ITF World Tennis Number

Drumroll please… the LTA is introducing the ITF World Tennis Number, which is going to make it easier to organise more enjoyable tennis matches in Britain.

What is it? Well, it’s a new rating system for all tennis players across the world. It will make it easier for everyone who plays tennis in Britain to organise and play against opponents of a similar standard.

Whether you’re playing at Wimbledon (we can dream), or just meeting a friend to play matches at your local court (much more likely), everyone’s welcome – and everyone will have their own Number.   

Intrigued and want to find out more?

In short, the ITF World Tennis Number has…

  • A world-wide rating system that ranges from 40 (recreational players) to 1 (pro players) - players with an ATP/WTA ranking will be listed as PRO
  • Separate ratings for singles and doubles players
  • An algorithm that produces your own rating
  • An algorithm that counts sets, and matches, played which means the more you compete, the more accurate your rating will be
  • A personalised digital ‘Game zONe’ feature, which will help you identify opponents with a similar rating online

The ITF World Tennis Number will make it easier to play matches

We are trying to make it as simple as possible for tennis players in Britain to organise and play more matches as we know how hard it can sometimes be to find someone of a similar level to play against.

That’s why we’re adopting the ITF World Tennis Number – to make life easier for tennis players like you.

You can get an ITF World Tennis Number for free

If you’re an  Advantage member in the Play, Play+ or Compete categories, who wants to play or compete at any level, you’ll be able to get your own ITF World Tennis Number for free.

Anyone who already has an LTA rating will automatically have a new ITF World Tennis Number generated for them so you do not need to do anything.

The new rating system will cover all adults and juniors born before 2012.

Having an ITF World Tennis Number will be required for acceptance into certain competitions (this’ll be made clear when you enter).

How will this affect my LTA Rating?

Your ITF World Tennis Number will have no connection to your current LTA rating – it will be a completely new rating calculated specifically for you using match results since 2016.

The system is slightly different for juniors. New players will initially be given a number, like in the current system, but unlike the LTA Rating system, once the player has recorded some match results the system will quickly give them a more accurate Number.

Principles

The ITF World Tennis Number is made up of eight key principles.

These principles provide guidance to players on how their Number may change and what may affect it - find out more below.

1. Algorithm 1. Algorithm addremove

Algorithm World Tennis Number icon

The World Tennis Number uses a sophisticated mathematical calculation that is similar to rating systems used in chess and video games.

2. Calculations 2. Calculations addremove

Calculator icon

The World Tennis Number algorithm uses match results from 2016 onwards to calculate a player’s number. When players compete, it analyses the pre-match rating of both players. The algorithm then predicts what it thinks the outcome of the match will be. Players’ Numbers will change depending on the actual match score and how it compares to the prediction.

The more results the system holds, the better the algorithm will understand a player’s ability, and therefore, its “confidence” in the Number will increase.

Match results are analysed at set level, meaning the algorithm takes into account each individual set as its own result.

3. Scale 3. Scale addremove

World Tennis Number scale icon

The World Tennis Number will be one scale from 40 (lowest) to 1 (highest).

All players will appear on one scale from the world’s elite to a complete beginner playing their first match.

In the UK the World Tennis Number will be displayed to one decimal place.

The World Tennis Number scale is age and gender neutral – so any two players with a similar World Tennis Number can have a competitive match.

The ITF World Tennis Number will be issued to players who are 10 years or older. Any player who signs up for LTA Advantage membership will receive a ITF World Tennis Number at the start of the year in which they turn 10.

4. GAME zONe 4. GAME zONe addremove

Game zONe icon

The Game zONe identifies a range of potential opponents for a player - this supports finding evenly-matched players to provide the best-possible experience on court.

5. Singles and Doubles 5. Singles and Doubles addremove

Singles and doubles World Tennis Number icon

Players will receive a separate singles and doubles ITF World Tennis Number.

This will be the first doubles measure for the LTA and will be beneficial to players who predominantly compete in County and District leagues and other doubles based competitions.

This will allow players to find appropriate matches based on match result data relevant to the type of event or competition they want to play in. It will also allow players of all standards and formats to track their progress.

6. Dynamic System 6. Dynamic System addremove

World Tennis Number Dynamic

The World Tennis Number will update every Wednesday taking results up to the previous Sunday into account. It will provide a ‘real time’ standard that allows a player to more closely track their competition performance and progress over time.

7. Questionnaire 7. Questionnaire addremove

Questionnaire icon

Adult players that are new to the game and therefore have no match results recorded, will be able to complete a questionnaire.

The questionnaire is a series of questions which will help understand a player’s ability and will support the system to assign a more accurate Number. Once a player has started to compete and has recorded some match results the World Tennis Number algorithm will base future changes on this.

8. Global Results 8. Global Results addremove

Global results icon

Results from all nations supporting the World Tennis Number will be used by the algorithm to count towards a player’s Number.

A player will have one singles and one doubles World Tennis Number which will reflect all matches they have played at home and abroad.

Interested in finding out more about the ITF World Tennis Number?

Sign up to one of our Parent and Player webinars and join the LTA Competitions Team in going into more detail about the Number. This 1 hour sessions will provide further information on the ITF World Tennis Number, giving you the chance to learn more about the principles behind the Number, how a player’s Number may change and support you in understanding what your number means. 

Sign up by clicking on the relevant link below

Date

Time

Booking Link

27/10/2021

7pm - 8pm

Sign up here

01/11/2021

6.30pm - 7:30pm

Sign up here

03/11/2021

7pm - 8pm

Sign up here

06/11/2021

10am - 11am

Sign up here

09/11/2021

7pm - 8pm

Sign up here

11/11/2021

6.30pm - 7:30pm

Sign up here

14/11/2021

2pm - 3pm

Sign up here

15/11/2021

7pm - 8pm

Sign up here

Examples

Please find below 3 examples of the ITF World Tennis Number in use. 

Example 1 Example 1 addremove

It is possible that two players with a similar LTA Rating will have a different ITF World Tennis Number as this will be based on up match data from 2016 onwards, calculated at set level.

For example we may have two players with an LTA rating of 6.2 but varying competition experiences.

Player 1 may have competed a lot as a younger player, managing to regularly move his rating up while still losing a lot of a matches.

Whereas Player 2 may not have competed as frequently, due to being talented in a number of sports, but always did very well in the competitions that they did enter and always easily beat Player 1.

Due to the differences in the actual match results submitted by both players it is possible that Player 2 may have a higher ITF World Tennis Number than Player 1 and demonstrates how the ITF World Tennis Number is based on quality as opposed to quantity of match results in order to move along the scale. 

Example 2 Example 2 addremove

The Number will be calculated at Set Level meaning if a player were to win a match 2 sets to 1, they would be rewarded with 2 set wins and 1 set loss whereas their opponent would be awarded with 2 set losses and 1 set win.

When players compete the algorithm will analyse the pre-match data of both players to predict the outcome of the match and compare this prediction to the actual match result in order to change a players number.

ITF World Tennis Number is here to inspire and support everyone’s tennis goals, whatever they might be. If your aim is to improve your game and therefore your Number, it couldn’t be simpler. All you need to do is keep playing and performing better than the algorithm predicts you will.

Example 3 Example 3 addremove

The ITF World Tennis Number pre-match prediction is not as straight forward as win or loss as the algorithm will predict the percentage chance of certain outcomes and change player’s numbers in relation to that.

This means that regardless of the level of two players competing against each other (whether they have a lower ITF World Tennis Number than each other or not), if a player performs better that the algorithm predicts they will then their ITF World Tennis Number may go up.

Competition Changes Update

Bringing in the ITF World Tennis Number isn’t the only way we’re improving how we run competitions

To make our competitions better, we have…

  • Introduced a simpler system, based around the calendar year, for competition age groups.
  • Helped players find and enter competitions – which we’ll continue to adapt based on your feedback. For more information go to www.LTA.org.uk/CompetitionsPortalSupport.
  • Introduced a new LTA National League team competition for tennis venues in the winter season involving 2,500 teams.
  • Brought in new categories of competitions for junior players, including LTA Youth Matchplay alongside such events as the LTA Youth Team Challenge and the LTA Youth Local Tour.