| By Ricky Becker

 

If you plan on aging up in 2012 naionally, all I could say is "good luck."  Points have been drastically reduced for all national level tournaments except for the quarterfinals on in SuperNationals.This includes national points distributed at USTA/Eastern Sectional Tournaments. Last year if you win, lose and lose at a Level 4 sectional, you got 53-national points, this year you get 12.  This year of you get to the round-of-16 at a regional and lose your first consolation match, you get 24-national points.  Last year that same person got 70.  That is a huge difference!

 

So what does this mean?  Unless, they are going to retroactively adjust points (which I have not seen or hear anywhere.) It is going to be incredibly hard for people to gain nationally in 2012 if they are aging up and competing points-wise with people who earned a lot more points for the same result last year.  I believe USTA National Ranking is meaningless except for being accepted into tournaments..but it is going to be very hard being admitted to tournaments.  It's really about tennisrecruiting.net anyway.

In 2013, assuming there will be no changes, which I shouldn't assume, things will straighten themselves out.  But expect 2012 to be very strange.  I think tournament draws will weaken because players will think it's a waste chasing the minimal points.  The next tier of players will probably go and get accepted.  For sectionals that are level 5 nationals, the winner gets one national point per match.  Is anyone going to play 18-and-under backdraws?

 

Why don't they keep the system the same but drastically increase the bonus points? That would be my suggestion.

Yes, there are more points at stake for each very late round match, but this doesn't effect many.

 

To better understand where the USTA is coming from, I copied this from usta.com.  If you don't like reading "spun" material, read below:

 

 

The new Tables, which were unanimously approved by the USTA Junior Competition Committee in September with the support of the USTA Player Development Staff, have been revised in two significant ways:

• The point distribution has changed so that ranking points are awarded in a more
progressive manner. Players who advance to the later rounds of a tournament will receive
substantially more points than players who lose in the earlier rounds.

• The total points earned for winning a Level 1 National Ranking tournament, such as a
USTA National Championship, have been significantly increased. The points earned for
winning Level 4 and Level 5 tournaments have been reduced slightly, but remain higher
than when the PPR system was introduced in 2004.

Why has the USTA adjusted the Point Tables?
A goal of the USTA is to promote and reward earned advancement. The progressive nature of the new Ranking Point Tables does this in two ways. Within a Level, the distribution of points among each round’s finishers ensures that players who advance to the later rounds will earn the majority of the points available in a tournament. Across Levels (1-5), the distribution of points for reaching equivalent rounds ensures that players who win at higher levels earn a proportionately greater number of points. By rewarding advancement in these ways, which is supported by American college coaches, it is anticipated that the accuracy of the USTA rankings will be enhanced. In addition, because the new Tables award fewer points for winning fewer rounds, the incentive to travel outside one’s Section or region will be reduced and will encourage play closer to home.

Will there still be a combined ranking of singles and doubles?
There will be no changes to the combined ranking. Under the new Point Tables, players who compete in both singles and doubles and advance to the later rounds of events will earn progressively more ranking points reflecting their competitive success.

Who will this change affect?
The change will affect every player who competes in tournaments that count for national ranking. This is a very positive change for players and will reward players who advance to the later rounds of these tournaments.

How will Section tournaments that count for national ranking be affected?
The ranking points earned at the 12 tournaments each Section designates as Levels 3, 4 and 5 will be reduced. This change is an acknowledgment of the inherent flaw in having 17 Sections of different sizes and strengths feeding into one national ranking system. Although reduced, the adjusted ranking points remain higher than the points earned at these tournaments when the PPR system was introduced in 2004.

Ricky Becker is The Director of Tennis at Glen Oaks Club.  Ricky also coaches high-performance juniors throughout the year and has been the Director of Tennis at three of Long Island’s biggest junior programs.  As a player, Becker was the Most Valuable Player for the 1996 NCAA Championship Stanford Tennis team and ranked in the top-five nationally as a junior.  He can be reached at rbecker06@yahoo.com, 516-359-4843 or via juniortennisconsulting.com.