If used correctly, USTA Tennis Link can be a huge asset to a junior’s tennis career—it’s used by adult players too!
You can use the platform to enroll your child (or yourself) in a standard league, tournament, junior team tennis program, or flex league.
This guide will cover everything players need to know about USTA Tennis Link for both juniors and adults.
What is USTA Tennis Link?
Tennis link is an online hub that coordinates play-opportunities for tennis players in the United States. It was created by the United States Tennis Association (USTA). USTA Tennis Link is a sub-website of the general USTA website, meaning it can often be hard to find. We recommend adding it to your favorites or bookmarks for easy access.
The spectrum of tennis opportunities includes leagues, tournaments, and more. It is free to create an account, although you may have to pay for an annual USTA membership in order to enroll in certain tournaments or leagues. Here are the 1-year prices for a USTA membership as of 2020:
- Junior (age 18 years and younger) – starts at $20
- Adult (age 19 years and older) – starts at $44
- Family Plan – starts at $72
After creating an account and entering in your USTA Tennis Link login info, a column will appear on the right of the dashboard with your location (if you’ve allowed USTA to access location data), and upcoming tennis events near you. The menu at the very top will take you to various pages on the actual USTA website. In this guide, we will be focusing on the USTA Tennis Link features which are all displayed on the light grey menu just below the top. Here’s what each drop-down entails, and how you can use them to get involved with fun and competitive tennis activities.
The USTA League is the largest adult tennis league in the United States. It is comprised of over 300,000 players who play on an annual basis. Keep in mind that this league is meant for adults 18 and up—there are separate junior programs that we will go over later. Individual leagues are separated by two factors:
- NTRP Rating
- Age Group
NTRP Rating refers to skill-level, which we will discuss in a minute. Age groups for different USTA leagues include these 3 primary ranges:
- 18 and Over
- 40 and Over
- 55 and Over
Through USTA Tennis Link, you can either register for an existing team or find a completely new league to join. Most notable tennis clubs have at least one team you can join. Look for a club in your area, and check their website to see if they have any spots open. One thing we love about Tennis Link is the fact that you can check the statistics and standings of yourself and team through a simple search. Just hover over the “USTA League” menu icon and enter your name, team number, or match number to view this information.
National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP)
The NTRP is the official rating system for categorizing tennis players according to skill and competition levels. If you are familiar with tennis terminology, you’ve likely heard someone say, “I’m a # point # player.” This decimal-form number refers to a tennis player’s level of ability—the higher, the better.
The NTRP levels range from 2.5 to 10.0, segmented in increments of 0.5. If you’ve played a USTA match, tournament, or league before, you have an NTRP rating. To see what this rating is, hover over “USTA League” and input your name into the “Find NTRP Rating Info” box. But what if you’ve never played USTA before? How do you obtain a rating?
Self Rate on USTA Tennis Link
After setting up your USTA Tennis Link account, click “Self Rate” on your profile’s dashboard. If you have played any official USTA tennis over the last 3 years, then you will already have an NTRP rating, eliminating the need to self rate.
However, if you have never played USTA tennis before, or if it’s been more than 3 years, then the rating assigned to you does not exist, and you will have to assign yourself a rating. If you have played more than 3 years ago, then you are not allowed to rate yourself below the last level you held. If you have never played in a USTA league before, then don’t fret—Tennis Link provides self-raters with guidelines on which level they should assign themselves. View these guidelines here.
USTA Tennis Link Tournaments
There are tennis tournaments available for both juniors and adults (including seniors!) To find an upcoming tournament near you, click the “Tournaments” menu icon within the USTA Tennis Link website. Here you can search for tournaments based on location, and type. Tournament types are as follows:
- Adult Sanctioned
- Adult Non-Sanctioned
- Junior Sanctioned
- Junior Non-Sanctioned
Sanctioning simply refers to whether or not official rankings are affected by tournament results. A sanctioned tournament will positively affect a player’s rankings if they win, while a non-sanctioned tournament will not affect rankings.
On the tournament page, scroll down to browse upcoming competitions in your area. Tournament names including phrases such as “level,” “boys/girls,” and “orange/red ball” indicate it is meant for junior players. On the contrary, tournaments referencing NTRP rankings are intended for adults. USTA Tennis Link does an effective job of listing tournament start dates, as well as open registration periods.
By scrolling to the very bottom of the page, players can view any tournaments they are registered for, as well as the results of past tournaments.
Junior Team Tennis
USTA Junior Team Tennis is essentially the junior version of the USTA League. Parents can find a new program or add their child to an existing team through USTA Tennis Link. JTT is meant for both boys and girls ages 6 to 18. All teams are coed. Almost 100,000 children play JTT on an annual basis. Teams aren’t all ran by professional coaches, though. Many are managed by parents who have never played! If you are a parent interested in starting a team for Junior Team Tennis, we suggest you read our Complete Parents Guide to Junior Tennis first.
USTA Flex Leagues
What are USTA Flex Leagues? In a nutshell, it’s a tennis league program optimized for busy adults with minimal recreational time. If you have a job in which you are never able to fully predict working hours until the last minute, then Flex Leagues are an ideal fit.
Players can use the calendar system to set days and times that you know will be open, and potential opponents will be matched accordingly. Many tennis-playing adults are actually not aware of this concept—now you know! If you’re interested in getting placed in a USTA Flex League, navigate to USTA Tennis Link and click “Flex Leagues” in the upper menu.
Take Advantage of USTA Tennis Link
If you want tennis to play an important role in you or your child’s life, then understanding how Tennis Link works is a MUST. The platform can lead to fun times on the tennis court, making new friends, and overall improved play. If you have any questions about using USTA Tennis Link, feel free to leave a comment or contact Kid Tennis Hub directly.