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View Full Version : would like to hear your opinion on which tournament level i should play


masterxfob
09-02-2010, 09:33 PM
here's a little background. i started playing tennis around the age of 12 or 13 with my pops. i liked the sport, but never took it all that seriously, and ended up quitting after high school at around a 4.0 level.

fast forward about 10 years. i quit my day job and had a lot of free time on my hands, so i started up tennis again. for the last year and a half i have improved my game immensely and can hold my own against 5.5's. stamina is still an issue, but i can usually sustain a high level of performance for about 2 hours. my serve was the last thing to come, but now that it has, my confidence is through the roof.

it has been 12 years since i've last played competitively, and i'd like to start it up again. friends say i should play 5.5, but i'm not so sure. i have never played against 5.0+ players in a competitive setting and am a bit nervous. i also hear that cheating is pretty bad and that may also set me off. should i start playing at lower levels such as 4.5 and move up? or just jump into things at 5.5?

also, any suggestions on what to bring and how to warm-up for tournaments would be appreciated. are there practice courts where i can warm-up like the pros?

polski
09-03-2010, 04:19 AM
You should probably try to get some matches against people at all three levels (4.5, 5.0, 5.5). Holding your own is one thing, but being competitive is another. Play against a few 4.5's, then some 5.0's. Talk to someone at a local club about who their better players are & see if they can pass on your contact info.

I know you are in LA where there should be a lot of players available. In less populated areas, 4.5 is the top of the food chain. Before you go rating yourself a 5.5, make sure that leagues actually exist at that level if you want to play leagues.

If you're just playing tournaments, simply enter an Open draw & see how it goes. In most Adult tournaments there are not warm up courts so you have to develop your own routine. It is the furthest thing from the pros.

Falloutjr
09-03-2010, 04:52 AM
Yeah, if you're a legit 4.5-5.0, you should have a good chance to compete in most Open tournaments you enter. That's where I would go; just straight to the majors :D

justsomeguy
09-03-2010, 05:29 AM
it has been 12 years since i've last played competitively, and i'd like to start it up again. friends say i should play 5.5, but i'm not so sure. i have never played against 5.0+ players in a competitive setting and am a bit nervous. i also hear that cheating is pretty bad and that may also set me off. should i start playing at lower levels such as 4.5 and move up? or just jump into things at 5.5?

also, any suggestions on what to bring and how to warm-up for tournaments would be appreciated. are there practice courts where i can warm-up like the pros?

Well, if cheating is a problem it will likely be a problem at any level. Personally, I haven't run into this.

It's pretty simple. Either play 4.5 and move up if you kick ***, or play higher and move down if you get stomped. You don't sound like you have much match play, so fitness probably won't be your biggest challenge. If you have any nads, play higher and go for it.

What to bring? Water. Practice courts? Most likely all the courts will be taken up for the tourny. You could find a court that is on the way and do some hitting there if needed. The downside to this is if you get bumped to a later time, as then you are all warmed up and have no one to play. Then you sit for an hour and have to warm up again. I just stretch and warm up on-site before the match.

tennis tom
09-03-2010, 07:06 AM
Play in your age group.

Call the tournamnet director or desk. The phone number will be listed on the entry to ask about practice courts, they should be able to recommend some. I've usually found them relativley nearby at a high school or public courts, usually empty. If they have a wall that can work, or I've done "virtual" warm-ups at the site, shadow swinging through my strokes and visualizing them, this will loosen up your shoulder.


While you're calling the tournament, ask what brand and model ball they are using and practice with them.

Bring some water, they don't always have water on the courts, also a snack bar or banana if you have to go three sets.

Bring a towel and swimsuit if you win your match, maybe you can jump in a pool or hot-tub or shower to refresh.

Haven't experienced any blatant cheating in the Senior's, those guys wouldn't last long in that community. I have noticed the younger guys these days are much more vocal and angstish and the refs not doing anything about it. The older guys at some tournaments are as quiet as church-mice, to the point you don't even want to call out the score, and need to keep it in your head.

You will be very nervous at your first one so maybe go and observe one and you can learn a lot about the what to expect.

That should be enough to get you started, good luck and kick butt!

cknobman
09-03-2010, 07:24 AM
Enter in open for sure.

Age groups usually dont get enough entries to make a draw, same for 5.5 level and often 5.0.

In my area usually after the 4.5 level people just go straight into open.

Delano
09-03-2010, 09:12 AM
Is there a limit on how far up you're allowed to play in your area? In norcal, I think there's a rule that you can only play up .5 in league, but you play up as far as you like in tournaments.

So, one decision (what level to play) will stay with you for the tournament, and the other (what level to self-rate) will stay with you for the year.

To hedge, I'd recommend that you self-rate on the low end of the scale. If you can hold your own with 5.5s and open players, I'd still recommend you self-rate at 4.5. You'll have access to 5.0 league (maybe higher in your area), which is strong. And for tournaments, lots of 5.0+ and even 4.5 players just play open.

If it turns out you over-rated yourself for actual, competitive play, you can just go back down to 4.5. If you end up playing competitively in open or 5.0+, all the better, and you'll get a C rating at the end of the year.

Bedrock
09-03-2010, 09:45 AM
Common rule - start from lowest available level. One you got two titles get to the next division.
If you are 5.5, see first if you can get the title at 2.0 or 3.0.

RoddickAce
09-03-2010, 10:39 AM
Well to start off I would say to play at 4.0 or 4.5 first, and slowly play up. You quit playing when you were a 4.0 + 10 years of not playing + 1.5 years of intense training, so realistically, it would be very hard to have improved to a 5.5 level (it's hard enough to go from 4.0 to 5.5 without the 10 year stop!).

You should ask your 5.5 peers to play a competitive match with you to see how many games you can get off them. For example, I can rally well with my 5.0+ friends but I can barely get 2-3 games from them when actually playing. And likewise my 3.5 friends can rally with me but they have never gotten a game off of me.

If you lose like 6-2, 6-2 or something against your 5.5 friends, it doesn't mean you shouldn't play in that level, you might just need some match practice to get used to that competitive environment. Good luck in whatever level you decide to play in!

FloridaAG
09-03-2010, 10:44 AM
4.5 or maybe 4.0

masterxfob
09-03-2010, 11:39 AM
polski:
against tournament 4.0 and 4.5 level players, i usually win with little difficulty. against a tournament 5.5 player (only know one), i can usually pull out the win unless i'm having a bad day. against a tournament open, former D1 college player (only know one), i usually get beat down pretty bad. ugh, it sucks that there are no warmup courts...

Falloutjr:
haha, my former D1 friend plays open and he destroys me. i don't know that i would stand a chance.

justsomeguy:
it's true, i don't have much matchplay experience. i usually play the same ~10 guys, but most of them are not very good and not much of a challenge.

tennis tom:
great advice about asking for local courts to warmup at. although i'm not sure about how playing in my age group works. i'd rather not get stuck playing someone much worse or better than i am.

cknobman:
that's what i hear is the case with the 5.5 level. sometimes you play one match and then you're in the final.

Delano:
i've never been part of a league, so i'm clueless to the rules and how they work. if i can find something close to home and i don't have to pay member dues or court fees, i might look into it, but i doubt that that is the case. that and i hate driving.

Bedrock:
2.0? 3.0? i would hate to demoralize someone that is just starting to learn the game. maybe starting at 4.5 makes sense.

RoddickAce:
i know my story seems a bit of a stretch, but i beat tournament 4.0/4.5's easily. i only know one tournament 5.5 player, but i can now beat him consistently. perhaps, i've just gotten to know their games too well, and i need to find new players.

FloridaAG:
not really even questioning the 4.0, but the 4.5 is in the mix.

----------------------------------------------------------

thanks for all your comments. my nerves tell me to play 4.5, but my 'nads' tell me to go for the 5.5 or open. i think i'll take the advice of seeking players, whose games i don't already know, in the 4.5-5.5 range to see how i fare. that would probably give me a better idea of where i stand on the food chain.

anyhow, i play almost exclusively at pierce college (free courts!). if any of you are in the area (91367), look me up! 8one8-5one8-4zero2three or username@gmail.com

*i don't know if it makes a big difference, but i am a lefty.

Bedrock
09-03-2010, 02:08 PM
It is up to you of course.
If you believe that you can win any tournament at 4.5, that would a good starting point for you.
At what level did you win tournamnet last time( just answer to yourself )?

I know the place your are playing at (but that is too far from me). However if you ever will be playing tour. in Santa Barbara I can help you with warm up (find a court and hit with you) if you need.

beernutz
09-03-2010, 03:00 PM
OP, got any video of you playing?

masterxfob
09-03-2010, 03:23 PM
bedrock
you have a valid point about when i last played competitively. as for the offer to hit, i appreciate the offer and may take you up on it some time!

beernutz
i'm sorry, i do not have a video nor do i have access to a camcorder. i'll see if my 10 year old digital camera can take any videos.

Z-Man
09-03-2010, 06:46 PM
Maybe things are different in your area, but around here, there is really no such thing as 5.5. Even at bigger tournaments, there is just 4.5 and then open. In the few 5.0 leagues that do exist, 5.0 really means 5.0 and everything above.

It is very rare for people to become 5.0s later in life unless they played college tennis or elite junior tennis. If you have indeed become a 5.0, congrats! Self rate as a 4.5 and play a few open tournaments. Keep in mind that you can always play up. You'll encounter all kinds of players in the open division. Some will be 4.0s and 4.5s who want experience. Some will be former college players who beat you easily.

highgeer
09-03-2010, 07:07 PM
Since the mass move-up in USTA, the 4.5 division has guys from high 4.0 all the way to 5.5+ players. USTA did not move up any/many 4.5 to 5.0. So, I would recommend you start at 4.5. You will get good matches at this level with a wide variety of players. Plenty of 4.5 guys play open and/or age level tournaments. It is extremely hard to be a 5.5 unless you are playing tons of tournaments.

Mike

West Coast Ace
09-03-2010, 11:15 PM
I don't think you playing one 4.5 tournament is a terrible thing: if you win it (and there will be guys who play a lot of tournaments, you might get beat) you'll move up (although there are a number of 5.0 tournaments listed in SCTA on the tennislink website - that might be the best place for you if your game is really that strong). You sound like you really want to try to see how good you can get - beating down lesser players isn't going to do it.

What part of LA are you in?

masterxfob
09-04-2010, 12:37 AM
z-man:
i was actually talking to a friend (5.5 tournament player) today and he said that most of the 5.5 tournaments usually only have 2 rounds. therefore a lot of the 5.5 players play down at 4.5 to get more matches in. i might play the 4.5 tournaments since there seems to be more competition there than in the 5.5's.

as for my level, it's based on my results with a small group of friends. however, i admit, my improvement has been quite a shock to everyone, including myself.

highgeer:
that's what i hear and that very well may be what i do.

west coast ace:
i'm actually leaning towards 4.5 at the moment seeing how there's more competition and many 4.5+ players are there as well. it's true, i would like to see how much i can improve and to see how i fare against other high level players. i'm not that old (30), i've still got a set of wheels on me, and i have a passion for the sport that i've never had before.

i'm in woodland hills, ca 91364 and play 99% of the time at pierce community college since the courts are free and it's close to home. my contact info is up a few posts if you're in the area and want to hit.

Delano
09-04-2010, 07:08 AM
z-man:
i was actually talking to a friend (5.5 tournament player) today and he said that most of the 5.5 tournaments usually only have 2 rounds. therefore a lot of the 5.5 players play down at 4.5 to get more matches in. i might play the 4.5 tournaments since there seems to be more competition there than in the 5.5's.


Some of the 5.5 tournaments also do Round Robin format to get more matches in, since there aren't as many players (I think the yearly tournament in Golden Gate Park does this).

BTW, I think your buddy means that people with 5.5 level *skills* often play down in 4.5. USTA tournaments won't allow you to play lower than your official, computer rating, so a computer or self rated 5.5 can't enter a 4.5 tournament. I think this is why a lot of people are cautioning you against self-rating 5.5. You'd probably be limiting yourself to Opens with the occasional 5.5 draw, and if it turns out 4.5 would have been a better choice, your options are limited (you can appeal with the USTA, but probably you'll just have to take your lumps for the year and get bumped down).

tennis tom
09-04-2010, 10:06 AM
Masterxfob, test your metal (or is it mettle) in the Senior Age Group Tournaments. I'm in the 60's but I'm pretty sure there are many tournaments that have 30's divisions. That's where the real players are. Only occsaionaly do you get a club player entering, maybe at the suggestion of his coach or maybe because he's smart and the tournament is held right at his club.

Most club players don't even have the smarts to watch one when they are fortunate to host one at their own club. It would shatter their self-image to see what real tennis is like. If they do happen to come by, it's just to bytch about why they cant play on "their" courts. That's why Senior Tounaments are becoming fewer and fewer, because club owners and club pros are sucumbing to the pressure of their members not to give up their courts for a few days a year to pay respect to thier roots and quality tennis.

If you want to find out where your game is, sign up for an Age Group Tournament. Those guys knew what they were doing when they figured out the 5 year increments, 35 years old on the ProTour is a dinosaur.

West Coast Ace
09-04-2010, 10:48 AM
... and play 99% of the time at pierce community college...I'm in Redondo now - but lived in the Valley and used to play at Pierce. How are the courts? Did they ever resurface them?

masterxfob
09-04-2010, 11:19 AM
delano:
yeah, that makes sense and it does sound like the smarter way to go.

tennis tom:
haven't given it much thought, but i'll take a deeper look into the age group tournaments.

west coast ace:
they haven't been resurfaced in a while, but the top three courts are in good/decent condition. they're usually pretty dirty however and play quite a bit faster compared to most other courts i've hit on; especially the ones in irvine. not complaining though, as beggars can't be choosers :)