I just started playing USTA last fall on a 3.5 team. When I started I thought, 'Wow, these guys are really good.' And indeed, each time we go to the regional playoffs we go without a single loss in the regular season. And yet, each time we go to the playoffs we meet the same team and not only do we get swept, but we don't even win a set. I played 1st doubles yesterday at regionals and then districts (since we keep meeting the same team in regionals we also got to district playoffs against this team). One of the players I played against was clearly at least 4.0 or better. He was aceing us and ripping winners everywhere. If he is 3.5, I am the Pope. The match wasn't even competitive. Our team got swept again 5-0 and we didn't win a set. Again. I have played in other non USTA international tournaments where they have roving officials, who have the authority to disqualify anyone whom they deem to be intentionally playing below their level. So after the match I talked to the district coordinator about it. The district coordinator said basically (at least as I understood it) that anyone who wins a lot by huge score disparities will start getting strikes against them and either eventually get bumped up to 4.0 or might even get retroactively disqualified. (Did I get this right?) Well, in any case it doesn't matter, the damage is done. At the time I thought that they had recruited a self rated player who plays below his level just for the playoffs, however when I got home I looked up the history on TennisLink for this player and he does have a long match record, but most of his matches for many seasons looks like a bakery: bagels and breadsticks (6-0, 6-0 or 6-1, 6-1 etc.) except every fifth match or so he has a third set loss. So why hasn't he been bumped up to 4.0? Their captain is all about gaming the system and winning at all costs, and even drives 50 miles to our matches to scout us. Ok, whatever. At first I thought that he issue is that they use players that are clearly not 3.5 players, but playing below their level, but now I have come to wonder why there's such a large disparity in ratings between divisions. Our 4.0 is their 3.5. So, I spent all weekend, a lot of time driving to the ends of the earth, and a lot of money going to these playoffs only to get swept and not even have a competetive match. So, the options are to start gaming the system like they do and recruit 4.0 players who somehow still play 3.5, or stop playing USTA. I consider myself an honest, ethical person, and I like to think that karma, both positive and negative, comes back to you in the end, so gaming the system is not an option for me, and I think the team feels the same way. It's unfortunate, because I enjoy playing during the regular season. Thanks for letting me vent on this. I would value your comments.