About the Ranking System for Sunday Doubles

We have had some questions recently about the ranking system for VTA social doubles sessions. Here is some explanation about how the VTA arrived at the current system.

The purpose of this system is to assign players to a court at VTA social doubles matches by grouping together players displaying similar ability to win games at VTA doubles sessions. It is not intended as a statement of a player’s ability, or their level in singles, or their ability in other doubles formats or types of play.

As you can imagine there was considerable griping about court assignments when it was done subjectively by play managers. By using a purely mathematical system, there can be no accusation of bias. We will not rely on anyone’s judgment or assessment of a player’s level. That caused problems in the old system. Subjectivity is off the table.

We have tried different variations in the ranking formula. By careful examination of past results we have found a formula that promotes mobility among the courts for players. The algorithm we use now uses only the last 4 sessions a player has played. We have seen players move from being court 4 regulars to court 1 regulars, from court 1 to court 4, and court 6 to court 3. For us this is enough proof that the system promotes mobility for players whose level changes.

Regarding the specific question about numbers of games won on one court vs another: it should not be surprising that winning 15 games on court 4 would be easier than winning 15 games on court 2, since there are better players on court 2. But how much better? Our current algorithm says that court 2 is 2.7 games better than court 4. That means that a player winning 10 games on court 4 would be expected to win 7.3 games on court 2.

Every time you play a doubles session, your new result counts toward your ranking and your 4th last result drops off. If your new result is better than your 4th last result your ranking will go up. If not, it will go down. When you play a doubles session, your initial placement on a court depends to some extent on who else is playing. If there are 12 players with higher rankings, then you will be on court 4. With the same ranking, if there are only 7 players with higher rankings that session, you will be on court 2. If you want to move up, you have to figure out a way to win more games, maybe learn how to support a weaker partner for a win.

Our winter and summer doubles sessions are an opportunity for social tennis and interaction among members of all skill levels. If you are looking for competitive play, I encourage you to register for tournaments and leagues in and outside of VTA, at levels you feel you belong.

There is ample evidence that the current system is fair and promotes mobility between courts for players whose level changes. We are open to your ideas, but we will insist on transparency and fairness for all.

An explanation and example of the ranking system.