Tennis Umpire Assignment/Scheduling

The basic tennis umpire scheduling problem involves assigning umpires to crews, crews to teams, and teams to courts at tennis tournaments. We have been working on this problem with the USTA since 2002 (the last time the greatest player ever won the US Open Men's championship, by the way)

The following is the abstract from Adam K. Farmer's Master's thesis entitled, "Automation of Umpire Crew Scheduling Process for Tennis Tournaments"

     Throughout the year, organizations such as the United States Tennis Association (USTA), Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), International Tennis Federation (ITF), and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) host professional tennis tournaments at various sites throughout the world. Officials with these organizations spend a considerable amount of time generating umpire assignments at each tournament. The number of umpires and skill levels required on each court can vary from match to match and day to day as the tournament progresses to later rounds. While the scheduling process is not very difficult for smaller events, it can become quite cumbersome at larger events such as the U.S. Open. In this paper, we first formulate an integer program that solves the problem optimally. We then develop a penalty based simulated annealing algorithm that efficiently finds optimal or very near optimal solutions for 25 different test cases.     

The work was partially funded by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and the optimization model and code is currently being used to assign line umpires at the US Open. The work was also described in an Interfaces article, "Scheduling Umpire Crews for Professional Tennis Tournaments" (Vol. 37, No. 2, March-April 2007).

The ongoing development, operation, and maintenance of Tumps (the Tennis Umpire Scheduling System) is done by Conflexion, LLC. For information about the Tumps application or if you are interested in using the software or hiring us to customize it for your organization, contact Jeff Smith (