Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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.

  • By contrast, UTR is calculated based on the strength of who you play and the score (games won), not the result. It takes into account the past 30 matches — or however many that person has played in the past 12 months.
  • Players are rated on a scale from 1 (raw beginner) to 16.5 (Rafael Nadal has a 16.19 rating), and anyone can register and start working on a rating for free.
  • Like a golf handicap, it's a simple number that gives players a way to judge results other than win-loss and can show improvement when a weaker player does better than expected, but still loses, to a better player.
  • UTR pays no attention to age or gender, so it allows play between genders and mixed doubles matches to count just like any other result would.

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.

  • College recruiting: UTR is now the primary method that college coaches use to recruit players, since it allows them to more accurately compare kids from different regions.
  • Country clubs: The current USTA system, which ranks people by 0.5 increments forces country club pros to make difficult decisions about who makes teams, who gets relegated, etc. As more clubs start using UTR to track players and host tournaments, it could help solve that.
"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."

  • Plus, most players and tournament hosts are content with the current system because it's designed to reward players for participating in as many tournaments as possible.

The bottom line: UTR has emerged as a widely-accepted ranking system at the pinnacle of tennis.

  • But with the pro circuit representing just a sliver of the world's tennis population, UTR could have an even greater impact serving as the glue that binds tennis players of all ages, genders and skill levels together — much like the handicap system has done for golf.

Go deeper

Ro Khanna accuses Biden of quitting Middle East

Rep. Ro Khanna. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

An outspoken progressive Democrat is wary of President Biden’s approach to the Middle East, arguing it’s like “conceding defeat of the aspiration” to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why it matters: A number of members of Biden’s own party dislike his Middle East strategy, as his administration signals the region is no longer the priority it was for President Obama and his predecessors.

Democrats eye reconciliation for immigration

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Comprehensive immigration reform is a pipe dream, but some Senate Democrats are hoping to tie key immigration provisions to the next big reconciliation push.

Why it matters: Immigration is one of the most controversial and partisan issues in U.S. politics, which is why the budget reconciliation process — which allows for bills to pass the Senate with a simple majority rather than the usual 60 votes — is so attractive.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden meeting Quad amid own pivot toward Asia

Artists paint portraits of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in Mumbai, India. Photo: Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

President Biden plans to meet this month with the leaders of Japan, Australia and India in a virtual summit of the so-called Quad, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: By putting a Quad meeting on the president’s schedule, the White House is signaling the importance of partnerships and alliances to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.