Doesn't make sense to me

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Homey, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. Homey

    Homey Rookie

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    I need you guys/gals honest opinion on a situation.

    To me the NTRP guidelines need to be changed.
    I assume by having a scale from 1.0 to 7.0 that all matches should be pretty equal. But the fact so many people are shoved in to the 3.0-4.5 means that matches are not played by players of equal caliber.

    My scenario:
    I started playing tennis for the first time as a 24 year old adult.
    I have now played for 14 years. (First 10 years as a hacker). The last 3-4 years I have tried to clean up my strokes by truly LEARNING the proper technique.
    I am a NTRP 4.0, based on my results in tournaments and leagues.

    I went to 4.0 men's nationals this year and went 1-1 in #1 doubles.
    I went 5-1 at Sectionals in #1 doubles.


    My OPPONENTS scenario:
    My opponent started playing tennis at age 7.
    He has now been playing tennis for 32 years.
    He was good enough to play college at a D2 school in the Northeast. He played #6 in singles at college and #3 in doubles at college.

    I got beat by my opponent at Nationals 6-2; 6-0. A total drubbing. Me and my partner didn't even come close to hanging with these guys.

    How can me and my opponent both be 4.0's, when:

    A. He has played his whole life and started as a kid.
    B. He played college tennis for a D2 school.
    C. I had a great record this year and beat a lot of teams handily(which means there are a lot of other guys that I beat badly), yet this guy is SOOOO much better than me, and yet we are both 4.0's?

    It just doesn't make sense to me.

    To me the USTA needs to use all their levels and have more levels. In other words use the 1.0,1.5,2.5, etc. The levels need to go to 10.0 instead of 7.0.

    Am I totally wrong on this??? I want your honest opinion on this.

    P.S. My opponent has been kicked up to 4.5's for next year, but I was told that by going 5-1 at Sectionals that I will be kicked up also. So in theory we are on the same skill level?!?

    Thanks everyone.
     
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  2. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

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    There can be a very large difference in skills between a high 4.0 player (at the national level) and a median 4.0 player. Some call it sandbagging, and in some cases that might be justified. In this specific case I'm not sure if thats the right characterization.

    What I do know is that the USTA is an inept organization and expecting them to do anything along the lines of what you suggest is laughable....hysterically so.

    If I were you, I would take the drubbing to heart and continue to work hard on improving my game. Hell, you made it that far so it seems to me you're doing something right.
     
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  3. Wakenslam

    Wakenslam Rookie

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    First of all - congratulations on a great season! Just getting to nationals is a huge accomplishment.

    In theory you are on the same level, but according to the score you were not on the day of the match.

    Just by going 5-1 at sectionals, surely you would agree that you should be bumped to 4.5, and would even be accused of sandbagging by some people playing 4.0. How many thousand 4.0 players are not as good as you?

    I agree that there aren't enough "real" NTRP levels. Pretty much everyone plays 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5. It seems that only a few play 5.0 or open. Starting people at 1.0 makes sense to me.
     
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  4. Kostas

    Kostas Semi-Pro

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    lol @ going to nationals and complaining about the level of competition.
     
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  5. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    That team from NY was pretty stacked.

    But 6-2, 6-0 is considered to be a "competitive" match. The USTA says that it is possible to loss 6-0, 6-0 within level. Most of the people at nationals are pushing the next level, some more that others. I suspect that you are a high end 4.0 player and the opponent was a low end 4.5 player.
     
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  6. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Changing the levels isnt going to fix that problem.

    If he was playing D2 he should be at 4.0. Not only is that an opinion, it's in the current rules as well. (even D3 says 4.5 unless they are over 36, but at least there you can imagine they could get an appeal to 4.0)

    So that's the reality, you're could be a 4.0, he's a 4.5 or better.

    Not sure where you get the idea that you'll get moved up to 4.5. Unless you have early start ratings you wont know that until the ratings come out.

    I believe that Nationals will count for 50% of your rating (record doesnt matter, just game score versus your opponent's rating). The other 50% will be your dynamic rating that is based on your whole year's worth of matches.

    Typically we assume that if someone gets to Nationals they will get bumped up, but that's not always the case mathematically.

    So again you're playing someone who does not belong at your level, it doesnt matter what level that is or how many levels there are, you'll still find people who you meet that do not belong where you are at.

    And players are not "shoved" in 3.0 - 4.5. The reality is if you look at the bulk of the players playing tennis in these leagues MOST of them are 3.0, 3.5, 4.0. That's because it is not easy for everyone to advance so it thins the numbers out as you get past 4.0.

    (but that doesnt mean some college D2 player should be at 4.0. College teams are generally pretty small and even in a smaller college you're talking about a handful of people being allowed to be on the team out of thousands. I dont think it's quite on the same level as who is good enough to be at 4.0......with enough hard work or a lot of skill you can get to 4.0, but you may not be good enough to make the team at most D2 schools)

    I agree with an assessment that suresh on here made once. Generally 4.5 is when you really start seeing players that resemble the ones on TV. 4.0's are better then 3.5's, but they are far from perfect. (I think you can get on a 4.0 team and be fairly successful and still lack some consistency, some major weapons, and a lot of times they lack any sense of strategy for doubles, although overall it's better then 3.5 in that regard)
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
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  7. Casey10s

    Casey10s Rookie

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    Two things to consider:

    1. Could it be a playing style? Was their style something that didn't match up with your style? I think the higher you go you run into situations where styles can be very important. I have seen at 4.5 and some at 4.0 where A beats B very handily. C plays A pretty closely. But B and C plays even. This happens on a consistent basis.

    2. If someone is at the top of level and someone is at the bottom of the level, you can get some pretty good blowouts occasionally.

    For what you described, I think that there is playing difference in ability between your doubles team and the other doubles team. But also, the other team had teaching as they went through the juniors and this could cause a matchup problem. They may have command of certain shots that either you are now learning or you may learn in the future. You may still have holes in your game that an experienced, trained player can exploit.

    Just because both teams are rated at the same level does not mean the match scores will always be like 6-4, 6-7, 6-4. There are going to be blow-outs at all levels.

    Also, if someone played #6 on a D2 team (especially in the NE) does not mean that they are these great 5.0 players. I have played guys who played around #6 on a D1 team and they would be in a high 4.0, low 4.5 level when they are on their game. A number #6 on D2 could be a low 4.0 player in some cases. I have played mid-level D3 players that struggle at 4.0. I have also seen D3 girls who would struggle mightily at 3.0. I was watching some D3 boys last winter and even the top players where no better than a good 4.5. Tennis in the NE does not mean great tennis. Maybe in Florida and California it does but not in the NE.

    Finally, from what you described, both of you can easily be moved up to the next level. At this level, the difference between the top and bottom of 4.5 is pretty extreme as compared to other levels.
     
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  8. Inner Game

    Inner Game Semi-Pro

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    Maybe your strokes are 4.0 but you have not learned how to win at the higher levels...Drubbing a bunch of local teams and winning the sectional doesn't mean much.....At the Nationals it's ALWAYS THE SANDBAGGER teams that win unless your playing in the Open division (where there are no rules)...which I don't think they even have anymore...
    So there you go...get better or drop down in 3 years and crush some "real beginners" Your Nationals T-shirt should last that long...LOL

    I'm out!
     
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  9. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    If you made it to the Nationals, you are a sandbagger almost by a definition.

    You just got beat by a better sandbagger. Get over it.
     
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  10. Bk_Mais

    Bk_Mais New User

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    I dont think the OP is complaining about being crushed in the Nationals. From what I understand, he was merely stating the level of competition and the indicating more towards the USTA levels.

    I would say that if you have played seriously for 3 yrs out of the 10 years, you should be def better than the rest of the mass out there. That would not count weekend warriors type-of thing. Playing everyday, 2 hours in the morning , drills ,etc .. And another couple of hours or more in the evening..

    I do agree with you about the level thing but it'd be a humongous task. Personally, I prefer not to think abt levels when I am playing.. So what if I got crushed by a College Kid in a Match. Thats just it, I try to work on what are my weaknesses n points and go from there.. In the end, it is abt how much you enjoy the game.
     
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  11. damazing

    damazing Rookie

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    I agree that there is a wide variance within the levels i.e. a high 4.0 is significantly better than a low 4.0. Maybe if they created more levels that would help even the playing field. I read on here that it's expected that someone at the top end of a level could bagel and/or breadstick someone at the lower end of the SAME level. That seems like it's missing the point of putting people into levels - 6-0 or 6-1 isn't competitive in my book, but if that's expected then maybe if they expanded the levels then the matches would be more competitive between the high end of a level and the low end of a level.

    One item you didn't share was about your partner and your opponents partner. Since you were playing doubles there were two other people on the court that also contributed to the outcome. If the one player was so much better it would make sense to pick on the other player.
     
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  12. goober

    goober Legend

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    The USTA does not need more levels. That would accomplish absolutely nothing. The levels are fine they way they are right now. You have to accept the fact that your rating is a culmination of your win loss record and the win loss record of your opponents. It may not have anything to do with your actual skill. Over time if you play a lot of matches this should even things out, but there are things that will throw a wrench into the formula they use.

    1) You can intentionally manipulate it by losing matches or keeping matches close when they should be blow outs.
    2)You can self rate way too low and then get a C rating that bumps you up but a level but still be below your actual playing ability
    3) Too small of a sample size by playing too few matches.

    or

    The 4.0s in his region or at least the ones he plays against in league may be better than the ones you played against so his rating is legit.

    Your opponents background sounds impressive, but I know lots of people who can beat players that have been playing since they were kids or were ex-college players while they themselves only started as an adult.

    As others have said, it is pretty silly to get upset at the level of play once you are at Nationals.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
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  13. Homey

    Homey Rookie

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    Thanks guys

    Thanks everyone for the responses! Most of them were spot on!

    I am really not complaining about getting beat at Nationals. I saw vast improvements in my game this year and I had a great year. I am very APPRECIATIVE that I made it to nationals. I also look forward to competing (getting beat) in the 4.5's if I get moved there next year.

    I AM NOT griping about getting beat Nationals. In fact, getting beat actually makes me work harder in the offseason. It brings me back down to earth and shows me my weaknesses. I then work on those weaknesses in the winter.

    It just kind of amazes me that there can be so many levels of play with in a NTRP rating.(4.0) I mean I beat a lot of people this year and yet I was drubbed myself. So if you look at a low end 4.0 and a high end 4.0 there is a BIG discrepancy. I guess that is just how it is.

    Thanks again for all your input. I truly appreciate it!
     
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  14. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    I understood where you are going in that, with two players that are, presumably, within the same USTA level, it does not seem right to have such an uneven match.

    I have always thought that the upper end players, within the level, show other players within a level how good they could be with minor improvement - practice, lessons, conditioning, etc.

    I do share your experience, however, that every once in while, I will play someone and think to myself that I could never win points/games/matches off the opponent, but then I can often look back and think of things I could have done better to have a better result next time.
     
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  15. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Half of it is due to players that are in the wrong level.

    But the other half of it is due to the fact that ya, you can actually have people around the same level that can destroy each other occasionally, it's not supposed to be that narrow. Especially when you are only talking about one encounter with someone and it was your first time.

    How did the points go? Were they fairly competitive or was he doing something that you totally and completely couldnt handle? How were you playing?

    Or were you too busy worrying about the score and just notice that according to the score "it was a total drubbing"?

    I try to avoid that myself but it's better to just get a sense if you are in the points or not and if you're losing them due to just not getting over the hump, or does it just seem impossible?

    Were the games close and maybe you just couldnt finish them out as easily as him, or did you lose almost every point?

    Things like that to me are more indicative of a similar level or not then just the game score.
     
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  16. JoelDali

    JoelDali G.O.A.T.

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    0wn3d.

    10 cares.
     
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  17. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    Consider this scenario. Player A is someone who just got bumped up from 3.5 to 4.0. Player B is someone who is on the verge of getting bumped up from 4.0 to 4.5. Both players are legitimately 4.0 players. In this case though, it is not surprising for player B to drub player A.
     
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  18. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    Many of you seem to be taking this as a strong 4.0 drubbing a weak 4.0. Based on the OP's description, that clearly is not the case. You don't go 5-1 at sectionals and win a match at nationals if you are at the lower end of your level.

    Based on the scores described, I'd say the winning player was a mid-level to high-level 4.5. If they were computer rated, I'd tip my hat to them and wish them luck at the next level.

    If they were self-rated, then the USTA never should have let them self-rate that low and their record proves it.

    Calling the OP a sandbagger because he made it to nationals is unfair - presuming he has a computer rating.
     
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  19. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    I dont know if it's "unfair", it just might be inaccurate.

    People should stick to the real definition of "sandbagger". (someone who plays down or even loses matches to try to stay at their current level)

    I think it is fair to suggest though that someone who's been winning their way to nationals (as opposed to just any joe schmoe on the team) is not a 4.0 anymore by the time they get to that point.

    That's not to suggest they are cheating though, that's just the way it goes sometimes with the way the system works. (maybe they improved a ton in a year since last year's year end ratings?)
     
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  20. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    I agree Javier. If someone is improving their game, they will eventually reach the top end of their level. At that point they will win most of their matches and eventually be bumped to the next level. There is nothing sandbagging about that.

    Knowingly self-rating at too low a level or throwing games/sets/matches to keep from getting bumped are the behaviors of a sandbagger.
     
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  21. amarone

    amarone Semi-Pro

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    This is true, but the issue in most districts is that if you subdivided the levels further, you would struggle to get enough teams at each level to form a league. In Atlanta, where there are many, many teams, the problem has been addressed by introducing intermediate levels. There is now a 4.0 low, for players in the bottom half of 4.0 and lower, and a 3.5 low, for players in the bottom half of 3.5 and lower. But nowhere else has the number of teams that Atlanta does, so it is not easy.
     
    #21
  22. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    According to the USTA, if your opponent was at a Div 2 top ranked school or was a highly ranked Div 2 player himself and currently aged 31-45 (he's 39, based on the information provided) he should be ranked as a 5.0, not a 4.0. That would certainly account for the result.
     
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  23. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Its true that probably like 85% of tennis players belong in either 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, or 4.5 levels. I don't think dividing these levels up further will really make a difference. I have played at 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0 levels, and would say that I don't think the skill gaps are all that wide. What I see is alot of overlap between the levels. There are lots of weak 4.0s who are not as good as strong 3.5s, etc. Plus the way players match up can have a huge impact on match results even among players who are pretty much at the exact same level.

    I think the ratings algorithm is pretty good, but its lacking because most players don't play enough matches to make it completely accurate, and also playing doubles where partnerships are lopsided also reduces accuracy. Of course there is the issue of players who rate at the wrong level and it takes a year to get moved to the correct level, and then the problem of players tanking games/matches to manipulate their rating.

    I'm sure every player remembers a few matches where it was non-competitive because someone didn't belong at the level, but these are more than likely going to be the exception rather than the rule. Most of the players I've faced were either at the right level, or just a little beyond the borderline and I correctly predicted that they would get moved up.

    On the rating system, I think its odd that it technically starts at 2.5, I mean what is the point of even mentioning 1.0-2.0 because they are meaningless since you can't really gauge someone's skill at those levels other than to say they are a complete beginner. Within a week or two they could end up at 2.5 anyways.
     
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  24. kendall22

    kendall22 Rookie

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    well-written, raiden
     
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  25. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    I agree that there don't need to be more levels. The OP's experience was completely compatible with what you would expect to happen. It struck him as odd since he beat up on local players all year until Naionals, then got beat up on. I am not saying he is complaining, just that it struck him as odd.

    But this is expected. By definition, folks at Nationals are sandbaggers. The only way that there would be no sandbaggers at Nationals would be if there were no sandbaggers, nationwide. Does anyone think there are no sandbaggers in the USTA leagues? None? If you think there are any sandbaggers in the country, then the folks that make it to Nationals are either the sandbaggers, or they beat the sandbaggers (which makes them better than a sandbagger, which would make my definition of a sandbagger).

    That's the reason why everyone who makes it to Nationals should be moved up the next year.
     
    #25
  26. JoelDali

    JoelDali G.O.A.T.

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    This is a fun one to read.

    :)
     
    #26
  27. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Even more fun than how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.
     
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  28. RichieD3

    RichieD3 New User

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    I think your a 4.5 and are being whiney about the other 4.5
     
    #28
  29. herrburgess

    herrburgess Rookie

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    My 5.5 combo team was set to play a D2 player at States who self rated 2.5 last year and is now computer-rated 3.0. I saw him play and would say he's a low 4.5. Oddly enough his team lost and we didn't have to face him. Instead we faced a kid who lost to the D2 player in the previous round. I'd say he was a solid 4.0. Seems to be the trend of the day. Captains appear to think that they need young college or high-school players in order to make a run at Sectionals, regardless of the level (and it doesn't get any lower than 2.5)...and the way things are going, they may be right....
     
    #29
  30. Homey

    Homey Rookie

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    Not Whining

    I think you either didn't read this correctly or you are not very smart. I am not whining. I just asked some questions.

    As I said before, I am VERY THANKFUL that I made it to Nationals!!!
     
    #30
  31. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Pretty much agree with all of the above. Probably there could be more 'sub-levels' to further divide players especially in 3.5 and 4.0, since there is a lot of variation within these levels.

    But I would hesitate to draw conclusions from the result of a single match. Maybe your opponent was having an exceptionally good day, maybe the way you play is a good stylistic matchup for him, etc. You really have to look at each player's records over the course of the season, and based on this, it does look like you and your opponent are within the same level, and both legitimately deserve to be bumped to 4.5.
     
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  32. mtommer

    mtommer Hall of Fame

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    One's ability to read body language is what's important here. If you're any good at it, you'll know whether it was just someone playing well or somebody who is obviously better than you.
     
    #32
  33. Perry the Platypus

    Perry the Platypus Rookie

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    FYI - I know who the OP is. First off he is a very nice guy and I cannot imagine him cheating, second of all - I played against him at 8.0 mixed districts and he is not sandbagging. He is a solid player who, due to his sectional record will very likely get bumped to 4.5.....and probably should - but this is due to continued improvement in his game, not anything sinister. Around here he is at the top of the 4.0 level due mostly to the fact that there don't appear to be any holes in his game and more importantly he plays smart tennis.

    What I have noticed is that smart players with solid games can beat bashers who LOOK outstanding, but give away too many cheap points. Sounds like he came up against another smart player with better game. That guy could be sandbagging, could not be sandbagging. Hard to say.

    People on these forums are to quick to throw the term sandbagger at anybody who goes to nationals. I would say that in many parts of the country the quality of the overall team that goes to nationals varies. I know that in the OPs section the two teams that played in the 4.0 sectional final the prior year each got about 8 guys bumped to 4.5 at the end of the year (strong teams). That may have opened a door - or it may not.

    As to the variation within level.......Yes it is there, the USTA knows it is there and apparently is comfortable with it (after all they say that an upper level 4.0 can beat a lower level 4.0 6-0, 6-0). It doesn't make sense until you consider the economics of the situation. It is probably far more economical to have the majority of players concentrated at the 5 levels as opposed to say 10. 10 levels would absolutely even out the competition but would likely make the management of the various leagues a significantly larger headache......
     
    #33

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