To 4.5 Guys: "Get Out And Stay Out!!"

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Of 8.0 mixed, that is.

    Now, you 4.5 guys know I love ya, right? You're awesome. You can hit your spots, you can hit wicked slice, you can bewilder the ladies with your spins and pace, you can utterly destroy the serves of pretty much any 4.0 woman.

    But OrangePower is totally right. Mixed needs to be changed so you 4.5 guys are not permitted to play 8.0 mixed.

    Take last night.

    Our 8.0 mixed team had a match. I played Court One with my 4.0 partner, against two 4.0s. What a great match it was! Lots of exciting points and great shots. The guys went at each other, but the ladies got in on the act. The score was 7-5, 6-4.

    Ah, but it was a different story on Courts 2 and 3. We fielded to 4.0/4.0 pairs, but our opponents fielded two 4.5/3.5 pairs. Scores were 6-0, 6-0 and 6-3, 6-3.

    After my match, we played for fun a bit. My 4.0 partner and I played against the 4.0 guy and the 4.5 guy who handed out the double bagel to my teammates.

    It was ridiculous. Even with the 4.5 guy holding back, we stood no chance against him. He was 6'6" tall -- it was like playing Del Potro.

    Come on. USTA league tennis is supposed to be competitive, and allowing 4.5 guys in 8.0 mixed defeats that goal. I know 4.0 women who simply will not play mixed anymore for fear of running up against a 4.5 guy. It isn't any fun to get aced all night.

    Here's my question. If USTA made a rule change, would 4.5 guys lose out on too many playing opportunities? Does 9.0 mixed even exist most places? Do the same problems exist when 3.5 guys play 6.0 mixed and when 4.0 guys play 7.0 mixed?
     
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  2. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    It's tough though, when you need to fill out a team etc. How often does this happen?
     
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  3. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    Welcome to 8.0!

    I agree. A 4.5M/3.5W vs. 4.0/4.0 is usually not a fair matchup. And 4.5M/3.5W vs. 4.5W/3.5M is even more one-sided.

    On the bright side, you can try 7.0 or 9.0! (Or you can sandbag to get back down to 3.5 and partner up with one of us)
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
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  4. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Ha!!

    The 4.0 ladies I know who played 7.0 mixed with 3.0 guys fell into two categories.

    Either their partner was a real 3.0, in which case the match was Xtreme Keepaway. Trouble is, these ladies are solid and consistent and experienced, but they were not athletic enough to play the whole court singlehandedly.

    Or their partner was a 3.5 in 3.0 clothing. Trouble is, their matches were deadly dull because they would crush their opponents so badly.

    Tell me, though. If you had to give up 8.0 mixed, would it really cut into your tennis opportunities that much?
     
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  5. goober

    goober Legend

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    We have 9.0 mixed and 10.0 mixed last time I checked. But 4.5s are all over the rosters of the top 8.0 teams. I have said this previously but they really need to change it to straight levels- 4.0 mixed or 4.5 mixed or 7.5 and 8.5 mixed with the rule the female cannot have a lower rating than the male. That would make the matches more competitive and interesting for everybody.
     
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  6. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Cindy has a good point. It makes a much better mixed match if the women plays at the same level or even higher than the males in the match.

    A 4.5 male and 3.0 women play 8.0 does not seem like a recipe for a good match.

    I don't play USTA men's any longer and have never played USTA mixed but I play ALTA high A mixed which is mostly 4.0 with a sprinkling of 4.5 players at position 1 and 2. My female partner is rated 4.5 and my last rating was 4.0. I was rated 4.5 20 years ago but have slowed down since then. It works well as far as ensuring a competitive fun match when the women is rated higher by .5 or at lest equal to the man. Most of our matches are very competitive but probably would suck if played a guy rate 5.5 (2 levels higher than my partner). He would just demolish my partner and I would struggle to keep up with him too.
     
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  7. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    I played 8.0 USTA in 2013, but I turned down 3 offers to join 4.5M teams and 2 offers to join 4.5M over 40 teams. Why?

    The twisted logic works like this:
    My work schedule with my med device startup keeps me busy, so I only end up on court about 2-3 times per month. If I joined a 4.5 team, my ego wouldn't be able to take losing matches to guys who I could beat if I played an extra time per week. So then I'd have to play an extra time per week. But then I'd have less time to work on my startup, which could put its success in jeopardy. If my startup fails, I'll be out on the street with no money for court fees. So I make the tough decision to forgo 4.5.

    On the other hand, I can win almost every USTA 8.0 match without needing to practice much, since most of my opponents are 4.0/4.0 teams (until you get to sectionals at least).

    I do pack a racquet with me whenever I travel (which is often), and I do bring my racquet to the gym with me to hit against the racquetball wall at least once a week - so that my strokes are ready for social tennis (or USTA 8.0) whenever I get the call!
     
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  8. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Cindy,
    Remember, they used to allow 5.0 guys with 3.0 women in 8.0 mixed. The woman would play one alley and the guy would play the rest of the court.
     
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  9. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    Cindy, I agree. I don't play much mixed, but used to see this kind of stuff.

    Mixed tennis, once its past the social level, is pretty chaotic.
     
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  10. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    4.5 is not the issue, the 6'6" Del Potro height is.
     
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  11. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Well... part of it is that 4.5 can be a WIDE range of ability. Since so few people actually play 5.0 its tough to get bumped up past 4.5 and people will desperately try and make sure they aren't bumped up because in many areas that would basically eliminate them from playing league tennis.
     
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  12. SuperJimmy

    SuperJimmy Rookie

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    The key to beating a 4.5 guy/3.5 lady pair is to abandon traditional doubles strategy...which many people have trouble doing. Hit to the 3.5 lady at all costs. Doesn't matter if the 4.5 guy is at the baseline and the lady is at the net, still hit to her. A 3.5 isn't going to have the ability to consistently hit a put-away volley/overhead. Their best bet at being effective at net is to hug the net. The problem is, if you hit to the 4.5 guy at the baseline, most likely he has the power/angle/touch to force a weak return...which compliments his partner by allowing her to hug the net.

    You can lob her constantly to keep her from hugging the net. With a 3.5 at the net (just hand waving here), a bad lob would result in something like 40% put away, 50% easy returnable shot, 10% unforced error. A mediocre lob (overhead around the service line) would probably be 5% putaway, 30% easy returnable shot, 50% attackable shot, 15% unforced error. Good lobs cause the 4.5 to retrieve simply sapping energy from them. Outside of lobs, you have to evaluate the strength of the 3.5 lady with volleys. Some handle pace well, but handle no pace poorly, some the other way around, but rarely do they handle both well. You can just throw in normal groundstrokes at them as well.

    This past season I was 4-1 at 9.0 and 3-2 at the #1 spot at 8.0. Those two losses were due to lob masters and really good keep-away artists. Of course you can ask the partner to stand in the alley and take the whole court, but...that wouldn't be fun...and all players on the court deserve to hit the ball and work to be better.
     
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  13. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, that is not height you see very often at the low end of league play. Or much of anywhere outside of the friggin' NBA.

    Here's the sad thing. When we were playing for fun and it was his turn to serve, he said, "OK, Cindy. How would you like me to serve to you?"

    I said, "I want all the spin you've got. Make me look like a clown!"

    So. I stink at returning spin serves, but the one thing I know is you have to catch it on the rise. Since it was social, I figured he wouldn't try to put my eye out with a body serve, and besides, we had a deal he would hit spin serves. When he tossed, I sprinted toward the service line and flung myself in the general direction of the ball.

    As luck would have it, I returned each of his serves in this clumsy, sad, pathetic fashion. When we had game point on him, he said something like, "OK, time to get serious." He was kidding, but he did add even more spin to his next serve. I sprinted forward again, stuck my butt out, closed my eyes, and swatted at it. It went over. He returned it back to me at about 15% of the pace he could generate if he wanted. I bunted it back to him. He kept lifting the ball up directly to my racket, and finally we won the point and "broke" him.

    He should have charged me for his time. 'Cause we weren't "playing." He was "teaching."

    Don't get me wrong. He was a delight. He just is way too good for 8.0 mixed.
     
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  14. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    OK. I get it. Bouncing balls off of my forehead in 8.0 mixed will help you get your start-up off the ground, hopefully turning you into a gazillionaire in a few years.

    So where's my cut? :)
     
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  15. dunlop_fort_knox

    dunlop_fort_knox Semi-Pro

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    he was probably a 5.0 who gamed the USTA system to play down. people. you don't have to have the government "rule" how you play tennis. :)
     
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  16. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    Brilliant.
     
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  17. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    The rule should be that the woman needs to be at the same or higher level than the guy. That would keep the tennis decent.

    As a 4.5 guy, I don't play 8.0 mixed because it is just not good tennis. So losing that opportunity is fine with me.

    There is some 9.0 mixed where I am. The tennis is good. But not many teams I'm guessing because 4.5 and higher women are fairly rare. So I don't play that either since it's not convenient for me to join a team at one of the few facilities that have 9.0.

    I enjoy mixed in a social setting but really don't see the need to be playing it competitively. No disrespect to the ladies but at the 4.5 level men's tennis is just much better and more suited to be played competitively.
     
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  18. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Gee, seems like you could get the identical outcome and the same kicks by just self-rating as a 4.0 using your middle name or something, and then beating up on 4.0s while playing crappy tennis. Sounds like a blast.
     
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  19. damazing

    damazing Rookie

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    It sounded like you had a nice match - you did well to win, because your male opponent just got bumped down from 4.5 last year and his 4.0 partner is a capable player.

    The 4.5/3.5 combo that your team played had a very good 4.5 and the 3.5 woman already has wins at 4.0 so its not surprising that they double bageled your team mates.
     
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  20. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    So complicated....
     
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  21. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Oh, really?

    That is so interesting. See, the male opponent had a service return that was amazing. My partner was serving hard and high to his BH, but he hit these insane slice returns. I could tell he was a really good player. But a recent move-down? Now I feel really good about that match! (Note to male opponent: You should have picked on me more, 'cause I would have buckled with the slightest bit of pressure).

    The 3.5 woman who handed out the bagel is a buddy. She keeps not getting bumped up but she doesn't mope or try to game the computer to become a 4.0. Among my 3.5 friends, she alone has the right attitude about it. She gets out there with these 4.5 dudes, smokes everyone and goes to playoffs year in year out. She figures she might as well enjoy the ride.
     
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  22. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    When the match ups are right I love, love, love 8.0 mixed.

    If we are playing a 4.0/4.0 combo I get to be the big dog on the court. The match is almost totally in my control. If I am playing well the only way they can attack my partner is from defensive positions and that gives her the advantage she needs. If I am playing poorly, she gets hammered.

    Unfortunately, to often blowouts happen.

    I am a low 4.5, but usually this is more than enough to handle all but the best 4.0 combos. However, when I play a real 4.5 ... someone that knows what they are doing I am totally cooked.

    SO begrudgingly, I think I agree with you here Cindy ... and I would not go home crying if I had to give it up. To be honest, most players that make the 4.5 level play enough as it is ...
     
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  23. Mike Y

    Mike Y Rookie

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    4.0/4.0 vs. 4.5/3.5 is a different game. Maybe 4.5s shouldn't play 8.0 mixed, but it does eliminate playing opportunities for 4.5 men. I personally wouldn't care that much, but it would be hard for me to play Mixed if 9.0 was my only option. I practically had to beg to be on a 9.0 team, and we weren't very good, I only played two matches, both losses, and both matches I had a 4.0 partner. There just aren't very many 4.5 women to go around for the 4.5 guys.

    But playing 8.0 mixed does allow me to play with friends that I otherwise would not be able to play with, which is nice. The problem is that there is such a huge range of 4.5s out there. I think most people wouldn't have a problem playing against me, though I usually win at 8.0 mixed, but I don't really blow anyone out, my game is very balanced and defense-oriented and I am not physically imposing. On the other hand, there is a guy on my 8.0 mixed team who is about 6'6", with a huge lefty serve. When he hits his kick serve, it often bounces over the woman's head and she has no shot at it, even good 4.0 women have no shot at returning the serve. But yet the rest of his game can be error-prone and he is beatable by the right players.

    But all of this is kind of a moot point, because the USTA is not going to take less money and restrict the number of leagues that those 4.5s can play in.
     
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  24. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    Cindy,

    You are asking that they have say then...4.0 mixed as opposed to 8.0 combo mixed. I would have no problem with that. It would force 4.5 guys to play against 4.5 women. Some of them would be able to handle it but most would probably not. It's just a difference in men and women. I do think the women that are 4.5 tend to have a more leyton Hewitt c'mon type attitude though so it won't be as bad. :) I tend not to play those 8.0 mixed leagues for the same reasons you mentioned though. The tourneys I play in have 8.5 combos and not 8.0. :) Actually they have both so it keeps a lot of the 4.5 guys in the 8.5 but there are some that still play 8.0.


     
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  25. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Isn't running when he is tossing a hindrance?
     
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  26. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    No. A player may change position at any time.

    Besides, if it was a hindrance to him, it would be because he was laughing too hard to play.
     
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  27. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    The problem usually isn't the 4.5 guy. It's usually that the 3.5 lady is under rated and the captain recruited her to play with the stronger partner and dominate. Thus, the matchup is more like an 8.5 team playing an 8.0 team.

    I rarely see 3.5 women playing in 8.0 mixed that couldn't hang in a 4.0 women's league.
     
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  28. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Running forward is a little too drastic. I will let woodrow weigh in on this one.
     
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  29. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

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    i'm the guy who played cindysphinx's team the other night. we played #3 and won 6-3, 6-3.

    i'm a recent bump up to 4.5 and with the exception of a pretty decent serve - i'm a very low end 4.5. my partner on the other hand is a 3.5 lady who is very tall and likes to rush the net. she could easily play 4.0 women's league.

    our opponents were a 4.0 guy who was low to mid level 4.0 in my estimation. some solid groundstrokes and serve but very inconsistent and volleys were not a strength. his 4.0 partner was a low to mid level gal with lots of trickery and deception and good touch but very little power.

    not a humble brag but my partner and i were not playing our best game - a lot of that was our opponents frustrating us with the guy giving us not exactly textbook shots and the girl giving us a lot of softball, moonball, slow speed stuff. but at no point did we feel we didn't have the match in hand.

    my partner easily hit 75% or more of the shots with our opponents hitting as much as possible to her. to counter that we did a lot of planned and unplanned poaching. or i sat back at the baseline and waited for a lob to go over my partner's head and try and take a point over again from there.

    and if it makes cindy feel any better, my teammate on court #2 is a very strong 4.5 (sadly not the strongest i've seen but he's up there) and he pretty much toys with me too when we practice. i think that's the circle of life.
     
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  30. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    This.

    And this.

    And now, Cindy, you see why I'm not playing any more USTA mixed. :(
     
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  31. pennc94

    pennc94 Semi-Pro

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    As a 4.5 male, I have also abandoned 8.0 mixed.

    It is not fun. It forces you to abandon traditional doubles strategy.

    I agree with the poster that suggested straight up 4.0 mixed or 4.5 mixed.

    I would take it one step further:

    Either do not allow seniors to play 18+, or rate them down 0.5 (so a 4.0 senior plays as a 3.5 in mixed). In my experience, this applies more to the ladies. I have played against 4.5 senior ladies and they are nowhere near a 4.5 man and nowhere near a younger female 4.5.
     
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  32. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    That's the nice thing about golf handicap indexes. When you play against another handicap, you know that's their handicap skill level REGARDLESS of their age or home golf course.

    In other words, an 18 year old with a handicap index of 10 will be fairly matched against a 70 year old with a handicap index of 10.
     
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  33. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    Without opening an already much-debated subject, NTRP is supposed to be (relatively) independent of age or gender....although we all know it's not and even USTA says this:

    emphasis mine and from this USTA link on FAQs about NTRP

    That being said, why does USTA allow such mismatched combinations as a 4.5M/3.5W in mixed competition at all?
     
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  34. goober

    goober Legend

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    Unless you are playing for money or a tournament. Then all the sudden the guy with the 10 handicap has miraculously worked itself down to a 15-20 handicap. :)
     
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  35. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    IDK to be honest I dont really think it matters much if the guy is a 4.0 or a 4.5.

    I have been playing in a mixed doubles league for several years now and from my experience the matches are almost always decided by which male can break down/exploit the other teams female the most often.

    I am a 4.0 and so is my partner but we have played against every variation of the 3.5-4.5 pairings.

    It boils down to every male either overpowering, spinning, or exploiting the opposing teams female player.
    I rarely (if ever) see a 4.0 male that cannot easily handle a 4.0 woman and most of the time even the 3.5 men can handle 4.0 women because even if the woman has good strokes her movement is always the deal breaker. Women react slower and are less explosive in their movement so its all too easy to get them deep then hit it short and win the point.

    Whether the guy is 4.5 or not really isnt a huge difference unless when his female partner is serving your teams return game isnt good enough to get past him. Usually a 3.5 females serve is "tee time" for the other team and its easy to break her.
     
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  36. BHud

    BHud Professional

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    Um...why would you want to play mixed doubles anyway...unless you're single of course...seems like a good alternative to match.com. :)
     
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  37. goober

    goober Legend

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    Sure if you are into middle age housewives and seniors which seem to be the 2 biggest groups in league tennis.:) Single females in their 20s and 30s make up a distinct minority.
     
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  38. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    Agreed based on my personal experience.

    Most of the young 20-30 females play singles and not a huge number of them are single either.
     
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  39. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    You guys should move to Atlanta.
     
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  40. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    I did but it seems people get married at a younger age on average in the South....

    Then again, there seem to be a higher percentage of younger divorced women in the South as well so I suppose it evens out.
     
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  41. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    omega- what part of town do you live in and what level do you play?
     
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  42. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Well, howdy! Good to hear from you again!
    Yes, but . . .

    What about the idea that the rules should be changed so that 4.5s shouldn't be allowed to play 8.0 mixed?

    As you say, you and your partner could have given up even fewer games and added out a beating.
     
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  43. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I don't think age has anything to do with it.

    We're talking about doubles. And I am specifically talking about 4.0 women (don't know anything about 4.5 women).

    Honestly, I do not feel at any disadvantage against young 4.0 women when we play doubles. If we are all computer-rated, then we should have a competitive match. Perhaps they will be a bit quicker, but perhaps I will have more consistency or variety.

    I think the computer already accounts for age just fine.
     
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  44. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Why not just rate as teams, rather than adding singles NTRP ratings. If you think about it, the system doesn't really make sense, although it is a lot more convenient.
     
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  45. Andrew Y

    Andrew Y New User

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    I agree. Last time i played 8.0 (3 years ago) my partner and i played 4 matches against a 4.5M/3.5F and we won all 4 matches. I want to mention that i am very considerate and rarely go after the woman, no matter what level she is. Yes, it'll be hard to break the 4.5 guy's serve but remember you're facing a 3.5 woman's serve which, no offense to any 3.5's, is not a very daunting task.

    Out of all the 4.5 guys we faced, only one of them had a serve that gave me any trouble. They all gave my partner trouble though. Just gotta tell yourself that you won't likely break the guy's serve so you can't waste your opportunities in breaking the woman. You break the woman you'll put more pressure on the guy to "take over".

    But i think it's a lot mental with you guys. Welcome the competition. Bring it on. These 4.5 guys aren't superstars. They'll blast some aces/winners by you, make tough drop/half volleys, but they'll make mistakes, they'll shank some balls. But the more you think about the guy being "too good" for 8.0, the worse you're gonna play. I go into every match having confidence in MY game and that's what you guys should do too.
     
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  46. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Mmmm, I think I have to disagree.

    First, let's compare apples to apples. Let's assume we are comparing a high 4.0 guy to a high 4.5 guy. My partner and I are 4.0s.

    There is simply a world of difference between the high 4.0 guy and the high 4.5 guy. The 4.5 guy will dominate everything. He will hold his serve at love. He will men*ace us at net so we cannot get to his partner when she serves. Meanwhile, his partner can certainly return my serve, and she will block a few of my partner's serves back.

    Bottom line: We stand no chance. In all of the mixed matches I have played, I have never taken a set off of a 4.5M/3.5F pair. Against 4.0/4.0 pairs, I have some hard-fought wins.

    Sure, the line between 4.0 and 4.5 guys is arbitrary. But once you let 4.5 guys in, you have to let all of them in -- even the ones who are close to 5.0.

    There is really no justification for that.
     
    #46
  47. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,095
    How about some actual data?

    Here are the numbers of 4.5 guys on each team in our league. I will list them in order of the current team standings so you can see to what extent having 4.5 guys on the roster influences results.

    First: 3
    Second: 5
    Third: 1
    Fourth: 2
    Fifth: 0
    Sixth: 3
    Seventh: 1
    Eighth: 1
    Ninth: 1

    If you want to be in the top of the standings, recruit 4.5 guys. If you want to be in the bottom, rely on 4.0s.

    By the way, there are 155 players in our 8.0 mixed league. Figure half of these are men, so 77 guys. Seventeen of the guys are 4.5s.
     
    #47
  48. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    Messages:
    741
    cindy -- in an ideal world, i'm not really a fan of a 4.5 guy playing with a 3.5 lady. because it is too large a gap in skill level. and this forces people to play a type of tennis that you don't normally play.

    however -- until the USTA decides to have a gender neutral NTRP rating system where a 4.5 guy and a 4.5 woman are equivalent . . . OR a rule that says the woman must be equal or higher rated than the guy in mixed -- it is what it is.

    btw - it's also too simplistic to say that the best teams have the most 4.5 guys. that team in 6th place should by your formula be in the top 3.

    the REAL formula for success is the same for all usta leagues - mens, womens, mixed, combo, trilevel, etc. the best teams are the ones who have the most players who are at the very top of their respective rating. as in top level 3.0 or 3.5 or 4.0 or 4.5 players. period.
     
    #48
  49. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    6,233
    Location:
    Saudi Arabia
    Cindy, your still focusing on the guy which is not the point.

    Of course the 4.0 guy is most likely not ever going to beat out the 4.5 guy but that is beside the point.

    Its all about dominating the woman. A 4.5 guy wont have problems with a 4.0 guys serve but a 3.5 woman sure will so the 4.0 guy should still have a really good chance of holding serve. Then it all boils down to who can break the womans serve. It is much easier to break a 3.5 womans serve than a 4.0 (generally speaking).

    If the 4.0 man is worth half his salt and a 4.0 woman is decent as well they should not have a lot of trouble returning a 3.5 womans serve out of reach of the 4.5 male at the net.

    The times you run into trouble are when you have a 4.0/4.0 combo where the woman is a low 4.0 facing off against a 4.5/3.5 combo where the woman is really a 4.0. In this situation you reach a parity between the women and then the 4.0/4.0 combo is at a disadvantage because the 4.5 male can dominate the 4.0 male.
     
    #49
  50. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    Messages:
    741
    what he said. +1
     
    #50

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