While listing down sports with major global appeal, tennis, invariably, features in the top bracket.
Tennis’ popularity in India, too, has grown by leaps and bounds in the past three decades with the likes of 1996 Olympic medallist Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and women’s ace Sania Mirza achieving world No. 1 ranking in doubles at some point during this period.
Rankings may be considered the ultimate representation of how good a player/doubles pair is on the court and their form at the time.
Additionally, rankings determine qualification for any official tournament as well as player seedings. These in turn have a big impact on the draws for the respective events.
But how exactly are tennis rankings determined or is the process any different for men’s and women’s tennis players? Here’s an overview to answer these questions.
Tennis Rankings: History
Though the modern version of organised tennis traces its origins to the mid-1800s, there was no formalised ranking system in place for a long time.
From the 1950s, several popular British newspapers started issuing their own rankings. Among these, legendary tennis journalist Lance Tingay’s annual list of top 10 tennis players was held as the authority.
With the formation of Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) – the world governing body for men’s tennis - in 1972, formal computerised tennis rankings were put in place for the first time in order to streamline tournament entry criteria.
The first-ever men’s singles rankings were published on August 23, 1973. Romania’s Ilie Năstase was the first official ATP men’s singles world No. 1. Almost three years later, on March 1, 1976, the first men’s doubles tennis rankings were published.
With Billie Jean King setting up the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) – the world governing body in women’s tennis – in 1973, the women’s game followed suit and adopted a similar formula.
As things stand, ATP Rankings grade men’s singles and doubles players while WTA Rankings cater to women’s singles and doubles players. There are no formalised rankings for mixed doubles.
In the initial days, the core of the ranking system was based on averaging all the players’ results. From 1990, it was changed to a ‘best of’ system, which forms the base of the ranking methodology we know today.
Both ATP and WTA follow a similar format, with minor tweaks setting them apart.
ATP Rankings – men’s singles and doubles tennis rankings
ATP Rankings are based on the points earned by the players in official ATP-certified men’s singles or doubles events over the preceding 52-week time frame.
However, this doesn’t mean that someone playing more tournaments will be at an advantage. There is a cap on the number of tournaments which get counted towards rankings.
The number was originally 14 events but was increased to 18 in 2000. From 2021 onwards, 19 events will be counted for the rankings.
So, even if a player participates in 21 tournaments in the past 52 weeks, only their best 19 results achieved during the time frame gets counted in the rankings, not more. Hence, the system is referred to as ‘best of’.
In an ideal scenario, a player/pair (especially top 30 ranked ones) is expected to score their ranking points from the four Grand Slams, eight mandatory ATP Masters 1000 events and seven ‘Best Other’ results from the ATP Cup, ATP Tour 500, 250, ATP Challenger Tour or ITF WTT men’s events.
However, for every Grand Slam or mandatory ATP Tour Masters 1000 tournament a player is not in the main draw owing to valid reasons (either not qualified or injured), the number of results from other eligible tournaments within the 52-week period that count towards rankings is increased by one.
For example, if a player misses one of the Grand Slams or eight-mandatory ATP Masters 1000 events, the seven ‘Best Other’ results that count towards their ranking goes up to eight to ensure the total number is 19.
Towards the end of the year, the ATP Finals are played with the top eight ranked singles players and doubles pairs preceding the tournament. For qualified players, the ATP Finals is considered as a bonus 20th tournament and the points earned counts in their ranking.
Qualifying for any tournament earns the player a base number of points and it can only increase depending on how far he advances.
However, each tournament is graded according to its prestige, history and level of participation, and consequently carries varying number of points.
Breakdown of the ATP Ranking Grand Slam points
Grand Slams: The four Grand Slams (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open) are the highest graded tournaments in the ATP tennis calendar. Here's the Grand Slam points system:
|Grand Slam stage||Points|
|Round of 16||180 points|
|Round of 32||90 points|
|Round of 64||45 points|
|Round of 128||10 points|
ATP Finals: If a player/pair, who qualified for the ATP Finals, wins the tournament undefeated, they can earn a maximum of 1500 points (200 for each of three round-robin matches, 400 for winning the semi-finals and 500 for winning the final).
Rest earn points according to the matches won.
ATP Masters 1000: There are a total of nine ATP Masters 1000 tournaments in a year – Indian Wells, Miami Open, Madrid Open, Italian Open, Canadian Open, Cincinnati Masters, Shanghai Masters, Paris Masters and Monte-Carlo Masters.
For any player/pair, especially in the top 30 rankings, who qualify for these Masters 1000 events, participation in all barring the Monte Carlo Masters is mandatory. Exceptions are made in case of special circumstances like injuries or personal issues.
|ATP Masters 1000 stage||Points|
|Round of 16||90 points|
|Round of 32||45 points|
|Round of 64||25 points (10)|
|Round of 128||(10 points)|
|Qualifiers||25 points (12)|
If there are fewer participants, players get 10 points for playing in the Round-of-64 instead of 25.
The next level features the ATP Tour 500 and the ATP Tour 250 tournaments.
|ATP Tour 500 stage||Points|
|Round of 16||45 points|
|Round of 32||20 points|
|ATP Tour 250 stage||Points|
|Round of 16||20 points|
|Round of 32||10 points|
Following these, we have the ATP Challenger 125, 110, 100, 90, 80, 50 tournaments followed by various levels of lower-ranked International Tennis Federation (ITF) events, with descending number of points on offer.
Points can also be accumulated from matches in the ATP Cup – a country-wise team-based tennis competition which started in 2020.
WTA Rankings – women’s singles and doubles
The calculation mechanism for WTA Rankings for women’s tennis, including the 52-week rolling window, is similar to the ATP one, except for the cap on the number of tournaments.
A player’s WTA ranking is determined by her best results at a maximum of 16 tournaments for singles and 11 for doubles. These must include points from the four Grand Slams and four mandatory WTA 1000 tournaments (Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Beijing), wherever possible.
Barring these eight, ‘Best Other’ results from other WTA-approved events get counted. Like ATP, if someone doesn’t qualify or has to sit out one of the Grand Slams or four mandatory WTA 1000 events due to valid reasons, it gets covered by another ‘Best Other’ result.
Like the ATP Finals, the WTA Finals can be a bonus tournament for whoever qualifies. However, unlike the ATP Finals, where ATP Rankings determine qualification, the WTA Finals qualifiers list is based on a different leaderboard maintained specifically for the tournament.
In order to appear on the WTA rankings, players must earn ranking points in at least three tournaments or score at least 10 singles or doubles ranking points.
The WTA ranking points distribution is also slightly different from how ATP operates.
Breakdown of the WTA Ranking Grand Slam points
Grand Slams: While the winner of a Grand Slam gets 2000 points - the same as ATP – the distribution changes from the runners-up, who gets 1300 WTA ranking points as compared to 1200 in ATP.
|Grand Slam stage||Points|
|Round of 16||240 points|
|Round of 32||130 points|
|Round of 64||70 points|
|Round of 128||10 points|
|Qualifiers 3||30 points|
|Qualifiers 2||20 points|
|Qualifiers 1||2 points|
WTA Finals: Like the ATP Finals, an undefeated winner can earn a maximum of 1500 points. A finalist, meanwhile, can get up to 1080 points.
WTA 1000 (Beijing, Indian Wells, Madrid, Miami): Earlier called the WTA Premier Mandatory Tournaments, these four were rebranded to WTA 1000 in 2021 to make the nomenclature in line with ATP events.
These four are mandatory for anyone qualified and able to play.
|WTA 1000 stage||Points|
|Round of 16||120 points|
|Round of 32||65 points|
|Round of 64||35 points|
|Round of 128||10 points|
|Qualifiers 2||20 points|
|Qualifiers 1||2 points|
For doubles, Round-of-32 earns 10 points.
WTA 1000 (Cincinnati, Doha/Dubai, Rome, Montreal/Toronto, Wuhan): Though categorised under WTA 1000 after the 2021 rebranding, these five are not mandatory and have slightly lesser points on offer than the name would suggest.
These were known as WTA Premier 5 events till 2020.
|WTA 1000 stage||Points|
|Round of 16||105 points|
|Round of 32||60 points|
|Round of 64||1 point|
|Qualifiers 3||22 points|
|Qualifiers 2||15 points|
|Qualifiers 1||1 point|
Barring these, there are the WTA 500 (previously WTA Premier), WTA 250 (previously WTA International), WTA 125 (previously WTA $125k) and various ITF tournaments where players can score WTA ranking points.
Tennis rankings for the Olympics
ATP men’s singles ranking points used to be on offer at the Olympics from 2000 to 2012. Women’s singles players, too, could score WTA ranking points at the Summer Games from 2004 to 2012.
However, it was stopped from the 2016 Rio Games.
In the last edition at London 2012, the gold medallist in men’s singles earned 750 ATP ranking points while the women’s singles gold medallist was allotted 685 WTA ranking points.
However, both ATP and WTA Rankings still play a role in qualification to the Olympics.
How good is a 5.0 tennis player? ›
A person with a 5.0 tennis rating has learned good shot anticipation and can consistently hit different strokes with depth and control. At this level the person can also hit winners and force errors by the opponent.How good is a 4.0 tennis player? ›
Level 4.0. You have dependable strokes, including directional control and depth on both forehand and backhand sides on moderate-paced shots. You can use lobs, overheads, approach shots, and volleys with some success and occasionally force errors when serving.What UTR is a 4.5 USTA? ›
|If your NTRP is...||Your UTR League is...|
Middle of the pack players (ranked between 10-50) can still make a very comfortable living. Players ranked 50-90 make a living but it starts getting tough below 90. For players below 100, they're likely breaking even or funding their careers, especially if they are far below 100.What is a 7.0 tennis player? ›
The 7.0 is a world-class player who is committed to tournament competition on the international level and whose major source of income is tournament prize winnings. Players in Wheelchairs: Players in wheelchairs should use these general characteristics to determine their NTRP skill level.What is a 9.0 tennis rating? ›
UNIVERSAL 9 AND 10: Upper level female collegiate player…
These players are among the best players in an area. Junior players at these levels are highly likely to play U.S. Collegiate Division 1 NCAA tennis. Junior girls will be among the top players nationally.
6.0 to 7.0
The 6.0-player typically has had intensive training for national tournament competition at the junior and collegiate levels and has obtained a sectional and/or national ranking. The 7.0-player is a world class player.
At the top of the rating spectrum, a 6.0 player typically has had intensive training. They have likely played international tournaments or top-level collegiate competitions and have obtained a national ranking. The 6.5 and 7.0 are world-class players.What is a 3.0 tennis player? ›
3.0. This player is fairly consistent when hitting medium paced shots, but is not comfortable with all strokes and lacks execution when trying for directional control, depth, or power. Most common doubles formation is one-up, one-back.What UTR is D1 tennis? ›
To reach the dream of playing D1 men's tennis, a player will likely need to be a 12+ on UTR.
How good is an 8 UTR? ›
What Is A Good UTR Rating? This depends very much on how seriously you take the game. The UTR scale ranges from 1.00 to 16.50, with higher numbers being better. Solid club players might be rated between 6 and 8 for males or 4 and 6 for females.How can I raise my UTR fast? ›
Play Well – Performing well in matches is the easiest way to improve your UTR Rating. If the match is out of hand, don't give up! It does not matter whether you play higher- or lower-rated opponents; you can improve your UTR either way by winning more games than expected.How much does the 100 ranked tennis player make? ›
|Ranking||Average PrizeMoney / Match|
This study done by Copenhagen City Heart Study (CCHS) and published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings followed close to 9,000 people over 25 years and found that playing tennis added 9.7 years to their lives.How do low ranked tennis players make money? ›
Depending on which level of tournament a player qualifies for, he or she can break even with prize money. However, the majority of lower-ranked players gets paid by finding local exhibitions to play in or by spending a few months in Europe playing club tennis.How good is a 4.5 tennis player? ›
An NTRP rating of 4.5 means you're an advanced player, quite skilled and you play in leagues and tournaments.What does it mean to be a 3.5 tennis player? ›
3.5. Intermediate Player: Has achieved improved stroke dependability with directional control on moderate shots, but still lacks depth and variety. Starting to exhibit more aggressive net play and has improved court coverage.How do I know my tennis level? ›
The most effective way to know your tennis level is to get someone else's opinion. You can do this by arranging a couple of games with people who play in the league or hitting with an experienced coach. Either way, the people you hit with should be able to give you an idea of what your rating should be.What does C mean in USTA rating? ›
“C” - Computer Year-End Rating
● Rating was generated based on league play in USTA Adult Leagues and NTRP. Tournaments. ● Players cannot be disqualified, nor have NTRP Grievances filed against them. ● Players can appeal their “C” rating. Visit How to Appeal a Rating to find out more.
3.5 This player has achieved stroke dependability with directional control on moderate shots, but still lacks depth, variety and the ability to alter distance of shots.
What does 15 mean in tennis? ›
What does 15 mean in tennis? The score of 15 in tennis refers to a single point.Are Taller people better at tennis? ›
Taller male and female players often have an easier time generating power behind their shots, and they may also have a reach advantage over their shorter opponents. However, taller players may also have more difficulty moving laterally, and they may be more prone to injuries.How much should a tennis player weight? ›
For context, the average height and weight of a male tennis player on the pro tour are 6′ 2″ (1.87 m) and 177 lbs (80 kg), but the blended data doesn't tell the whole story, as players on both ends of the spectrum have achieved plenty of success.What age do tennis players peak? ›
While research on peak performance in tennis is fairly limited, the general consensus is that tennis players reach their prime around the age of 24 or 25.What USTA level is pro? ›
WHAT IS USTA NTRP? Developed in 1978, the National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) is a classification system that identifies and describes general characteristics of tennis-playing ability. The NTRP General Characteristics Guide outlines the abilities of each level from 1.5 (beginner) through 7.0 (touring pro).What is B level tennis? ›
In general terms, a D player would be a 2.5 and below; a C player would be a 2.6 - 3.5; a B player would be 3.6 - 4.5; and an A player would be 4.6 - 5.5; an open player would be 5.6 and above.What is a good UTR for high school? ›
Universal tennis rating:
Top academic program: 11 UTR or higher. Mid-lower: 6 UTR or lower.
Fair and competitive play is at the heart of UTR and bringing this principle to high school tennis is extremely important. UTR significantly reduces the time of those extended, six-hour seeding meetings.What is a good UTR for a 15 year old? ›
The top recruits will graduate high school with UTRs around 13 I believe. By the time they become sophomores and juniors they will want to get up to that 11 or 12 range.What is Serena UTR score? ›
The Universal Tennis Rating Scale
In that month, Serena Williams of the United States reached a rating of 13.44 while Simona Halep of Romania reached a rating of 13.38 later that year. In April of 2022, Novak Djokovic of Serbia briefly reached a UTR of 16.38 & Ash Barty reached a rating of 13.42.
How good are d3 tennis players? ›
Broken down on an individual player's level, the average Top 20 female in Division III has a UTR of 8.3 (Power 6 Rating of 50/6) compared to a UTR of 7.2 in the NAIA and a UTR of 8.6 in the Division II. For women also, the NCAA D-III is stronger than the NAIA and somewhat weaker than NCAA D-II tennis.How do you become a D1 tennis player? ›
Most D1 programs are looking for players who are ranked in the top 50, otherwise known as Blue Chip players. International players should also be ranked near the top of their national standings. Competing in tournaments will get you ranked, and doing better will improve your ranking. Attend tournaments.Do walkovers affect UTR? ›
Since UTR Rating is based purely on scores, it does not count defaults or walkovers.Why is my UTR 30%? ›
If 30% tax is deducted from your pay, this means either that you haven't given your employer a UTR, or that HMRC couldn't find your UTR on its list of registered subcontractors. In either case you should contact HMRC and make sure that you are correctly registered as self-employed and as a CIS subcontractor.Can your UTR go up if you lose? ›
Higher UTR: If you are expected to lose 6-3, 6-3, but you lose 6-4, 6-4, your rating will go up. Your rating will go up or down based on how you perform vs. the expectation. After one match result, you receive a projected UTR Rating (P).What tennis player is a billionaire? ›
He built a global brand with Nike and even started his own sports agency. But Roger Federer's biggest win came just a few years ago when he left behind a $10 million annual sponsorship deal with Nike and turned it into a $600 million payday. This is how Roger Federer became the only billionaire in tennis history.Do tennis players pay tax on prize money? ›
Prize money made from tournaments is, however, the one source of money in which players are actually “working” for it. Their performance will dictate how much they will be compensated for, and this qualifies this source of income as taxable income. What this means is that… well, that it's income that will be taxed.Who is the wealthiest tennis player? ›
With a net worth of $6.7 billion, Jessica Pegula is the richest tennis player in the world in 2023. The 28-year-old from Buffalo, New York, is worth more than Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal combined.What age is too late for tennis? ›
There really is no age cutoff for playing tennis. You can begin as a kid or you can begin later in life, and you'll enjoy it just as much. Besides, the health benefits of playing tennis are unmatched.How many hours do tennis players sleep? ›
How much sleep do tennis players need? According to Yutaka Nakamura, Maria Sharapova's previous physical trainer, Tennis players should get 8-10 hours of sleep a day.
What age is tennis serious? ›
A good age for starting tennis training is 5-6 years of age
Physical aspect: tennis develops visual-motor coordination and helps to strengthen muscles. It also improves agility, reaction speed and reflexes, etc. Psychological aspect: thanks to the fun of the game, tennis stimulates wit and tactical thinking.
Tennis players make money even if they lose in the first round of a tournament – even though that amount is significantly less than the champion. However, in some instances, tennis players are paid an additional appearance fee.Do tennis players get free clothes? ›
In professional tennis, the vast majority of tennis players do not have a full choice of what they wear once they are under contract with a clothing brand. Tennis players are often sponsored by the same clothing brands (Nike, Adidas, Lacoste) and are required to wear the newest collection by their individual sponsors.Why do tennis players ride a bike after a match? ›
The first stop off the court is probably a “warm-down” where players spend ten minutes doing some light cycling on a stationary bike. This type of warm down is better than full rest to recover from muscle soreness. It gets the blood flowing to your sore muscles to deliver oxygen and nutrients needed for repair.Is tennis 3 or 5 better? ›
A match is won when a player or a doubles team has won the majority of the prescribed number of sets. Matches employ either a best-of-three (first to two sets wins) or best-of-five (first to three sets wins) set format.What is considered a good tennis player? ›
A Good Tennis Player Is Versatile
But only the great ones can hit winners from both wings. A good tennis player has got solid serving skills and knows the fundamentals of groundstrokes. In an instant, they may send a backhand slice towards the baseline or catch the opponent off-guard with a small and sneaky drop shot.
Tennis is played in points: Four points win a game, six games win a set, and two or three sets win a match. You can decide how long you want your game to be but most matches are played as best-of-three or five set contests.Why is 15 30 40 used in tennis? ›
Tennis scores were shown in the middle ages on two clock faces which went from 0 to 60. On each score the pointer moved round a quarter from 0 to 15, 30, 45 and a win on 60. Somehow the forty five got truncated to forty when the clock faces dropped out of use.What is the best age to play tennis? ›
- Physical aspect: tennis develops visual-motor coordination and helps to strengthen muscles. It also improves agility, reaction speed and reflexes, etc.
- Psychological aspect: thanks to the fun of the game, tennis stimulates wit and tactical thinking.
In general, taller players are more successful in singles play, while shorter players may have an edge in doubles play due to their ability to cover more ground. However, at the highest levels of the sport, success largely comes down to skill and athleticism, regardless of height.
How can you tell if a tennis player is talented? ›
Physiological attributes include parameters such as height, weight and arm span. To gauge physical attributes, MacCurdy suggests testing young tennis players in running, jumping, catching, throwing, coordination, agility, tennis-specific speed, power, endurance and flexibility.
In 2020, Fitbit reported that according to their user data, an hour of singles tennis generates around, on average, 10,680 steps, while an hour of doubles tennis generates, on average, 7,980 steps. That's an equivalent of about 4 to 5 miles of running and 3 to 4 miles respectively depending on your stride length.What are 10 rules in tennis? ›
- A ball must land within the bounds for play to continue. ...
- Players or teams cannot touch the net or posts or cross onto their opponent's side.
- Players or teams cannot carry the ball or catch it with the racquet.
- No player can hit the ball twice.