ITF World Tennis Number

The ITF World Tennis Number will replace the LTA Rating system in Spring 2021.  

The LTA is introducing the ITF World Tennis Number – a brand new, inclusive and modern rating system for all players in Britain which will replace the LTA Rating System in Spring 2021. The modernisation and innovation of the rating system was identified as a priority area to improve during the LTA’s Competition Review by coaches, referees, players and parents and the LTA has worked alongside the ITF and other leading tennis nations, playing a leading role in the development of the new system, which will be used by national associations around the world to help create a common language across tennis.

It is a single global tennis rating for all players, regardless of age, ability or gender - from the world’s elite to a player taking part in their first competition. The scale will see players given a rating from 40 to 1, with recreational players starting close to 40 and the professionals being close to 1.

The ITF World Tennis Number also includes doubles players – with separate Numbers for both singles and doubles.

It updates each week to provide a ‘real time’ skill level rating that can be trusted and relied upon. Each individual’s Number will be calculated by a sophisticated algorithm that has been specifically developed for tennis using the world leading expertise. The more you compete, the more accurate your rating will be with players being able to better track their progress in a new player dashboard.

The ITF World Tennis Number will allow players to be grouped with other well-matched opponents, providing more appropriate and enjoyable competition for the players taking part. It will support venues, coaches and officials in setting up competitions and finding people of the same standard to play. This could include box leagues, club championships and county & district leagues. In relation to player acceptance criteria for sanctioned competitions, the LTA Rating will be replaced with the ITF World Tennis Number.

The ITF World Tennis Number is a key benefit of our LTA membership scheme.

Principles

The ITF World Tennis Number is made up of 8 key Principles. These are designed to provide guidance to players on how their Number may change, what may affect it and how they can use this measure to support their development and enjoyment. 

1. Algorithm 1. Algorithm addremove

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

The World Tennis Number algorithm uses up to four years of match result data 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

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

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

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

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. Player Standard Questionnaire (PSQ) 7. Player Standard Questionnaire (PSQ) addremove

Adult players that are new to the game and therefore have no match results recorded, will be able to complete a Player Standard Questionnaire (PSQ).

The PSQ 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

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.

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 to 4 years of match data 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

The introduction of the ITF World Tennis Number is part of a series of improvements made to competitions. Over the past 18 months we have:

  • Simplified our competition age group system based on the calendar year which went live in April 2020, supported by a new look national calendar.
  • Launched a new competition management system to find and enter competitions which we will continue to develop and enhance to provide the best possible user experience – read more about planned enhancements.
  • Introduced a new winter version of the LTA National League providing more team opportunities for junior players.
  • Launched LTA Youth Matchplays to support players new to competition to start competing complimented by LTA Youth Compete Rewards which replaces mini tennis ratings.