Pittsburgh Tennis Challenge Ladder
Last Updated: 4-22-09
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Quality-based Player Ranking System

The Tennis.Engine.com computes player rankings based upon a proprietary algorithm that evaluates every match played for the life of the ladder. The system is designed to rank each player based upon a combination of performance (derived from match results) and activity (how many matches played and against whom). 

When a new match is entered, the Tennis Engine adjusts your ranking based on the following factors: 

1. Current match win or loss
2. Current match performance (% of games won)
3. The strength of each of your past opponents
4. Your overall match winning percentage
5. Your overall game winning percentage

Furthermore, the ranking of every player who has played you or your opponent will be affected by the outcome of your match. 

Winning or losing a close match with a highly rated player could boost your ranking, whereas a close match with a lower rated player could reduce your ranking. Decisive wins over lower rated players could be less rewarding than close wins over higher rated players. Confused? Simply put... winning matters the most, but after that it's all about whom you play and how close you play them. 

Strength Rating

The rankings are based on each player's current Index value (i.e. the third
ranked player has the third highest Index). Each player's Index is a combination of their Strength Rating and the number of wins. Each player's Strength Rating is viewable in their player profile. 

Your Strength Rating (SR) is the measure of your ability to:

1. win matches against the field of participants
2. win a high percentage of games in all matches
3. perform well against higher rated players

Your Strength Rating will improve with more matches won and a better percentage of games won. The strength (SR) of the opponents you play is also factored into the calculation (Each player's SR is located inside his profile along with other information). 

Your SR will fluctuate as other participants compete. It might rise as players whom you have defeated accumulate wins over other players. Inversely, your SR might dip if players who have beaten you suffer losses. 

The online league is updated every time a match is entered.



1) Don't wait for players to call or e-mail you. They're all anxiously waiting for you to contact them!

2) Don't wait until the last minute to try an set up a match. A lot of potential opponents will already be on the court by then.

3) Contact multiple players. Send e-mail challenges to 4 or 5 players at a time. This helps ensure that your playing schedule will match that of at least one other person.

4) If a player doesn't respond to your challenge don't assume they aren't interested in playing you. It's more likely that they simply missed/neglected your message or already had plans. If you receive a challenge but can't play, it's good courtesy to reply and suggest a possible alternative time.


Tip: It's a good idea to e-mail a player the day before playing a match to confirm that you're both on the same page regarding the time and place for the match. This is particularly important if the match was set up far in advance.

  • If you have any doubts as to whether a ball is out or good, you must give your opponent the benefit of the doubt and play the ball as good. You should not play a let. 
  • It is your obligation to call all balls on your side of the court and to help your opponent make calls when the opponent requests it, and to call against yourself (with the exception of a first service) any ball that you clearly see out on your opponent’s side of the net. 
  • Any “out” or “let” call must be made as quickly as possible. 
  • Do not enlist the aid of spectators in making line calls. 
  • If you call a ball out and then realize it was good, you should correct your call. 
  • To avoid controversy over the score, the server should clearly announce the set score (e.g. 5-4) before starting a game and the game score (e.g. thirty-forty) prior to serving each point. 
  • If the receiver cannot hear the server's announcement of the score, he must ask the server to speak louder. You can't wait until the server believes he has won the game to try to reconstruct the scoring point by point. 
  • If players cannot agree on the score, they may go back to the last score on which there was agreement and resume play from that point or they may spin a racket. 
  • Do not stall, sulk, complain, or practice gamesmanship. Try to look like you're having fun, even if you're playing badly. Your opponent does not want to see you looking miserable, at least in a friendly match, and you're likely to play better if you try to present a positive state of mind.



If a player is unable to play because of injury, illness, or an extended vacation, they should send an e-mail message indicating this to pghtennis@gmail.com. They will then be designated as "inactive" on the ladder. Other players should not submit challenges to inactive players. When inactive players are able to play, they should send an e-mail notification and their inactive designation will be removed.


There are very few restrictions for ladder play. However I recommend that participants not play the same opponent in back-to-back matches. While this recommendation cannot easily be enforced, it is contrary to the spirit of ladder participation to play exclusively with only one or two partners. Obviously, any system can be abused if participants attempt to "beat the system." The main goal here is to have a good time and reward personal accomplishment with some small public recognition. Let's have fun!


Although Tennis in the Burgh and the ladder sponsors will work hard to make the Pittsburgh Tennis Challenge Ladder as enjoyable and rewarding as possible, we assume no responsibility for any actual or perceived negative consequences befalling anyone choosing to participate in the ladder.

All participants agree to relinquish any and all decisions regarding the operation of the ladder or the awarding of prizes to Tennis in the Burgh and Tennis Village.

By participating in the ladder you agree to abide by all ladder rules and procedures posted on the Pittsburgh Tennis Challenge Ladder Web site (ie. the page you are reading now). Changes in rules will be promptly posted on the Web site but may not always be communicated to you individually.

We will keep track of legitimate player complaints. Players that have multiple complaints lodged against them will be advised. If complaints continue, the player will be disqualified and removed from the ladder. Player disqualification is at the sole discretion of Tennis in the Burgh and cannot be challenged or appealed by the disqualified player. By the time a player is disqualified they will have received ample warnings. The disqualified player's registration fee will not be refunded. FYI, no player has ever been disqualified from the Pittsburgh Tennis Challenge Ladder.


All players are urged to amicably settle disputes between themselves.

 If this proves impossible, each player should submit via e-mail a description, no longer than 500 words, of their view of the dispute to: pghtennis@gmail.com. This report must be received within 48 hrs of completing the disputed match. Reports will be automatically forwarded to the other player for their comments and possible rebuttal.

Tennis in the Burgh's decision in resolving the dispute will be final and cannot be appealed by either player.


By registering and playing in the Pittsburgh Tennis Challenge Ladder, I hereby, for myself, my heirs, executors, and administrators, waive and release any and all rights and claims for damages I may have against Tennis in the Burgh or John Valentich, their agents, successors and assigns for any and all injuries or losses which may be suffered by me in connection with my participation in the Pittsburgh Tennis Challenge Ladder.

By registering and playing in the Pittsburgh Tennis Challenge Ladder you relinquish your right to sue John Valentich, Tennis in the Burgh or Tennis Village for any negative event (perceived or real), even if it occurs through their negligence or oversight, that might arise through you participation in the ladder.

Once you have registered for the ladder your $10 registration fee can't be refunded for any reason.


Support the
Pittsburgh Tennis Challenge Ladder Prize Sponsors

Tennis Village


Gamma-Fischer Head
Wilson K-Swiss Babolat Penn

The 2009 Pittsburgh Tennis Challenge Ladder season begins on Saturday, May 16th and ends on Sunday, October 18th.

All ladder members who play at least 5 matches receive a tennis T-shirt from Tennis Village in Shadyside. E-mail me when you've played 5 matches to get your T-shirt coupon. You must pick up your T-shirt at Tennis Village, it won't be mailed to you. (All T-shirt requests must be made within 7 days of the end of the ladder season.)

[The following rules haven't been finalized and may or may not change. Check back for updates.]

Prizes will be awarded to the 10 individuals who play the most matches by the season's end on October 18th as follows:

#1 - 3 Players: Tennis Racquet
#4 - 6 Players: Tennis Shoes or Tennis Bag
#7 - 10 Players: Racquet Stringing

Ties in the number of matches played will be broken using the following criteria:

1st: Total games won in head to head matches
2nd: The players' overall match winning percentage


Prize rules and regulations:


Copyright © 2009 Tennis in the Burgh. All rights reserved.