Charleston touring tennis professional Shelby Rogers missed New Year's Day altogether.
"I have arrived in Auckland! Skipped right over New Year's Day in the air . . . haha," Rogers emailed from New Zealand where she is starting another year on the WTA Tour. "It's the second of January here and I left the 31st from L.A.
"I love this country, it's so beautiful and green, and the people couldn't be any nicer."
World's No. 72 Rogers is a direct entry into the 32-player singles main draw of the $250,000 tournament in Auckland. Rogers will square off against 55th-ranked, 5-2 Ohioan Lauren Davis in the first round. Caroline Wozniacki is the top seed. Main draw play is scheduled to start on Monday (or Sunday, Charleston time).
The USTA has posted a defense of its NTRP league tennis rating system on its website, reflecting on the 35-year history of the hugely popular league tennis program.
Veteran Dunes West/Planter's Pointe player David Oyster, who like many others also questions the sometimes inaccurate league rating system, asked me to comment on the USTA article.
Most of the article focuses on the National Tennis Rating System the league uses. The fact that more than 300,000 players received year-end ratings in 2014 is impressive, a testament to the affection but sometimes dismay that playground tennis players from all segments of the country have for league tennis.
The NTRP system's primary problem is three-headed, all related to each other: the self-rating process and dynamic ratings lead to in-season disqualifications. Take away the self-rating process and return to its initial verification system (evaluations from pros), and there would be no in-season disqualifications; and therefore, no real reason for the complexity and secrecy of the algorithm-based dynamic ratings.
The year-end ratings aren't all inaccurate, although the appeal-down process is fairly useless in most cases. Disqualified or reclassified players justifiably often feel they have no recourse.
Unless a change in the rating process is made, players probably shouldn't be put through the appeal process, except for health or age issues. League tennis should handle the appeal process seamlessly prior to releasing its ratings. The computer shouldn't have the final word.
As an example of the occasional inefficiency of the NTRP system, of three players on my 3.5 18-plus teams who were bumped up and three others who probably should have been bumped up, the NTRP system correctly hit .333 at decision-making time. Good in baseball, but not in a computerized rating system. One of the reclassified players was a 69-year-old who clearly should not have been bumped up.
The new year in league tennis is just a week or two away. Monday is the deadline for forming spring league teams (18-plus, 40-plus, 55-plus and 70-plus). That means teams must have the required number of players (the minimum number of players needed to fill all positions for a match) on their rosters by that time in order to be included in a league.
Also, on Monday at 6 p.m., the Lowcountry Tennis Association's annual captains meeting is scheduled to be held at the Charleston County Library on Calhoun Street.
Reach James Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org.