I have a similar story to this thread here in Texas: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=108878 After a long layoff from tennis, I have been playing more consistently, 5 days a week. My love for the game is back and I love league tennis. When I joined the USTA, I read the NTRP ratings and thought I was probably a 4.0 by definition. Well I played with a few 4.0 players and got spanked, so I self ranked at 3.5. I am getting back in shape and I really would like to play 4.0 to improve my game. I would consider myself a strong 3.5 now, with a chance to compete against some 4.0 players. My problem is that I notice there are so many sandbaggers at the 4.0 level, you can't even make the team. In my country club, you have to try out to be on the teams, and I swear these guys are 4.5 at least. It seams like the step from 3.5 to 4.0 is so drastic. As proof, I find out our club pro is a 4.0 player. This guy has competed in open events and 5.0 leagues. How is someone supposed to improve and compete?