The International Tennis Number (ITN) is a tennis rating developed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) that represents a player’s general level of play and is recognised internationally. In time it is hoped that every tennis player worldwide will have an ITN.
The ITN is a system where players are rated on a scale of 10 levels, from ITN 1 to ITN 10. ITN 1 represents a high level player (holding an ATP / WTA ranking or of an equivalent playing standard). ITN 10 is a player who is new to the game and beginning their competitive journey in tennis.
ITN 10.3, 10.2 and 10.1 are for starter players who are unable to play the game (serve, rally and score) with a regular Yellow ball on a full court. They are using the slower Red, Orange and Green balls on smaller courts. A description of standards has been developed to describe each of the 10 rating categories.
Types of players
Players can be divided into five types within the ITN according to their overall ability. The ITF recommends that the following terminology is used to describe the five types of players:
ITN Description of Standards
An explanation of the 10 rating categories within the ITN are known as the ITN Description of Standards. A concise summary of this Description of Standards is shown below. The intention is that it should be easy to understand and useful for both the player and / or the ITN assessor (coach / administrator).
The ITN Description of Standards avoids rating players purely on the technical assessment of individual shots. Instead it has used as its basis:
The following is an extract from the ITN Description of Standards and gives a concise summary of the 10 different ITN rating categories.
ITN 1 to 10
This player has had intensive training for national tournament competition at the junior and senior levels and has extensive professional tournament experience. Currently holds or is capable of holding an ATP / WTA ranking and their major source of income is through tournament prize money.
This player has power and / or consistency as a major weapon. Can vary strategies and styles of play in a competitive situation. The player is usually a nationally-ranked player.
This player has good shot anticipation and frequently has an outstanding shot or attribute around which a game may be structured. Can regularly hit winners and force errors off short balls. Can put away volleys and smashes and has a variety of serves to rely on.
This player can use power and spins and has begun to handle pace. Has sound footwork, can control depth of shots, and can vary game plan according to opponents. Can hit first serves with power and can utilise spin on second serves.
This player has dependable strokes, including directional control and depth on both groundstrokes and on moderate shots. The player has the ability to use lobs, overheads, approach shots and volleys with some success.
This player exhibits more aggressive net play, has improved court coverage, improved shot control and is developing teamwork in doubles.
This player is fairly consistent when hitting medium paced shots, but is not yet comfortable with all strokes. The player lacks control over depth, direction and power.
This player is able to judge / control where the ball is going and can sustain a short rally.
This player needs on court experience, while strokes can be completed with some success.
This player is starting to play competitively (can serve rally and score) on a full court using a regular ITF approved Yellow ball.
ITN 10.1, 10.2 and 10.3
The creation of a sub-category for starter players (ITN 10.1, 10.2 and 10.3) ensures that any player, whatever their level, can have an ITN. The ITN 10.1 to 10.3 categories will usually involve playing in a modified environment e.g. using the slower Red, orange and Green balls, on a smaller court and / or using adapted rackets as appropriate.
This player is able to rally with movement and control. Typically a player using the Green ball on a full size court i.e. Stage 1 Tennis10s.
This player has developed some simple tennis-specific skills in hitting an oncoming ball regularly, however rallying with movement and control is not yet achieved. Typically a player using the Orange ball on a 60-foot court i.e. Stage 2 Tennis10s.
The player is in the early stages of tennis skills development and is primarily learning simple tennis co-ordination tasks / exercises. Typically a player using the Red ball on a 36-foot court i.e. Stage 3 Tennis10s.
Why use only 10 ratings categories?
The number of rating categories is limited to 10 so that the system is simple, easily understood and relatively easy to promote and to use. The number of rating categories was discussed extensively by the International Tennis Rating taskforce and, while recognising that the rating categories could be expanded at national level, the ITF’s intention is to maintain the ten rating categories at the international level, as detailed above. However, the rating categories ITN 1 – ITN 10 should not be restrictive and National Associations should be able to expand and adapt the system by adding sub-levels within each category (e.g. 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 etc) if they feel it is beneficial to tennis in their country.