Originally Posted by icarus180
I've just signed up for USTA membership and I'm asked to self-rate. I plan to play 4.5 doubles, but also want to cut my teeth in some 4.0 singles tournaments. If I self-rate at 4.0, can I still enter doubles tournaments at 4.5? Will I be able to play 4.0 singles and 4.5 doubles in the same tournament?
Sorry if I've missed similar questions on the forum.
If you self-rate at 4.0, generally you can enter tournaments that are anywhere from 4.0 on upward.
I'm not sure there is much sense to what you are proposing, unless you have a doubles partner in mind who is a 4.5? When a real 4.5 team plays a real 4.0 team they will win very easily (in general) so why would you want to play in likely uncompetitive matches immediately? Why not just start out with 4.0 singles and doubles and see what happens? There is no race to the finish line and, as I see it, the name of the game in USTA tennis is to be challenged and to gradually improve your game through competition. "Playing up" isn't useful really (in a match, just hitting is a different beast) unless you are on the cusp of that transition.
Regarding the comment of the poster suggesting you self-rate at 3.5...I conditionally disagree. When I came back to tennis (after a 25 year total layoff), I got suggestions to self-rate at 3.5, not really based on my game. I had come back to playing for about 6 months when I signed up for USTA and it was clear to me from the guys I was playing with that I fit in with the 4.0 players. My first season I had about a 0.500 record in league and then improved each year until getting bumped to 4.5 a couple of years ago. Based on the guidelines from USTA, I was right to self-rate at 4.0 (I played in HS and did not in college, although probably could have if I hadn't quite playing). At the time I came back it was clear that I would have been an unfairly rated 3.5 and I would have had no fun in that situation I think, so I'm glad I did what I did.
You might want to consider asking a pro that you've worked with what you should rate yourself? A certified pro should be able to help you out a bit in an unbiased way.