Can I rate myself at 4.0?

tennisboss

New User
I'd like to rate myself in the USTA adult ratings even though I'm 16, just to get a feel for how much I'd need to improve to be competitive in a college setting.
Here are some traits I have:
- First Serve generally forces errors or gives a weak return
- Second Serve is a slow, yet inconsistent topspin/kick serve (still working on improving it)
- Forehand is a weapon, can easily put away weak balls with little errors, but sometimes have trouble adding pace to deep, heavy balls and can overshoot slightly on some strokes.
- Backhand is weak but can keep the point neutral.
I've been playing tennis for around 1.5 years, which probably goes against how long most 4.0's I know have been playing (2-3+ years). I'm also pretty tall (6'2). Would y'all say I'm still at 3.5 or would I be competitive in a 4.0 setting?
My UTR is a 2.7ish, it used to be a 4.1 but it dropped after a bad tournament, will start playing more tournaments to get an accurate UTR.
 

chic

Professional
Based on your own descriptions I'd guess you're a 3.5, but it really comes down to results.
Also how critical you are vs another person describing yourself can vary wildly.


A utr 4 could be a low end 4.0iirc.

Colleges usually use utr rather that ntrp for ratings anyway, what are you hoping to get out of these numbers?
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
Most the 3.5's in AZ are in the (maybe 2.5) 3-5 range, and 4.0 4-6 (maybe 7), so just depends. Sounds like you are on a comeback so 3.5 would probably be better at level competition.
 

vex

Hall of Fame
Disagree. I can improve playing peers and lower. Each class offers different things to improve.
I just want to second this because it is a VERY uncommon opinion around here but for me it proved to be 100% true.

My good friend and normal hitting partner is a 4.5. I started from absolute scratch when he got back into tennis at 30. From him I learned how to handle pace and spin from the baseline and hit beautiful forehands. What I didn’t learn was how to put away short balls or overheads or volleys because... I almost never got any of those opportunities playing him. In my own USTA matches I would struggle to beat pushers and blow tons of matches that I should have won if I could hit an angled accurate short ball or an overhead. But I never developed those skills hitting with my superior friend.

This past summer I started practicing with a player clearly below me. My groundstroke pace routinely caused them to cough up short balls. So while helping him fix his problems I got TONS of practice hitting accurate, safe winners and approach shots off safe balls. I developed an inside out forehand that I never had. I learned when to recognize that I had hit a great shot and to charge the net. I learned to hit overheads on Floaty pushy junk.

now, I’m wrecking people I routinely lost to last year because practicing with a weaker partner fed me an endless supply of just the balls I needed to practice. And it did so in that perfectly varied and inconsistent way my ball machine never could.
 

Morch Us

Professional
Based on this, I don't think you are 4.0 NTRP. Also even if you rate yourself 3.0, you can still play 3.5 or 4.0 tournaments, but if you rate yourself as 4.0, and later you find that you were infact off by a lot, it will probably take at least one year before USTA will rate you down. So you will be forced to be playing with higher rated players than you for that one year. If you enjoy that, it is probably not a bad thing by itself, especially if you are only playing tournaments. But if you are playing a local USTA league, you may not get any matches if you are well below the league level (since captains probably won't be willing to throw away a line).

So I think if you have good intentions, please self-rate yourself 0.5 below what you think you are. Then if you find yourself under-rated, just play a higher level tournament or league.

My UTR is a 2.7ish, it used to be a 4.1 but it dropped after a bad tournament,
Are they USTA rated, or self rated? If USTA computer rated, how do you match-up against them? If they are not USTA computer rated, keep in mind that most players on parks self-assess themselves 0.5 level higher than they actually are, and you will find a lot of USTA players assessing themselves 0.5 level lower than they actually are. Or in otherwords public-park only playing non-USTA self-rated 4.0 player may not even be winning much in USTA 3.5 league match play.
most 4.0's I know
If you are worried about being labelled as a sandbagger, just know that you are not a sandbagger just because of your rating, you become one only if you play at a league/tournament level well lower than your level, continously.
 
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JCF

Rookie
I play in Europe and no one knows the USTA ranking, which is a shame, I once got beaten by a 4.5 American lad that was visiting, it was a good game maybe beat me 6.2 6.3 but I really played well just to get those few games.

He told me after that he is a very strong 4.5 - sometimes can play with 5.0 .... so I don't know, does that make me 4.0 ? 3.5 ? ..... 3.875 ?
 

TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
To give yourself more of an opportunity to be successful, start at 3.5. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. What I’ve learned is that there are different levels of 4.0. You have some 4.0’s that just barely made it, some that truly are and then you have the high level 4.0 that could easily be a 4.5. Your win loss ratio will determine if you put yourself in the right category. Don’t let appeal and dare I say your ego put you in a bad place by playing at a level you’re not ready for. One more quick thing, I’ve heard a lot of people say I’m a 4.0, but during matches I play like a 3.5. Match play is completely different from practice or hitting sessions.
 

chic

Professional
I play in Europe and no one knows the USTA ranking, which is a shame, I once got beaten by a 4.5 American lad that was visiting, it was a good game maybe beat me 6.2 6.3 but I really played well just to get those few games.

He told me after that he is a very strong 4.5 - sometimes can play with 5.0 .... so I don't know, does that make me 4.0 ? 3.5 ? ..... 3.875 ?
Most likely in that case you're a 4.0 possibly a 4.5. If you look at ranking distribution, there's a lot more 4.0s than 4.5s, so that's why I'm guessing the lower end.

Exact increment rankings don't exist outside of whatever database usta has, so a3.8 is just a 4.0.

UTR is generally a better system to compare across. Last I checked for men ~4-7 utr is usually 4.0ntrp with some 7s and 4s falling into 4.5 and 3.5 depending on exact results
 

Morch Us

Professional
Frankly it does not really matter, to figure out your competitive rating, especially on a practice match. Only if you win it has any reason to look into the match. The only thing you can probably guess from it possibly that your rating is below 4.5 competitive NTRP.

Depending on the personality, if the opponent is already winning, he may not put his full effort to beat you down bad. Also usually players get lazy when they know they can win with minimal effort.

On the other hand, most of the time, people don't want to lose, and if they feel like you are going to beat them, there is more chance for them to give their full effort. Again "most of the time". To be more realistic, you have to beat the guy multiple times on constant basis, to make sure that it is not a one time lack of concentration from the opponent.

So in summary, "I had a good match but lost", does not mean much to figure out your exact competitive rating.

it was a good game maybe beat me 6.2 6.3
 

JCF

Rookie
Frankly it does not really matter, to figure out your competitive rating, especially on a practice match. Only if you win it has any reason to look into the match. The only thing you can probably guess from it possibly that your rating is below 4.5 competitive NTRP.

Depending on the personality, if the opponent is already winning, he may not put his full effort to beat you down bad. Also usually players get lazy when they know they can win with minimal effort.

On the other hand, most of the time, people don't want to lose, and if they feel like you are going to beat them, there is more chance for them to give their full effort. Again "most of the time". To be more realistic, you have to beat the guy multiple times on constant basis, to make sure that it is not a one time lack of concentration from the opponent.

So in summary, "I had a good match but lost", does not mean much to figure out your exact competitive rating.
No lad, the fact that he was a very strong 4.5 and usually when I;d play other 4.5 from the states I would beat them or draw, or lose a close match ... made me think about the ratings ....

I also played a guy that was 50 once and he beat me 6-0 6-0 ..... I was pissed off, untill he told me afterwards that he was a senior pro and was ranked, I looked him up after and indeed he was, lots of the games went to deuce too ... so on paper it looks ****, but hey, I think I did okay that day ....
 

Morch Us

Professional
If this is true, especially if you beat other 4.5 computer rated players at least 50% of the time, then you could be a 4.5.

Again "lose a close match" is not that relevant for considering competitive rating. But seems like from your explanation, I assume you win 50% or so of them.

usually when I;d play other 4.5 from the states I would beat them or draw, or lose a close match
 

Morch Us

Professional
You have the answer above (just because you win enough), and you could be a 4.5.

I still want to point out the fact that, the below info is irrelevant for a pickup match, for trying to judge your own competitive level.
lots of the games went to deuce too
lose a close match
You will never know how much real effort your opponent was putting in, if he was winning most of those duece games anyway. The opponent taking ALL critical points infact may even hint that he is a LOT higher level than you.

That being said, rating systems use the match score into their algorithm, since they expect the participants to give 100% effort on every competitive match. This is part of the reason the rating systems are sometimes inaccurate (because rec players give their 100% effort only when they really have to do that to win).
 
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loosegroove

Hall of Fame
I just want to second this because it is a VERY uncommon opinion around here but for me it proved to be 100% true.

My good friend and normal hitting partner is a 4.5. I started from absolute scratch when he got back into tennis at 30. From him I learned how to handle pace and spin from the baseline and hit beautiful forehands. What I didn’t learn was how to put away short balls or overheads or volleys because... I almost never got any of those opportunities playing him. In my own USTA matches I would struggle to beat pushers and blow tons of matches that I should have won if I could hit an angled accurate short ball or an overhead. But I never developed those skills hitting with my superior friend.

This past summer I started practicing with a player clearly below me. My groundstroke pace routinely caused them to cough up short balls. So while helping him fix his problems I got TONS of practice hitting accurate, safe winners and approach shots off safe balls. I developed an inside out forehand that I never had. I learned when to recognize that I had hit a great shot and to charge the net. I learned to hit overheads on Floaty pushy junk.

now, I’m wrecking people I routinely lost to last year because practicing with a weaker partner fed me an endless supply of just the balls I needed to practice. And it did so in that perfectly varied and inconsistent way my ball machine never could.
This is why I think the advice of playing 50% on level, 25% up, and 25% down is pretty good.
 
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GuyClinch

Legend
This is why I think the advice of playing 50% on level, 25% up, and 25% down is pretty good.
Sounds legit. Playing down is underrated though - because you learn to produce some offense. I think the people that play up tend to get more and more conservative - just try to keep the ball in play. But then they can't attack even when give the rare opportunity against better players.

People generally take the "ski slope" view of tennis and try to play against the toughest opponents possible thinking that it will make them great. This is what you see when skiing where people ski the hardest hill - and just stop and go down it. They do get down it - but they don't really get much better. Interestingly I saw a video about how a racing team trained on some flattish hill.. That was enough to get them very good in terms of racing..
 
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