any junior including the players they have played, should have a schedule strength ranked in the top 5. Also, you say the in the junior slams players are more likely to play “higher ranked players, but not necessarily”. That makes no sense at all. To get into a ITF Grade A you have to be top 60 ITF and to a top level Grade I usually top ITF 100. Any player entered would likely a quarterfinals match at the Zoo. Also, look at the USTA’s results in these tournaments . With the French only 3 of all the top Americans won a round and at Wimbledon maybe 4 won a round or two. Clearly these tournaments are tough, as are the players who play them or the tgop Americans would fair far better. All this says is that tennisrecuirting does not have a credible way to rank the strength of international players because if that be the case both Ore and Fowler would have a schedule strength in the top 5. Only my opinion, but juts understood strength of schedule and now that I do its not a valid indicator. And Dallas, all the ranking systems weight tournamnts for one simple reason, it would a lot tougher and a much buigger deal to beat Federer at the US open or Wimbledon than Indian Wells.

McLovin said...

Good points, just the facts. I also thought that the TR.net system doesn't adjust for age group, meaning beating a 14s blue chip who plays up probably gives you more points than beating a 5 star 18s player which I think may not be valid. There are a lot on undisclosed algorithms in their system that they want you to accept. It's a mixed bag.

markus said...

To McLovin, justthefacts etc.,

'They' do not 'want you to accept' anything since no one is forcing you to look at their ranking. You do not like it - start your own. So much whining and complaining here, wah wah wah....

For me, TR is an excellent site, doing great job promoting the game and ranking players.

Man in the Moon said...

Just the facts,
excellent point about beating Fed in a Grand Slam vs a win in Indian Wells--

I do see both your point and TR.net's point -- both have some merit - but in the end - I give the nod to you (Just the facts)

I still say, all things considered TR.net is the best we have -- it is not perfect- but there isn't anything remotely close

Man in the Moon said...

forgot 1 point,

If you look at all the colleges / rosters -- most mention that their player was a blue chip, 5 star, etc. upon recruitment.

So, the college coaches have clearly bought into TR.net -- TR.net is the gold standard for ranking juniors --

the people (players / college coaches) who are really the most affected use TR.net as "the main ranking system" -- and that is what counts!!

DallasOliver said...

This will be my last comment on this thread - happy to continue discussion via email (dallas@tennisrecruiting.net) or on the Talk Tennis board (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/forumdisplay.php?f=36).


- markus was incorrect in his description of schedule strength. I don't know why you followed his post and not mine.

- We post two COMPLETELY DIFFERENT rankings: (1) College Recruiting Lists (our main rankings), and TennisRPI (secondary rankings).

- Schedule strength is only a component of the RPI algorithm, and it is clearly described. The RPI algorithm - and its schedule strength component - are clearly defined at the link I posted earlier. We do not defend the RPI, but many people like the rankings, and so we post those rankings.

- McLovin's point about the way TR.net ranks is incorrect. We do a single ranking of all kids regardless of age/class - and then we filter that list based on graduation year to make the individual lists. Our ranking system values many (but obviously not all) 5-Star seniors above Blue Chip juniors.

With all due respect, I think you need to try to understand our system before summarily dismissing it. Our College Recruiting List rankings grew out of the rankings that we used to do for the USTA as official rankings. The two boys you cited as examples - Ore and Fowler - are both highly-ranked in the College Recruiting Lists.

I do hope that we continue this discussion at Talk Tennis.


JanathePlanna said...

TR.N is a great site, especially for
"non-tennis" parents trying to help their kids who don't have the advantages of country club memberships, big city facilities, and money to give to lessons.

It isn't the end-all-be-all but it is a better start than anything else I've seen. The articles give great, REALISTIC information about Jr. tennis, college recruiting,