Originally Posted by g4driver
One guy just committed to losing weight last year which really helped his movement on the court. To drop from 240 to 200 has made him better just from a speed perspective.
He still has a weak backhand, but his net game and serve overcome his biggest weakness.
The other guy got divorced and simply starting playing more last year.
Both guys are still on 3.5 teams, but the reality is there are a lot of bottom dwellers at all levels that don't get bumped down when they clearly don't challenge people at their current level.
I can name a lot of 3.5, 4.0 and 4,5 players who should be bumped down.
These two guys are misrepresenting themselves as much as both oh them worked hard to get better and their improvements are paying off while some of these 4.0s don't play much and really don't challenge strong 3.5s on the way up or 4.0s are playing and improving.
One has to think this is fairly common, someone improves their game since the last time they played USTA and are then playing above their rating. The improvement may be due to playing more, lessons, getting fit, whatever.
I and many others don't have issue with this type of scenario and I don't think one can reasonably assume that a rating system should know in advance that these players improved and should be bumped up, nor would it seem fair to bump anyone that improves mid-season, although improvement above a certain significant level, perhaps should result in a mid-year bump which doesn't happen today unless someone is self-rated.
What many people have issue with is not these "natural" above rating players but those that deliberately try to manipulate their rating to get it lower than it should be so they can play at a level below their skill level.
Regarding your comments about lower end players that don't get bumped down, the USTA does seem to err on the side of not bumping players down. This is perhaps in response to concerns about sandbaggers and manipulators, not wanting someone that just ekes below a threshold to get bumped down only to dominate the lower level the next year. But the side-effect of that is that genuinely weaker players that don't play enough to really get their rating low enough get stuck at the level they are at. Since they are weaker, they may not get in that many matches the following year which means they again don't move down enough, a vicious cycle.