PDA

View Full Version : 35 Nationals Competition Level


davidahenry
02-23-2009, 05:32 AM
I am interested in playing in one of the 35 National Tournaments this year - probably the Florida Clay Court Nationals toward the end of the year.

Currently, I am a self-rated 3.5. I am probably much closer to a 4.0 right now, but since I hadn't played for eight years, I self-rated at 3.5 to play on a team at my club. (Sandbagging? Perhaps a little, but believe me, I am not the only one who does this. It seems that many players are playing down about 0.5 to 1.0 level. In a 4.0 non-USTA match this past Fall, I played a guy who was very close to 5.0. Anyway, this is another issue for another thread.) So...

I am confident that by the end of the year, I will be playing 4.5 level tennis. Is 4.5 level tennis good enough to be competitive in a 35 national event? What is the level of most players at a 35 national? What level is the winner normally - 5.0?

Thanks.

DH

goober
02-23-2009, 05:53 AM
4.5s that have enter the National hardcourt 35s in Scottsdale never make it past the first round from what I have seen. I suppose if you get a lucky draw with another 4.5 it could happen. The winners are closer to 6.0 at the national events. But doesn't mean you can't have fun or shouldn't do it. I know some 4.0 and4.5s that enter every year and are happy to get a game here and there.

drakulie
02-23-2009, 05:59 AM
Depends on what you mean by competitive. If you play the number 1 seed in the tourney in the first round, you are looking at facing a ex-pro, and someone who is most likely a 5.5 players. Although the tope seeded guys typically don't have a NTRP rating, rather a nationally ranking.

Guys like Andy Lake, Carlos Diaz, etc.

However, there are guys who are at the 5.0, 4.5, 4.0, and even as low as 3.0 who play these tourneys. If you lose first round, you get a consolation match, which may be more competitive. However, even the consolation is tough, because you have guys who are 5.0-5.5 players in there as well.

Good luck.

drakulie
02-23-2009, 06:03 AM
BTW, here is a thread I started with some photos and videos of some fo the matches/players from this last years 30's clay court championships:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=234408

davidahenry
02-23-2009, 07:01 AM
Thanks Goober and Drak. Good to know. I don't think this information will deter me (because I am always up for a challenge), but it is always good to know what to expect before blindly entering an event.

Hey... At least it might be a nice mini-vacation from Ohio! :) We'll see how my year progresses.

Take care.

DH

drakulie
02-23-2009, 07:25 AM
DH, if you decide to come down for one of these tourneys, let me know in advance. I live at the club where the 30's and 45's is held every year.

And as you said, definitely don't let it deter you. It's a great experience, and as you said>> nice mini-vacation.

davidahenry
02-23-2009, 07:53 AM
DH, if you decide to come down for one of these tourneys, let me know in advance. I live at the club where the 30's and 45's is held every year.

And as you said, definitely don't let it deter you. It's a great experience, and as you said>> nice mini-vacation.

Yeah - I'll definitely let you know in advance if I come down for the tourney in Plantation, FL in November. Or... If I come to South Florida for vaca or business travel, I'll let you know in advance as well.

Take care.

DH

Jim A
02-23-2009, 01:33 PM
Drak, nice photos in the linked thread. I had no idea that Andy Lake still played, he also was a quality soccer/basketball player in the area

drakulie
02-24-2009, 05:17 AM
Jim A, yeah Lake is still playing, and playing very well. This is the second year I get to see him play this tourney. He is crazy good.

And yes, I heard he also played other sports and excelled in them as well. Guy is just a great all-around athlete.

davidahenry
02-25-2009, 05:00 AM
Typically, how big are the draws for nationals? 64?

Thanks.

DH

drakulie
02-25-2009, 05:04 AM
^^^Full draws. Well over 200 players when you count a lof of guys playing the doubles.

That said, this year, the draw was a bit lower...... probably because of the economy. A lot of players from outside the state, didn't show.

Jack the Hack
02-25-2009, 01:28 PM
I'm a former weak 5.0 that played small college tennis, and I'm now rated 4.5 by the USTA computer. Two years ago, I was ranked #1 in my section in the 4.5 NTRP singles category for all that is worth. I now captain a 4.5 USTA League team and consider myself the middle-of-the-pack as far as that rating goes. Anyway, I have been quite active in the men's 35 and over tournaments for the past two years and was ranked inside the national top 50 last year in that category. Therefore, I can confirm much of what the other posters have said already. However, here are some stats that might give a more detailed picture of the national scene, especially as far as ratings go:


In most years, the men's 35 and over national tournament singles draws range from 32 to 64 players. 2008 was a bit of a down year (probably because of the economy), but the singles draw at the hard courts had 47 players, 29 were in the indoors, 45 in the grass courts, and 46 on the clay.

Of the top 64 players in the current national rankings, 11 are rated 5.5, 31 are 5.0, 18 are 4.5, and 4 are 4.0.

4.5 rated players had a combined 20-35 record last year at national events, not counting defaults. Only one 4.5 player made it past the second round of the main draw (and I'm doubting his 4.5 rating based on who he played and his scores).

4.0 rated players were a combined 1-10 at national events. The one win came when that 4.0 player beat an unrated opponent 6-1, 6-0 in the first round. (Based on the unrated player's record, which was 0-4 on the year and only winning 2 games total, I would bet he's a 3.0 or weak 3.5). The next round for that 4.0 player was a 2-6, 0-6 loss to a 5.5 rated player. The other 4.0 rated players only managed to win 13 total games in 8 matches, all against 5.0 rated players or higher.


Last year, I played the national clay court championship in Plantation. I was one of the 4.5 rated players that went 0-2. I got a 5.5 rated opponent in the 1st round and lost 1-6, 1-6. In the consolation, I got a local teaching pro that was rated 4.5, but lost 4-6, 2-6. Aside from the actual play, I was a little disappointed with the tournament. 2008 was the first year (at least recently) that it was held in Plantation, and it seemed a bit disorganized. There was no goodie-bag and the t-shirt was really lame. I heard after-the-fact that there was a player party, but this was not well advertised, so I missed it. I'm not a clay expert, but the courts also seemed quite a bit uneven and bumpy. Maybe it was just sour grapes, but I guess I was expecting something more for a national tournament with a $92 entry fee.

Given your situation, my advice would be the same as the others have said - make the trip into a vacation. If you're going to the clay courts, Plantation is right next to Fort Lauderdale, where a lot of cruises launch out of. My wife and I took a few days to explore Miami and then boarded a Caribbean cruise after the tournament. As a tennis player, one of the things I would highly recommend is taking some time to go down to the tennis center in Key Biscayne where they play the Sony Ericsson tournament. My wife and I played on grass, red clay, and hard courts all on the same day for less than $20 each. You can even play on the stadium court if that's your thing. November is the down season there, so it was quiet and the staff was willing to cut us a deal. They also had a bunch of Sony Ericsson tournament shirts for $5, which made a great souvenir. If you don't win anything at nationals, if you make a vacation out of it, at least you can still have some fun!

saram
02-25-2009, 01:49 PM
Depends on what you mean by competitive. If you play the number 1 seed in the tourney in the first round, you are looking at facing a ex-pro, and someone who is most likely a 5.5 players. Although the tope seeded guys typically don't have a NTRP rating, rather a nationally ranking.

Guys like Andy Lake, Carlos Diaz, etc.

However, there are guys who are at the 5.0, 4.5, 4.0, and even as low as 3.0 who play these tourneys. If you lose first round, you get a consolation match, which may be more competitive. However, even the consolation is tough, because you have guys who are 5.0-5.5 players in there as well.

Good luck.

All of this is the EXACT reason I am waiting another year to try this out. I know the competition will be just as tough--but I'd like to at least have a few more heart beats per minutes than a few of the ex-pro's out there.

saram
02-25-2009, 01:52 PM
Great information, Jack. Thanks!

davidahenry
02-25-2009, 05:09 PM
Great information, Jack. Thanks!

I completely agree - great stuff Jack. Thanks for taking the time to pass along that information. Much appreciated!

DH

drakulie
02-25-2009, 05:44 PM
Jack, great, great post. Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us.