What is UTR system in the sport of tennis?

The Universal Tennis Ratings (UTR) are a system of rating tennis players based on their skill level irrespective of their age, gender or nationality. These ratings were first conceived in 2008 and computerized soon after. Dave Howell, Darryl Cummings, Alexandre Cancado, Steve Clark, Niclas Kohler, Johan Varverud, Raquel Araujo Kohler, and Patricia Araujo Cancado are credited as the developers of the UTR system.

The UTR system rates players on a 1 to 16.50 point decimal scale. These ratings are given to a player based on three factors: a) difference in UTR rating compared to the opponent, b) percentage of games compared to expected outcome, and c) recency of matches played. The latter means that the last 30 matches of the player played in the last 12 months are taken into account.

A UTR rating less than 4.5 indicates that the player is still in the beginner stage. A UTR rating between 4.5 to 7.0 hints that a player has mastered the fundamentals of the game.

All professional tennis players and most junior players across the globe have a UTR rating. Many transitional tournaments have draws that are based on the players’ skill rating. If the difference in skill ratings between two players is less than 1.0, then they are more likely to compete against each other.

A UTR rating is also a reflection of a player’s playing style in terms of consistency and offense. When the player is able to plot a linear and consistent graph between these two variables, then that player has a higher probability of increasing his or her UTR rating.

As of September 2023, the Top 3 players with the highest UTR ratings are Novak Djokovic (16.45), Carlos Alcaraz (16.34) and Daniel Medvedev (16.27).

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