Here is a real case of a legitimately self rated 4.5 player being disqualified from his match results and having everything for the season reversed:
This person did not play high school or college tennis. He never had a ranking of any kind. He started playing tennis in his mid-twenties, and took lessons a couple times per week. He was 35 when I met him, so he had been playing for about 10 years. His strokes looked like an average 3.5 or 4.0 player (meaning that they weren't technically sound, with flaws in the grip, shoulder turn, and follow through), and he hit a pancake-grip serve with very little pace or spin. If you saw him warming up, you'd never think he was a good player. However, in my opinion, he had world class level athletic ability and talent for tennis. His game consisted of running practically every ball down, and slice/shovelling the ball back over the net. He also had exceptional hands, and was good at blocking serves back into play, or knocking away volleys and overheads if he was drawn into the net. I believe that if he had started playing when he was 6 years old, had good coaching and parents with money, he would have been on the pro tour... but that hadn't been the case, so he was legitimately eligible to self-rate at practically anything he wanted.
He actually started out at 4.0, but was disqualified at that level due to a grievance after his first match. The USTA could not find any reason in his playing background to merit a disqualification, but his opponent felt embarrassed by the 6-0, 6-0 loss and Charlie told the USTA he'd rather play at a higher level. Therefore, they placed him on a local 4.5 team instead that had been looking for players to fill our their roster (they were not a playoff contender - just a group of 4.5 hackers). However, as you can see, he only played 3 matches, but lost just 5 games total, and was dynamically DQ'ed up to 5.0.
His case is an outlier for a couple reasons:
- He is one of only three people that I have met that started tennis late in life, but was still able to reach the 5.0 level within 10 years, after the age of 35. The other two people had extensive athletic backgrounds in other sports. Charlie played no other sports (that I know of) before picking up a racquet on his own.
- He is the only player I've ever seen get disqualified from 4.5 in just three matches - all strikes! (And I've seen former D1, D2, and high school state champions cheat the system, sandbag at 4.5, and skate through seasons undefeated... and still not get bumped.)
It's too bad because Charlie hasn't played in the USTA League since then, and now he only hits against the backboard or against a teaching pro when he takes a lesson. His talent sits on the sidelines, and I would have loved to see what he could have done against the real sandbaggers!