how rankings differ from area to area

ibeeskeef

New User
I see there are a lot of people on this site that talk about their rating or guess their rating and the most popular ratings I see are 4.5 to 5.0 with some on here stating they guess they would be even a 5.5.

While I know my place in tennis and I am no 5.0 or 5.5, I was wondering how ratings differ from state to state or section to section. I am currently a 4.0 player in SC that was computer bumped last year. I played in a world team tennis state tournament that we won and it sent us to Raleigh, NC for a qualifier. This was all started last year so I was playing at the 3.5 level. In Raleigh there 9 total 3.5 teams entered with 5 from NC, 2 from VA, 1 from NY, and we were from SC. We ended up winning the tournament and really only faced 1 team (the finals) that had 3.5 players close to the ones on our team. It is not an exageration to say many of the players from the other teams would have had trouble winning at the 3.0 level in our local leagues and these were all from teams that won their respective league.

Another example. A good friend of mine that I play about once a week is a 3.5 and a pretty good one at that. He probably wins about 80% of his 3.5 matches and could probably win a few 4.0 ones but nowhere near half or more. He recently went to Wisconsin on business and met up with a man at a local park so they played a friendly match. This guys claimed to be a 4.0 and my friend beat him 6-2, 6-1 in a match without much of a problem. The man he beat claims my friend would be easily a top 4.0 in their league and possible risk being bumped to 4.5. (I know this is probably exagerated but it is what my friend was told.)

1 final example. 4.5 is the level where former college players and most teaching pros rate and play. Our club only has 1 5.0 player and that is one of the pros who just recently finished playing in college. We have another pro who coached and played D1 tennis (granted it was a good many years ago) and still teaches private lessons on a daily basis that is ranked as a 4.5. We barely have enough players in the area to make a 4.5 league which usually consists of about 5 total teams while the 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0 leagues usually field 2 divisions of 7-9 teams in each division. There just aren't near as many 4.5's in the area because it is such a high level of tennis and there are definitely not many 5.0's or above. I have only met 3 players in my lifetime that are rated somewhere higher than a 5.0.

I said all that to ask again, are the rankings different from area to area or are all of the guys on here talking about being 4.5's to 5.5's really that good?
 
I don't know how things differ throughout the nation, but I do know that we (in SC) recently signed up a 3.5 from FL who, after his first match (a 0-6 1-6 loss), said that the level here is much higher than where he had come from.
 

Bk_Mais

New User
I would also think that there are vast number of ppl in 3.0/3.5/4.0.. from what i have noticed, there are sub levels, if you will, within each bracket. For example, a high level 4.0 could easily beat a low level 4.0.. I would probably get flamed by this but ppl get bumped from a lower level and usually take time to cope with the new level..

In the end, you get better as you move up, which is always a good thing.
 

raiden031

Legend
I said all that to ask again, are the rankings different from area to area or are all of the guys on here talking about being 4.5's to 5.5's really that good?

I suspect that there are alot of good players on this message board. The reason being that there are alot of serious players on the board who are knowledgeable in tennis technique and/or tennis equipment, have played college, or competed at 4.5+ usta tournaments and leagues. So many of these people are legit 4.5+ players. Of course there are also alot of players on this board who when it comes to NTRP discussion, don't know their ass from a hole in the ground.

USTA defines the NTRP system. The NTRP system means only what USTA decides it means. If a given player has not played competitively against USTA-rated players, then they don't know their own rating...Period. The only exception is with the 5.5+ ratings that are defined by rankings, in which case they wouldn't usually go by NTRP rating anyways. Instead of saying, "I'm a 6.5", they would say "I'm ranked 10 in the USA" or something.

The USTA rating system is normalized across the USA so every year when year-end final ratings are calculated, the rating level means the same thing in all areas. I have traveled for and competed at USTA national events and believe 100% that this is the truth.

I played in a 4.0 usta flex league in my area and easily beat a player 1 and 3. Yet I got creamed in "real" usta league at 4.0 going 1-8 overall. So the truth is the guy I played in 4.0 flex league rated himself incorrectly. It happens alot, especially by people who aren't familiar with the USTA rating system.
 
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jrod

Hall of Fame
I think it's probably incorrect to assume the majority of players on here are 4.5 or better. That's a pretty elite group in my view and the percentage of "recreational" tennis players truly falling into that category is not very significant. I think the vast majority of club players fall somewhere in the 3.0 to 4.0 range.

Secondly, I've concluded that there appear to be regional biases where say someone from SC ranked 4.0 might be stronger/weaker than a player from NE. However, my conclusion is this bias is more often based on what players tell you their ranking is rather than a clear track record of results.

I consider myself a 4.0 player but often play folks who are rated 3.5 and 4.5. I don't always win at the 3.5 level (>80% wins) and I don't always lose at the 4.5 level (< 20% wins). The idea that a 4.0 player should beat everyone at the 3.5 level and lose to everyone rate 4.5 is absurd. So some reasonable variation in players capabilities at a given level is expected.

Finally, some players have different doubles skills/ratings than they do for singles. I find this more and more at my age (53), where their doubles rankings can easily be 0.5 point higher than their singles rankings.
 

Bk_Mais

New User
Agreed! Incorrect ratings seem to happen a lot. AS mentioned, once you start playing USTA league matches and see the level of play, you can kinda gauge which one are the self rated and which ones are computer rated..
 

Toons

New User
"are the rankings different from area to area or are all of the guys on here talking about being 4.5's to 5.5's really that good?"

You might take into consideration the specific sections (areas) and the relative depth of players. I grew up playing in northern California and have traveled around the counrtry playing (many years back) in tournaments and in school. I also have many friends that play around the country and guys, whose games I know well, that I played in school. Generally speaking, in the sunshine states/sections there are a significantly higher number of better players (and weakers one as well). While the top 5 guys in any section are typically comparable, certainly here (along with, soCal, TX, FL, etc) the next 20-50 guys would all be very competitive. While in the smaller sections, the number of competitive players drops off dramatically in any rating block.

One of my doubles partners from college moved to the southwest shortly after school. Here, he was never much more than a lower to middle "open" player (back then we only had C - B - A - Open). Upon arrival there he was immediately in the top 10 - although still soundly thumped by the top 5ish. At 50+/50+ (50+yrs+50lbs) he is still among the best 4.5s in his section, simply because there are not that many good players.

One more note on depth to consider - while in any division we may have 75 to 400+ players, all of them are still likely rated 6.0, 5.0 or 4.0. In each of these groups there are players that are on the computer as 5.0, for example, but the actual top guys will handle them easily. This generally holds true all the up and down the ratings. There are more players and the same diversity between them.

BTW - I am completely discounting the guys that play 1-2 levels up so they can tell their friends they are "open tennis players"

Just my 2 cents . . .
 

mikeler

Moderator
I played in a 4.0 usta flex league in my area and easily beat a player 1 and 3. Yet I got creamed in "real" usta league at 4.0 going 1-8 overall. So the truth is the guy I played in 4.0 flex league rated himself incorrectly. It happens alot, especially by people who aren't familiar with the USTA rating system.


The "A" player and 4.5 flex leagues I played a few years ago had weaker players than the 4.5 NTRP tournaments I used to play.
 

mikeler

Moderator
Finally, some players have different doubles skills/ratings than they do for singles. I find this more and more at my age (53), where their doubles rankings can easily be 0.5 point higher than their singles rankings.


This is very true at my club. I can have a competitive doubles match with almost anybody out there.
 

Z-Man

Professional
There is a bit of truth in what everyone has said. Places where you can play cheaply year-round and where tennis is popular do tend to be a bit deeper in talent. The top players at every level are all sandbaggers, so the national tournaments are usually competetive. Flex singles leagues have inflated ratings. And people who don't play USTA leagues and tournaments don't know their real ratings. Also, there can be rating inflation in small local leagues where one 3.0 beats another 3.0 and winds up a 3.5 even though one of them is really a 2.5.
 

rasajadad

Hall of Fame
FWIW, as a middle aged 4.5 from New England, I regularly beat 5.0 players from the Atlanta area when I go on vacation to Hilton Head.
 

schap02

Semi-Pro
Ratings are ratings, just used as a guide, definitely more talent out there than some of these ratings...

I've beaten guys who are 5.0's and I've lost to guys who are 3.5's all based on styles of play, timing and areas, we've had some people move in to town from the south where (just my guess) there are way MORE teams than we have so these guys come in toting high rankings and really they're not that good... maybe I just live in a small competitive area, who knows?
 

cak

Professional
I think there is a such thing as "vacation rating". When I go on vacation I often hear other players from far away areas tell me their rating, and it just doesn't correspond with their play. Wander back to the hotel room and viola, thanks to wifi and tennislink you can tell who is using a vacation rating and who is using their NTRP rating.
 

goober

Legend
I think there is a such thing as "vacation rating". When I go on vacation I often hear other players from far away areas tell me their rating, and it just doesn't correspond with their play. Wander back to the hotel room and viola, thanks to wifi and tennislink you can tell who is using a vacation rating and who is using their NTRP rating.

A lot of people will inflate their ratings in nonUSTA settings especially when on vacation. Some of it may be to impress other people and some of it maybe that they know everybody else is inflating their ratings so they have to do the same in order to get a competitive match.
 

tfm1973

Semi-Pro
3.5 players from the long island area are typically considered open players and nationally ranked.

open players from the rest of the country are usually 4.5+ players.

5.5+ teaching pros in the mid-atlantic region often rate themselves as 3.5 league players.
 

drakulie

Talk Tennis Guru
3.5 players from the long island area are typically considered open players and nationally ranked.

open players from the rest of the country are usually 4.5+ players.

5.5+ teaching pros in the mid-atlantic region often rate themselves as 3.5 league players.


You're killing me! :)
 

li0scc0

Hall of Fame
Funny, I was just thinking about this in the morning. I know a local 3.5 player, loses every match in the first round and typically his first consolation match. He went out to the east coast and beat every 4.0 player he played. Said the 4.0 players there were nowhere near as good as the 3.5's here.

Again, one person's anecdote, but still, intriguing that there would be, potentially, such a difference.
 

Blade0324

Hall of Fame
The levels are certainly different from one area to another around the country as well as even withing a given state often times. The area of my state that I play in is usually the strongest in the state at almost all levels mens and womens. However when we go to sectionals we see that there is pretty equal competition to where we are at. Now when I have played in FL., TX and CA at different times and met up with local league players there at my same rating I have found that they are typically about .5 level higher in playing ability for a comparable rating. The USTA rating system NTRP has the same general guidelines all over but when you play only locally against more or less the same players there becomes a difference between different parts of the country. Only a very small cross section of players get to play other league players from other states and even fewer from other sections around the country (that is in league matches that count). Thus there are pockets within each section that are different. The idea of a national rating system is fine but it simply doesn't work.
 

RichieD3

New User
It sure does vary from city to city. I moved from New Orleans to Houston. And despite Houston being much bigger tennis wasn't as popular and their levels seemed about 1 lower than Nawlins. Then I move To Covington where they are in a 1970's timewarp and love tennis. The 3.5 woman here crush the ones in Nawlins and Houston, men too just not as much. I find it's how active the area is.
 

Geezer Guy

Hall of Fame
I think the NTRP ratings are fairly consistent across the country. If there really were 1 or 2 areas that were stronger than everywhere else, you'd see those cities win Nationals year after year. From what I've observed, that doesn't happen. National winners come from all over. It just comes down to which teams can field the strongest (and deepest) talent pool.
 

fe6250

Semi-Pro
I think the NTRP ratings are fairly consistent across the country. If there really were 1 or 2 areas that were stronger than everywhere else, you'd see those cities win Nationals year after year. From what I've observed, that doesn't happen. National winners come from all over. It just comes down to which teams can field the strongest (and deepest) talent pool.

I agree with your observation, but perhaps it isn't quite as it seems. We have areas like the Southern section that has 9 states in it and then Florida is its own region, as is the Carribbean (who btw wins frequently), Texas, and Hawaii. California is split into two sections. I believe the sections are somewhat built in size around the popularity of USTA in the area. So - in reality, while there is parity in the sections there is still room for variance within the size of the sections. For example, in the Southern section - SC and GA are frequent sectional winners.

Something to think about anyway...
 

Rodd4LSU

New User
It sure does vary from city to city. I moved from New Orleans to Houston. And despite Houston being much bigger tennis wasn't as popular and their levels seemed about 1 lower than Nawlins. Then I move To Covington where they are in a 1970's timewarp and love tennis. The 3.5 woman here crush the ones in Nawlins and Houston, men too just not as much. I find it's how active the area is.


Where do you play out of on the Northshore?
 

Geezer Guy

Hall of Fame
I agree with your observation, but perhaps it isn't quite as it seems. We have areas like the Southern section that has 9 states in it and then Florida is its own region, as is the Carribbean (who btw wins frequently), Texas, and Hawaii. California is split into two sections. I believe the sections are somewhat built in size around the popularity of USTA in the area. So - in reality, while there is parity in the sections there is still room for variance within the size of the sections. For example, in the Southern section - SC and GA are frequent sectional winners.

Something to think about anyway...

I agree with you. But I think it's more about the number of tennis players than the quaility of the tennis players. For instance, in Kansas City there are lots of players and it's much easier to build a team with 6 or 8 players near the top of the range. In a smaller town the players may be just as good - or better - but there just aren't as many so a team may have 3 good players and 4 average players, and a couple more just to avoid forfeiting a court. A team like that playing against a team deep with good players usually won't win.
 

Z-Man

Professional
FWIW, as a middle aged 4.5 from New England, I regularly beat 5.0 players from the Atlanta area when I go on vacation to Hilton Head.

You beat "resort" self-rated 5.0s or maybe K-Swiss League 5.0s. Real 5.0s from ATL are mostly former D1 players, very good D2 players, top juniors, or elite players from abroad. There is nothing above 5.0, so 5.0 includes everything above, including guys who have played futures and up. And there is hardly any league activity at 5.0, so at some point these guys played 4.5 and got bumped. That tells you a little about the sandbaggers at 4.5. If you regularly beat 5.0s from Atlanta, you are a former D1 player who's still in shape, you played some satellite/futures level tennis, or you went to high school at a tennis academy. I have also beaten people who said they were 5.0s, but I know better...
 

Geezer Guy

Hall of Fame
FWIW, as a middle aged 4.5 from New England, I regularly beat 5.0 players from the Atlanta area when I go on vacation to Hilton Head.

... I have also beaten people who said they were 5.0s, but I know better...

OK, if we're measuring, a couple months ago I beat a former professional player. That's the truth.

(Well, mostly the truth - he was a former professional football player who'd just taken up tennis.)
 

Nellie

Hall of Fame
I find that there are recreational 4.5's and then there are 4.5's with former national rankings/college college scholarships/professional resumes, since most of USTA stops at that level.

If your area has a lot of the latter 4.5's, it pushes down the real 4.5's to 4.0, etc.
 

jserve

Rookie
3.5 players from the long island area are typically considered open players and nationally ranked.

open players from the rest of the country are usually 4.5+ players.

5.5+ teaching pros in the mid-atlantic region often rate themselves as 3.5 league players.

Anyone can enter an open tournament, but that doesn't mean they will be competitive at that level. I highly doubt these 3.5s would win any rounds in any of the open tournaments near me, unless of course they luckily draw the other 3.5 wasting their money.
 

goober

Legend
Anyone can enter an open tournament, but that doesn't mean they will be competitive at that level. I highly doubt these 3.5s would win any rounds in any of the open tournaments near me, unless of course they luckily draw the other 3.5 wasting their money.

Whoosh! Something just went over your head.

Sarcasm taken literally is pretty funny too.8)
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
Funny, I was just thinking about this in the morning. I know a local 3.5 player, loses every match in the first round and typically his first consolation match. He went out to the east coast and beat every 4.0 player he played. Said the 4.0 players there were nowhere near as good as the 3.5's here.

Again, one person's anecdote, but still, intriguing that there would be, potentially, such a difference.
The thing about these kinds of anecdotes is that we don't know if the "4.0 players" that your 3.5 friend played against are self-rated 4.0's or real NTRP computer rated 4.0's. Most people who claim to be 4.0 but don't have a computer rating are usually lower level players than that.
 

alice301

New User
5.5+ teaching pros in the mid-atlantic region often rate themselves as 3.5 league players.

omg, how did you know?!...don't tell topaz...i've recruited not 1, but 2 (!) teaching pros for my 7.0 team. are they truly 4.0 players? hell no. but am i going to totally cash in on the vagaries of this year's rating shakedown? you betcha, sucka. it's going to be a short-lived, but exhilarating, winter season!
 

Topaz

Legend
omg, how did you know?!...don't tell topaz...i've recruited not 1, but 2 (!) teaching pros for my 7.0 team. are they truly 4.0 players? hell no. but am i going to totally cash in on the vagaries of this year's rating shakedown? you betcha, sucka. it's going to be a short-lived, but exhilarating, winter season!

Un hunh, nice try Alice!!!

I'm going to call the NTRP police on my super secret NTRP bat-phone!
 

li0scc0

Hall of Fame
The thing about these kinds of anecdotes is that we don't know if the "4.0 players" that your 3.5 friend played against are self-rated 4.0's or real NTRP computer rated 4.0's. Most people who claim to be 4.0 but don't have a computer rating are usually lower level players than that.

Absolutely, you are right. So many anecdotes are simply that, anecdotes. My own anecdote included.

Plus, let's be honest, we all know of the 4.0 (or we ARE that 4.0) who on a good day can hang with a 5.0, and on a bad day loses against a 3.5.
 
Plus, let's be honest, we all know of the 4.0 (or we ARE that 4.0) who on a good day can hang with a 5.0, and on a bad day loses against a 3.5.[/QUOTE]

That to me is the real deal. On any given day most anyone can win or lose to any player one level above or below their rating.

Sandbaggers are the problem. If one of our pro's was trying to play at 4.0 there is no way I personally would use them on My Team. Ethics might sound crazy to some, but if we don't act ethically then this rating thing is never going to be fixed.

If you life revolves around winning Local, Sectional, or whatever at any cost, you are a loser in my book! Keep it real then everything will level out.

Get a Life! Play Tennis, but Get a Life.
 

MNPlayer

Semi-Pro
Plus, let's be honest, we all know of the 4.0 (or we ARE that 4.0) who on a good day can hang with a 5.0, and on a bad day loses against a 3.5.

That to me is the real deal. On any given day most anyone can win or lose to any player one level above or below their rating.

Sandbaggers are the problem. If one of our pro's was trying to play at 4.0 there is no way I personally would use them on My Team. Ethics might sound crazy to some, but if we don't act ethically then this rating thing is never going to be fixed.

If you life revolves around winning Local, Sectional, or whatever at any cost, you are a loser in my book! Keep it real then everything will level out.

Get a Life! Play Tennis, but Get a Life.[/QUOTE]

I disagree that a 4.0 could play a competitive match with a 5.0, unless it was a *very* strange day or the 5.0 is playing left handed.

The top players at a given level will often beat the bottom players at that level 6-0, 6-0, so to play competitively against someone 2 whole levels different is highly unlikely no matter how good a day you are having. If that happens, somebody has the wrong rating.
 

alice301

New User
Ethics might sound crazy to some, but if we don't act ethically then this rating thing is never going to be fixed.

If you life revolves around winning Local, Sectional, or whatever at any cost, you are a loser in my book! Keep it real then everything will level out.

Get a Life! Play Tennis, but Get a Life.

i'm sorry...the constant drone of

PEN!
HAND TOWELS!!
SOCIAL STATUS!!!

is playing too loudly in my head to hear you...


p.s. i'm just kidding. if you knew me, you'd see that i'm really the punchline of the joke. and besides, playing in accordance to the given rules & regulations does not demonstrate a lack of ethics. a lack of class, maybe--with which cindy would probably agree, considering my potty-mouth.
 

sphinx780

Hall of Fame
I disagree that a 4.0 could play a competitive match with a 5.0, unless it was a *very* strange day or the 5.0 is playing left handed.

The top players at a given level will often beat the bottom players at that level 6-0, 6-0, so to play competitively against someone 2 whole levels different is highly unlikely no matter how good a day you are having. If that happens, somebody has the wrong rating.

I have seen where style of play can factor into this as well though. IE: A 4.0 high risk player on a good day could, can in many cases, compete with someone two full levels ahead when playing the right type of player. Due to the nature of that same game, s/he could also have more bad days than good, giving them the lower rating versus the 4.5 rating many would think they ought to have.

Then again, maybe that's what this latest ratings move is meant to fix. The 4.0s we see that can compete with 5.0s on a given day are most likely no longer hanging around 4.0...
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
I don't believe anybody has mentioned it yet but I think there is also a big difference between a good 4.0 singles player and a good 4.0 doubles player.

The two games are so different that I see players who are good at doubles really struggle against lower rated players when playing singles and vice versa.
 

DANMAN

Professional
Plus, let's be honest, we all know of the 4.0 (or we ARE that 4.0) who on a good day can hang with a 5.0, and on a bad day loses against a 3.5.

That to me is the real deal. On any given day most anyone can win or lose to any player one level above or below their rating.

Sandbaggers are the problem. If one of our pro's was trying to play at 4.0 there is no way I personally would use them on My Team. Ethics might sound crazy to some, but if we don't act ethically then this rating thing is never going to be fixed.

If you life revolves around winning Local, Sectional, or whatever at any cost, you are a loser in my book! Keep it real then everything will level out.

Get a Life! Play Tennis, but Get a Life.[/QUOTE]


I agree with your sentiment in theory about sandbagging to win; however, I disagree with being able to beat someone above me on any given day and losing to someone below me. I think this is true in the lower levels, but not in the upper levels. I am a 5.0 player, and have won a 4.5 national usta championship (when I probably should have been a 5.0 but really it took winning nationals to prove that) as well as a 4.0 national championship (when I probably should have been 4.5). I say this not to brag but to note that my rating is probably where it should be based on USTA theory. People talk about the nationals guys being at the top of the next level blah blah blah. It's plain not true. The amount of work it took to win 4.0 was way less than the amount at 4.5 As you approach the top, each milestone gets exponentially harder to reach. I don't imagine making it down from 5.0 anytime in the near future, but hope to hit the 5.5. Part of the problem is that people are comfortable winning most of the time and not forcing themselves to get better. I can tell you that on any given day, I can't think of but maybe a few (<5) sandbagging 4.5s that would even play me close for this very reason and for the reason that the skillset from 4.5 to 5.0 takes a huge jump. The same goes for my playing a 5.5. I have the advantage of a very good serve which might make my matches with 5.5s seem close, but the outcome is hardly in doubt most of the time (in singles that is...doubles is a whole different game which in my opinion is much more equalizing).

P.S. Judging by the number of 5.0 and 5.5 players I know and hit with, most of the "5.0s and 5.5's" on this board are self rated in their heads (disclaimer: in my opinion...directed at no one in particular). I'm one of the only guys my level who is into gear and equipment (and chatting about it for that matter). Most just prefer to leave it on the court. I have a hard time imagining that not being a general trend.
 
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