In the world of tennis, probably no tournament platform has been growing as rapidly as UTR Powered Events. The UTR Powered Events
platform launched on May 1, 2016, and in the remaining eight months of that year helped shape 98 tennis tournaments. But 2017 witnessed nearly 1100 UTR-powered tournaments in 30 countries. “There’s an increasing awareness of UTR all over the world,” says Randy Jenks, UTR’s global director of events. “Plus, more and more people are understanding the value of level-based play for development.”
Yet, amid this explosive growth, many players, coaches, and tournament directors remain unsure what actually defines a “UTR Powered Event.” We can help here. First, understand that UTR is a technological tool, like a word processor or a web browser. Different people will use the same tool in a wide variety of ways, and what they produce with that tool will vary greatly from user to user. Naturally, a given tool enables its users to do certain things better and more easily—like projecting a budget with a spreadsheet or editing a document with a word processor. But to paraphrase an old saying, the result depends on the carpenter, not the tools.
“More and more people are understanding the value of level-based play for development.”
To continue the technological analogy, a UTR Powered Event resembles open-source software, in that individual users will each put their own stamps on the product—as opposed to proprietary software, for which the manufacturer defines how to use its product. In UTR Powered tournaments, “the quality of professionalism and expertise that tournament directors provide will vary widely,” Jenks explains. “It’s incumbent on each customer to determine whether ‘this is a good event for me,’ or not.”
When a tournament identifies itself as “UTR Powered,” that doesn’t mean UTR has endorsed the event, whose design and administration are out of our hands. It does mean that the competition will deploy UTR tools—“It will run on the UTR platform, and the match results will count toward the players’ UTRs,” Jenks says. But this doesn’t guarantee that the tournament will implement level-based play. Nor does it say anything definitive about the quality of tennis experience participants will have.
You can sign up for, or host an event at universaltennis.com/events.
Tournaments use UTR in various ways. The purest form of UTR-governed competition deploys the rating system for selection of entrants, organizing flights within draws, and seeding players. This produces true level-based play, erasing all age and gender categories in favor of matchups based only on tennis skill. A recent example was an English tourney
whose first round saw an 11-year-old girl defeat a 72-year-old man after splitting the first two sets.
“UTR and its Tournament Management System are adaptable for a wide variety of events.”
Other tournaments use UTR in more limited ways. Some might divide their entrants into male and female draws, then define flights and/or seed them with UTR. Others could use traditional age categories, such as 12-and-under, and simply seed draws with UTRs. Such tournaments could include a wide range of skill levels, possibly yielding a fair number of one-sided matches.
In general, the larger the role UTR plays in the event, the greater the amount of level-based play there’ll be—you’ll see more competition between players of similar ability. The result is typically an increased number of close matches, the kind that are widely recognized as the most powerful engine for player development.
UTR and its Tournament Management System are adaptable for a wide variety of events. Players should read the tournament homepage at UTR Powered Events
to understand the exact way(s) UTR will be applied in a given tourney, and if necessary, contact the tournament director for clarification. Regardless of the format or use of UTR, however, one constant of all UTR-Powered competition is that the results automatically enter the UTR database to update the ratings of players.
Strengthen the competitiveness of your own event—or just your own play—with UTR. View a two-minute video tutorial on how to sign up for a UTR event, and sign up for, or host, an event here.