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Program Description & Use in the USA League Tennis Program

The National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) is the official system for determining the levels of competition for the USTA's USA League Tennis Program. USA League Tennis is a National Program, and is the largest and most successful adult recreational tennis league in the country. For the players, the advantage of USA League Tennis is that it provides guidelines for excellent, organized tennis at the local level. Those interested in joining, forming or incorporating an existing team or league into the USA League Tennis Program (in New England) are given information, assistance and materials needed to begin the program from the USA Tennis New England staff and volunteers.

The USA League Tennis Program, which has adult (2 singles/3 doubles-except 2.5 & 5.0 (singles/2doubles), senior (3 doubles), mixed (3 doubles), and open (1 singles/2 doubles) divisions, is open to anyone aged 19 and over (adult, mixed, and open) or anyone aged 50 and over (senior) who has access to public or private courts and is a USTA member. Cross participation is allowed between the different divisions - i.e. seniors may also play adults at their appropriate level.

Players in the USA League Tennis Program must self-rate in accordance with the NTRP. If players question the level they should play at when they self-rate, they should place themselves in the higher level of play to avoid disqualification. Players who are good athletes and intend to spend a great deal of time taking lessons and practicing should be aware that their improvement may be significant enough to surpass their original NTRP category by the time they reach a championship event.

USA League Tennis provides fun and competitive matches for thousands of tennis players of all ability levels. The competitiveness of league matches is a direct result of the National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP). The NTRP places players in specific skill categories from 2.5 (beginner) to 5.0 (advanced). League players only compete against opponents within their own NTRP category. Levels of play for the adult division are 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, and 5.0. Levels of play for the senior division are 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5. Players cannot begin the season in a level below their assigned NTRP rating, but may play in levels above, if their Local League has not adopted a limit on number of players who may play above their rating. Example - a player rated 3.5 may play in a 3.5 or 4.0 league. Finally, the levels of play for the mixed division are 6.0, 7.0, 8.0, 9.0, and 10.0. The Mixed Doubles division primarily uses a combined rating system, where the sum of the ratings of the players in each doubles combination is at or below the level in which they are playing.

USA Tennis New England rates players on their overall ability level for singles and doubles combined. There are no "split" ratings, so if a player is better at doubles than singles, they will be given the higher rating as their minimum level of play. Similarly, older age does not automatically lower a rating. A 3.5 male 19 years old and a 3.5 male 50 years old should be very competitive, in other words a 3.5 Senior is not a level lower than a 3.5 Adult.

If the Local League does not limit their team rosters by NTRP level and allows for a mixture of ratings (for example 3.5's and 4.0's all on the same team), the team must compete at the level of the highest rated player. In the above example, the team must play in the 4.0 level.

A Local USA League Tennis program requires at least 3 teams of all men or all women, except for the mixed division, which requires both genders, who play at or below the NTRP level of intended play. (For two-team league exception, read USA Tennis New England Regulations III A. page 2). Tennis players are encouraged to join existing USA Leagues in their area or to form new leagues. Teams participating in a Local League shall play at least one round robin competition wherein each team must play a minimum of three team matches. In a league with only 2 or 3 teams, each team must play a minimum of 4 team matches.

USA League Tennis in New England offers a play off structure that gives teams a chance to travel outside their local areas to meet new competition and see how they fare against players throughout the Section. Play progresses through Local League, District Championship, Sectional Championship and culminates in a National Championship. The Regional Championship for mixed and the National Invitational for open are the final events for those respective divisions. All Championship levels may not be available due to lack of participation in some areas.