Originally Posted by omega4
I just had to chime in here as I'm almost in the same situation to some extent.
I'm 41 and used to play competitive high school tennis. I would say that I was a decent 4.0 (possibly 4.5) back then but over 20 years later, I'm not even close.
While I'm in great physical shape from working out 6 days a week (weights, cardio) and playing lots of golf, I'd say humbly that I'm probably a 2.5 now, if not lower!
While I think I can make it back to a 4.0 in a year or two, I don't want to overestimate my rating. The guidelines for the NTRP ratings state that anyone who has played competitive high school tennis cannot be self rated lower than a 3.0, but I really think I should give myself a 2.5 or even a 2.0.
I don't even own a single can of tennis balls at the moment and don't know what's the preferred brand to get (it was Wilson back in the day).
If you were a 4.0 / 4.5 in HS, and are in decent shape in your early 40's, then there is no way you are lower than a 3.0 now. In fact it is very unlikely even that you are a 3.0, given your age and fitness level. Maybe if you were 60. Most likely you are a 3.5 right now.
Also, when you self-rate, you keep that rating for anywhere from 6-18 months, depending on when you start playing league, and how many matches you play your first season. On the other hand, your improvement will be rapid - you will see a lot of improvement over the first few months. So you need to self rate with that perspective in mind.
Unless of course you are trying to game the system.