What Should a 3.5 Player Actually Look Like???

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by canuckfan72, Aug 14, 2009.

  1. canuckfan72

    canuckfan72 New User

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    In detail, can someone please describe what a legit mid-range 3.5-4.0 player should look like and be able to do. I am having a very hard time deciding what my rating actually is. please dont post a link to a ntrp rating chart because off that i could say im a 5.0 player. my high school tennis coach said i could be a 4.0 player. a club pro said that im a 3.0-3.5 player but from playing records and personal experience im a 4.0 player.
     
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  2. Duzza

    Duzza Legend

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  3. firstblud

    firstblud Professional

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    i hit with a dude today from craigslist.

    he claimed himself 3.5.

    i claimed myself 2.5.

    i am pretty sure i can take a set from him in a match and was probably closer to my level, so you never know.

    i expect a 3.5 to have solid ground strokes on a not so high-paced rally.
     
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  4. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    NTRP factors on how well you do in matches, especially when you're under pressure. So mentality, strokes, footwork, strategy, fitness, experience, and many other things factor in NTRP.

    Theres so much variety in what it takes to be a 3.5-4.0...like you could have great hard hitting strokes but you'd lack consistency. Maybe you can hit and beat 4.5 in a game to 21 during practice, but when you start playing matches you freeze up and can barely hit. You could be very consistent but lack a way to consistently finish off points. You could be a great player overall but have horrible shot selection.
     
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  5. jasoncho92

    jasoncho92 Professional

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  6. J011yroger

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  7. brad1730

    brad1730 Rookie

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    I have found a huge disparity between club level, leagues and tournaments. At least in my area, 3.5 is as low as the male ego will allow. At the club level, there are plenty of guys that would probably enjoy tennis more if they would just play 3.0. Those guys never venture out of the club. In the leagues, most players are what I would consider 3.5 - with the true hallmark being consistency. They can handle pace, and volley well. They are developing 1 weapon that makes an appearance now and then. You can also depend on errors now and then. When the errors start to disappear that's when you are closer to 4.0. Those are the guys who are playing in the last level's of a tournament, and are about to get bumped to 4.0. The chart talks about serves, spin, forehands, etc. - but for me, the true measure is consistency. They aren't pushing the ball back. They handle everything you throw at them, are patient, and then take their shot at the appropriate time.
     
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  8. fruitytennis1

    fruitytennis1 Professional

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    Nope the last comment is mostly a 4.5 and up characteristic.
     
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  9. brad1730

    brad1730 Rookie

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    Yes, it feels like that sometimes.
     
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  10. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Only asking, do you guys mean the above is the characteristic of 4.5 or above?

    Is pace a necessary component? Cuz it seems like anyone could hit all day with medium or low pace, assumed he has the patience :)
     
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  11. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    I think that this is pretty much right on for most improving 3.5 to 4.0 players. The impatient error does rear its ugly head from time to time, but most people who are at the top of 3.5 have developed a pretty OK level of "tennis smarts" - that is, understanding when the right and wrong time to go for a shot is. That doesn't mean that they don't try to hit the big shot when they may not be in position to, at least when it's to their weapon (which is a great point that you made - they usually only have one "big punch" to rely on, and the rest of the shots end up being strictly rally-ball level).
     
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  12. Ucantplay2much

    Ucantplay2much Rookie

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    Okay, here's my NTRP guidelines. I think I've done a pretty good job of coming up with practices that are more specific than "Being able to hit with spin." Let me know what you think :)

    ****************

    You get one point for each of the following that describes you or your capabilities:

    Your first serve is a weapon that can often force errors, even against better opponents.

    Your first serve has enough variety that you can keep your opponent guessing about placement and/or spin.

    Your second serve is a "real" second serve, with either a lot of pace or so much junk on it, you can force a good number of errors.

    You can often (but not always) take advantage of opponent's mistakes, such as standing in no-man's land, weak approach shots, balls bouncing into your strike zone and overly easy second serves.

    You have good, solid passing shot and lob capabilities and can hit these even when pressed by a good approach shot.

    You miss less than 10% of your overheads.

    You're as good at knowing what shots NOT to hit as you are at what to hit. (For example, you don't try to launch forehand winners from a shot that's just above your shoe laces. Bonus points if you CAN consistently do that) ;)

    You can often turn a body shot at the net into a volley winner.

    You're good from BOTH sides of your body and your opponent can't exploit a weak side.

    You can quickly read your opponent's weaknesses and exploit them consistently.

    You hit hard enough that you have to replace your strings often and/or use heavy duties.

    You relish your opponent's drop shots because you're getting to 95% of them. Your opponents are often demoralized when back-to-back "winners" are returned. Hard.

    Your (reputable) coach says you're a blank point blank . (This can bump you to the next grade if you need just ONE point.) :)

    Scores:
    1-2: You're a 2.5
    3-6: 3.0
    7-9: 3.5
    9-11: 4.0
    12-13: 4.5+

    Of course, many of these are RELATIVE. Which makes it even harder to figure out what you are until you play a half-dozen or so ranked opponents.
     
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  13. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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  14. Ucantplay2much

    Ucantplay2much Rookie

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    Dude, that's pretty rude posting my picture without my permission :)
     
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  15. mtommer

    mtommer Hall of Fame

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    Unfortunately NTRP really only can come from tournament play. I consider myself a 1.0 as I've never played a true competitive match in my life (actually I shouldn't say that, I have played one but that was when I first started out about four years ago so I don't count it). My strokes aren't 1.0 just by looking at them but I have no idea if they would hold up in a real match. I don't consider just hitting to be an adequate measure of matchplay production. Ideally it would be nice if it were so but often it is not.
     
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  16. goober

    goober Legend

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  17. brad1730

    brad1730 Rookie

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    I don't believe that pace is a necessary component to be 3.5. I've seen a guy win a 3.5 tournament hitting nothing but forehand slices. That's what I like about 3.5... you meet so many different styles of play. It's the big melting pot of tennis.

    Your ranking comes from how you do against other opponents. Sometimes ugly/win is better than gorgeous/lose - and there are plenty of 3.5 players who understand that completely.

    That being said though, most guys who are in 3.5, but are going to be bumped to 4.0, can hit with a decent amount of pace with regularity.
     
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  18. TennisJunkie84

    TennisJunkie84 New User

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    The best 3.5's I have seen are people with less errors. At this level it rarely has anything to do with how hard you hit, How good the serve is, or how much you can slice a ball. If you can keep the ball deep and hit left to right well enough to force the other player to make an error you win 90% of the time. I have been playing for 2 years. This was my first year playing in the USTA. I went undefeated at state and lost one match at sectionals to someone who could hit a better % in. The only real time to pull the trigger for me was if someone approached my backhand to the net. Otherwise I rarely hit winners or errors. But I always kept my cool and never thought about the points before.
     
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  19. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    one time, i played with a self rated 4.5 player. I was ready to for a tennis lesson. it turned out i was the one giving the tennis lesson. he over-rated himself :shock:
     
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  20. canuckfan72

    canuckfan72 New User

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    Yeah i totally agree. I think i fall under the last bit of your statement. Im probably a high level 3.5 that could be bumped up to 4.0 if I develop a better second serve.
     
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  21. canuckfan72

    canuckfan72 New User

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    The best part of my game is by far baseline. I have consistent groundstrokes with losts of spin, depth and pace. I have developed a weapon consisting of a flat forehand winner. I also have some variety in my reservoir of awesomeness such as slices, approaches, lobs and "ok" dropshots.

    My volleying kinda sucks. i can volley with control but little depth or power. i can hit a volley but i dont go looking for volley points.

    I think my serving is what is holding me back. my first serve is pretty decent. I can place it with power and unlike a year ago i am starting to count on winning my service games. my second serve is what kills me. imagine a serve arcing over with spin coming down then kicking up right into a good player's strike zone.
     
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  22. jasoncho92

    jasoncho92 Professional

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    Dont ask me :(

    The guy i played with made a point of only hitting me forehands until the camera battery literally died out. My backhand was hot that day too
     
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  23. JoshDragon

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  24. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

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    I disagree with the body shot volley winner, string breakings, and the overhead. I think you should make at least more than 95% (probably 99%) of overheads and they should all or almost all be winners. Otherwise, it's practically a free point for those 0.0-3.0s that dink all their overheads.

    And body shot volley winners are tough to pull off - that would be really lucky if you could. I doubt the top 10 pros could "often" pull off a body shot volley winner- maybe sometimes, but not often. So might as well remove this from the list.

    And finally, string breaking or lack of it does not give any indication at all of how good you are as a player.
     
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  25. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

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    I self-rate boy 3.0 but the first video... well one guy - Jamie/Jeffrey- is a pusher but an EXTREMELY inconsistent, slow, and poor one, I would think he's a low 2.0. He has no strokes, just dinks the ball and misses most of the time, can't run fast at all, doesn't cover the court, and the points he got were lucky because of Marr's inconsistency. The other - Marr- is also quite inconsistent and double faulted a few times, but probably is a 3.0 because he has pretty good movement, nice strokes and knows how to exploit Jeffrey/Jamie's weaknesses. I think I would beat either of them and no I am not bragging, but I honestly doubt even Marr would come close to beating me...
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2009
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  26. ksixone95

    ksixone95 Rookie

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    I'm a 4.0-4.5... I'm pretty consistent and I hit it HARD but I play much better in practices than matches...

    My coach "ranked" me... so it isn't me judging myself.
     
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  27. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    If you watch your own video you will likely change your mind about beating this and that 3.5. Or better yet you post your video in comparsion and ask us who would win.. <g>

    As for the OP - a 3.5 can look like at least a dozen different things. Because in truth a 3.5 is a player who can beat most people who don't play tennis much.

    A 3.5 is like your average player who plays a few times a week.. the vast majority of players are 3.5. And I agree almost NO ONE will rate themselves below 3.5 if they play more then a dozen times a year..

    But 3.5's - they can have a dozen different styles or more. You have moonballers, slice and dicers, people with big forehands and no backhands. There are people who have good looking groundstrokes as long they don't have to move forward or backward. You have net rushers with poor groundstrokes but a good volley and overhead.. There are dink groundstrokers with big serves. You have crafty players that rely on angles but have little power in any aspect of the game.

    Its only at the higher levels that people start to play more and more alike. The various 'flaws" start to disappear as people have improved and fixed those flaws.
     
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  28. goober

    goober Legend

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    Well I guess you should rate yourself 4.5 since you can easily beat him

    Here is Autsin Marr's USTA record. He has a 4.0 rating as is currently 10-1 this year in his matches.

    http://tennislink.usta.com/leagues/reports/CheckMemberName.asp?Last=marr&First=Austin

    Let me know how your first season at 4.5 goes.
     
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  29. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

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    I play 5x a week, have done so for 2.5 years. I have a good forehand and great backhand except for my slice, okay serve, okay volleys, good overhead, and am very fast. I am a grinder now, I used to be a inconsistent blaster, then a pusher, and have now decided to be a grinder.
     
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  30. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

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    I am a child. so I can't actually play 4.5, but If I was an adult and played like myself, I would guess I was a 3.0. Perhaps Marr improved since this video, because I doubt I would get a single game as a 4.5 in most matches. As for Jamie/Jeffrey, you watch the video and you tell me if that is a 3.5+
     
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  31. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Perhaps you don't know what you look like on video. <g>
     
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  32. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    at my level (3.5 - 4.0), these are my observations:

    3.5, this player will give a number of opportunities to hit a winner
    4.0, this player will give you 1 chance to hit a winner. if you don't take it, he will end the point for you.
    4.5 and above, this player will hit a winner before you know it
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2009
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  33. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    A 3.5 player plays an average 3.5 tournament. He wins some, he loses some.
    He plays a 3.0 tournament and wins handily.
    He gets routined in the first round of a 4.0 tournament.

    Of course, levels/ratings vary from region to region/ section to section. And which of the descriptions fit? Well, it depends upon your opponent that day, right? That's what so weak about the whole ratings thing.

    But, from what I remember about club/recreational tennis back in the 70s and 80s, this NTRP system is a notch better than the old a, b, c, beginner system.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2009
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  34. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

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    Whether I was on video or not, I sure wouldn't miss 99% of easy balls
     
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  35. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Nice effort, but it was a waste of time to post all that. When I am playing a weaker opponent, I can do pretty much anything I want against them. When I play against someone stronger, I can't seem to do anything because they hit better shots that make it more difficult for me to control the point.
     
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  36. Ucantplay2much

    Ucantplay2much Rookie

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    99%? Did you catch Del Potro's framed miss against Roddick the other day? You're right for the upper levels, but I haven't played a 3.5 that can make overheads 19 out of 20 times, which is 95%.

    Good point :)

    I admit, this is a pretty weak selection, but I was trying to come up with something regarding power that wouldn't be affected by how well your opponents play. If they meet 'x' number of other criteria, then power doesn't matter in the formula.

    That's why I tried to come up with as many things as I could that would apply across a wide range of skill levels. For instance, anybody can hit a moonball or lob to your side, so an ability to hit an overhead important skill that can be applied against any competition.

    And, while a number of points I came up with are certainly arguable, I think it's a hell of a lot better than the lame-@$$ USTA NTRP guidelines that give 2.5s the impression that they are 5.5s.

    :)
     
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  37. damazing

    damazing Rookie

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    My team played at sectionals this weekend and I had a chance to watch some of the different levels play.

    A caveat I would offer is that since these teams all made it to sectionals they likely have the best players at their respective levels.

    Each lower level looked like they would win 1/2 the time at the league next higher level but would have lost to any of the next higher levels that were there. I.e. 3.0s would win 50% of their matches at 3.5 league but any of the 3.5 teams there (all district winners) would have beaten them easily.

    At the higher levels 4.5, 5.0 they looked all the same with complete games and very few if any weaknesses.
     
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  38. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    Sounds like you are a 4.0 player based on your "playing records and personal experience". Have you played other 4.0's? Have you beat some of them and lost to others? Then you are probably a 4.0. If you have a hard time beating 3.5 players, then you probably arent a 4.0 player, but rater a 3.5 or lower.


     
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  39. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    #39
  40. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    As a winner at 3.0 Nationals, I would say that if you want to have a team that has a shot at winning, you need at least 3 players who can compete at the top of the next level and a little bit of luck as well in your matches. I would say most of the players at Nationals that I saw were low 3.5s, but the best players were low 4.0s. A couple teams had like 1 all-star but the rest of their players were mediocre. We were the only team that had enough depth in that we had 3 all-star players so we could really secure the 3 wins each match when we needed to.

    I had a friend who competed at 3.5 sectionals this weekend. They didn't advance to Nationals, but still did pretty well, and he went undefeated in doubles. He got bumped to 4.0 last year and appealed back down. I am about low 4.0 right now and the last two times I played him in singles I defeated him, although it was competitive. So this shows that the playoff teams are definitely good players who belong at least in the lower range of the next level. At least the contributing players that is.
     
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  41. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    I agree with Raiden re: playoff teams. My 3.5 team went to Nats last year, and we had 3 or 4 guys that were playing (and were competitive at) 4.0, including myself.

    Personally, I went undefeated at Areas and Sections, and lost 1 set through 6 matches. This year, I played 4.0 exclusively and had something like a 14-7 record.
     
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  42. damazing

    damazing Rookie

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    For your team, were your all-star players mostly singles specialists? We won this past weekend and are headed to nationals. Anything you'd have changed up (tips) to help you at nationals?
     
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  43. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    We were all good singles players, but capable of playing doubles good enough as well. The main problem we faced is exhaustion playing at Nationals. We played 6 matches in 3 days in 90+ degree Arizona heat. I would've never made it playing all singles so I played half singles and half doubles. One of our top guys almost lost a match because he was exhausted from the heat, due to not being in great physical shape even though he was a good player.

    So its key to have enough depth on your team to keep fresh people on the courts, but more importantly make sure your teammates are physically fit for long matches, possibly twice a day in the heat.
     
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  44. damazing

    damazing Rookie

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    ^^^
    We got the lineup and it's exactly as you stated - two matches a day for three days in the Arizona heat.

    I'm going to focus on my stamina over the next 6 weeks to prepare.
     
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  45. LafayetteHitter

    LafayetteHitter Hall of Fame

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    It always amazes me when someone says "I think i'm a 4.0 to 4.5". Here is the deal why come on here "thinking" you are a 4.5. It's simple find a local "TRUE" 4.5 and keep up head to head. Writing about it doesn't do much good. 4.5 players typically have a history of wins, it's unusual for someone to start playing and find out "they just happen to be a 4.5"
     
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  46. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I've never met a 4.5 player who wasn't a serious competitor at one point or another. In fact the few I met had some kind of college background, but its usually from like over 10 years ago and they stopped playing for a while or just recently got back into it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2009
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  47. fruitytennis1

    fruitytennis1 Professional

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    I wish i knew
    Also just to narrow it down unless you work with tennis if your 60 or above your not 4.5. The oldest person i know to be rated 4.5(i might as well add a weak one at that) is 56 and hes the guy who owns the local tennis center.
     
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  48. JoshDragon

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    So, would Rod Laver be a 3.0 since he's over 70?
     
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