What USTA League Level should I play? Thinking 4.5

McLovin

Legend
Its hard to tell from simply hitting, but I'd say 4.5 is probably a good starting point. You definitely have (or had) all the strokes, so its likely just a matter of getting back into playing games/sets and point construction. You may go under 50% in your first season, but its better IMO to struggle a bit at a higher level than to dominate at a lower one.

But, then again, that attitude seems to be at odds w/ today's USTA league players...
 

vex

Hall of Fame
If your serve was as good as the rest of your shots you’d be 5.0. Just seemed like the racquet head speed wasn’t where I expected compared to your other strokes which were great. Get to whipping up on the ball with some serve practice. Other than that, very impressive game!
 
Definitely 4.5. Your game doesn't have enough holes for 4.0 tennis. If you know any guys with a rating already you could play with them to measure with yourself, but otherwise you'd fit in nicely at 4.5 if you're still anywhere near that level in the video.

Keep in mind 4.0 will come with a lot of drama and baggage for you. If you're too good you'll have to manage match results to try to avoid getting bumped up (which is hopefully not something you'd want to do) and captains might look up your high school tennis history which might get you DQ'd too.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
I'd guess you should probably play 4.5. Here are some data points for you to consider with recent NJSIAA doubles champs:

Isaac Anderson (Haddonfield) - 2014 champ - self-rated 4.5. Played as a high level 4.5 for 2 years then got promoted to 5.0
Sam Oberholtzer (Haddonfield) - 2014 champ - self-rated 4.5, still playing 4.5 & 5.0. Definitely a pretty good 4.5
Zach Anderson (Montgomery) - 2015 champ - self rated 4.0. Dominated one year of 4.0 and bumped to 4.5. Still playing 4.5.
Nikil Pancha (Montgomery) - 2015 champ - self-rated 4.5. Playing first year of USTA league, has won all his matches so far, but competitive.

All of these guys won the doubles as seniors, except Oberholtzer was a frosh who played #1 singles his last three years (but Haddonfield dropped off significantly after losing all three singles players plus Anderson after a magic run to the TOC finals in 2014). Obviously, some of the guys who won doubles as underclassmen got a lot better as upperclassmen (e.g. Jonathan Holtzman & James Hopper) and could never play 4.5 now, but guys who played at the top level of doubles states as seniors and never grew into top singles players and then played USTA leagues afterwards seem to fall into a solid 4.5 range. If you were a state finalist, I'd guess you'd fit in there, too.
 
Hi All,

I graduated high school about 8 years ago... I played doubles and with a good partner was able to get to a state final in NJ... since then I don't play quite as much but I'm still close to that level... here is a video of myself from back in the day ( I start playing points at the 2:50 mark). Do you think I'm a 4.5 or should I start 4.0? In NY now if that matters
If you can still play at that level, definitely 4.5; solid game!

Before you sign up, though, you might want to record another match against a mid-level 4.5 to recalibrate: 8 years can degrade a lot of skills as well as fitness and mobility.
 
Hi All,

I graduated high school about 8 years ago... I played doubles and with a good partner was able to get to a state final in NJ... since then I don't play quite as much but I'm still close to that level... here is a video of myself from back in the day ( I start playing points at the 2:50 mark). Do you think I'm a 4.5 or should I start 4.0? In NY now if that matters
Look on YouTube for videos of Tennis Tim and Robert Gee, both top-level 4.5s [perhaps Robert has been bumped up since] for comparison.
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
I guess I am going to be the dissenter here. I’m not saying you’re not a 4.5 but I would have to see some point play. Ive seen plenty of players with pretty strokes on easy feeds that still struggle in matches.
 
I guess I am going to be the dissenter here. I’m not saying you’re not a 4.5 but I would have to see some point play. Ive seen plenty of players with pretty strokes on easy feeds that still struggle in matches.
FF to 2:50. It's not complete because it was cherry-picked and actual matches would be a more well-rounded picture. But it's a start.
 

wings56

Hall of Fame
I'd try to play 4.0. sign up for 4.5 leagues as well, but if you find yourself not able to compete at 4.5, then it would be awful to waste a season before you can play people at your level
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I agree with the others that from the video from 8 years ago ... great playing.

I think the transition from playing juniors and playing league is tricky and not as straight forward as one would think.

Two male players from daughter's high school ... one was 2 time state singles champ, other 2 time state doubles champ, both UTRs over 10, both played a lot of junior tournaments and did well. Fresh out of high school with no break from tennis, they played league at 4.5. in 2018. Didn't do as well as one might have thought, some very lopsided losses and one got bumped down to 4.0, other remained a 4.5 ....

Can't say I know what the difference between junior and adult is .... add a break from the sport of 8 years and you might want to start at 4.0
 
.... add a break from the sport of 8 years and you might want to start at 4.0
I don't think there ever was a hiatus based on his post. He said he's still playing just not quite as much.

I think the transition from playing juniors and playing league is tricky and not as straight forward as one would think.

Two male players from daughter's high school ... one was 2 time state singles champ, other 2 time state doubles champ, both UTRs over 10, both played a lot of junior tournaments and did well. Fresh out of high school with no break from tennis, they played league at 4.5. in 2018. Didn't do as well as one might have thought, some very lopsided losses and one got bumped down to 4.0, other remained a 4.5
Might depend on the state and how high of a level junior tennis is there. I wouldn't say my state's high school tennis scene is all that impressive compared to others, probably middle of the pack as far as states go, and yet our state champ is going D1 to a major conference. The rest of the top 16 finalists are a mix of high 5.0 to mid/high 4.5 level players. And that's based solely on results some of them have played against NTRP rated players, although I've seen them all play and the eye-test confirms that. Some of them are on 4.5 teams and it's already laughable. The thought of any of them playing 4.0 tennis would be ludicrous.
 

MarinaHighTennis

Professional
Hi All,

I graduated high school about 8 years ago... I played doubles and with a good partner was able to get to a state final in NJ... since then I don't play quite as much but I'm still close to that level... here is a video of myself from back in the day ( I start playing points at the 2:50 mark). Do you think I'm a 4.5 or should I start 4.0? In NY now if that matters
Id start at 4.09 just to be able to play for fun and then you'll get bumped up when you win anyways. 4.0 is more social and you get to develop parts of your game as you experiement in matchplay. I have a lot of 4.0 friends that I wish I could play on the same team with
 
Id start at 4.09 just to be able to play for fun and then you'll get bumped up when you win anyways. 4.0 is more social and you get to develop parts of your game as you experiement in matchplay. I have a lot of 4.0 friends that I wish I could play on the same team with
Why do you think 4.0 is more social? Is it because it's lower than 4.5 or other reasons?

I don't see any difference in sociability between the two levels.

And if you can experiment with parts of your game in match play at 4.0, why not at 4.5?
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
Hi All,

I graduated high school about 8 years ago... I played doubles and with a good partner was able to get to a state final in NJ... since then I don't play quite as much but I'm still close to that level... here is a video of myself from back in the day ( I start playing points at the 2:50 mark). Do you think I'm a 4.5 or should I start 4.0? In NY now if that matters
Definitely 4.5. Good hitting
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
Might depend on the state and how high of a level junior tennis is there. I wouldn't say my state's high school tennis scene is all that impressive compared to others, probably middle of the pack as far as states go, and yet our state champ is going D1 to a major conference. The rest of the top 16 finalists are a mix of high 5.0 to mid/high 4.5 level players. And that's based solely on results some of them have played against NTRP rated players, although I've seen them all play and the eye-test confirms that. Some of them are on 4.5 teams and it's already laughable. The thought of any of them playing 4.0 tennis would be ludicrous.
Definitely depends on the state. He mentioned NJ, so you have to understand how NJ high school tennis works. In NJ, matches are 3 singles, 2 doubles, all played simultaneously, so there are 7 starters per team in every match. When you get to the state tournaments, singles players play in the singles tournaments and doubles teams have to play a minimum number of doubles matches together to be eligible to play in the doubles tournament. Therefore, the NJ state doubles tournament doesn't include anyone who is one of the top 3 players on their team because the top 3 kids on the team play singles, not doubles. It results in a pretty big gap between the winners of the singles tournament and the doubles. As noted above, the doubles winners are typically in the solid 4.5 to borderline 5.0 range. This year, the winner of the singles tournament spend last summer playing challengers, has 2 ATP points, and is ranked 2400 or something. He's headed for Columbia. The kid he beat in the semis is a freshman who won the Easter Bowl 16s in March. These are kids who are solid 5.5 (to borderline 6.0 since the one kid has some points...), compared to 4.5 in doubles.

When I was in high school in PA, we played with 5 singles and 2 doubles, but the doubles followed the singles, so the same kids could play both. Therefore, there were no separate "singles players" and "doubles players" and the kids who entered the district and state doubles tournament were the best of the players who didn't qualify in singles, so there were a lot of kids who were 1 & 2 on their team or 2 & 3 on teams where the #1 qualified in singles. There was a much smaller gap in the level between the singles and doubles.
 

5sets

Semi-Pro
Basically all of us are going off the outdated eyetest on this one. We, or yourself, won’t know which is the suitable level for you until you get some matches in.

A lot of people around here do both, if you have the time, money, and access. Self rate as a 4.0 and play in the 4.0 AND the 4.5 League. You’ll find out quickly which is the best match for you.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

EP1998

Semi-Pro
I would sign up for the lowest option the self-rate q will allow. Especially if you've been out of match play for awhile, have a demanding job or who knows what else going on besides tennis. Allowing time to play your way into it is a good idea.
 

SeeItHitIt

Semi-Pro
If you want to compete right out of the gate, 4.5. If you want a USTA ego, 4.0 where you’ll likely win 90% of your matches and will be in high demand by all of the mavens who ‘construct’ their mixed 8.0 rosters.
 
Definitely depends on the state. He mentioned NJ, so you have to understand how NJ high school tennis works. In NJ, matches are 3 singles, 2 doubles, all played simultaneously, so there are 7 starters per team in every match. When you get to the state tournaments, singles players play in the singles tournaments and doubles teams have to play a minimum number of doubles matches together to be eligible to play in the doubles tournament. Therefore, the NJ state doubles tournament doesn't include anyone who is one of the top 3 players on their team because the top 3 kids on the team play singles, not doubles. It results in a pretty big gap between the winners of the singles tournament and the doubles. As noted above, the doubles winners are typically in the solid 4.5 to borderline 5.0 range. This year, the winner of the singles tournament spend last summer playing challengers, has 2 ATP points, and is ranked 2400 or something. He's headed for Columbia. The kid he beat in the semis is a freshman who won the Easter Bowl 16s in March. These are kids who are solid 5.5 (to borderline 6.0 since the one kid has some points...), compared to 4.5 in doubles.

When I was in high school in PA, we played with 5 singles and 2 doubles, but the doubles followed the singles, so the same kids could play both. Therefore, there were no separate "singles players" and "doubles players" and the kids who entered the district and state doubles tournament were the best of the players who didn't qualify in singles, so there were a lot of kids who were 1 & 2 on their team or 2 & 3 on teams where the #1 qualified in singles. There was a much smaller gap in the level between the singles and doubles.
I placed 3rd in the WA State high school tournament in doubles back in the day. Shh - You are devaluing my achievement!

Our state tourney (which started in the league tourney) had 2 singles slots per school. Top finishers from the league tourneys advanced to the district tourneys, and then top finishers from the district tourneys advanced to State. Schools that had 1 outstanding singles player usually entered him in singles. But sometimes when schools had two very good but not great players, they would elect to pair them together in doubles to maximize chance for tournament success.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
You'd be the most popular "4.0" for any of our doubles tournaments. Ringer would be the word I'd use.

Unless you've gained 60lbs since High School I'd stick with 4.5.
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
My son looks about the same level and with the same high school stats and he mixes in with our 4.5 team fine. Also have taken him to various academies, resorts and programs and he jumps right in the 4.5 and advanced classes and play. So you might try it. Worst that happens is you get stomped and dropped to 4.0.
 
Strokes have little to do with rating.

I know 4.0 players who look like 3.0
I know 3.0 players who look like 4.5

I think a 4.5 will attack your BH.
Your arms are totally jammed against your body.

Play some matches.
That is the only way to get a sense of your level.
 

Heck

Rookie
I am in NY also so If you what a crack at me (3.5) hit me up lol. But really. I would start you at 4.0 because you would have more playing options as a 4.0. You can play up or play at 4.0. Mens or Mixed.
Not many teams for 4.5 guys and most of them are really 5.0 lol.

Oh, I got a few teams for you to join today!!!
 

Badmrfrosty

Rookie
Strokes have little to do with rating.

I know 4.0 players who look like 3.0
I know 3.0 players who look like 4.5

I think a 4.5 will attack your BH.
Your arms are totally jammed against your body.

Play some matches.
That is the only way to get a sense of your level.
Zero 3.0 players look like 4.5
 
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