The USTA rating system is BS!!! My story

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Gut Reaction, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    I cannot believe what BS USTA leagues have become. People cheat and place "ringers" in every level.

    Heres what happened to me. I was playing in 4.0 and I had the #2 singles spot.

    Anyway that morning I was discussing with my teacher what strategy I should use as it was a hard court and out-doors. he suggested that I play serve and volley.

    Anyway when I got to the match guess who my opponent was on the other side of the net..........MY TEACHER!!!

    Do you guys have any horror stories? I would like to send this string to the USTA.
     
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  2. ferocious4hand

    ferocious4hand Semi-Pro

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    is your teacher a tennis pro?
     
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  3. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    YES!!! In fact he even had the balls to wear the clubs teaching pro uniform at the match!! He did not even try to hide it!
     
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  4. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    SOOOOOOOO, did you take this teacher to school?
     
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  5. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    According to USTA guidelines, a teaching pro can be a minimum of 4.0.
     
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  6. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Two years ago a local teaching pro was playing in our 4.0 league. However, he had both knees replaced and was moving like Lurch.
     
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  7. bleach

    bleach Rookie

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    Not defending him, since I have no way of knowing his level, but the USTA NTRP guidelines list that the 4.0 is a minimum for teaching pros. I know some good teaching pros that play at the 4.0 level (at best).

    But to continue your thread idea....

    A couple of years ago, I was playing 6.5 combo doubles in our State/Regional championship. Our team had breezed through our local league. A lot of our players were benchmark 3.5's and 3.0's (I was a computer rated 3.0).

    We were warming up for a match; One of our opponents was a little late getting to the court, so we warmed up against the other one. After a couple of minutes, my partner and I said we knew which player was the 3.5 (the one we were hitting with). Looking back, I'd say that he would have been one of the top 2 players on our team (if not the best).

    But as soon as the other opponents took the court, we realized that we were wrong and the second player was a stronger player. It turns out that the first player was a self-rated 2.5 and the other was a high-end rated 4.0. At the end of the year, I was bumped to 3.5, my partner to 4.0. Today, I still say that was one of the toughest teams I've ever played against.
     
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  8. Jack the Hack

    Jack the Hack Hall of Fame

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    Last year, we had a teaching pro on our 4.0 team... but he is in his late 50s and has bounced back and forth between 4.0 and 4.5 in the computer for the past 5 years. He doesn't move very well, but he has good strokes, knows how to construct a point, and is a savvy competitor. Basically, he usually wins most of his matches at 4.0, but loses often at the 4.5 level to quicker or more powerful players.

    There are legitimate reasons for a teaching pro to be playing league matches at the 4.0 level, especially if they have a long playing record and are computer rated. This is opposite of self rated sandbaggers, which are the blight of USTA NTRP tennis. I guess we would need more details about the OP's situation to determine which category his teacher falls into.
     
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  9. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    My teacher is a very well known teacher in the area. He used to play on 5.0. The word is that he would intentionally lose matches to keep his 4.0 rating.

    I am a VERY strong 4.0 player. If there were a rating for 4.2 that would fit me. I am undefeated in doubles and I do VERY well in the #1 & #2 singles spots as well. I am not saying this to brag but rather to point out that I have never gotten more than 2 games off this pro.

    Finally the director of the club is a former ATP player who shall remain nameless. He was shocked that this teacher was playing 4.0 tennis. In his opinion the teacher was at the least a 5.0 player.
     
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  10. tennis-n-sc

    tennis-n-sc Professional

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    I guess they are, but I have never heard them referred to as "teachers".
     
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  11. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    Write the USTA and don't be shy! Opinions are good things to share in this case and when we join up, they are working for us. At least they can't claim ignorance if the organization goes down the drain, but with minimal effort I think the system can be substantially improved.
     
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  12. Jack the Hack

    Jack the Hack Hall of Fame

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    If the guy isn't older (like the pro I mentioned) or really does throw matches in order to deflate his rating, then I could see where you are coming from. However, to play devil's advocate, just because he played 5.0 at one point doesn't mean he still has that level of game now.

    How old is this pro?

    What is his playing background (did he play in college or have a sectional/national ranking)?

    How many matches does he play each year (is he playing 4.0 tournaments as well as league)?

    How good of shape is he in?

    What kind of game does he have? Is there a defined weapon in his strokes?

    I'm also curious as to what his motivation to play at 4.0 might be. Most teaching pros want to maintain ratings or rankings as high as possible in order to maintain a superior perceived level of skill for their students. Therefore, is the 4.0 team that he is on very good?

    Most of the teaching pros at the facility I play at are rated 4.5 or 5.0 and play USTA League tennis at those levels. However, when the 2007 ratings came out a couple weeks ago, one of the guys dropped from 4.5 to 4.0... and it kind of makes sense because he is in his early 50s and lost most of his matches in 4.5 doubles (and I know he didn't throw them because their team was trying to make it to sectionals and his losses cost them). If he plays on a 4.0 team, I'm sure that he will win most of his matches and people will complain, but it was a legitimate drop from the computer.

    By the way, your comment that "if there were a rating for 4.2, that would fit me" was curious and seems to indicate that you are not fully aware of how the rating system works. The USTA TennisLink computer system actually rates players out to the hundredth of a point. For instance, if a player is rated 4.0, that actually means that they are somewhere between 3.51 and 4.00 in the system, 4.5s would be anywhere from 4.01 and 4.50, etc. Therefore, if you were a 4.20, you would actually be rated 4.5 in the published ratings. The thing is that this actual rating out to the hundredth decimal point is never published, so it is impossible to know exactly where you stand in that range. Every league and sanctioned tournament match you play is calculated in the system, and there is a formula that takes into account the score and the relative actual ratings between two players to make dynamic adjustments. The USTA algorithm is secret, but from what most have figured out, there are some general rules. For instance, wins and losses do not matter as much as how many games you win in each set you play. Players that are at the higher end of the spectrum (like 3.90+) are expected to beat the players at the lower end of the spectrum (like 3.60-) by an average score of 6-2, 6-2. If a lower rated player gets more games than that, their rating will rise and the higher player's will drop. Also, the system seems to have a way of catching unusual scores (like a lower rated player beating a higher 6-0, 6-0, which indicates a possible intentional tank) and throwing those out. Players that self rate are usually put at the high end of the rating scale, and it is easier for them (theoretically) to strike out because of this (although, dishonest team captains will "hide" the sandbagging self rated players by having them play the minimum amount of matches to qualify for the playoffs or have them throw games in doubles).

    Anyway, you mentioned that you were going to send this information off to the USTA. If so, you may want to familiarize yourself with the rating system as much as possible and read information in the appeal/grievance procedures. Supposedly, the ratings administrators do not care about anecdotal information like "my pro says he is really a 5.0" or "I'm really good but I can't win more than a couple games from this guy, so he must be under-rated." Rather, real evidence of cheating or over-level background is needed. Given that, you might want to ask the USTA to tell you why the following players were allowed to self rate at 4.0 and play at the national team championships this year:

    John Arvesen: Ranked #298 nationally in the 2004 Boy's 18 & Under category, and was a two-time Texas 4A State Doubles finalist

    http://tournaments.usta.com/tournaments/rankings/rankinglists.aspx?id=93326

    http://www.uil.utexas.edu/athletics/archives/tennis/04_05/4A_bracket.html

    http://www.midwayisd.org/athletics/tennis/State 2004.htm

    Hector Hernandez:
    Ranked 1320 in the world in the Boy's 18 & Under category in 2004.

    http://www.itftennis.com/juniors/players/player.asp?player=100022915

    Atul Shah: Some say he was the best, and most outrageously, over-level player at the 4.0 nationals this year... but his team did not make it out of the round robin play at nationals, so there wasn't as much protest. At the sectional level, every team he played filed a grievance, but the USTA was unable to adequately prove his background because he is from India. However, here are a couple professional tournament results to consider:

    http://www.nationaudio.com/News/DailyNation/1998/120898/Sports/Sports1.html

    http://www.nationaudio.com/News/DailyNation/09092001/Sports/Sports13.html

    According to the USTA's own self rating guidelines, none of these guys were eligible to self rate at 4.0, but the not only did the USTA allow them to play... but it even crowned one of them with a national 4.0 team title. Here is what the USTA Guidelines say:

    "NAIA, Division 2 & 3 unranked college team player - program with no scholarships (not much stronger than high school tennis); junior college player; former juniors that had national (foreign or domestic) rankings but did not tour or play in college; Age 35 & Under = 4.5, Age 36 & Over = 4.0."

    http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/usta/doc/content/doc_13_7372.pdf?12/6/2004 4:12:22 PM
     
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  13. marcl65

    marcl65 Semi-Pro

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    Here’s an excerpt from a thread on this topic…
    In this particular example, the 3.42 beats the 3.23 6-4, 6-4, so the Computer Ratings Differential(CRDs) should be .12 (There is a whole chart to determine CRDs from the score. Before the match, the Player Rating Differential (PRD) is 3.42-3.23 = .19, so the Ratings Differential Discrepancy (RDD) is .12-.19 = -.07. That RDD is then split between the players, the loser goes up .035 and the winner goes down .035. So now their ratings would be 3.39 (rounding up...) and 3.27 (again rounding up.)

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=663332#post663332

    I thought it interesting how a higher rated player's rating could actually go *down* even though he beat a lower ranked player.
     
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  14. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Our local pros prefer "Masters"!
     
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  15. cak

    cak Professional

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  16. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    What is the defintion of a "benchmark" player?
     
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  17. oldguysrule

    oldguysrule Semi-Pro

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    This is a player that has advanced to playoffs in league play. The assumption is that you have played people who are at the top of your level in the playoffs so your rating is more solid. You now serve as the "benchmark" for your level.
     
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  18. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    In other words, a benchmark 3.5 would be considered a strong 3.5 instead of an average 3.5 because they were good enough reach the playoffs?
     
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  19. tennis-n-sc

    tennis-n-sc Professional

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    How about "Maestro", if you are familiar with the old Seinfield episodes. ;) We have teaching pros in our area rated 4.0 that are very good at their jobs. The ratings, as have been said, reflect their age and physical condition as well as USTA match results.
     
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  20. oldguysrule

    oldguysrule Semi-Pro

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    I may have implied that, but not exactly. It really means their rating (whatever it is) is supposedly "more accurate" because of the number and quality of matches.

    A weak 3.5 on a good team could go to the playoffs and still be a benchmark rating.
     
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  21. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    I did exactly that. In fact my whole team did. The USTA does nothing. In fact they are the problem.

    and jack....again, a former top 100 player in the world joined our protest and said in his opinion there was no way in hell that this teaching pro was a 4.0. (I don't want to give out his name because i do not want to hurt anyones reputation).
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2006
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  22. cak

    cak Professional

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    That makes much more sense. In the recent NTRP end of the year ratings one of our club members was rated a benchmark 3.5 from her play in Senior 3.0 at sectionals. (Not a National benchmark.) Apparently both NorCal and National had adjusted all players off the benchmarks up to make up for our National results. This meant the benchmark part of the ratings was adjusted up twice. When NorCal figured this out they took out their adjustments. On the NorCal website she now shows up as a 3.0 again, meaning she was a low 3.5 benchmark. (And this is all a shame for her. She worked real hard to get back up to 3.5, and is playing fabulously. Club rules say to be on a club team playing up you need to be on the team at your level also. From her play I'd say she's ready to leave 3.0 behind...)

    What's weirder is now that NorCal readjusted all these folks they show up in tennislink with a higher rating than they show up in NorCal. So when the NorCal teams show up at Nationals it would be quite possible for entire 3.0 teams to show up in tennislink as 3.5. (and so on for every level, now it is quite apparent who is at the top of their level...) Maybe it just takes awhile for adjustments to move back to tennislink?
     
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  23. federermcenroeagassi

    federermcenroeagassi Rookie

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    scores? just wondering, ill take it you lost, but did you give him a good fight? and umm, definitely find a new coach
     
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  24. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Reading this post is like reading a calculus textbook. Man, this USTA stuff you guys are involved in seems extremely complex and hard to follow, with all sorts of math involved and arcane rules and intimidating language like "dynamic disqualification" and so on. Way over my head.
     
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  25. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Jack, thanks for this. I'll remember these when I decide whether or not to pick
    up the phone on the 26th and pay for next year's USTA membership.

    In the USTA's defense there's no way to have a perfect system unless you're
    going to administer lie detector tests to all playing members. You would think they could take care of the egregious scams highlighted in this thread.
     
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  26. Eviscerator

    Eviscerator Banned

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    I have not read the responses to your thread, but let me just say this in case it hasn't been covered already. There are all sorts of teaching pros. They come in many different shapes, sizes and skill levels. I actually know a guy who teaches very well, but he is probably only a 3.5 player. In other words he teaches much better than he plays. You need look no farther than the Williams sisters dad, or Mark Philippoussis's dad. Even the famous Nick Bollettieri is a much better teacher than he is a player. Of course this can be true in many other professions as well.
     
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  27. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    I remember the pros at our club. You know, we have a saying, uh, that those who can't play teach, and those who can't teach, teach seniors. And, uh, those who can't do anything, are pros at our club.
     
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  28. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    Well that was nit the case here. This guy was actually quite succesful as a satellite player.
     
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  29. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    You left out US public high school tennis coaches. They hold valid drivers licenses and know the way to the away matches...
     
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  30. GeorgiaRoyal

    GeorgiaRoyal New User

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    As a public high school tennis coach, I resent that:) I coach in a region of Georgia where tennis is an afterthought. I'm going to have roughly 18-20 boys on my team this year, and they are all basically beginners. I've got two or three with a couple of years of experience, but they haven't developed very fast (this is the first year of this particular school, so this will be my first time working with these guys). I've done a lot of studying about how to teach the technical aspect of the game and how to combine that with the tactical aspect.

    Studying how to teach the game has improved my game a lot. I started playing tennis when I was about 13 and am now 30 (but, somehow, I am just a 3.5 player). I've got the strokes, but now, I'm learning the strategy and such to up my game to maybe the 4.0 or 4.5 level. My goal for 2007, is to up my rating to 4.0.
     
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  31. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    3.5 You have achieved incredible stroke dependability with legendary directional control on difficult shots, but need to develop a 6-pack and killer pecs. You exhibit the most aggressive net play, have awesome court coverage , and exhibit HoF teamwork in doubles. Cannot wait to see what 4.0 must mean.
     
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  32. johnkidd

    johnkidd Semi-Pro

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    Back in '04 when I was plaing both 4.5 & 4.0 there was a team that had two current DI players playing 4.5, one of which was all conference and very highly ranked in Open singles in our district.
     
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  33. cmartin

    cmartin New User

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    That happened to me a couple years ago. I was a 4.5 but got asked to captain a 5.0 team because there were not many teams at that level. We were about half 4.5 and half 5.0 players. We win the local league (due to great captain work-haha) and go to the states. Everybody got bumped to 5.0. It really discourages playing up.
     
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  34. SydneyJim

    SydneyJim Rookie

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    haha just because he's a teaching pro doesn't mean he's good in tennis
     
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  35. False Allegations

    Jack the Hack

    The professional tennis tournaments where u see my name, by the way is not me. This is my first year in U.S. & my first ever tennis competetion. You guys are just creating a huge issue about this by talking unneccassary things about players. Henceforth try to confirm & have proof as to what u are goin to write.
     
    #35
  36. Jack the Hack

    Jack the Hack Hall of Fame

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    Atul (aka "Don of Tennis"),

    The cases of John Arveson and Hector Hernadez are very straightforward - the USTA guidelines clearly show that their playing backgrounds should not have allowed them to self-rate at the 4.0 level. Unfortunately, the USTA does not have the guts to enforce their own standards.

    As for you, if you say that the player listed in the professional tennis results is not you... fine. I can't prove it, and neither could the USTA during the grievance process. However, for you to say that the league was your "first ever tennis competition" is disingenuous. According to the USTA investigation of the sectional appeals, we were told that you admitted to playing college tennis in India but claimed that it was no higher than junior college level in the US. The USTA official we spoke to said that she was researching it, but had no way to verify how the level you played in India corresponded with college tennis in the US. Our reply was that even junior college tennis varies in the US and some programs are equal with top Division I NCAA teams. Instead, we asked that you be rated via visual verification instead since every team you played at sectionals filed a grievance against you for being clearly over level... and by watching you play, it was obvious that you were not a 4.0. (In reply, we were told that only the computer could strike you out and that the USTA no longer did visual disqualifications.)

    Furthermore, similar to the cases with Arveson and Hernadez, the USTA self rating guidelines say this:

    "NAIA, Division 2 & 3 unranked college team player - program with no scholarships (not much stronger than high school tennis); junior college player; former juniors that had national (foreign or domestic) rankings but did not tour or play in college; Age 35 & Under = Self Rate at 4.5, Age 36 & Over = Self Rate at 4.0."

    http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/usta...204:12:22 PM

    Therefore, if you truly had college playing experience in India (irregardless to what level it corresponds to in the US) and are under 35 (which I believe you are) by USTA standards, you should have self rated at 4.5. (The USTA obviously ignored this, as they also did with Arveson and Hernandez.)

    In addition, here is a quote from another thread on this forum from somebody who claims to have been in Hawaii for the national tournament:

    Maybe "hawkeye39" is full of BS, but if he truly was in Hawaii and thought that you were further out of level than John Arveson, what does that mean in terms of you self rating at 4.0?

    Seriously, I've seen you play and you would do well at the 5.0+ level. You are a young guy that seems to be in very good shape, and there wasn't a stroke you couldn't hit extremely well. I was especially impressed with your precision and racquet head control... so much so, that it did not seem unreasonable that you had some professional experience in ITF Futures or ATP satellite tournaments in your past. Given that, how could you honestly justify self rating yourself at the 4.0 level?

    If we give you the benefit of doubt that you were ignorant of USTA levels and the league process, it still seems like you should have been self aware enough to realize that you were much better than everybody you played in 4.0. You won all of your matches easily, and your team advanced to nationals. At the very minimum, it would seem that your team captain knew that you were an over-level ringer and set you up to be their meal ticket to Hawaii. Obviously, your captain wouldn't be the first to do this... and considering the cases of Arveson and Hernandez (and the success they had at nationals), it looks like cheating the system is the best way to win. However, that still doesn't make it right! Surely you understand this, correct?
     
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