Okay to play at USTA NTRP rating in tourney, even if a stronger player now?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Vilgan, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. Vilgan

    Vilgan New User

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    So... roughly 2.5 months ago I started getting heavily back into tennis after a 15 year break (note: was not any sort of superstar as a kid.. 3.0 to 3.5). Serving came back quick, volleys somewhat quick, but I had to essentially relearn ground strokes for some reason. After focusing a decent amount of time/energy into improvement along with finding a racquet that fits my style (EXO3 red it so happens), I'm now improving pretty quickly. 2.5 months ago I was rated at a 2.0. After completing a session of classes I was bumped to 2.5 and signed up for a USTA tournament May 3. In the past 2 months I've improved to the point where I'm now a strong 3.0 or weak 3.5.

    My dilemma is that the 3.0 bracket for whatever reason is completely empty in the May 3 tournament and I really want to play. It'll be my first USTA tournament and I'm leaning heavily towards leaving my 2.5 entry in and also giving 3.5 a whirl. I hope that I will win 2.5 solidly and maybe win a couple games at the 3.5 level.

    I hear a lot of people curse sandbaggers and such on the forums, but.. looking for a general opinion as to whether this is an okay approach to take. It doesn't feel dishonest as the USTA approach seems to be to bump people up after they've proven that they are too strong for their level, but that might also be heavily skewed by the fact I'm pretty exciting about getting to play and don't want to be the one and only person in 3.0 (currently 3 in 2.5 and 6 in 3.5).

    Thoughts/comments?
     
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  2. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    Not sure I read you correctly, but you're saying that in the past 75 days you've gone from a 2.0 to a weak 3.5? I'm not sure what that is all about... but good luck at any rate.

    The term "sandbagging" requires you to have some street cred in your tennis area before you can be accused of sandbagging. Considering you have only been playing for 2.5 months, you likely haven't played enough people, made enough friends, logged enough hours on public courts and had enough upsets for anyone to know who you are and call "shenanigans" on your style of play.

    At this point, you're an unknown quantity. Firstly, you can't enter an NTRP tournament lower than you currently are in Tennis Link. If you are truly a 2.5 in Tennis Link, then you can enter an NTRP tournament @ 2.5 and above, but nothing below.

    If you do enter and win the 2.5 tournament, i doubt anyone will call you a sandbagger, since you were never a 3.0 to begin with (in recent memory). People will just say you self-rated wrong and that you don't belong in 2.5.

    If you do well as a 2.5 in a 3.0 league, no one will think ill of you either. You beat the odds, and most of your opponents will just say you belong @ 3.0 anyway.

    Same goes for 3.5.

    I don't think you have anything to worry about. Good luck and keep swinging :)
     
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  3. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    It is pretty common for 3.0 to be empty, at least in my neck of the woods. You just don't get a lot of <3.0 players that are interested in tournaments. I am surprised that you have 2.5 entries. I have never even seen a bracket for that in any USTA tourney I have played in. Enter 3.5 to see where you really are instead of guessing.
     
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  4. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    "2.5 months ago I was rated at a 2.0."

    You actually self-rated at that level? For someone who has actually played tennis at all before, whether it was 15 years ago or not, this seems suspect. Were you advised by a pro to do this or did you do it on your own?
     
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  5. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    I thought sandbagging was simply all about someone who deliberately plays at a much lower level than their true level of play. I didn't know it had requirements like these. :confused:
     
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  6. Spokewench

    Spokewench Semi-Pro

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    I'm a bit confused. If you had a self rate of 2.0 two months ago; did you play leagues or tournaments and get bumped to a 2.5? If you self rated and did not play enough to get bumped up by usta, then you are still rated at 2.0. If the tournament director does not have anyone in your level, you can ask to play up. Call the TD and tell him or her that you want to play, but you are a ?? whatever you are (which seems to be a question) but if you are a USTA member and have a rating self or computer, then that is what you are.

    If he does not fill your division, he can let you play up to the next division that he does have players to play against for you.
     
    #6
  7. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

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    Frankly I would think that the people in the 2.5 draw would prefer another person so they could get another match. I think you are doing the right thing by playing both divisions to improve your game. Also, thinking you are at a certain level and being there are 2 different things, so you might as well prove your there.
     
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  8. spinorama

    spinorama Rookie

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    There are 2.5 tournaments?
     
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  9. cll30

    cll30 Rookie

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    While a 2.5 can play up at 3.5, the tournament director may not let you play singles at 2 different levels (i.e. 2.5 and 3.5) in the same tournament.
     
    #9
  10. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Come on. 2.5 is for beginners. If you played 15 years ago and were 3.0 then and are well into your comeback, then you are not anywhere close to 2.5.
     
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  11. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    2.5 tournament. wow.
     
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  12. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Hey, don't laugh. The only tournament I ever won was as a 2.5. I display the trophy proudly on a window sill.

    I had never played high school sports and had learned to play in group classes about 9 months earlier. My first competitive singles match was maybe three months before the tournament.

    I was a legit 2.5, as were my three opponents in the tournament.
     
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  13. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    Fair play to you Cindy, I hope they had an equal sized trophy for both the men and women?
     
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  14. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    If you and I played and you didn't know who I am or what my match history is, then how could you label me a sandbagger if I defeat you? You've got nothing to go by, other than one single data point on a graph of wins and losses. I could have been a self-rated player who simply didn't self-rate high enough. I could have gotten lucky. There's lots of variables to that equation.

    ...

    If, instead you looked me up on Tennis Link, saw that I was a 3.5 last season, but now I'm a 3.0 this season...

    ...And you know who I am, have heard of me, and know that I've beaten most of your teammates pretty handily...

    ...And then you and I play and I double breadstick you...

    ... that's the most obvious form of sandbagging that there is IMO.


    Everyone in my tennis league area knows who the sandbaggers are because they are people that have jumped up and down, up and down throughout their USTA history. But brand new players who have no history behind them -- that's much harder to label them.
     
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  15. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    I probably didn't make myself clear. I was merely going by the definition of sandbagging. I wasn't refering to calling someone a sandbagger.

    Here is a definition from Wikipedia:

    Sandbagging in billiards and other games, deliberately playing below one's actual ability in order to fool opponents into accepting higher stakes bets, or to lower one's competitive rating in order to play in a future event with a higher handicap and consequently have a better chance to win; the term has spread to chess, go and other such games

    source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandbagging
     
    #15

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