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Is a match result positive or negative with respect to your current UTR? What is the game ratio you need to be sure of a UTR positive outcome in a forthcoming match?

The Tennis Neutral app gives an accurate estimate of where the UTR neutral point lies in a match between players with different UTRs.

The Tennis Neutral app removes the stress of not knowing what result in a match is positive for your UTR.

Tennis Neutral app was developed by Robert Bleeker, based on a prototype generated by a team of student volunteers from the Australian National University led by Kehui Xu.

The ANU team derived the algorithm. Their independent derivation verified earlier work by Professor Timothy Chan from University of Toronto and Professor Raghav Singal from Dartmouth College, drawn from research which appears in this article in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports.

Original concept by Ric Curnow

NK Foundation

All funds raised go directly to the Nick Kyrgios Foundation charity.

Tennis Neutral contact

email: contact@tennisneutral.com

Purpose of this App

The Tennis Neutral app was developed in response to Tennis Australia's 2022 adoption of UTR as the sole mechanism for rating Australian tennis players. UTR is used around the world, mostly in the USA, to grade the relative talents of tennis players and to help group players with others of similar abilities for competitive play.

This app is not an opinion on UTR. It is an aid to engage with UTR. By providing additional UTR-related information about outcomes and potential outcomes it reduces the stress players experience with UTR. The Tennis Neutral app helps players (and related parties) assess how their match results relate to their UTR. It gives coaches a clearer idea of players' relative performance in any given match.

UTR is a modified Elo. An Elo is a system that estimates a statistically most likely outcome of a match between two players of differing abilities. Do better than the predicted outcome, your Elo improves. Do worse and it declines. Unlike most Elo's, the workings of UTR are not transparent. Were UTR transparent, the neutral point between two competing players of differing abilities (that is the statistically most likely outcome) would be known.

Despite widespread understanding that this lack of transparency causes considerable stress for players, Universal Tennis (the operator of UTR) gives no justification or explanation for concealing this information.

The stress of the unknown is felt most strongly by younger players and particularly so when a player has to play down — play against someone with a lower UTR. When that happens, the higher rated player does not know by how much (by what ratio of games) they must win the encounter to ensure a UTR positive outcome. The not knowing raises stress levels, often to the point that a higher rated player will walk away from a match rather than risk their UTR.

The Tennis Neutral app provides some of the transparency that UTR lacks. It calculates and shares the neutral point (the ratio of games) between two players of differing UTRs. Enter two players current UTRs into the Tennis Neutral app and it accurately estimates the ratio of games that would provide a neutral outcome for both players UTRs. Enter the two players UTRs and the results of a match and the Tennis Neutral app indicates for which player the outcome is UTR positive.

Who is the Tennis Neutral app intended for?

  1. The competitive pathway player

    Removing the unknown. Lots of younger players get very stressed because they don't know by how much they must win (or 'not lose') a match for it to be UTR positive. My experience with the app is that simply knowing where the neutral point lies removes that stress. The kids then get on with playing their best without worrying. Similarly, after the match, they can check a result and see whether or not it was UTR+, and move on.

    For the ultra-competitive young players. They can look at where the neutral point lies and set that as a target to exceed in the match. This is important for kids making a tilt at a national training program or a platinum level event or anything that requires their UTR to be at a certain level by a certain date.

  2. Coaches

    Times will arise when coaches have two players of differing UTRs who'll be hitting together. Often those kids want to do something with a competitive edge. The coach can say 'Okay, on the basis of UTR, Emily should win 60% of games and Jane 40%. So go slug it out for an hour and let's see which of you is working harder today, which of you can exceed expectations'.

    The app allows more nuanced tracking of performance across different circumstances. Does your player perform better on grass/clay/hardcourt? At their first match of the day, or subsequent matches? Against opponents they like/know/don't know/ don't like? Or any other parameter. Simply by keeping a record of the ratio of UTR + to - outcomes, coaches get a more nuanced assessment of performance in different conditions than they can with simple match win statistics or 'feelings'.

  3. The regular player

    The regular player uses the Tennis Neutral app if they are curious to know what outcome UTR predicts prior to a match with a differently rated player. Once aware, they play without thinking about UTR. After the match, they are unconcerned whether the outcome is UTR positive or negative.


The Tennis Neutral app reduces stress around the unknown, even if once known that knowledge is of little significance.

© copyright Robert Bleeker, Ric Curnow, NKF