👋 Good morning! Champions League action continues today at 3pm ET (I mistakenly said 12pm ET yesterday, sorry if I ruined lunch).
🗣 Poll results: 73% of you said the college-to-pros transition is more difficult for basketball coaches than football coaches.
Today's word count: 1,332 words (5 minutes).
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) is a rating system that could revolutionize the sport at every level — from country club play, to college recruiting, to the very top of the professional tours.
How it works: The current ATP (men) and WTA (women) rankings are based on point accumulation, which benefits pros who get easier draws or play more matches and junior players whose parents have enough money to travel to tournaments.
The big picture: UTR was originally launched in 2008 to help match junior players more fairly in local tournaments. It has since evolved into something much bigger.
"I'll predict that within a year, just as it is understood that any remotely serious golfer has to maintain a handicap to play in an event, any semi-serious tennis player, kid or adult, will have a UTR rating."— Stewart Verdery, Washington Golf & Country Club (Arlington, Va.)
What to watch: UTR ratings have begun popping up on broadcasts next to names like Roger Federer and Serena Williams, giving rise to the theory that UTR could become a "mainstream" ranking system and perhaps even replace the ATP and WTA rankings.
The other side: That isn't part of the plan, according to UTR CEO Mark Leschly: "I think they tell different stories. The ATP tells a 12-month story of how far you went in major tournaments. With us, it's how you're competing."
The bottom line: UTR has emerged as a widely-accepted ranking system at the pinnacle of tennis.
At Division III schools, one in six students are athletes, per the NCAA. That's pretty crazy to think about — I had no idea it was that high.
P.S. ... In related news, the NCAA is considering a concept that would allow all Division I athletes to transfer once without sitting out a year.
Photo: David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
With Ryan Newman in the hospital recovering from Monday's crash, I'd prefer to focus on him this morning. My full Daytona 500 recap can wait until tomorrow.
Go deeper: Inside the chaotic final two laps (USA Today)
Mickey Wright, the women's golf legend who owned "the best swing ever" and gave the fledgling LPGA a crucial lift in the late 1950s, died Monday of a heart attack. She was 85.
By the numbers: Wright won 13 majors and 82 LPGA Tour titles during her career and is second on the all-time majors list behind fellow American Patty Berg (15).
"Whenever I talked to the great players like Ben Hogan and Jackie Burke about who they thought had the best swing ever, they always said it was Mickey Wright. ... You can teach with what she does just as easily today as you could 60 years ago."— Swing coach Jim McLean
⏮ Time machine: Travel back to 1964
Russell Westbrook and James Harden will grace the cover of the March edition of GQ magazine as "the most stylish duo in sports."
"Russell Westbrook and James Harden, who've been friends since they were children playing AAU ball in Los Angeles, couldn't be more confident. About everything.
"At the top of that list are the unabashed fashion choices: madras robes, safety vests, distressed shirts that reveal under-cleavage…and that's just Russell, who was one of the first players to turn tunnel walks into fashionable moments."
"When I asked them if they've ever regretted an outfit they've worn, they battled over who could say no faster. The sartorial spectacle currently known as the Houston Rockets is almost as fun as watching them play."
Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images
36 years ago today, twin brothers Phil (gold) and Steve Mahre (silver) became the first siblings to place 1-2 in the same Olympic event (slalom).
By the numbers: Despite short careers (they retired weeks after the 1984 Games), Phil and Steve still rank among the top five American men in World Cup wins:
Where are they now: The Mahre brothers, now 60, live in Washington state and have remained active, running a ski school in Utah and even competing at the highest levels in auto racing.
Go deeper: Success never stopped for Mahre brothers (Seattle Times)
NAZARÈ, Portugal — A surfer during the 2020 Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge, which went down earlier this week. Watch the highlights.
KUAH, Malaysia — A cyclist during the 25th Tour de Langkawi, which was created in 1996 as a way to put Malaysia on the world sporting and tourism map.
ASCOT, England — A horse jockey on a wet and muddy day at the world-famous Ascot Racecourse.
Drew Brees has officially decided to return to the Saints for his 20th NFL season.
Answer at the bottom.
Down goes Tyson.
Speaking of boxing ... Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder 2 is on Saturday night. Found two good pre-fight reads for ya.
Kendall "Is this the best sports tattoo ever?" Baker
Trivia answer: Michael Vick (No. 1 overall)