National Tennis Rating Program

Rating Guidelines

The NTRP rating system is used to match tennis players of comparable skill levels so they can get the most enjoyment out of  matches, group lessons, leagues, and tournaments.

For most situations, you can rate yourself. Read the criteria below and imagine you're  competing against a player of the same ability and gender as yourself. Once you identify a level that best describes your abilities, check that you meet most or all of the criteria of the skill levels lower than the one you have selected as your rating. If you have difficulty choosing between two levels, go with the higher rating. Results based on past participation in USTA sanctioned tournaments and leagues can also be used to determine your NTRP rating.

Remember, ratings are not permanent but can be adjusted based on your play and match results.

If you have a rating based on an older, pre-NTRP system, go here to convert that rating to an NTRP rating.

For answers to frequently asked questions about the NTRP, go here.

This player is just starting to play tennis

This player has limited experience and is still working primarily on getting the ball into play

FOREHAND: Incomplete swing; lacks directional intent
BACKHAND: Avoids backhands; erratic contact; grip problems; incomplete swing
SERVE/RETURN OF SERVE: Incomplete service motion; double faults common; toss is inconsistent; return of serve erratic
VOLLEY: Reluctant to play net; avoids BH; lacks footwork
PLAYING STYLE: Familiar with basic positions for singles and doubles play; frequently out of position

FOREHAND: Form developing; prepared for moderately paced shots
BACKHAND: Grip and preparation problems; often chooses to hit FH instead of BH
SERVE/RETURN OF SERVE: Attempting a full swing; can get the ball in play at slow pace; inconsistent toss; can return slow paced serve
VOLLEY: Uncomfortable at net especially on the BH side; frequently uses FH racket face on BH volleys
SPECIAL SHOTS: Can lob intentionally but with little control; can make contact on overheads
PLAYING STYLE: Can sustain a short rally of slow pace; weak court coverage; usually remains in the initial doubles position

FOREHAND: Fairly consistent with some directional intent; lacks depth control
BACKHAND: Frequently prepared; starting to hit with fair consistency on moderate shots
SERVE/RETURN OF SERVE: Developing rhythm; little consistency when trying for power; second serve is often considerably slower than first serve; can return serve with fair consistency
VOLLEY: Consistent FH volley; inconsistent BH volley, has trouble with low and wide shots
SPECIAL SHOTS: Can lob consistently on moderate shots
PLAYING STYLE: Consistent on medium-paced shots; most common doubles formation is still one-up, one-back; approaches net when play dictates but weak in execution

FOREHAND: Good consistency and variety on moderate shots; good directional control; developing spin
BACKHAND: Hitting with directional control on moderate shots; has difficulty on high or hard shots; returns difficult shot defensively
SERVE/RETURN OF SERVE: Starting to serve with control and some power; developing spin; can return serve consistently with directional control on moderate shots
VOLLEY: More aggressive net play; some ability to cover side shots; uses proper footwork; can direct FH volleys; controls BH volley but with little offense; difficulty in putting volleys away
SPECIAL SHOTS: Consistent overhead on shots within reach; developing approach shots, drop shots; and half volleys; can place the return of most second serves
PLAYING STYLE: Consistency on moderate shots with directional control; improved court coverage; starting to look for the opportunity to come to the net; developing teamwork in doubles

FOREHAND: Dependable; hits with depth and control on moderate shots; may try to hit too good a placement on a difficult shot
BACKHAND: Player can direct the ball with consistency and depth on moderate shots; developing spin
SERVE/RETURN OF SERVE: Places both first and second serves; frequent power on first serve; uses spin; dependable return of serve; can return with depth in singles and mix returns in doubles
VOLLEY: Depth and control on FH volley; can direct BH volleys but usually lacks depth; developing wide and low volleys on both sides of the body
SPECIAL SHOTS: Can put away easy overheads; can poach in doubles; follows aggressive shots to the net; beginning to finish point off; can hit to opponent's weaknesses; able to lob defensively on setups; dependable return of serve
PLAYING STYLE: Dependable ground strokes with directional control and depth demonstrated on moderate shots; not yet playing good percentage tennis; teamwork in doubles is evident; rallies may still be lost due to impatience

FOREHAND: Very dependable; uses speed and spin effectively; controls depth well; tends to overhit on difficult shots; offensive on moderate shots
BACKHAND: Can control direction and depth but may break down under pressure; can hit power on moderate shots
SERVE/RETURN OF SERVE: Aggressive serving with limited double faults; uses power and spin; developing offense; on second serve frequently hits with good depth and placement; frequently hits aggressive service returns; can take pace off with moderate success in doubles
VOLLEY: Can handle a mixed sequence of volleys; good footwork; has depth and directional control on BH; developing touch; most common error is still overhitting
SPECIAL SHOTS: Approach shots hit with good depth and control; can consistently hit volleys and overheads to end the point; frequently hits aggressive service returns
PLAYING STYLE: More intentional variety in game; is hitting with more pace; covers up weaknesses well; beginning to vary game plan according to opponent; aggressive net play is common in doubles; good anticipation; beginning to handle pace

FOREHAND: Strong shot with control, depth, and spin; uses FH to set up offensive situations; has developed good touch; consistent on passing shots
BACKHAND: Can use BH as an aggressive shot with good consistency; has good direction and depth on most shots; varies spin
SERVE/RETURN OF SERVE: Serve is placed effectively with the intent of hitting to a weakness or developing an offensive situation; has a variety of serves to rely on; good depth, spin, and placement on most second serves to force weak return or set up next shot; can mix aggressive and off-paced service returns with control, depth, and spin
VOLLEY: Can hit most volleys with depth, pace, and direction; plays difficult volleys with depth; given opportunity, volley is often hit for a winner
SPECIAL SHOTS: Approach shots and passing shots are hit with pace and a high degree of effectiveness; can lob offensively; overhead can be hit from any position; hits mid-court volley with consistency; can mix aggressive and off-paced service returns
PLAYING STYLE: Frequently has an outstanding shot or attribute around which his game is built; can vary game plan according to opponent; this player is 'match wise,' plays percentage tennis, and 'beats himself' less than the 4.5 player; solid teamwork in doubles is evident; game breaks down mentally and physically more often than the 5.5 player

This player can hit dependable shots in stress situations; has developed good anticipation; can pick up cues from such things as opponent's toss, body position, backswing, preparation; first and second serves can be depended on in stress situations and can be hit offensively at any time; can analyze and exploit opponent's weaknesses; has developed power and /or consistency as a major weapon; can vary strategies and style of play in a competitive situation.

6.0 to 7.0
These players will generally not need NTRP ratings. Rankings or past rankings will speak for themselves. The 6.0 player typically has had intensive training for national tournament competition at the junior level and collegiate levels and has obtained a sectional and/or national ranking. The 6.5 player has a reasonable chance of succeeding at the 7.0 level and has extensive satellite tournament experience. 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.

Tennis a game for life 

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