USTA Appeal Nightmare

drc1911

New User
Where to begin... Some background: I have a friend who used to be a high ranking junior player and went to college to play tennis at a division II school. He got hurt and never played for the school. I met him a few years ago and always thought it would be great to play on the same USTA team since we both live in a more rural area that's about an hour away from our closest USTA league area. For reference, I'm a 4.0. When self rating he was given a 5.0 rating negating any chance of playing together. Last year he was granted an appeal to 4.5, and so I played up a level so we could be on the same team. Things did not go well for us, since most of our team ended up being 4.0s playing up, and he was only able to make one match which he lost 1, 3. This past spring we tried to appeal him down to 4.0 to which his appeal was rejected.

My current dynamic rating is 3.61 and has never been higher than 3.72 on tennis record. I have split matches with this guys winning 6-1, 6-3, and losing 6-3, 6-4. I have another friend whose current dynamic rating is 3.82 and is 2-0 against this guy. On March 27, 2023 I protested the USTA's decision for denying his appeal citing these matches.

Timeline:
March 27 - I protest appeal decision (a few emails go back and forth adding information to the case, and added complaints about the stacked team with computer appealed players winning 71% of all their games steamrolling the league while this process bogs down.)
April 4 - USTA officially requests my friend to request reconsideration since I technically can't on his behalf. My friend provides this request.
April 12 - follow up email sent requesting a timeline for the decision
April 18 - USTA responds hoping to have answer back by middle of next week
April 27 - request for update (auto response for out of office)
May 2 - follow up now that they're back in office
May 3 - USTA responds and apologizes for not having an answer within 30 days which was their intended goal. No timeline given for future updates.
June 5 - another follow up to make sure it hasn't fallen off their radar.
June 7 - USTA answer promised before start of fall league
August 1 - follow up
August 3 - USTA answer promised by August 11.
August 14 - follow up
August 14 - USTA responds saying appeal is still with committee
August 20 - USTA rejects secondary appeal

So I'm wondering, does this make me and my other friend a 4.5 since we've both beaten this guy? Did they even look at the data I sent them, I mean seriously, what a waste of time.
 

schmke

Legend
First, your friend very well may be appropriated rated at 4.0, but it is equally possible he belongs at 4.5. I or anyone else can't say based on what you've provided. And that is the crux of the issue here.

Put yourself in the place of the appeal committee reviewing this. You have a player who was a high ranking junior and committed to play at a DII school and per the self-rate guidelines must self-rate as a 5.0. An appeal down to 4.5 was already granted, and there is little else to indicate that isn't appropriate. I don't doubt your few match scores are accurate, but they are A) just a few matches and B) seemingly self-reported scores and not from any sanctioned competition. So why should the committee give them any consideration? Again, I'm not saying you are, but someone could make up those scores and include them in a request for an appeal and clearly the USTA can't just take those scores as fact and say an appeal is granted. If they did, it would be a huge loophole that people would exploit.

Instead, the USTA seems to be saying an appeal down to 4.5 was already granted and they'd like to see more matches played at that level. It is possible if he played more than one match (you need three to get a year-end rating) he'd get bumped down to 4.0 and this all be moot. Or it is possible he'd end up as a 4.5 if the results indicate that is where he belongs.

Note that simply because he lost a 4.5 match 1 & 3 doesn't make him a 4.0 on its own. It is possible he played very high rated opponents, and/or given what you described, he may have played with a 4.0, even a lower rated one, in which case a 1 & 3 loss might actually not be a bad result. it is possible the committee looked at that one data point from a real league match and his match rating from it could have been in 4.5 range, and that is a key reason they denied the appeal to 4.0.
 

drc1911

New User
First, your friend very well may be appropriated rated at 4.0, but it is equally possible he belongs at 4.5. I or anyone else can't say based on what you've provided. And that is the crux of the issue here.

Put yourself in the place of the appeal committee reviewing this. You have a player who was a high ranking junior and committed to play at a DII school and per the self-rate guidelines must self-rate as a 5.0. An appeal down to 4.5 was already granted, and there is little else to indicate that isn't appropriate. I don't doubt your few match scores are accurate, but they are A) just a few matches and B) seemingly self-reported scores and not from any sanctioned competition. So why should the committee give them any consideration? Again, I'm not saying you are, but someone could make up those scores and include them in a request for an appeal and clearly the USTA can't just take those scores as fact and say an appeal is granted. If they did, it would be a huge loophole that people would exploit.

Instead, the USTA seems to be saying an appeal down to 4.5 was already granted and they'd like to see more matches played at that level. It is possible if he played more than one match (you need three to get a year-end rating) he'd get bumped down to 4.0 and this all be moot. Or it is possible he'd end up as a 4.5 if the results indicate that is where he belongs.

Note that simply because he lost a 4.5 match 1 & 3 doesn't make him a 4.0 on its own. It is possible he played very high rated opponents, and/or given what you described, he may have played with a 4.0, even a lower rated one, in which case a 1 & 3 loss might actually not be a bad result. it is possible the committee looked at that one data point from a real league match and his match rating from it could have been in 4.5 range, and that is a key reason they denied the appeal to 4.0.
For context about the reported match results. They were dated pdfs from a local ladder that I run, that also had another 50 results on them. I see what you're saying about the legitimacy, but this was explained to them and I think the volume of the other results along with each matches date gives it a little bit more legitimacy.

The 4.5 match was also a doubles match, and I paired him with our other strongest player, another self rated 4.5. His partner did play the 3 matches and was given a high 4.0 rating at the end of the year (3.89 I think). The guys they lost to were in the range of 4.01-4.07 (barely 4.5) I know these results have a lot of variables on their own but I think combined they all tell a story that is not of a 4.5 caliber player at the moment. In my opinion way too much focus was put on his tennis history from 10+ years ago.
 

am1899

Legend
Citing results from ladder league (that you run by the way) and tennis record dynamic ratings…isn’t going to have any effect on someone’s USTA rating.

As has already been said, the path of least resistance is your guy needs to play USTA sanctioned matches at 4.5 (and probably lose) - in order to have a chance to get bumped down.
 

atatu

Legend
In addition if this guy only bothered to show up one time for 4.5, what makes you think he's going to show up for the 4.0 league ? It seems like you want this much more than he does.
 

drc1911

New User
Why do you want him at 4.0 so badly?

You're putting in a lot of effort for someone who you're claiming is going to be a below-average 4.0.
It's not that I want him to be a 4.0 so bad, but right now he's a 4.0 and not a 4.5. I'm willing to advocate for people to play at their skill level and not be crushed by being forced to play a level above.

I put a lot of effort into stuff I do for tennis. The ladder I run is example. There is no USTA presence where I live, we have to drive an hour to compete in leagues. For making that much effort just for the drive, I think it's worth it to play people at your level.
 

jimmy8

Legend
It's not that I want him to be a 4.0 so bad, but right now he's a 4.0 and not a 4.5. I'm willing to advocate for people to play at their skill level and not be crushed by being forced to play a level above.

I put a lot of effort into stuff I do for tennis. The ladder I run is example. There is no USTA presence where I live, we have to drive an hour to compete in leagues. For making that much effort just for the drive, I think it's worth it to play people at your level.
Sounds like he just needs a new racket and he'll be back up to 5.0 right away.
 

drc1911

New User
Citing results from ladder league (that you run by the way) and tennis record dynamic ratings…isn’t going to have any effect on someone’s USTA rating.

As has already been said, the path of least resistance is your guy needs to play USTA sanctioned matches at 4.5 (and probably lose) - in order to have a chance to get bumped down.
The USTA already made that very clear.

I understand this path, it's mostly frustration from the timeline and how they apethethitically handled the whole situation. There are players in this league that I genuinely can't get more than a game off of in a set but they keep appealing down and are allowed to play. I'm aware of how to work the system, but for some reason I thought we could bypass all that with logic.
 

drc1911

New User
In addition if this guy only bothered to show up one time for 4.5, what makes you think he's going to show up for the 4.0 league ? It seems like you want this much more than he does.
Apparently when kids are certain ages they can take up more of your time...life situations change.
 

Creighton

Professional
It's not that I want him to be a 4.0 so bad, but right now he's a 4.0 and not a 4.5. I'm willing to advocate for people to play at their skill level and not be crushed by being forced to play a level above.

I put a lot of effort into stuff I do for tennis. The ladder I run is example. There is no USTA presence where I live, we have to drive an hour to compete in leagues. For making that much effort just for the drive, I think it's worth it to play people at your level.

Sounds like all he needed to do was play 3 matches and he didn't do it. Not sure why you want the USTA to step in when he wouldn't even play matches?
 

WYK

Hall of Fame
The USTA is many things, but what it certainly isn't is 'let's help drc1911 play with his friends' league.
Get your rating and play the matches. Stop wasting your time, your friends time, and the USTA's time.
Where do these people come from?
 

Soundbyte

Hall of Fame
I mean I first played USTA in high school as a self rated 3.5... over the next 5 years I got bumped up (after being bench marched from Sectionals at each level [3.5, 4.0, and 4.5]. The last season I played I was sub .500 at the 4.5 level. Fast forward a decade of minimal playing (due to schooling, kids, etc), I start playing again and am asked to join a 4.0 team. I submit my application...since it's been several years, they asked me to re-self rate. I try to self rate as a 4.0. The rejected it. I submitted my appeal, they rejected it.

Their official reasoning? Players I had beaten when I was 18 years old are now 4.5, therefore I am still a 4.5. The 15+ years since that time didn't matter.

The USTA appeals process is trash. But the leagues are lopsided anyway as everyone knows how to game the system.

Have you buddy play a sanction 4.5 USTA event and get slaughtered. Or have him play several USTA league matches at 4.5 and lose easily... He'll get bumped down soon enough.
 

drc1911

New User
Sounds like all he needed to do was play 3 matches and he didn't do it. Not sure why you want the USTA to step in when he wouldn't even play matches?
This has already been pointed out, and trust me, I wish he could've made time for two additional matches. The 3 matches for league play is irrelevant for me though since I provided 3 additional data points to the 1 he already had for league play. You have to not believe the data provided and assume that I and everyone involved in the appeal is lying for it to not merit
The USTA is many things, but what it certainly isn't is 'let's help drc1911 play with his friends' league.
Get your rating and play the matches. Stop wasting your time, your friends time, and the USTA's time.
Where do these people come from?
Said the USTA employee?

the boonies if you must know.
 

Creighton

Professional
This has already been pointed out, and trust me, I wish he could've made time for two additional matches. The 3 matches for league play is irrelevant for me though since I provided 3 additional data points to the 1 he already had for league play. You have to not believe the data provided and assume that I and everyone involved in the appeal is lying for it to not merit

You're just being disingenuous if you don't see how your data could be easily manipulated.
 

am1899

Legend
The USTA already made that very clear.

I understand this path, it's mostly frustration from the timeline and how they apethethitically handled the whole situation. There are players in this league that I genuinely can't get more than a game off of in a set but they keep appealing down and are allowed to play. I'm aware of how to work the system, but for some reason I thought we could bypass all that with logic.

Fair enough.

I understand your frustration. IME concepts like logic and USTA don’t always fit in the same sentence.
 

drc1911

New User
You're just being disingenuous if you don't see how your data could be easily manipulated.
Manipulated as in ommitting results, or falsifying them? I put scores in for usta matches all the time, and I've never manipulated anything. It irks me when I see one point wrong for a tiebreaker score. I can easily see how it could be, but again, you have to believe I'm lying to you, and by that logic, why should we believe any score anyone puts in for league matches, because they have a precious 48 hour rule?
 

jimmy8

Legend
This has already been pointed out, and trust me, I wish he could've made time for two additional matches. The 3 matches for league play is irrelevant for me though since I provided 3 additional data points to the 1 he already had for league play. You have to not believe the data provided and assume that I and everyone involved in the appeal is lying for it to not merit

Said the USTA employee?

the boonies if you must know.
Nobody in USTA lies. I have no idea why they wouldn't believe you.
 

HBK4life

Hall of Fame
My GF suggested we all start a go fund me to bribe this poor players local district officials to get the rating they they want.

I say why stop at 4.0? Don’t sell yourselves short! 3.0 is ripe for the taking!!!
 
I get it man, USTA isn’t built for rural America. I tried to play the first time in Mid-Missouri, literally two hours away from the closest league. It was miserable for me because I wanted to play and couldn’t.

That being said the self rate system isn’t built for honest people. Appeals aren’t built for honest people. The problem is the outliers. This message board becomes an echo chamber for “everyone’s a sand bagger,” because unfortunately there’s some very blatant abuses of the system and the USTA won’t do poo about it. Then you run into something like your buddy who gets screwed.

I super understand wanting to play with your friend and advocating for him. Tennis in small communities is brutal because the a-hole percentage can go through the roof, plus, I still have some competitive scratches that need itchin’.

All that being said, with the system that exists, the only options are forgo USTA (which is probably the way I’d go tbh), or take your lumps and get the bumps. I’ve got a little one at home and understand tennis isn’t always first priority, but also the USTA is pretty consistent on players have to have some skin in the game to get their way. Best of luck getting crushed this season. Hopefully it gets annoying enough for the 4.5 teams the appeal on your behalf or the league coordinator steps in (both of which have happened before)
 

mikej

Hall of Fame
The USTA already made that very clear.

I understand this path, it's mostly frustration from the timeline and how they apethethitically handled the whole situation. There are players in this league that I genuinely can't get more than a game off of in a set but they keep appealing down and are allowed to play. I'm aware of how to work the system, but for some reason I thought we could bypass all that with logic.
Try being a 5.0 (got bumped up a couple years ago) who often loses to some of the best local 4.5s in practice but hasn't been able to play USTA in a couple years now, because there aren't local 5.0 leagues, thus no chance to play or chance to lose matches and get bumped back down

Relative to my situation, I'll play the world's tiniest violin for your friend

Yes, the whole USTA system is infuriating at times
 

Creighton

Professional
Manipulated as in ommitting results, or falsifying them? I put scores in for usta matches all the time, and I've never manipulated anything. It irks me when I see one point wrong for a tiebreaker score. I can easily see how it could be, but again, you have to believe I'm lying to you, and by that logic, why should we believe any score anyone puts in for league matches, because they have a precious 48 hour rule?

No, it's just not wanting to open the door for people that would cheat.

As others have said, this isn't a 5.0 situation where he has no opportunity to play. He had the opportunity to play 4.5 this year and has the opportunity to play 4.5 next year. There is no reason to open the door for potential rating abuse if there is a valid opportunity for him to change his rating through the existing system.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
Whether this appeal would be granted around here depends on which captain the guy intends to play for. If it's the one with an insider on the appeals committee, then a 2 level appeal for a former college player is not a problem. Otherwise, forget it.

Anyway, if he never actually played for the school, the college experience shouldn't force him into 5.0. Last year, they added a follow-up question to the questionnaire that says "I didn't make the team or was a practice player and never played a match" or something like that. I think if he never actually played a match, he still has to indicate that he "committed" to the school, but if he answers "yes" to the follow up that he never played a varsity match, then he'll get 4.0 instead of 5.0. Obviously, I have no idea if his junior ranking triggered the 5.0 instead of the college questions, though. If that's the case, it's probably harder to get the appeal because there is less variation in the level of top 20 ranked juniors in a section than there is across the spectrum of D2/3 schools.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
For context about the reported match results. They were dated pdfs from a local ladder that I run, that also had another 50 results on them. I see what you're saying about the legitimacy, but this was explained to them and I think the volume of the other results along with each matches date gives it a little bit more legitimacy.
This should count for something. The USTA changed the rules last year so that you can file a self-rating grievance against a player for rating too low based on external results, but they won't accept external results to justify an appeal to a lower level. They're being a little disingenuous about this. These are the league rules from last year:


3.03E(1)a of the 2022 league regulations states:

Any self-rated player who is playing at an NTRP level lower than his/her actual skill level is subject to an NTRP Grievance.

This rule is worded regardless of minimum self-rating levels generated by the self-rating questionnaire. This point is further emphasized in the Q&A document attached to the 2022 League Suspension Point System, question 7:

Second, a self-rate grievance may be filed and the NTRP Dynamic Disqualification Review
Committee upholds the grievance. In this case the committee may find that a player did answer
the self-rate questions correctly, but had information, or reasonably should have considered
information, and self-rated one level higher. This usually occurs when the player competed in
non-USTA matches or tournaments, at the next higher level and was competitive
, and/or played
in those formats at the lower level against NTRP-rated players and showed themselves to
regularly be better by a reasonable margin yet self-rated at the same level.

https://www.usta.com/content/dam/us... Suspension Point System 2022 QA 10.19.21.pdf

According to the rules additions from 2022, you can file a grievance against a player for self-rating too low if you can show results from matches outside the USTA that indicate that the player is inappropriate for the level, but apparently, you cannot use external data to show that the player is forced to self-rate too high. It's unfortunate.
 
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Creighton

Professional
According to the rules additions from 2022, you can file a grievance against a player for self-rating too low if you can show results from matches outside the USTA that indicate that the player is inappropriate for the level, but apparently, you cannot use external data to show that the player is forced to self-rate too high. It's unfortunate.

This makes sense though because the alternative would create leagues where it's easy to throw matches to self-rate at a lower level. If they're beating up on a bunch of 4.0C rated players in a non-usta league you at least know the matches were played in good faith.
 

TennisOTM

Professional
First, I'm sympathetic for you having to go through that ridiculous timeline - they should have answered his appeal 4 months earlier.

As for the situation, I'm stuck on the fact that he was a high-ranking junior who was good enough to commit to a DII college team. That means he has tremendous upside due to his natural talent and core skills from youth training. Even if he is rusty now, there is every reason to believe that 4.5 is the right level for him if he starts practicing and/or playing regularly.

I mean, I played and took lessons quite a bit in my youth and got nowhere close to being the level he was at age 18. I barely played for decades and now I'm a 4.0C at age ~50 while playing only 1-3 times a week. It would be quite surprising if someone with his background would not be a 4.5 with any reasonable amount of effort to shake off the rust.

The USTA makes pretty clear that the self-rate system is designed to assess not just where your skills are now, but where they could be within a year. They say things like this in their guidelines (paraphrasing):


"if you're not sure between two levels, choose the higher level"

"players new to tennis who have had competitive experience in other sports should consider the rapid improvement anticipated"

"if you are new to tennis but play another racquet sport at a competitive level, self rate 3.5"

"if you plan to take lessons and improve rapidly, self rate at the next higher level"


So given that those ideas are part of their governing philosophy, it makes perfect sense to me that the appeal was rejected, even if they 100% believed your data on a few of his match results.
 

kevrol

Hall of Fame
Not sure why the OP cares so much about this when it seems the player in question doesn't care at all.
 

cks

Hall of Fame
Not sure why the OP cares so much about this when it seems the player in question doesn't care at all.
I'm guessing the OP is a captain or spends time trying to setups matches on a regular basis. I run a singles ladder and captain a tennis team, so I'm always trying to find and recruit players, especially if I think they can contribute to the team. I try to setup doubles matches or hitting sessions when we are not scheduled for league play. Some of my players just want to "show up and play", while others will actively reach out to other players to setup tennis matches.
 

Creighton

Professional
I'm always trying to find and recruit players, especially if I think they can contribute to the team.

That's the elephant in the room here. The OP obviously thinks this guy is going to contribute greatly at 4.0. So he's probably really a 4.5.
 

Erlang

Rookie
The USTA is many things, but what it certainly isn't is 'let's help drc1911 play with his friends' league.
Get your rating and play the matches. Stop wasting your time, your friends time, and the USTA's time.
Where do these people come from?
There is a big problem with the USTA self-ratings when it comes to former college players. They put all these players in the same bucket when there is a huge range of ability. There are some active DIII players who would struggle to win matches at USTA 4.0. You can't put these guys in the same boat as nationally ranked DII or DIII players who would crush anyone not rated 5.5

The kicker is we already have a solution. Just use UTR. If your UTR in college was above 11 then you can't self-rate below 5.5 until you're over 30. If your UTR was below 4 then there is no way you should be required to self-rate above 4.0 even if you are straight out of college.
 
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