Originally Posted by bluetrain4
Great post, very enlightening, and so true. It's always an eye opener to play someone who is better than you, on another level.
Sometimes I think people don't understand all of the levels of tennis skill. I'm a pretty good 4.5 player. If someone were to watch me hit the ball and play a little, they'd generally think I know what I'm doing, that I'm in some sense "good." But, a lot of people make this determination based simply on things they can readily see - "he can hit with spin, he can hit hard, his strokes look solid, etc.), and don't really acknowledge the intangibles - consistency, placement, tactics, fitness, ability to adjust to opponent, positioning, which really set different levels of tennis players apart. Most 4.5 players when just hitting back and forth with a 5.5, will look fine, not a huge difference. But that's not the case when play begins, as you noted.
Where I live, there's a set of guys who play a lot of tournaments, but there is also a set of decent players who don't play tournaments. Plus, there's a lot of lower rated guys who you just know from around the park, who you've hit with at one time or another who don't play tournaments.
It's always funny when I come back from a tournament and some guys will ask me how I did. So, for example, I report back that I lost in the first round 6-3, 6-2 (which I did to a 5.0 player in an open tournament two weeks ago), and they'll be dumbfounded - "you lost that bad?" I just cringe and laugh. They don't get it. They think I should win based on my play against them, where I look great because I'm better and in control of the point and doing what I want. They don't seem to understand that a better player will never really let you be in control, impose your game, and you end up looking (and feeling) much worse. And, the 5.0 player who beat me in the 1st Rnd went on to lose 6-4, 6-0 in the next round to some 6.0ish college kid (Blake Baznarik from Vandy). Again, levels. [BTW, I'm very happy I drew the 5.0 player in the first round. At least I could get into rallies, control a few points, win some games, actually "play" tennis. Against a 6.0 college stud, it probably would have been very ugly. LOL.]