Originally Posted by OrangePower
I'd agree with that as a casual definition, but I think what the algorithm considers 'competitive' is more like 1 & 2.
Just to be clear, there is no specific 'competitiveness' calculation in the algorithm per se, but what the algorithm does is correlate between score and expected difference in DNTRP. My estimate (who the heck knows for sure) is that a score of 1 & 2 (maybe even 1 & 1) translates to an expected DNTRP difference of 0.5 (i.e. one full level). Just based on experience (observed records of people being bumped and so on), and the various statements USTA drops on us from time to time (e.g. what ranges of scores to reasonably expect within level).
In the case you mentioned, if the player in question was getting 2-3 games per match against *top* 3.5's, that would explain the bump up.
I see your point. From what I can see, most of the competition he has faced has been middle of the road, but a couple of the better teams might be in the mix. It's really difficult, though, to imagine that someone is going to be competitive when they have never even been .500 at the lower level. I am a middling 3.5. I play regularly with a former Div I player. 50% of the sets are 6-0, but I often squeak 1, and sometime 2 games in a set. I can often get to 3 or more games against good 4.0s. I never beat them, and I guess that's the point. Winning really is the acid test. Going 0-11 and getting bumped up is like a pro player being #1 in the world for two years without winning a major........and we know that never happens