Tennis Ladders in the Greater Pensacola, FL Area
Tennis Pensacola website

TP Tennis Ladders

A couple of us were talking about how we could help build a loosely organized group of guys to play some singles around the Greater Pensacola area. So we added support for Tennis Ladders to the site.

The TP Ladders are sort of a combination of ladders, quads and flex leagues. We rank members against each other, we assign each member 3 or 4 matches each month ... but the individual members are responsible for contacting their assigned opponents, agreeing on a time and place to play and entering all match results online. The TP ladders are not associated with any particular club and there are no schedules for match play.
Pensacola Men's Singles (PMS) Tennis Ladder
The Pensacola Men's Singles (PMS) Tennis Ladder went live on July 15th, 2010. It is open to all men in the Greater Pensacola area who want to play singles tennis around Pensacola, Fl.
Pensacola Ladies's Singles (PLS) Tennis Ladder
The Pensacola Ladies' Singles (PLS) Tennis Ladder went live on August 1st, 2010. It is open to all ladies in the Greater Pensacola area who want to play singles tennis around Pensacola, Fl.

Anyway - here's how the TP Ladders work...

 Member Profiles:

Originally, ladder member profiles were maintained in a separate database exclusively reserved for the ladders; however, in late December, 2011, things changed in order to reduce duplication of data.

The Greater Pensacola Tennis Community (GPTC) Registry Project Ladder member profiles are now maintained in the Greater Pensacola Tennis Community (GPTC) Registry. Once you have registered a GPTC Profile, you will use your GPTC Number (or User-id) and and GPTC Password to join and access the Singles Ladders.

Existing Ladder Members:
If you were playing on the original Singles ladders, you must connect your GPTC Profile and your existing Ladder Profile so that you maintain your player record. To do so:
New Ladder Members:
If you are new to the ladders, you can join the ladder as follows:
  • First: If you have not yet done so, you must submit a player profile to the GPTC. Once confirmed, you will receive a GPTC number.
  • Second: Once you have a GPTC Number, you must create your Ladder Membership. You will be assigned to the Men's or Ladies' ladder based on the sex specified in your GPTC Profile. Your GPTC Profile will automatically connect to your ladder membership.
Registering a player profile in the GPTC is free to the tennis community. No information is required beyond that which is typically required when joining an association. No financial or other confidential information is collected or stored in the GPTC database.

More information is available in the GPTC Registry FAQ


Players will join a ladder using the online registration available on the TP website.
There is no charge for joining a TP Tennis Ladder. Your only real commitment is that you will play all assigned matches every month.
Around the 1st of each month, all TP ladders will be adjusted - member placement will be adjusted based on performance.

The newly adjusted ladder will then be broken into some number of "boxes." Each player in a given "box" is expected to schedule and play a match with each of the other players in his box during the upcoming month.

Boxes will contain 4 or 5 members - meaning each box member is expected to play 3 or 4 matches in the month. NOTE: Boxes lower down the ladder may, from time to time, contain an additional person when the number of ladder members is not evenly divisible by the expected number of people per box. The "lower" boxes are chosen for the size increase in order to allow folks lower on the ladder a little more opportunity to move up the ladder.


When we first opened the ladders, people who joined or reactivated themselves after the 1st of the month were not assigned any box matches until the next month. They could play challenges in their first month but that meant that some might start out with negative scores ...

SO! As of Sept 17, 2010, we have added a feature to the ladders which allows us to generate and assign box matches for new or reactivated members for the month in which they join or reactivate.

During the month, we will watch for new and reactivated members who have not had any box matches assigned for the current month. When we have a sufficient number of such members, we will perform a mid-month box generation especially for them. At least 3 new or reactivated members will be required initiate mid-month box generation.

Typically, these mid-month boxes will be smaller than normal boxes because there won't be a full month remaining in which to play assigned matches. This just means that new and reactivated folks will have fewer matches assigned for the current month than would be normal in box assignments done on the 1st of a month.

It seems likely that mid-month assignments, if any, will most often be performed once in a given month. However, it is possible for several mid-month assignment runs to be performed if member activity warrants.
NOTE: As a point of interest - because receiving mid-month assignments depends on a change of member status, mid-month boxes MAY group you with members who are not necessarily in close proximity on the ladder. Never fear - beginning with the next month, your boxes will be determined by your ladder position as is normal for box assignments.


In addition to their assigned "Box matches," TP Ladder members can play challenge matches and have such matches considered in their ladder placement. As we begin, we are not imposing any restrictions on challenges. We may review this later.

Even though we're not imposing restrictions, in the interest of sportsmanship, members should probably not challenge anyone more than half a rating step lower (i.e. a 3.5 challenges a 3.0 - but not a 2.5). If you want to challenge up, that's up to you! :-)

 Ladder Placement:

Initial ladder placement will be based solely on the date/time that a member joins the ladder. All new members enter at the "bottom" of the ladder and must work their way up to their natural level. This will allow lower skill players to, occasionally, play more skilled players just to keep things interesting.

A player's ladder position is adjusted based on his performance. I adjust the ladder placements several times a week so that your placement is usually fairly up to date. But, in between ladder adjustments, members can watch their basic performance by looking at their "score" in their member info or the ladder report.

The actual data values used to determine a member's ladder placement, in order of precedence, are: highest ladder score, the most matches won, the fewest games played and the highest last match's ladder score. If these fail to fully disambiguate the placement order of all members, we look at the date/time that members joined the ladder - oldest members move ahead.

 Active & Inactive Members:

We expect the loose match scheduling to allow most members to work around things like vacations or business trips etc. But, we can foresee how one might need to take more than a month off from active play - perhaps for an injury. So, we do provide facility to allow members to mark themselves as "Inactive." Inactive members will remain on the ladder but they will not be considered when box assignments are made.

When a member goes inactive, it WILL have possible effect on his fellow box members during the month in which he goes inactive - meaning they will have fewer matches that month which can slow their progress up the ladder. But the other box members can play challenge matches to make up for the lack of an assigned match in that month.
Update 8/15/2010: Beginning at the end of August, 2010, box members who have not been able to play assigned matches because another box member went inactive, will receive 10 points for each match they were not able to play. Such points will be awarded at the end of the month just prior to the next month's box match assignments.
If an inactive member becomes active again, he will not be assigned to a box in that month but will in the next box assignment month. HOWEVER, he MAY still play some challenge matches during the month in which he returns to active status.

 Withdrawing From Ladder:

In addition to supporting an Inactive state, the ladders allow a member to totally withdraw from the ladder using a link on their member page. Withdrawing is very similar to going inactive but it is intended for those who really don't intend to return to ladder play in the future. PLEASE, if you are choosing not to play for some period of time - even if that is a full season, but DO intend to resume ladder play at some time in the future, I STRONGLY suggest that you go Inactive instead of withdrawing so that your placement and score will be retained for when you resume play.
Note: If one of your box opponents should withdraw and not play your assigned box match, as with Inactive opponents, you will receive a 10 point bonus at the end of the month when the next month's box matches are assigned.
When you withdraw from a ladder, your member record remains in the database but marked as withdrawn. Your contact and performance information will no longer be displayed in the ladder or roster listings and your score will be reset to 0. Your match records will remain in the match database for historical purposes and those matches that you played will still be displayed in the match summaries of your historical opponents.

If you should want to re-join the ladder at some time in the future, you can do so by simply logging in and re-activating yourself. Please note that you will return to the ladder as if you were a new member. You will enter at the bottom of the ladder and your score will be initialized to 0; however, you will still see things like your historical win/loss record and match summary.

 Match Scheduling:

Members are responsible for getting in touch with their assigned opponents and agreeing where and when their match is to be played.
Canceling a Match: If you must cancel a previously scheduled match. You must make sure your opponent has received the message. If you cannot, you must contact Kicker no later than 3 hours before when the match was to begin. Otherwise, your opponent may score the match as a default - 6/0-6/0 in their favor. (added 6/15/2011)

 Who Supplies Balls:

There isn't really a "Home/Visitor" relationship in the ladder matches - so - members should agree how to handle balls for the match. There's no rule that lightly used balls can't be used - but, to avoid issues, perhaps it would be best if each player brings a new can of balls to each match. The winner gets the unopened can and the loser gets the match balls.
Update 8/8/2010: Several folks have suggested that, for challenge matches, the challenger should probably supply balls for the match. Makes sense to me but, as always, y'all figure it out and agree on how to handle things like this.

 Match Scoring:

All matches are expected to be best 2 out of 3 sets. We suggest a full 3rd set but, if both players agree to play a 3rd set tiebreak instead of a full set, they may do so; however, they will need to report the match score as if it were 3 full sets. We will use the USTA Flex League conversion of 3rd set tiebreak to full set scores. Details are documented on the pages where ladder matches are reported.

Withdrawals: If a player must withdraw during a match, the current set should be scored in favor of the remaining player as 6/x (or 7/x) where x is the withdrawing player's game score. Any required but unplayed set in the match should be scored 6/0 in favor of the remaining player.
Sportsmanship Note: If a player must withdraw due to an injury, then you can decide among yourselves whether or not to replay - or continue - the match later in the month or to simply score the match in favor of the remaining player.
Called for Rain: If a match must be stopped due to rain, decide between yourselves whether to replay or simply continue the match at some later date.

 Ladder Scoring:

When a player reports the scores for a match, we take the match scores and calculate a ladder score for each of the two players. Player ratings are considered when calculating ladder scores: a 2.5 gets more points for spanking a 7.0 than would a 7.0 for spanking a 2.5. Ladder scores may be positive or negative.
UPDATE 7/24/2010: After several discussions about the approach to ladder score calculations, I have made a couple of small changes that will take effect as of 7/24/2010:
  • Box Match scores - neither player can earn less than 5 points for playing a box match
  • Challenge Match scores - as in the past, loser score for a challenge match CAN be negative. This is to avoid issues with a person playing a bunch of challenges and moving up the ladder even though they consistently lose.
Match Scores:

Player 1 Rating:
Player 2 Rating:

You can test the Ladder Score calculation for a given match using the form to the right. A couple of interesting examples might be...
  • Best Win / Worst Loss - i.e. 6 0 - 6 0 - made the loser eat two donuts
  • Worst Win / Best Loss - i.e. 7 6 - 6 7 - 7 6 -made winner work hardest
  • Middle of the Road - i.e. 6 3 - 2 6 - 6 3 - Won but in 3 sets and loser did ok in 2nd
The actual ladder scores are calculated as...

Normalization Factor = loser's rating / winner's rating

Winner's Base Score = ((39 - games_lost) + (2 * sets_won)) * normalization
Loser's Base Score = ((39 - games_lost) + (2 * sets_won)) * -normalization

Final Score = (Base_score / total_num_sets) + 7

Finally, if this was a Box Match, the loser's Final score will not be less than 5.

  • The (2 * sets_won) value is always 4 for the winner but allows the loser to gain 2 points if (s)he takes the match to 3 sets.
  • Fewer games are better that more games when winning a match ... but more games are better than fewer games when losing a match.

 Mobile Access:

Members can access certain ladder information from their mobile phones/devices by visiting one of several pages specifically designed to facilitate mobile access.
Members should enter the appropriate URL (above) on their mobile device to see the mobile page on their phone/device. These pages are "smart" enough that, if they are accessed using a standard computer and browser, they will simply respond with the standard TP Ladder page. HOWEVER, if they are accessed using a phone or other known mobile device, they will respond with slimmed down content specifically designed for quick mobile access.

The mobile ladder pages allow members to view...
  • a list of their outstanding box matches,
  • a list of all ladder members and
  • individual member information including name, rating, ranking and phone number(s).
Phone numbers are linked so that you can simply click-to-dial the number. Additional click-to-store links are provided to allow you to add the member's name and number to your phone's phonebook.

We are not, currently, providing mobile facility to enter scores or profile info because experience shows that typing errors are far more common on mobile devices than on standard computers. We may reconsider this in the future.


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