THE UTR REACHES SPAIN WITH THE HELP OF THE CASPER TOUR

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By Eva Pascual, Marketing department, Sánchez-Casal Academy.

So far, 2018 has been a very special year, not only for the Sánchez-Casal Academy, but also for the Emilio Sánchez Vicario Foundation; and on a particularly personal level, for its founder and CEO, Emilio Sánchez-Vicario. After a 2017 marked by tragedy, Emilio Sanchez promised himself that 2018 would be a year full of hope and excitement. This is a promise that aligns with his personal outlook on life, which is to always ‘overcome adversity’.

This is how the latest of the Emilio Sánchez Vicario Foundation’s (FESV) projects, The Casper Tour, came to life. The Casper Tour was created in tribute to the young Spanish tennis player, Casper Fernández, a student of the Sánchez-Casal Academy, who died in 2017 at 16 years of age after a courageous fight against bone cancer.

 

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Casper had asked his father to help other kids train and progress in tennis, so they could have the opportunity to pursue a tennis career, just as Casper had wanted to do in his life. Emilio Sánchez united his foundation’s work to Casper’s request, and created a fund within the Foundation that provides resources for a tennis school for people with disabilities caused by bone cancer. The fund also provides scholarships for student-athletes with financial need. In this project, Emilio has had the help of the RFET, the USTA, and Feliciano López, a personal friend of Casper’s family.

In 2018 the Casper Tour was inaugurated, with 9 tournaments on 3 continents, all of them with a spirit that is different from other youth tournaments. In the words of Emilio Sanchez, “The Casper Tour is a bit different because you don’t go there just to play and win. Sometimes you need to learn how to lose as well, without forgetting the most important thing, which is the heart and the soul of a competitor.”

 

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One of the challenges was to make a truly competitive tournament, where young tennis players could play games that allowed them to learn, against rivals that help them to grow and improve. With this goal in mind, it was essential to make the matches as equal as possible and that is how the support of the UTR, Powered by Oracle, became necessary.

The Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) is a global rating system for tennis players, which produces an objective, consistent and accurate index of the players’ abilities. UTR uses its own algorithm based on the strength of the opponent and the final score of the match in sets and games. It does not just score the result of the match, but also takes into account whether the match was equally fought.  In summary, it reflects the skill of the player and, therefore, it measures his or her true level.

 
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Since its release in 2008, the UTR system has been adopted by the ITF and the USTA and currently records the results of all ATP, WTA and ITF Junior and Futures events; all USTA youth events, all the ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) matches and all NCAA doubles tournaments. Furthermore, it is the system used by the ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) for the official rankings of university tennis in all American universities. UTR also incorporates the results of a growing number of national federations. It updates and maintains the ratings of more than 600,000 players, and its database includes 6 million match results.

It has been shown that organizing draws by UTR level produces matches between players of more similar levels of tennis, and this is more effective than if the draw was organized simply by ranking or age range. Tournaments where opponents are more equally skilled are widely recognized by coaches as the most powerful method to develop tennis skills, and benefit all players. Conversely, non-competitive and less well-matched draws generally discourage the loser and don’t make significant improvements to the winner’s confidence; nor do they offer the opportunity to improve either player’s skills.

For these reasons, Emilio Sanchez knew that the UTR Powered by Oracle had to be a travel companion to the Casper Tour. Through this relationship, the universal classification of tennis has also reached Spain, thanks to the Sánchez-Casal Academy, a pioneer in the world of tennis and the development of young tennis players.

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More info and registrations for Casper Tour Barcelonacaspertour@sanchez-casal.com

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Eva Pascual
Marketing department, Sánchez-Casal Academy

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