Are sandbaggers really just the best players at level?

wings56

Hall of Fame
I think in a very high population metro area this is a workable possibility (see ALTA). There are participation numbers sufficient to make those leagues workable.

I think in the rest of the country it is non-supportable. Some areas cannot even support the levels USTA has right now ... how would they do more?

You nailed it. Lot's of places can't even fill a 4.5 level. Women's teams can be especially thin toward the upper levels.
 

R1FF

Semi-Pro
USTA needs to redistribute the players and come up with more levels. There should be a 3.5-, 3.5, 3.5+, 4.0-, 4.0, 4.0+ , 4.5-, 4.5, 4.5+ and a 5.0 (open). Basically, the equates to low, middle and high tiers of C, B and A level tennis with 5.0 being for open level players.
That’s what UTR is. And another added benefit is that the rating updates are instant.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
That’s what UTR is. And another added benefit is that the rating updates are instant.
UTR can work for tournaments. I think it has challenges being used for leagues which is what a lot of this discussion has been about. A one or two weekend tournament has a lot of influences and requirements than a league being played over 2-3 months does. Especially if you want the league to have any type of playoffs or advancement to play other areas/states/etc. as the season now becomes 4-6 or more months long.

Others have already pointed out you can't just have everything be "Open", there is no incentive for the lower rated players to participate. To give them a league to play in where they will get competitive matches, you have to have levels for league play just like the USTA does with NTRP, and then where do you decide to have the thresholds between levels?

Yes, rating updates being "instant" is great, but what happens if a player's rating goes up dramatically during the season? Are they DQ'd on the spot?

Having levels with arbitrary thresholds will just create the same incentive that USTA/NTRP has for players to get their rating down so they can play at a lower level. Or if players can be DQ'd mid-season if they get too high, that also creates the incentive to keep a rating down.
 

Snarf

New User
You are right, mathematically it doesn't matter.


I think this is part of it. It is often the case that the best players on a team play singles, in part because you can get two court wins from two players in singles while pairing them in doubles gives you only one court. This results in someone that plays singles all the time tending to play higher rated opponents than if they played doubles. So, should someone go 9-1 in singles, their rating will likely end up being higher than someone going 9-1 in doubles with the same scores simply because it was done against higher rated opponents.

But if you happen to play court 1 in doubles and opponents don't stack so you are usually playing stronger doubles pairs, and if you do so with a lower rated opponent, your rating can go up just as much if not more than the hypothetical singles player above.

In the end it simply depends on who you play against (and with) and the score. Singles just often has higher rated opponents than doubles so there is more opportunity to improve, but one still has to win and perhaps easily to realize the opportunity.

IMHO, another factor that keeps doubles matches closer than singles matches is the larger structural advantage the server has in doubles. It's easier for an inferior player (team) to hold serve in doubles and, therefore, keep the match closer than in a singles match with a similar disparity in skill level.
You are right, mathematically it doesn't matter.


I think this is part of it. It is often the case that the best players on a team play singles, in part because you can get two court wins from two players in singles while pairing them in doubles gives you only one court. This results in someone that plays singles all the time tending to play higher rated opponents than if they played doubles. So, should someone go 9-1 in singles, their rating will likely end up being higher than someone going 9-1 in doubles with the same scores simply because it was done against higher rated opponents.

But if you happen to play court 1 in doubles and opponents don't stack so you are usually playing stronger doubles pairs, and if you do so with a lower rated opponent, your rating can go up just as much if not more than the hypothetical singles player above.

In the end it simply depends on who you play against (and with) and the score. Singles just often has higher rated opponents than doubles so there is more opportunity to improve, but one still has to win and perhaps easily to realize the opportunity.
IMHO, another factor that keeps doubles matches closer than singles matches is the larger structural advantage the server has in doubles. It's easier for an inferior player (team) to hold serve in doubles and, therefore, keep the match closer than in a singles match with a similar disparity in skill level.
 
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Hall of Fame
Well, we got knocked out of 3.0 semi-finals for 40+ season by a team with an S1 player that was self-rated, had a season record of 9-0 and post season of 2-0. I would consider this sandbagging. Clearly he is playing above the level that he SELF rated at.

Now. Having said that, there are a few of us on the 3.0 team that also play on a 3.5 team and play competitively. Do we dominate? Well, one of us does in doubles. He plays almost 4.0 in doubles. But guess what? We play hard every match and we are computer rated. We will get bumped up after this season.

So that is what Sectionals and Nationals is all about. You clearly improved to the point where you are dominating your level. This will be the last year to play at this level. Go have fun!
 

R1FF

Semi-Pro
Yes, rating updates being "instant" is great, but what happens if a player's rating goes up dramatically during the season? Are they DQ'd on the spot?
No. They have to play at the level they belong come the post season. Not the level they started in.

I could've stayed at 3.0 my first year. After just five matches I was ranked in the top 5 in the USTA website. But after 6 months I was anything but a 3.0 player. Totally disingenuous to stay at that ranking. It's not good for the sport for someone like me to stay down and beat up on people that might share my rating but we're definitely not of the same skillset.

I like knowing that with UTR I can get my rating up and not have to wait until the end of the year.
 

5sets

Semi-Pro
That’s all good and fine, but I have seen some individuals play at 4.0 two years ago, and are on the cusp of breaking through to 5.0. Now, good honest improvement is one thing but I’m pretty sure these individuals were holding back so they could play 4.0 League and advance to Sectionals and make a run at Nationals. A few of them were tennis instructors. A level and a half jump
In the course of 24 months is certainly suspect.


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R1FF

Semi-Pro
That’s all good and fine, but I have seen some individuals play at 4.0 two years ago, and are on the cusp of breaking through to 5.0. Now, good honest improvement is one thing but I’m pretty sure these individuals were holding back so they could play 4.0 League and advance to Sectionals and make a run at Nationals. A few of them were tennis instructors. A level and a half jump
In the course of 24 months is certainly suspect.


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Definitely sounds suspect.

Once I hit 4.0 and higher I will no longer worry about sandbagging. Everyone is decent or good at 4+.

I care most about the 3.0 & 3.5 divisions because those are the lifeblood of any sport. Gotta protect the noobs.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
No. They have to play at the level they belong come the post season. Not the level they started in.
So there is still incentive for the player to suppress their rating so they can remain eligible for the post-season. Not a whole lot different than the USTA/NTRP.
 

ShaunS

Semi-Pro
Don't work about that backhand, gotta give us someplace to aim sometimes ;)
Well one of us has to get better or worse, and you appear insistent on not getting worse. Think of someone besides yourself?

IMHO, another factor that keeps doubles matches closer than singles matches is the larger structural advantage the server has in doubles. It's easier for an inferior player (team) to hold serve in doubles and, therefore, keep the match closer than in a singles match with a similar disparity in skill level.
It's certainly feasible.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
Really, the answer to the "level-less" league concept to discourage sandbagging is to have a European style system of promotion/relegation and a "national championship" only for the top level. Then, the incentive is always to win your league (or finish top 2 or whatever it takes) to be promoted. As with everything, there are drawbacks to this:

1. It doesn't work well in less populated sections/areas. If you just have a two team league tier, what happens? One is promoted and one relegated? Or do you expand the rating levels in a tier in that area to get critical mass in the league? In other words, in NYC, there easily could be a 10 team league at every level and have the top/bottom 2 promoted/relegated. It works great. The 4.0 tier has 10 teams, all matches are relatively competitive and at the end of the season, two teams are promoted to the 4.5 tier and two are relegated to the 3.5 tier. What happens in Wyoming where there are no leagues for 5.0 at all and just one 4.5 team and 2 4.0 and 2 3.5 teams in the area? How do you promote/relegate teams? Do you have one big league so that 4.5 teams are playing 3.0 teams so that the tier is sufficiently populated? Now there are tons of non-competitive matches. Do you expand the area so that Wyoming, Idaho, and the Dakotas are an area? Do you need to fly to your away matches?

2. Currently, teams are viewed as single year entities, not franchises. For the promotion/relegation process to work, you need to have team franchises that continue to exist year after year. If you constantly have new teams every year and teams dropping out, it's much harder to control promotion & relegation. Do all new teams need to start at the bottom? What if 2 teams drop out? Where do new ones come from? Also, part of the franchise idea is that players need to be affiliated long-term to teams. If not, every relegated team is going to lose all of it's good players who want to stay in the upper tier and will struggle just to exist. For the promotion/relegation idea to work, you need to ensure continuity of the teams from year to year, both the existence of the team and the affiliation of the players to the team.
 

Matthew ATX

Semi-Pro
Really, the answer to the "level-less" league concept to discourage sandbagging is to have a European style system of promotion/relegation and a "national championship" only for the top level. Then, the incentive is always to win your league (or finish top 2 or whatever it takes) to be promoted. As with everything, there are drawbacks to this:

1. It doesn't work well in less populated sections/areas. If you just have a two team league tier, what happens? One is promoted and one relegated? Or do you expand the rating levels in a tier in that area to get critical mass in the league? In other words, in NYC, there easily could be a 10 team league at every level and have the top/bottom 2 promoted/relegated. It works great. The 4.0 tier has 10 teams, all matches are relatively competitive and at the end of the season, two teams are promoted to the 4.5 tier and two are relegated to the 3.5 tier. What happens in Wyoming where there are no leagues for 5.0 at all and just one 4.5 team and 2 4.0 and 2 3.5 teams in the area? How do you promote/relegate teams? Do you have one big league so that 4.5 teams are playing 3.0 teams so that the tier is sufficiently populated? Now there are tons of non-competitive matches. Do you expand the area so that Wyoming, Idaho, and the Dakotas are an area? Do you need to fly to your away matches?

2. Currently, teams are viewed as single year entities, not franchises. For the promotion/relegation process to work, you need to have team franchises that continue to exist year after year. If you constantly have new teams every year and teams dropping out, it's much harder to control promotion & relegation. Do all new teams need to start at the bottom? What if 2 teams drop out? Where do new ones come from? Also, part of the franchise idea is that players need to be affiliated long-term to teams. If not, every relegated team is going to lose all of it's good players who want to stay in the upper tier and will struggle just to exist. For the promotion/relegation idea to work, you need to ensure continuity of the teams from year to year, both the existence of the team and the affiliation of the players to the team.
I play in a local promotion/relegation league. It's fine, but it's one step above social tennis in terms of how much anyone cares. My team is never, ever, going to even sniff the top rung. Maybe we get promoted one higher, then get demoted back the next year and it's really just one big who gives a sh*t...

And because rating (and gender) don't matter, the quality of matches you get varies wildly in the middle rungs. One week I may play two 80 year old 3.0 ladies at D1 and the next week I may get massacred by an ex-college player at S1.
 

5sets

Semi-Pro
As said before, in League play over the course of 6-8 weeks or whatever you need levels. An Open format where you are grouped with lower levels and then advance to play higher levels works over the course of a weekend for a tournament, however no 4.0/4.5 in his right mind is going to enroll in a league with 3.0/3.5 players. I made this thread not for those salty from a loss who want to point fingers and say so and so is a sandbagger because I didn’t win but to address extreme cases. I’ve heard of new to USTA players being bribed mid season to knowingly join a team blatantly below their level. So I ask those here, would you take a free airplane ticket and $500 to go to Florida or wherever post season to beat up on inferior players?


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ShaunS

Semi-Pro
So I ask those here, would you take a free airplane ticket and $500 to go to Florida or wherever post season to beat up on inferior players?
Is my 4+ star hotel room covered during the stay? Seems like we're getting close to a mini-vacation (and a deal!).
 

5sets

Semi-Pro
Yes. It has been done in all seriousness. Think about it. If you have a USTA league team of 18 players and everyone throws $40 in towards the end of the season to persuade your club Pro to join and help you that’s $720 for him to help you get the covet ed Nationals title.


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norcal

Hall of Fame
I can't tell if you're implying something. Is there supposed to be some commentary these pictures are providing?
Well TTPS has said 3.5 players can have pro level strokes so those players must be 4.0+ since they clearly don't have pro level strokes.
 

BallBag

Semi-Pro
Yes. It has been done in all seriousness. Think about it. If you have a USTA league team of 18 players and everyone throws $40 in towards the end of the season to persuade your club Pro to join and help you that’s $720 for him to help you get the covet ed Nationals title.


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Does this really happen? How extreme are those cases? If it only happens three times per year then whatever. All the proposed solutions create even more problems. The only real benefit to sandbagging that I've seen is feeling like the pretty girl at prom when teams are forming.
 

5sets

Semi-Pro
Does this really happen? How extreme are those cases? If it only happens three times per year then whatever. All the proposed solutions create even more problems. The only real benefit to sandbagging that I've seen is feeling like the pretty girl at prom when teams are forming.
Yep, they are commonly referred to as Ringers.


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I don't doubt the $500 to nationals, easily could be true. I have friends who teach lessons and have been invited to play tri-level, but the tri-level tournament interfered with their usual lesson schedule, so the team paid two of my friends whatever money they would have made doing lessons to skip teaching the lessons during the various weekends that local and state tourneys were held to join the tri-level teams.

To add some background to how/why/huh? There are a handful of people who are retired in the area that don't play on every team they captain, they simply captain and recruit mega teams for fun, it's their hobby. They also travel with their team to state, and spend a weekend watching um, amateur tennis. Are they super life long best friends with these guys, no, not really, some of the players they just met, it's just an interesting phenomenon. So this isn't a get the guys together and have fun, it's purely geared toward winning. Nothing wrong with it, but if that is what is happening, it's easier to understand that players sometimes get paid.
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
I’ve heard of new to USTA players being bribed mid season to knowingly join a team blatantly below their level.
I haven't really read much of the rest of the thread, but I will say this, in relation to what you posted here:

The USTA 3.5 team that was looking like they were going to recruit me is from a neighborhood with numerous ALTA teams and is widely regarded as a bunch of sandbaggers. They asked my coach if he knew (and I quote here, my coach showed me the email) "a 3.5 guy, and perhaps another guy with no USTA rating that played at 4.0 or better" as possible recruits for their (again 3.5) team... I was the "3.5 guy" that my coach recommended...
 

BallBag

Semi-Pro
I haven't really read much of the rest of the thread, but I will say this, in relation to what you posted here:

The USTA 3.5 team that was looking like they were going to recruit me is from a neighborhood with numerous ALTA teams and is widely regarded as a bunch of sandbaggers. They asked my coach if he knew (and I quote here, my coach showed me the email) "a 3.5 guy, and perhaps another guy with no USTA rating that played at 4.0 or better" as possible recruits for their (again 3.5) team... I was the "3.5 guy" that my coach recommended...
But do you really play at a 4.0 level or are you just a really good 3.5. If you are playing at the 4.0 level, why do you still have a 3.5 rating?
 
That’s all good and fine, but I have seen some individuals play at 4.0 two years ago, and are on the cusp of breaking through to 5.0. Now, good honest improvement is one thing but I’m pretty sure these individuals were holding back so they could play 4.0 League and advance to Sectionals and make a run at Nationals. A few of them were tennis instructors. A level and a half jump
In the course of 24 months is certainly suspect.


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I know a guy that went to 4.0 Nationals two years ago and is now a 5.0C.
Went undefeated at 4.5. Only loss at 4.0 was at Nationals.
While he is now at the appropriate level, there's a whole bunch of other guys that go to Nationals at 4.0, tank on purpose at 4.5, rinse and repeat.
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
But do you really play at a 4.0 level or are you just a really good 3.5. If you are playing at the 4.0 level, why do you still have a 3.5 rating?
All the words in my post that you quoted have the full story - I don't have a USTA rating, but play at a 3.5 level - not a strong 3.5... my coach sent them my contact info as the "3.5 guy" not as the "4.0 guy with no USTA rating" guy. They haven't called me back. I'm guessing they found some 4.0 level guys with no USTA rating that they wanted to sandbag with instead. ;)
 

GatorTennis

Rookie
I have a hard time imagining someone who dominates at 3.5 but can't even compete at 4.0. He may not have a winning record but he should at least be able to stay on the court. It's not like breaking the sound barrier where there is a dramatic change when one crosses into 4.0: maybe playing against the highest 4.0s but certainly not against the mid- or lower-4.0s.
I've known a few guys who can't find a team, get picked up by the worst team, end up playing courts D1 or D2. So they go from being the best 3.5's by outthinking people to being low level 4.0's that have to play top level 4.0's. So they basically end up being a ball machine and getting killed because their strokes can't keep up with top level 4.0's. There is definitely a chasm there. Now you're right, if they got to play D3, they could have reasonable matches most of the time, but that wasn't the case. Also, because they played guys who were always on the cusp of 4.5, it took a couple seasons of being a punching bag before they got moved down.
 

5sets

Semi-Pro
I've known a few guys who can't find a team, get picked up by the worst team, end up playing courts D1 or D2. So they go from being the best 3.5's by outthinking people to being low level 4.0's that have to play top level 4.0's. So they basically end up being a ball machine and getting killed because their strokes can't keep up with top level 4.0's. There is definitely a chasm there. Now you're right, if they got to play D3, they could have reasonable matches most of the time, but that wasn't the case. Also, because they played guys who were always on the cusp of 4.5, it took a couple seasons of being a punching bag before they got moved down.
Good, maybe it will put some hair on their chest.


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R1FF

Semi-Pro
Guy with no USTA history... self rates as a 3.5 .... hasnt lost a match all year... won 4 tournaments ....sure sign of a Sandbagger right?

Huge flaw in the USTA system that red flags arent raised in these cases. UTR would’ve already moved him up significantly.
 

5sets

Semi-Pro
Not if he’s a good athlete who’s new to tennis. Just because somebody wins it doesn’t make them a sandbagger. I think 3.5 is a good self rate for someone who has played high school sports whether it be baseball, basketball, what have you. Good athletes taking up the game as adults can often cruise through 3.5 and make it to 4.0, even 4.5 sometimes.

And he can’t be a sandbagger by definition if it’s his first USTA season. Some people honestly don’t know their rating.


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R1FF

Semi-Pro
Not if he’s a good athlete who’s new to tennis. Just because somebody wins it doesn’t make them a sandbagger. I think 3.5 is a good self rate for someone who has played high school sports whether it be baseball, basketball, what have you. Good athletes taking up the game as adults can often cruise through 3.5 and make it to 4.0, even 4.5 sometimes.

And he can’t be a sandbagger by definition if it’s his first USTA season. Some people honestly don’t know their rating.


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He knows his rating now. You roll thru 4 tournaments in a row dont you think it’s time to realize the error & bump yourself up?

Im gonna guess he’s not new to tennis. I’ll ask him when I meet him. If he’s legitimately new to tennis, no harm in getting it wrong a few events in a row. Going the whole season at a skill level you know you dont belong is indeed sandbagging, whether you’re new to tennis or not.

I know one thing, I dominate just one 3.5 tournament Im moving myself up. Not gonna pretend I dont know what my skill level is.
 

5sets

Semi-Pro
He knows his rating now. You roll thru 4 tournaments in a row dont you think it’s time to realize the error & bump yourself up?

Im gonna guess he’s not new to tennis. I’ll ask him when I meet him. If he’s legitimately new to tennis, no harm in getting it wrong a few events in a row. Going the whole season at a skill level you know you dont belong is indeed sandbagging, whether you’re new to tennis or not.

I know one thing, I dominate just one 3.5 tournament Im moving myself up. Not gonna pretend I dont know what my skill level is.
Lol, I’d kind of like to see that. So you are going to confront him and accuse him of sandbagging huh. Can you videotape that and post it here for us to watch.


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winchestervatennis

Hall of Fame
Lol, I’d kind of like to see that. So you are going to confront him and accuse him of sandbagging huh. Can you videotape that and post it here for us to watch.


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That guy is quickly becoming one of the most entertaining posters around here.
 

R1FF

Semi-Pro
Lol, I’d kind of like to see that. So you are going to confront him and accuse him of sandbagging huh. Can you videotape that and post it here for us to watch.


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Haha ya Im gonna confront him. I wont accuse him of anything. I’ll call it as it is. Even if I beat him.

Sandbaggers should get called out.

If it’s legitimately his first year playing tennis, I’ll congratulate him on his skills. If he’s a legit 3.5 skillswise I wont have anything to say.
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
Having levels with arbitrary thresholds will just create the same incentive that USTA/NTRP has for players to get their rating down so they can play at a lower level.
Must be some serious "Psych cases" playing competitive rec tennis.
 

kylebarendrick

Professional
And he can’t be a sandbagger by definition if it’s his first USTA season. Some people honestly don’t know their rating.
The player may not - but the captain does. If as a captain you have a self-rated player that you think is in danger of getting DQ'd so you hide them and encourage them to throw games/sets and even matches, then you have created a sandbagger.

As a player, be honest in the self-rating process and play every match to the best of your ability - which some days may be better than others. That is how you avoid sandbagging.
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
Sandbaggers are scum and not the best players at their level. I seen some really extreme levels of sandbagging with young fit ex-college players playing 4.0 and throwing games to keep their ranking for playoffs. 2 guys in particular would have been at the top of 4.5 level and they were playing 4.0.
Sounds like a great opportunity for the 4.0s to get a free/discounted lesson
 

5sets

Semi-Pro


They do exist!

Just going to revive this thread rather than create a new one. So, one of my hitting buddies has told me that there is one team in our league actively throwing matches and getting thrashed for the entire season so all their players can get bumped down as you guys have mentioned the Dallas team tried to do or accomplished (If that can be called an accomplishment, pitiful IMO) so they can make a run at Nationals next season.

Not disclosing region or level and I wasn’t in the lineup the time our team played this team during the regular season yet but I may get a chance to oppose them next week.

Anybody ever played against a tank engine? If I face them it would be funny to F with them and make it hard for them to lose...


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R1FF

Semi-Pro


They do exist!

Just going to revive this thread rather than create a new one. So, one of my hitting buddies has told me that there is one team in our league actively throwing matches and getting thrashed for the entire season so all their players can get bumped down as you guys have mentioned the Dallas team tried to do or accomplished (If that can be called an accomplishment, pitiful IMO) so they can make a run at Nationals next season.

Not disclosing region or level and I wasn’t in the lineup the time our team played this team during the regular season yet but I may get a chance to oppose them next week.

Anybody ever played against a tank engine? If I face them it would be funny to F with them and make it hard for them to lose...


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At the court next to me today I could overhear the entire team discussing their tanking strategy.

The tennis culture in my area is so toxic. It would make for a fascinating sociology study. There’s something about tennis that brings out the wuss in a lotta people.
 
What total jackasses.
I can't possibly grasp why anyone would ever tank their rating.
I'd rather lose at the higher level than beat a lower level player.
I get ZERO satisfaction from beating a worse player.
My entire MO is to try to hang with better players
 

5sets

Semi-Pro
Right? I guess they just want to pay their trip to Fla or wherever these godawful Nationals are that inspire these actions.

I dunno, I love getting stiff competition at a higher level. Win some, lose some.

Lol, one of their players literally went from X.43 to X.03 in the course of four weeks on TennisRecord. What a Royal waste of match fees and time.


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What total jackasses.
I can't possibly grasp why anyone would ever tank their rating.
I'd rather lose at the higher level than beat a lower level player.
I get ZERO satisfaction from beating a worse player.
My entire MO is to try to hang with better players
Beating a lower-level player is not easy because, as the favorite, you're "supposed" to win. That causes people to put pressure on themselves and their game goes down the toilet.

I'd take a more balanced view that there are things to be gained against all 3 categories [above, peer, and below].
 

5sets

Semi-Pro
Going to breathe life into this thread now that the USTAs YE ratings have been out for a few days. Did those of you who promised to play at your C generated rating come December keep your rating and accept the challenge if you were bumped up or did you hit that Appeal Down button to hand out another year of ass beatings like the dirty Sandbaggers you are, lol?
 

Matthew ATX

Semi-Pro
I'll be honest. I hit the appeal button. Lol. After watching 4.5 play at the Texas Adult Masters (I was there for 4.0) I just didn't think I belonged on the same court as those guys.

The computer disagreed though, and my appeal was denied. So 4.5 it is.
 

MaxTennis

Rookie
Going to breathe life into this thread now that the USTAs YE ratings have been out for a few days. Did those of you who promised to play at your C generated rating come December keep your rating and accept the challenge if you were bumped up or did you hit that Appeal Down button to hand out another year of ass beatings like the dirty Sandbaggers you are, lol?
I appealed up to 5.5 but unfortunately I’m not as good as I think I am haha

5.0 it is for me.
 
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