ITF World Tennis Number
TENNIS NZ INTRODUCES ITF WORLD TENNIS NUMBER (WTN)
In April 2023 Tennis NZ will be introducing the ITF World Tennis Number (WTN) – a brand new, inclusive and modern rating system for all players.
The ITF together with the LTA, the USTA and other leading tennis nations have cooperated in the development of the new player rating 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 or ability or gender - from the world’s elite to a player taking part in their first competition.
WHY DID TENNIS NZ ADOPT THE WTN?
The modernisation and innovation of NZ's grading system was identified as a priority area to improve on during Tennis NZ's Competition review by coaches, referees, players, and parents. The ITF WTN presents an excellent opportunity to meet this goal and for New Zealand based players to be part of the world’s largest tennis rating system.
Furthermore, the WTN is not just for performance players and in future it will be the foundation of any social tennis format where matching players on ability is a key contributor to success.
HOW THE WTN WORKS
Players are assigned a WTN number between 40 and 1. Beginners start at 40 and professionals are nearer to 1.
The ITF used 4 years of NZ tournament results up to November 2022 to calculate the initial WTN number for each player. A weekly process adjusts the WTN numbers based on new tournament results. Players have separate WTN numbers for singles and doubles.
The WTN also provides a Confidence level for each player. Those who are playing frequently will have a high confidence level, meaning the confidence in the accuracy of their WTN number is high. Confidence levels are an important feature of WTN as they impact the significance of a win or loss and influence the speed with which player ratings can change. View the FAQ section at the bottom of this page for further details.
Currently, the WTN database for New Zealand contains 10,200 tournament players.
The timeline for the rollout of the WTN in New Zealand
The roll out will begin in early April with Tennis NZ and Regions using the WTN for seeding in the upcoming National and Tier 2/3 events for the remainder of the 2023 season. From April onwards the WTN should be the main scale for seeding players in national, regional, and association run events. As the WTN becomes more widely known and talked about, we will see a transition of all association and club run tournaments using the WTN.
A roll out of the WTN to interclub only players is dependent on the replacement of Match Hub.
What this means for Match Hub
Tennis NZ will continue to run the Match Hub competition system for the current 2023 summer season for interclub and leagues. All players will still have a Match Hub grading - for both singles and doubles. This is necessary for organising divisions in many interclub competitions.
As the WTN is rolled out, players will see their WTN number in your player profile on the Tennis NZ tournament website.
View an example player profile
The first goal is to replace the Tennis NZ Match Hub grading with the ITF WTN for acceptance criteria and seeding for sanctioned tournaments.
WTN and Match Hub are similar in concept in that all matches count towards a player's rating. However, a significant difference is that the WTN considers the 'closeness' of a match. This means that a player can benefit from a close loss in a match that they are expected to lose anyway. In Match Hub a 3-set loss is treated the same as a straight sets loss.
The second goal is to replace Match Hub for interclub and box leagues with a system that will also integrate with the WTN. Once this occurs, those players who are solely interclub players would be assigned WTN numbers.
If you have a question about the World Tennis Number that is not currently in the FAQs below, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will look into adding it to the list.
- A single global scale for everyone, regardless of age, gender or ability
- A Number for singles and a Number for doubles
- Find opponents that are evenly matched to you, wherever you are in the world
- Be part of the largest global tennis community
- A modern online system that will calculate a player’s Number on a weekly basis
- A searchable online community of players
- Statistics to track and improve your game as well as analyse opponents, including win/loss ratios and head-to-head comparisons
- Free to use
2023 NZ Tournament Play
- Will encourage players into tournament play to improve their ratings.
- The WTN accentuates the positive match play outcomes over the negatives.
- The WTN will be used as an additional entry acceptance criterion for ITF tournaments
- A personalised Game zONe to help identify opponents of a similar skill level to yours
- Compare performance on a global scale whilst finding localised level play
- Ability to build a favourites list of players at your school, club or among friends
- The WTN can match you with players of a similar standard and can also be used to find a suitable doubles partner.
The roll out will begin with Tennis NZ and Regions using the WTN for the upcoming National, and Tier 2/3 Events for the remainder of the 2023 season onwards.
An analysis of recent tournaments indicates that they are closely aligned. Generally, the same players would have been seeded if WTN had been used but not always in the same order.
Participation in Tennis NZ sanctioned events will result in a World Tennis Number rating. Initial WTN ratings will be at a lower “Confidence Level” until more match results are recorded.
The Confidence Level is a measure of how accurate your rating is.
The more matches you play, the more confident your rating will be. The Confidence Level can have a significant impact on a player’s rating. Faced with the same set of results, two players with the same rating, but with different Confidence Levels, will experience different rating updates. The player with a lower Confidence Level will see his/her rating fluctuate more.
After your first match from TNZ sanctioned event, a player will receive a WTN but with a low confidence level. Regular play is required to increase the confidence level.
The algorithm processes up to four years of a player’s match history to calculate their intial Number. Before they play a match, the algorithm analyses a player’s pre-match rating as well as their opponent’s and then predicts a winner. A player’s Number will change based on the score and how it compares to the prediction. The more matches they play, the more effective the algorithm becomes, meaning players can feel confident that their Number is accurate.
The ITF World Tennis Number Scale is from 40 (lowest) to 1 (highest).
A complete beginner will receive a Number of 40, which they can gradually start to improve as they play. At the other end of the scale, pro players will be closer to 1.
Depending on where you are in the world, a player’s Number might also include a decimal place. This provides even more precision when selecting a potential opponent.
The WTN is a dynamic system that updates on a weekly basis (every Wednesday) to provide a ‘real time’ measure of player standard and allows players to better track their progress.
Yes, match results are analysed at set level, meaning the algorithm takes into account each individual set as its own result. The WTN algorithm compares its score prediction with the actual score to determine what a player’s specific rating should be.
A retirement where a set has been completed does count toward a player’s WTN.
During time periods in which a player does not compete, their rating remains unchanged, but their confidence level decreases. This is the way the algorithm captures the increased uncertainty around a player’s rating.
Players who do not take part in competition for a significant period, caused by injury, off-court issues or other factors, will have a lower confidence level when they return to play. The algorithm will react more strongly to the results as it tries to calibrate the player’s rating after a long absence of data.
No. ITF World Tennis Number is for everyone - a single global scale for all players, regardless of age, gender or ability.
It’s a tool for college coaches to use to evaluate prospective student-athletes worldwide. Along with many of the world’s National Tennis Federations, of note the Intercollegiate Tennis Association in the USA, responsible for the administration of college tennis, have just announced the World Tennis Number as their official rating.
This will have flow-on effects for NZ players either currently involved in the college system or seeking college scholarships and highlights the importance of aligning with the global system that the World Tennis Number provides. More info on this partnership here.
The ITF World Tennis number is a global system and as such any player who has competed abroad in a nation that also supports the ITF World Tennis Number will have one number which reflects all matches played at home and abroad.