Sandbaggers and tankers

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by drop shot, May 21, 2004.

  1. drop shot

    drop shot Rookie

    Feb 22, 2004
    Since the implementation of the self rating system and removal of verifiers, the amount of former college players and teaching pros coming out of the woodwork to compete at the 4.0 and 4.5 level is astronomical! I was at a 4.0 match recently where a guy who was a former college player who played on a 5.0 team that won the nationals about 7 years ago is now playing at 4.0. I heard his team captain tell him to keep the match close and he proceeded to do just that. The first set he went up 5-0 with his opponent (a benchmark 4.0 player) winning only a handful of points. Then the tanking began. The ringer proceeded to lose the next 4 games by double faulting hitting the fence and hitting balls 4 feet wide. Then magically he won the last game to make it 6-4. He totally tanked the second set and lost 6-2. Then he went up 8-1 in the 10 point tiebreak and lost the next 6 points to make it 8-7. He then wins the next two points easily for the win. This is just one example. Meanwhile he is still under the radar and continuing to do the same in his other matches. The other team captain called the USTA office and told them of his concerns and was told that the computer would catch him. My theory is that if you played college tennis within the last 10 years you should start out at the 4.5 level. What do you guys think?
  2. Phil

    Phil Hall of Fame

    Feb 11, 2004
    In a tent, along the Silk Road
    Depends on what level of college, and which college. Even some Div. I programs, those with weak tennis programs, will field some mediocre players. It's just too large a group to blanket rate.

    I still don't understand the mentality of a 5.0 playing in a 4.0 league. There's no MONEY involved, and how FUN or CHALLENGING is it playing people ranked two-three levels lower? Don't most non-pros play tennis for the fun and challenge? I must be naive or idealistic-that's what I thought. Beating up on lower-rated players isn't either. I think sandbaggers, when caught, should be expelled from the league, along with the team captain. Maybe a 2-season ban would be a deterrent to this kind of low life cheating.
  3. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Hall of Fame

    Feb 19, 2004
    The rationale is a fragile ego. Some people think that when they lose, it is a reflection on them as a human being therefore they cannot accept losing.
  4. TopSpinner

    TopSpinner Rookie

    Feb 29, 2004
    Let me add another twist to this story.

    I was 4.0 player last year that went 4-2 and got bumped up to 4.5. Two people that beat me didn't get bumped. Recently I played in a 4.5 singles match against a former college player that sucked the tennis life out of me with 6-0, 6-1 beating. How fun is that!?
  5. netman

    netman Hall of Fame

    Feb 19, 2004
    Its the team format that causes so much of this sandbagging, as much as it is the individual. Captains look for advantages to give them a leg up on getting those key 3 points to book the win. You see it particularly in teams from small neighborhoods and apartment complexes. Its hard to field a consistent team with so few players to work with, and its too tempting to go out and recruit folks to "play down" so the team can win.

    Winning at any level of sports is about finding an edge and exploiting it. The USTA seem uninterested or incapable of rooting out and eliminating sandbagging, so its an edge available to be exploited.
  6. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

    Feb 11, 2004
    At the club where I play, the 3.0 team just had one of their players declared at 3.5, and all his matches were forfeited. The team went from 8-1 to 4-5, taking them out of the playoffs. The one loss he had came to a guy that was truly better than him. However, this guy didn't get bumped up.

    My wife went to the 2.5 sectionals 2 years ago. In the first game of the first match, she put up a lob (not uncommon for 2.5s). Her opponent took a couple of quick steps back, sissor-kicked and hit an overhead that was good and bounced over the back fence. How many of you have seen a 2.5 woman do this? Of course, my wife lost, but felt lucky they won the 2, maybe 3 games they did win.
  7. aahala

    aahala New User

    Apr 30, 2004
    Unless it's just to get an opportunity to play, I don't think there are many dropping down two rating levels.

    The sandbagging problem usually is where someone who is average or slightly below average at one level drops to the next lower level. It's usually no match in such a situation and I wish the USTA would do a better job at stopping this.
  8. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

    Feb 25, 2004
    With the new usta guidelines you basically have two types of players: those who go out and play at the level they should and try to beat the tar out of anyone they play, and then you have those who simply play the "system" to stay at a lower level. If you are that far out of level it is pretty easy to "play" the system and stay under the "radar".

    We have a running joke that the reason there aren't any 5.0 players in the next largest city in our state is because they are all playing 4.5 now.

    I know people didn't like verifiers in my state but they are a lot better than the "computer". The computer rates people based on them being HONEST, and that's the big problem.
  9. baseliner

    baseliner Professional

    Mar 1, 2004
    Unfortunately, tennis is an honorable game depending on honesty and sportsmanship of the competitors. A number of years ago, I played 3.5 league tennis. We won our league and went to the city championships where the verifiers were out in force. We win the city and I am verified as a 3.5 benchmark player. Next season our team falls apart and I can only find a 4.5 team to play on. I proceed to lose every match I play. The next season I am rated a 4.0. I never received a good explanation from anyone for this bump. I guess I lost to such good players they had to bump me.

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