What is the deal at 4.5???

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by RollTrackTake, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. RollTrackTake

    RollTrackTake Semi-Pro

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    4 weeks into my first foray into 4.5 level tennis and I'm sitting at 1-3. I'm probably only playing 4.5 because my club decided to field two teams in that division this year and I'm rounding out one of the rosters. My question for more experienced people is what experience to do most 4.5ers come from?

    I played a guy week 2 who was in his mid 20's. I find out this past week that he played at a DIII college that plucked him out of eastern europe where he had played in some semi-pro developmental league as a school kid. His 1st serve was cruising in close to 120mph! Week 3 I play and lose to a guy who again I later find out played at a DIII college a couple years ago and teaches tennis at a smaller club!
    Don't get me wrong I am enjoying it but I didn't realize how many former college level players are at 4.5.
     
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  2. GoSurfBoy

    GoSurfBoy Semi-Pro

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    I've seen guys I know from Opens and ITF Qualis' playing in 4.5's.

    Some people drop down to get 'back on track', and since most tourneys rarely field a 5.5's draw, I guess the 4.5's gets hammered.
     
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  3. kimbahpnam

    kimbahpnam Hall of Fame

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    Its called sandbagging
     
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  4. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Not necessarily. There is a wide range of skill at the 4.5 level. I went 4-0 in regular season singles and 2-1 at Virginia Districts, but there is absolutely no way I am a 5.0. Sure, I play some people who are rated 5.0, and can 'hang' with them, but in all honesty, if their game is on, it matters not what I do.

    As you get into the higher ratings, it becomes more about match-ups than skill. Everyone has the required shots, and can hit them at most times, but there is usually one weakness, and it is up to you to figure that weakness out & exploit it for all it's worth.

    For example, my biggest weakness is a slow, low slice to the backhand (I hope mikeler isn't reading this). My 1 loss this season was to a guy who was able to exploit that weakness. Granted, I lost in the 3rd set breaker, and had a match point, but he continued to work it and it paid off.

    However, I also played a guy who hit the snot out of the ball and had a first serve somewhere in the 125 range, which he got in most of the time. That played to my strength, and I beat him 2 & 3.
     
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  5. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    No, if a former Euro pro is in a 4.5 league...that's sandbagging.
     
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  6. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    He wasn't a former Euro Pro, he was "out of eastern europe where he had played in some semi-pro developmental league as a school kid", the operative words being 'developmental' and 'school kid'.

    You have no idea what his skill level was or what age he was. Maybe he was 13 and showed potential at that age, but as he got older his talent peaked. And for the record, generally speaking, if you play D3 tennis, unless you are #1 or 2 singles or have a state or national ranking, you are likely a 4.5. Sure, there's the anomaly where the whole team kicks butt @ D3 and you have a few 5.0s, but for the most part, the D3 players I know are 4.5. Strong 4.5s, but 4.5s none the less.
     
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  7. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    That's funny. Everyone at my club hates my deep floating slice.
     
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  8. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Crap... (10 chars)
     
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  9. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Maybe you should name it your John McEnroe slice. :)
     
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  10. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    But I am not left handed...or am I McLovin? :twisted:
     
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  11. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Inigo Montoya: You are wonderful.
    Man in Black: Thank you; I've worked hard to become so.
    Inigo Montoya: I admit it, you are better than I am.
    Man in Black: Then why are you smiling?
    Inigo Montoya: Because I know something you don't know.
    Man in Black: And what is that?
    Inigo Montoya: I... am not left-handed.
    [Moves his sword to his right hand and gains an advantage]
    Man in Black: You are amazing.
    Inigo Montoya: I ought to be, after 20 years.
    Man in Black: Oh, there's something I ought to tell you.
    Inigo Montoya: Tell me.
    Man in Black: I'm not left-handed either.
     
    #11
  12. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I see we have the same taste in movies!
     
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  13. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

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    Wait there are people who don't like that movie?
     
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  14. Lendl

    Lendl Semi-Pro

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    I can't speak for other levels but 4.5 is a WIDE range of players. I've played for 5 years now and I've played #1 singles to #3 doubles and also won Michigan states and finished 2nd in the ******* sectionals this year so along the way I've seen a ton of players.

    There are a lot of former college players. One player we played this year at sectionals is a current D1 player in Indiana. The USTA has some interesting ratings for some players.

    Actually some of the best players I've faced at 4.5 over the years are not the young players. A former college player still in good shape with more experience (40 years old +/-) I think is a tougher out.

     
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  15. RollTrackTake

    RollTrackTake Semi-Pro

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    That movie is a CLASSIQUE!!! As to my original query, I guess I better get used to playing former college guys. I also noticed the 4.5 division is in general younger than 4.0. I'm 35 and I've only seen 4 or 5 guys my age or older so far. In my 4.0 league it seems like more than half the guys are 35 or older. I'm in good shape, but not as good as I was at 25. I may need to hit P90 X to hang with guys 10 years younger! Again I like the opportunity to play guys at a higher level because it will force me to improve..... or get crushed week in & week out.
     
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  16. jk175d

    jk175d Semi-Pro

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    how is that even possible? I thought the ratings were crystal clear on that. current D1 is automatic 5.0 minimum isn't it?
     
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  17. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    I see your point. A guy that trained to be a pro at a young age tapped out at a 4.5 level. That makes sense...said no one ever.

    While 4.5 certainly has a broad range of backgrounds, that guy sounds pretty fishy.
     
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  18. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Self rate sure, then the computer takes over in year 2. Entirely possible that he got bumped down.

    A friend of mine played D1 in the 90s and self rated 4.5. He's an early start 4.0 for 2013 which is hilarious to me. I play him once a week and I've only taken 2 sets off him ever.
     
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  19. Lendl

    Lendl Semi-Pro

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    No idea, our guy should have won the match so he did not dominate by any means but still he is young and D1. Here is the player:

    http://www.gomastodons.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=1492&path=mten

    We have guys almost 50 that get denied 4.5 because they played D1 25 years ago, only USTA knows what their formula is doing.

     
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  20. JLyon

    JLyon Hall of Fame

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    If they were DIII and played league before this year when DIII = 5.0 they could have played 4.5 no issues, unless they were All-American, but if no one NARCs then the players keep going and sandbagging with no repercussions.
     
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  21. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    If you know he is in a self rate status, that's a slam dunk appeal. If that's what anyone wants to do.
     
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  22. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Very broad range at 4.5.

    On the one hand you have ex-college players who are maybe a little older now, but have played very high level tennis in the past, and have had the benefit of coaching, intensive training, etc when younger.

    On the other hand you have rec players who have never played serious tennis, but have slowly improved and made their way up from 4.0.
     
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  23. boilerfan

    boilerfan New User

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    That guy registered when he was in High School, so it was fine for him to reigster as a 4.5 and then he became computer rated. No cheating involved...happens a lot.

    That is the latest and greatest loophole now with the age limits. Get a high school kid and then they go play at the local college and they get better each year training in college, but they are already in the computer from their high school days.

    Such as the kid mentioned, he didn't win his 4.5 matches when he was 17 or 18, but he is now probably much more solid after 2 years of playing in college
     
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  24. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I understand people ask Mandy Patinkin to say these lines often. Along with the line "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die. "

    Is it possible to work that line into a tennis match?? lol.
     
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  25. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Gotcha. Yea, that is seen as legit in the USTA. Only way it's not is if he sat out 3 league seasons and then re-self rated. He would've fallen into a different category 3 years later in the questionnaire. But, if he played < 3 years ago the computer is the decider and there's no foul.
     
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  26. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Sound perfectly correct to me.
    My old bud, #2 for CCSF and later, #1 for STSU (SanFrancisco) was a true B player. The old #1 for CCSF, who didn't go his 3rd year in college, played B's and didn't do very well. B is 4.5.
    Former #2 for MissionHigh, in 1978, went on to #4 at CanadaCollege, a div11 tennis school. He was another of my practice partners, about even with me.
    Former #1 for Lowell, MikeGee, played in A's and always lost first two rounds. So he was really a 4.5.
    His older brother, Mark, one of my doubles partners, was #1 for Annapolis, maybe a Div11 school, tried a couple of A tourneys, and lost first round both times.
    Now for sure, if a player was a top singles for a top Div1 school, like Aba for Harvard, he is a 5.5 or A/Open level player.
     
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  27. Fusker

    Fusker Rookie

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    Doesn't sound unusual at all. Several guys in my 4.5 ladder are ex college (D-III) and I had the opportunity to play that level but none of them had the academic program I wanted. I'm in my mid 30s and missed a fair amount of time playing in my twenties.

    Most guys would tell you I have very good mechanics and an excellent serve that can hit different corners with different spins. Tend to overhit on shots or go for too much. That seems to be a common trait of that level player with that type of background. We remember how good we USED to be back when we played every day and had youth on our side.
     
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  28. Sumo

    Sumo Semi-Pro

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    This is exactly my story except add in a ACL and rotator cuff and you have a 4.0.
     
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  29. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Because as you get older you get worse and more injured.

    I came back to tennis after many years off at 38 as a 5.0. Moved down to 4.5 a couple years later after a basketball injury and several knee surgeries with assorted hardware implanted to hold it together. Rotator cuff, more knee surgeries, severe ankle damage, and finally a torn elbow tendon dropped me out of tennis for a couple years until I learned to play with the tendon tear. So now playing 4.0 in my 50's, I battling a tear in my Achilles tendon and torn cartilage in my shoulder (tried serving underhand but that didn't work too well), as well as more problems surfacing with my knee.

    I'm an idiot to play tennis. I may have to give it up.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
    #29
  30. t135

    t135 Semi-Pro

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    Those two guys are called...cheaters. Look at the NTRP guidelines. They aren't supposed to be at 4.5.

    This is what happened after USTA started allowing players to self rate instead of be verified by professionals prior to playing league tennis.
     
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  31. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Mike was playing some singles on the court behind me yesterday morn while I was practicing, very nice man. I was just starting playing @ tennis at GG back then. Some of those players you were mentioning were probably Cykman, Pontnikoff, Shephard, Siska, Murio, Howard. It was great watching Tom Brown, Whitney, Tappy playing their regular nooners on ct. 1, you got your tennis through osmosis from breathing their air, kinda'.

    Cheers
     
    #31
  32. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    There's not very many opportunities for 5.0 players to play in tourneys or on teams that are 5.0. So they play 4.5.
     
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  33. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    GeorgePonticoff must be 80 by now, was one of my buds, since he was homeless, lived the the park some days, and played cig in one hand, beer in the other.
    Greg was the first A player to ask me to hit with him. He knew my serve, watched me practice with Mareen and Marna of the Louie clan. I had a practiced scheduled with him when the biggest ridable day at OceanBeachSF occurred. I got there late, missed our practice, but was mentioned in MattWarhaw's book Mavericks, the following year...for watching from the sea wall, instead of paddling out.
    BobbySiska? Had I won one more round in Pleasanton, would have played him, but I lost second round.
    Bob Murio was one of my once a year hitting partners, because his dad John knew me, and played with me in the early years when ArtLarsen was still pretty tricky.
    Gil never hit with me, but Mike and Kevin lots. We went to those courts at Pine and Scott, inside the courtyard of the Catholic school, to practice. Mike and Kevin soon learned to return lefty serves pretty well.
    Tom was BobMurio's buddy, and they practiced together twice a month. When Bob was sick one day, John called me and asked me to fill in. Was an eye opener hitting with a 56 year old TomBrown. We hit afterwards, maybe 5 times, then I took up motocross seriously.
    Never hit with Whitney, but he'd play practice matches with Greg, usually court 2.
    Strange, when I think of MikeGee, I think of a 16 year old with glasses, about 5'6" tall, big smile, and full of energy.
     
    #33
  34. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    I hope you can continue, but that's rough. I sometime play doubles with a guy in his 60s who has those sort of issues. He can barely move. He so experienced and crafty at doubles he is still a decent player. He loves the game so much he keeps on. If not, pickle ball looks lke fun.
     
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  35. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    excellent point.

    there is a guy I play regularly (in fact, we play them tonight!) who used to give me all the trouble in the world. Big guy, looks a lot like Gael Monfils, even has a similar service action, no apparent weakness. I originally used to play him the way I play everyone, CC for a short one, attack to the BH. And then he would drill his 2HBH past me for a winner.

    This had happened a few times, and I had lost in 6-4 6-4 range each time, when I ran into him in the semis of an Open tournament. I thought 'here we go again', but figured I would at least try something different. So, once I got a shorter ball, I went as hard as I could to his FH side, so at least he couldn't kill me with his damn BH. Guess what, he put the first couple into the net.
    And then the next one, and the penny finally dropped. Out wide, under pressure, he tends to dump his FH! So, I managed to win, and I have played him twice since with the same result.

    So, remember, everyone has a weakness, even if sometimes it isn't a weakness you expect.
    (how many Open players struggle with a FH on the run? Not many, I would suggest!)

    as for DIII players in your 4.5 league, I can't help you with that, that's just wrong!
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
    #35
  36. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    DIII can be 4.5...
     
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  37. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Pickle ball? What's that?

    Actually, I can cover court very well once I get going. I can't stop and cut the other direction in less than 3 steps, though, because I can't plant hard on either leg. Was hoping to get back to 4.5, but the Dr. said he's done all there is to be done on my knee and it's acting up again. I don't want to go to knee replacement surgery. I've had enough surgeries in my life.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
    #37
  38. JLyon

    JLyon Hall of Fame

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    not anymore according to guidelines set by USTA, they must be 5.0, even if they are barely above a 4.0 level in many instances are smaller DIII schools
     
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  39. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Interesting, and sorta ties in with my first post, #26.
    Those were my peers, the guys I hung with, travelled with, practiced with. Which can explain why as a lefty, I could go several rounds in A/Open, never having even entered a B or 4.5 tourney. I won my second C, finals in my first, which would correlate to 3.5's.
     
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  40. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    It's paddle mini-tennis outdoors. It getting big in southwest US and Florida. Google to find out more. Club owners love it since it take up less space then regular tennis and it attracts the super seniors.
     
    #40
  41. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Cool. I'll have to check it out.
     
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  42. Z-Man

    Z-Man Professional

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    This thread should be required reading for all of the people new to league tennis who think they are 4.5s after reading the NTRP guidelines. 4.5 is tough, especially if you play in a competitive area or plan to go to state. There isn't much action above 4.5, and all of those great players need a place to play. If you're like me, a recreational player who improved over time, you just have to suck it up and realize you will be playing some strong competition, and you won't always win. The good news is that playing recent DII college players will teach you a lot more about the game than beating up on 4.0s.
     
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  43. t135

    t135 Semi-Pro

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    I live in one of the biggest tennis cities in the USA where there are plenty of 5.0 and above teams etc. plenty. And we still have the sandbaggers playing 4.5 just so they can get easier wins. Some folks just enjoy winning any way possible. Even if it means cheating the system.

    All this happened when the USTA went to a self verification system.
     
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  44. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    The self rate system is fine. They just forgot to include a rule stating: no player with an 'S' rating will be eligible for playoffs.

    That would eliminate 80% of sandbag issues. The other 20% aren't ever going to be caught.
     
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  45. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    Very possible to be less than 4.5/5.0 if you've played college.

    1) "college" is about as broad as any NTRP range. D2 and D3 doubles players playing 4.5 is about right.

    2) People who rated before they went to college can be in as low as 3.0 or even 3.5 and still have "played college".

    I myself have played college men and women who are not 4.0... one guy openly admits to playing for a D3 college, but since the team (or tennis program, or whatever) dissolved he rated as a 3.0.............. Googling him shows only high school playoffs... still supposed to be 3.5 minimum... anyway...

    I played against a girl who is a current 3.5 who played college in 2005, and played 9.0 in 2009.

    She good for a 3.5 girl, but shes nowhere near her "college level" anymore. According to my partner, she used to be a "strong 4.0" when she was just out of college.
     
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