Originally Posted by anubis
If I get bumped up to 4.0 next year (which I won't BTW) then my computer rating is actually 3.9, correct? The closer my opponents get to 4.40 (the number in which they will likely be bumped up to 4.5), they will be steadily better than I am.
It perfectly makes sense that the playoffs are the place where the competition is most fierce. You're playing people that are the best at being 4.0s, which means they are likely as close to 4.40 as possible.
Now, whether they are artificially tanking matches to keep their rating at 4.40, or if they got there "naturally" through practice and hard work, what difference does it make? They're still the best of what 4.0 tennis has to offer -- and that's what you should be expecting going into that match. If you yourself are not the best of what a 4.0 has to offer, then you probably won't make it that far in the playoffs.
It's the difference between really good, and really, really good. Frankly, I'd be happy to make it to the playoffs. I know I'll never get that chance.
Actually your boundaries are a bit off:
The range for 4.0 is from 3.51 - 4.00.
If you are currently a 3.5, that means you are 3.01 - 3.50.
Ratings change dynamically through the course of the season, so it's possible (common actually) that the person you are playing in the playoff has already crossed the threshold into the next level, but the bump is not made official or public until final ratings come out.
So at 3.5 for example, you might be 'only' be a 3.45 (which is a very strong 3.5), but be playing someone who is currently at 3.65, which would get them bumped to 4.0 at the end of the year assuming their rating is still at that level by then.