Courington No. 1 in national tennis ranking for over 55

Special to the Bulletin / United States Tennis Association
Sammie Courington

Officials with the United States Tennis Association have been working for several months to bring uniformity and consistency to their rankings both nationally and across all 17 sections of the U.S.T.A. On June 29, the U.S.T.A. finally published their Adult ranking lists for the year 2021. Rankings are updated each week and are usually published on Wednesdays. The lists are national but can be filtered by sections. Texas, with the exceptions of El Paso and Texarkana, is its own section. El Paso is a part of the Southwestern Section with Arizona and New Mexico. Texarkana is in the Missouri Valley Section with Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Ohio.

The 2021 National lists are broken down into categories for Juniors (by ages sub-divided by two year increments: 18 and younger, 16, 14, and 12), Adults (by ages sub-divided by five year increments: 30 and older, 35, 40, etc.), Wheelchair, and National Tennis Rating Program (N.T.R.P. which is according to ability levels: 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, and 5.0). NTRP levels are further sub-divided by ages: 18 and older, 40 and older, and 55 and older.

The 2021 National list which was published on June 29 included Howard Payne University volunteer Assistant Tennis coach, retired Brownwood High School/Middle School coach, and 2005 Hardin-Simmons University Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, Sammie Courington. Courington is currently ranked nationally at # 1 in the 55 and older NTRP 4.0 Mens Singles.

“This came as a pleasant surprise. I thought that I might be pretty high up in the Texas Section rankings. Since the beginning of the calendar year 2021 I have played 5 NTRP tournaments, reaching the finals of all five and winning four of them. However, I had no clue what was going on in the rest of the nation until I saw the national ranking list. I never occurred to me that I would even be in the top ten, much less at number one. The hard part will be to maintain that ranking through December 31. There are a number of better players ranked below me who just haven’t played as many tournaments so far as I have. And at age 67 many of those players are up to 12 years younger than I am. It will be a pretty lofty goal to end up at number one at the year’s end.”

Rankings are based on each player’s best six tournaments. There are seven levels of tournament in the USTA. Levels one through three are National tournaments. Levels four and five are sectional tournaments. Levels six and seven are designated local tournaments. Players are assigned point values depending on their finish in the tournament. The National level tournaments have the highest point values. Local level tournaments have the lowest.

Courington is scheduled to play his sixth tournament of the calendar year at the San Antonio Level 5 Major Zone Tournament July 8-11. As the number one seed, Courington had a first round bye and was scheduled to play the winner of Louis Elizondo (San Antonio) and John Newman (Canyon Lake) at 1:30 on Friday. All his matches are to be played at the McFarlin Tennis Center.

Ranking list can be viewed at:

Championship finish at Horseshoe Bay Adult Clay Court Tennis Tournament, April 18, 2021.