0 to 5.5 in 5 years starting at age 43?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by sureshs, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I get an annual yearbook about local players published by the local chapter of the USTA. This year's book mentioned a player (whose name I will not give out) who picked up tennis 5 years ago at the age of 43. He relied only on watching pro matches and reading instructional articles in tennis magazines. He had good athletic skills prior to this. Once he decided he wanted to compete, he directly started playing 4.5 leagues, and has since worked his way to a 5.5.

    This has to be true as it is straight from the USTA. But I wonder what really is going on. From what I have read, 5.5 level is about consistent 100+ mph serves, huge groundies, fantastic anticipation, and superb control. Can someone at the age of 43 who had never played tennis before achieve this in 5 years?
     
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  2. Frankauc

    Frankauc Professional

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    if the guy practiced a lot, like alomost everyday. I think it's possible.
     
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  3. TonLars

    TonLars Professional

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    a 48 year old 5.5 who just started playing at 43? Theres plenty of 50 year old ex-professional players that are barely 5.0 anymore let alone 5.5. There is no way he is actually at that level. It would still be impressive and yet possible for someone like that to get to a strong 4.0 level. This is probably a mis-interpretation of the ratings based on the NTRP chart descriptions, rather than results based, which is common for people to do it seems at any of the levels for people just getting into formal league or tournament play.
     
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  4. Mister Goulash

    Mister Goulash New User

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    Please... why are there so many delusional people out there? This would be like me claiming that if I started playing hockey for the first time at age 29, in 5 years time I would be so good I could play in something like the AHL.
     
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  5. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    I doubt there is a misinterpretation of the ratings though...this was put out by the USTA themselves (every section gets a 'yearbook' at the end of the year with rankings).

    OP says he started in 4.5 leagues, so the rating would be results based.
     
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  6. BobFL

    BobFL Hall of Fame

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    I find it very hard to believe. That story shows to what degree NTRP system is inaccurate to say the least. That article was more like motivational speak if you ask me...
     
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  7. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    ^^Did you read it?
     
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  8. TonLars

    TonLars Professional

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    If he is actually "5.5" results based at 48 years old, he would be winning or going very deep in ITF world championships for his age group. I havent read the article, but Im guessing he has gotten to a solid 4.0 level at best, can "hang in there" with a local 4.5 league, and has probably entered some local open-level tournaments and figures he is a 5.5. The publication, like most others, widely sensationalized a true story.
     
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  9. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Hey, I get the skepticism, I do, but OP states:

    If he has a legit 5.5 computer rating...then how do you figure he did it any other way than through results?

    Maybe suresh could scan the article?
     
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  10. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    Why can't the OP just post the article?

    It got mailed out to people in a published thing.

    J
     
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  11. diamond brian

    diamond brian New User

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    Christian Okoye didn't play (American) football until 3 years prior to being drafted by the Chiefs.

    Back to tennis. I know a player progressed from beginner to solid 4.5 in less than five years.

    I guess 5.5 would be possible, beginning with the right cross-over physical attributes.
     
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  12. diamond brian

    diamond brian New User

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    Oh, the 4.5 guy started in his late 30's.
     
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  13. ZPTennis

    ZPTennis Semi-Pro

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    If its something you read it must be true!
    All joking aside, the reality is that the truth has been stretched. There are probably other factors that are not mentioned which would make it more realistic. Keep in mind that this is the USTA whose goal is to promote tennis even though I personally believe the whole organization is crooked.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
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  14. nhat8121

    nhat8121 Semi-Pro

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    self-taught 2.5-4.5 in 2 years, reasonable?
     
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  15. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    I would it is possible... I am 50 now and feel I have only lost a half step speed wise. My biggest problem is my eyesight... I just don't feel I pick up the ball as well as I used to.

    Someone new to the game would have a lot more energy directed to learning... and with some good direction and competition I don't see why not. And on top of everything.. 5.5 means different things in different parts of the country.
     
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  16. Moz

    Moz Hall of Fame

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    Post his name so we can look at his record.

    In my opinion the biggest age-related hurdle to overcome would be impact-related injuries and the ability to play multiple matches in a row / in a day.

    It would take a special type of athlete / personality with all the advantageous conditions to come close though.

    Of course, there are conceivable ways of legitimately getting to 5.5 and still not really being able to hang properly at that level.

    Did he for example get there just playing doubles? Did he get 3 victories against 3 out of form 5.0's and stop playing until the bump happened, etc, etc.....
     
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  17. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    The key to all this might be in the phrase "he started out in the 4.5's".

    However, I'm with Ripper014, especially the last part where he says "5.5 means different things in different parts of the country" - so true but many, maybe most, don't realize it. Its possible but unlikely and I wouldn't automatically believe everything that comes out of the USTA. Not trying to ruffle any feathers here but even they make mistakes.
     
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  18. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Actually, I think a bigger key is this 'he started out in the 4.5 leagues'.

    But to progress from there to 5.5, we know that leagues pretty much dry up after 4.5, meaning it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that tournaments were also played.

    Again, if the 5.5 is a computer rating, they only way to achieve that is through match play.

    Suresh, put the article up already!!! We need more information!
     
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  19. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Is there a chance this guy had tremendous hand eye coordination already from playing D1 squash or baseball?
     
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  20. UnforcedError

    UnforcedError Rookie

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    Big difference in the amount of skill it takes to be a running back and play tennis, plus Christian Okoye was not 43 when he started.

    The OP says he was playing in 5.5 leagues, never said he was a 5.5 . There are hardly any 5.0 leagues much less 5.5 and I would guess that the 5.5 leagues are populated by a lot of 5.0 and under players. He might he be a 4.5 competing in 5.5 leagues. If his name was in a newsletter it is not a secret, post it.
     
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  21. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    No, OP stated that this person started in 4.5 leagues, and worked his way up to 5.5.

    The question remains as to whether this 5.5 rating is a computer rating or not. If it is, again, the only way (barring any type of cheating) to get that is to earn it through results.
     
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  22. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Had to be a "perfect storm". He probably was wealthy and retired, so he could devote all his time to this. Then I bet he was an athlete who performed at a high level in some kind of sport that helped him learn tennis. That's not how it is for most of us weekend warriors who didn't even win a letter.
     
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  23. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, but I've worked with squash and racquetball players and although they bring interesting and competitive backgrounds, you really and I mean really, have to work on stroke development because those sports are extremely wristy. Former hockey players are actually easier but there is no question that once they learn the strokes squash and racquetball players make good tennis players.
     
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  24. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Even in well populated tennis communities, I'm not aware of 5.5 leagues. Certainly in Florida there are many gifted players but I'm not aware of any leagues - actually, I'm not familiar with any 5.0 leagues as such either.
     
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  25. Zachol82

    Zachol82 Professional

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    Sure it seems highly impossible. However, if he is gifted with athletic abilities AND he practiced correctly everyday for 5 years, then I would say there is a chance.

    We've all seen players who has played for 10 years and barely improved and we have seen players that are just plain incredible after just 2 years.
     
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  26. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Yes, I've said that earlier in the thread...there really aren't such things as 5.5 leagues, so if he does have a computer 5.5, he had to have switched over to tournaments at some point.
     
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  27. papatenis

    papatenis Semi-Pro

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    Another con job by the USTA.
     
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  28. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    ^^^ummm, yeah, ok...you have any proof of that?
     
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  29. Jonny S&V

    Jonny S&V Hall of Fame

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  30. Jay27

    Jay27 Rookie

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    To the OP...first I don't believe you read this article (because) you would have (without hesitation) posted this guys name. And, the fact that you've not responded to any posts tells me that you're trying to get a rise out of the community. I will, however, eat my words if you can produce the article (or name). Lata!
     
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  31. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Yeah Suresh...where are 'ya??? C'mon, give up the info!
     
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  32. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I may be wrong, but I seem to recall that sureshs is from South Dakota (or something like that). So the guy in the article apparently beat enough of the local 5.5 talent to achieve that rating.

    1) We are talking about South Dakota, not Florida or So Cal. I don't know what constitutes a 5.5 rating in South Dakota.

    2) If this guy devoted 5 solid years to picking apart the games of a few local 5.5 players, I have no doubt that it can be done. Logically, that is all he had to do to achieve the rating.

    If a guy like this travels to a national tournament and plays "true" 5.5 level talent that he has never seen before, he would probably get double bageled in 30 minutes.
     
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  33. DNShade

    DNShade Professional

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    Pretty sure sureshs is from San Diego - so there goes that theory.
    I don't think it's that impossible. All depends on the person. A natural is a natural - no matter what the age.
     
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  34. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    OK. I was busy today. I played 3 sets in the morning and then had errands to run.

    I did not post the name because I don't want people putting his name in UTSA tennislink or google and commenting on him.

    I cannot scan the article because I read such stuff during dinner and then toss it in the trash. If you don't believe me, it is upto you, I cannot do anything. Let me just say it is in the 2009 yearbook put out by the San Diego Tennis Association or whatever the USTA chapter here is called.

    Couple of interesting facts. In these 5 years, he was out one entire year with a serious health problem (not mentioned). Then, there were quotes about his sportsmanship from his opponents. Finally, he was in the final of an Open tournament.

    As regards the ratings, like many of you I don't believe them. My theory is that he came across some players who were beating 4.5 players, and did well against them. Maybe they were 5.0 and 5.5 just because there were so few of them around and they were slightly better than 4.5 players?
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
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  35. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Thanks. The ratings are result-based, and the article was not written by him, but some person on behalf of the USTA.
     
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  36. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    His tips for doing well - "hit where your opponent isn't and keep yourself very fit."
     
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  37. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Not very hard to believe that a good athlete in his 40's who was a 4.5 player could go to 5.5 with a lot of hard work. The strange part would be that a beginner could play in a 4.5 league - obviously not a true beginner, just new at playing leagues.
     
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  38. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Do you recall his first name?
     
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  39. Kick_It

    Kick_It Semi-Pro

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    I for one hope it is true, as I am 43 ;-)

    Barring a miracle, or perhaps a string of consecutive miracles, I don't expect my rating going forward to improve to the equivalent to most solid D1 college players more than 20 years after I graduated college.

    If someone else can successfully pull it off, more power to them if they actually do so. I'd guess it would take an athletic freak of nature who is sufficiently financially well off -- after the financial downturn -- to have something like 14+ hours a week to devote to serious tennis and get lessons from top talent.

    I'd love to meet this person and have him give me a couple lessons as clearly I haven't got my act that together and stand to learn a few things...

    K_I
     
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  40. equinox

    equinox Hall of Fame

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    nope. extremely unlikely.

    I could believe a former 6.0+ dropping to 5.5 @ 50 or A 8-9 year old beginner with good national coaching advancing to 5.5 @ 14.

    I can't see an older 40+ advancing to self taught 5.5.

    4.5 is believable with good athleticism and 5 years of good coaching and tournament match play.

    Post the name and results, otherwise it's a load of bs. Probably usta trying to make the game seem more accessible to the average couch potatoes joe.
     
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  41. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    No, only thing I recall is that his last name is long and unusual.

    I looked thru recent men's 5.0 and 5.5 local rankings, but did not see what might be his name.
     
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  42. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    I find that very hard to believe.
     
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  43. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Where does the guy live?
     
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  44. Jay27

    Jay27 Rookie

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    What?! Now you suddenly don't have the article and can't remember the name? BS dude. I don't believe one instance of this. I think you're now trying to recover from your crazy statement. You say you can't post his name because you don't want it going around the forums and stuff, yet hundreds or thousands of people would have gotten this article and would have immediately looked up the results. C'mon bro...do you think we are delusional (check the spelling on that)?
     
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  45. Jracer77

    Jracer77 Rookie

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    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing with all his backpeddling. And please, a 43 year old starting at 4.5? that's one of the biggest jokes I've heard on here yet.
     
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  46. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Holy ****. You're telling me that this guy made it from "beginner" to a 5.5 in So. Cal in 5 years starting at the age of 43 and reaching this level at the age of 48?

    I guess I have to say that I am a bit skeptical.
     
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  47. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    Toni, maybe he meant just in doubles. it maybe possible in double but probably not in singles..
     
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  48. mtommer

    mtommer Hall of Fame

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    The game of tennis summed up very well.
     
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  49. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

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    I don't recall the exact details, but I heard something about the actress, Elizabeth Shue (if that's the spelling), from the movie Leaving Las Vegas, trying basically the same thing.
     
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  50. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    I think I heard of this guy before.... I think his last name was Foot and the first name was Big.

    A huge forehand. Does not like publicity from what I heard.
     
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