Hmmm... Let me share my experiences.
A couple of years ago, after about a 20 year absence, I decided to play tennis again, so I dusted off my OG Wilson Profile, and played in some rec groups. After about a month, a players who ran a tennis league, asked me to join the team. I self ranked myself at 3.0, and was put in the appropriate league. Fast forward 6 weeks, and we were undefeated (can't say it was all me, I just helped). At that point, I decided to play a tournament at 3.0. It was over a weekend, and by the time I got to the final after playing 4 matches in the Texas heat, I lost it bad. Now here is where it go interesting. The USTA officials wouldn't let me play the next 3.0 tournament because they basically said I was sand bagging (they used nicer words of course). They stuck me at the 3.5-4.0 tournament. Rise, repeat, so the next one they stuck me in the 4.5. I got to the quarters, and I asked if I could be bumped back down, and they wouldn't let me. Unfortunately, in my area (didn't want to go to far out), it topped at 4.5, and it was the domain of former college players, so I got smacked around.
The punchline of this joke, is that with a LOT of the players in the 3.0, 3.5-4.0, most of them thought they .5-1.5 levels higher on the NTRP than they really are, and that they played these "lower" level tournaments, because they like "winning". LOL