Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Thursday Preview

As the season nears a close, "meaningful" matches are few and far between. Most of the top teams are gearing up for playoffs and sectionals. Top captains often use the last few weeks to get all of their players into two matches. This is the point in the season where we often see some "questionable" match scores for player protection as well. Some key players and recent additions in 4.5 (Benzon, Hai Vu, Jannuzzi, Rios) are still ineligible for playoffs. I believe the rule has changed: It is now necessary for players to have PLAYED two matches, as opposed to being "written in" on a default match. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong on that.

In 5.0 there is a good matchup (on paper) as Rice takes onThe Met this week. I'm not privy to the outcome of the protests which were allegedly filed, but up to now no changes have been reflected on tennis link. It's quite possible that Rice is still in the driver's seat for the trip to Dallas. If David Yang has any info on the matter I/we would love to hear it. The Met has a roster of just eight people and has been a bit shorthanded of late. They were forced to use David Mantor in singles last week. There was a rumor floating around that Nanjappa would be disqualified for the rest of the season but no previous matches would be affected. If this is true and the Met is again at less than full strength, Rice could continue on its surprising march to Sectionals.

As a total aside, I found it very surprising that Lost Forest chose to play Dustin Phillips last week against the Met with protests supposedly being lodged against him and Nanjappa. If Arun's matches had been forfeited, Lost Forest would have been right back in it, yet they played a player who was also being protested? Strange decision, if you ask me. Maybe they had nobody else?

There are two matches of some interest in 4.5 as teams jockey for the second playoff slot in their divisions. Perennial playoff fixture Jedi Knights travel to Westside to play No Way Out in a battle of two teams with just one loss. The Knights look to have the stronger team on paper, but will have to be sharp to pull out a victory. Ryan Cooper should earn his first victory this week as I think he is too strong for Hale, Bitoun or whoever else Westside puts up against him.

Sugar Creek also looks to put a dent in the playoff hopes of the other WestSide team, the Black Sheep. With Fukunaga and Jendek the Sheep might have been an interesting sleeper in the city playoffs, but their lack of depth has really cost them.

In 4.0 there's a close race for the two spots in the largest division. Lakeside still remains unbeaten, but faces Lost Forest's Hackers on Thursday. The Hackers have just one loss and are tied for second place. Lakeside has always had the reputation for being strong in doubles, but the three headed singles monster of Hern, Perdomo and Poston is undefeated on the season. Look for them to put a dent in the Hackers' playoff hopes.

62 comments:

  1. Maybe Red Benzon finally gave up his 5.0 national dreams and we will see no DQ's in that division. Kind of a shame they underperformed this season, especially since they had guys almost as good as the ones on his 4.5 team last year.

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  2. I look to see alot of the top "4.5" players miraculously beaten in the next two weeks. Until the playoffs nobody is going to be on the level.

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  3. 2007 Texas Operating Procedure #11 states "A player must play his/her two qualifying matches prior to a local championship with only one default counting."

    However....

    The HTA website states that "to participate in the Houston Citywide Championships players must play two matches during the local league competition."

    I would find it hard to believe that the Local rules could be more stringent than the Sectional rules which allows 1 default to count (Sectional rules are less stringent than the National rules..which requires 3 matches played with no defaults). Therefore, I would assume that "play two matches" should be interpreted as meaning at least one default could count. This would eliminate the issue of a player qualifying for Sectionals but not qualifying for the Houston City Championships.

    The National rules specifically do not allow defaults and the Sectional rules specifically do allow defaults.....the Houston rules are silent on the issue. I'll find out and post the answer for everyone interested.

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  4. I have asked this question of Cheryl previously and this was her response:

    "To qualify for the City Championships a player must play in two of the local matches. One of them can be a default. If there are two defaults, that would have to be reviewed and approved by the league committee."

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  5. Cheryl is a hottie

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  6. I think that the difficulty with the 4.5 level is that on the one hand you have many former high school players that are very good players, mixed in with a lot of lower level college players. Their levels of play aren't that different, but to the guys who didn't play in college, they feel that the college players have that much more experience and they should play at a higher level. This is true in a few cases, but in my 18 years at the 4.5 level, nothing really has changed. (Clearly, I haven't improved in 18 years, but I haven't gotten any worse either) :). The winning team captains are good at recruiting the best players available. (This is what I would want my captain to do). Other captains and teams are just content to play. Some teams and players get frustrated that their captain isn't as good a recruiter and blame their woes on players being out of level. They used to complain about Paul Shanklin and I back in the early 90's and neither of us played in college. The 4.5 division is tough when you have high A players mixed with some college players. Such is life in the 4.5's. To you younger guys that are frustrated, either get with a winning captain or wait until you are 50 so you can play senior 4.5's. Tim G., Ken B., Red B., Jimmy K., Peter R. and those guys are competitors like me and want to win. That's what this is all about. The difficulty for me that some of the younger guys will experience is winning a lot when you are in your 20's and 30's and going to sectionals and nationals, then starting to lose a few as you get older and not going to sectionals and nationals. It takes getting used to the reality that age is really starting to settle in. My challenge is beating you younger guys. That is my thrill. It is also nice to have a couple of "flat bellies" to play singles for your team as well. So let's all quit whining and try to figure out how to beat Tim Green or Craig Bobo etc. That's the challenge. Here's an idea, don't feed Tim and hope Craig sprain's his fingers. For the rest of you guys, I am just waiting for you all to get old and fat!

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  7. "David", What you say is all true and fine for the majority of league players/captains, and I too would want my captain to put together the best possible team.
    It's the exception that is galling. How can a captain recruit and load up his team with out of level players, then protest/whine when his team does not win? This is an example of poor sportmanship.

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  8. Off on another subject. Who are the hottest ladies in the league or tournament play?

    We already know that Red thinks Cheryl is a hottie.

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  9. David Yang jumps up from dominating in 4.0's the last 2 years and puts together a good 5.0 team that's at the top.Was he ever a 4.0 or was he just sandbagging the last 2 years. I lost 2 David last year and what a joke he just toyed with me. Talk about out of level.He even beat one of Waco's top singles players. (National Champions in 4.0). All of a sudden he's jumped up 2 levels and winning. Hats off to you David at least now you are playing at the right level instead of beating us little 4.0's.

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  10. Kingwood should take the 4.5 League and Freeman's team should take the 4.0's. Does either team really have a shot at going to Nationals ???

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  11. The Hottie list:

    For Red, it is Cheryl.
    How about Harriette?

    For Jody D. it's...
    Well, never mind.

    (Ok, it's a private joke. I could get my butt kicked if I don't stop.)

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  12. GO SCHWWWWIIIIIINNNNGGGG!!!!!

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  13. short shorts for Jody...

    ; )

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  14. Yang seems to have close matches whether at 4.0, 4.5, or 5.0. Good for him....bad for the Japanese guy where his Westside captain didn't know to tell his player to dump games etc. What's Yang's tennis background anyway?

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  15. Red,

    You were never my type. Too square for me.

    I like a man with more hips.

    Plus, you have small feet. We all know where that leads....

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  16. For the record David, I think you were right on track with your post. We are all competitors, and we all want to win. It's easy to see why the good players who get stuck on a weaker team can get a little frustrated with the whole process here. There is overlapping at every level, but there are teams that carry pretty healthy rosters for their level of play; -giving them the option to play almost any of their players and get a win. Don't we find this in every sport though? Any of you guys played in a softball, soccer, or basketball league recently? When you register for a league or tournament, isn't your goal as a player, coach, and captain to win? Don't we find this in business too? Recruit the best team to win. Hey, I made some great friends in sports and in business, but when it's game time, I'm there to win. Afterwards we can have a beer, and talk about how you kicked my tail, but not until the last ball is hit. I'm alone in this? Let me know...

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  17. iamawildandcrazyguyJune 13, 2007 at 8:52 PM

    Yang should have been a 4.5 last year. He beat everyone.

    He is a very competent player, but it was a joke to watch him toy with people last year.

    He beat the infamous SA on Freeman's team in city finals. People will argue that SA took a set off of him.

    I was there watching the first set and Yang was rolling, almost toying with SA at times, taking it at 6-1.

    During the changeover SA employed some ingenious clubhouse/pissbreak tactics to stall and left David out in the sun for almost 20 minutes until an official was summoned.

    IMHO, Yang seemed to change gears in set two. He "fell on the sword" for the team and then took SA in a quick tiebreak.

    He did the same thing in DAL at sectionals.

    This year it TOTAL PROOF that he was sandbagging. He is now being challenged at the higher levels and is still able to prevail.

    Just my opinion. I am sure in spite of all of this he is a really nice guy.

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  18. David is really a nice guy but with that being said he did sandbag last year and even shaved games. Although this year he has managed to put a team together consisting of All American D3 player in the singles(Arun Nanjappa) and self rated him 4.5(What a joke)also has 1 player Jorge Cuesta who last played #1 for University of Texas Pan American.
    He did some good recruiting and I can't blame him but its still stinks that he wasted everyones time last year by beating on some 4.0's and toying with them in the manner he did.

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  19. Wow don't know David Yang but he has had some great success according to Tennis Link with wins over the Dibua brothers from Kingwood and also alot of good wins over some Top Notched 4.5's. How did he ever get to play 4.0's and why would he ?

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  20. tennis hot girls = oxymoron

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  21. Yang more than likely rated Nanjappa 4.5 to try and get him to do the rice 4.5 team. Now that would have been sad.

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  22. Yeah wonder what BOBO would have to say about playing Nanjappa in 4.5. For that matter, what would he have to say about the SAn Antonio 4.5 team last year. Craig when 4.5 teams recruit obvious 5.0 and 5.5 players that are guaranteed to win how is that competition? Tim Hurlbert isn't as bad of a ringer as that team had but at the same time how likely is he to lose if hes really trying? Even more so than Yang who is being referenced above, I'm sure Hurlbert would do very well in 5.0. I always thought the point of league was in a specific ntrp level, everyone should be more or less competitive. But look at the disparity sometimes. There are legit 4.5 players that would lose 0 and 0 to some of the players on the Kingwood team or even your team. I think the obsession with winning and going to nationals has corrupted the league to where actually theres no competition at all. Again not calling your team out specifically but just making the point. Again the san antonio team last year was never going to lose. They would have won 5.0 nationals probably. Sadly I think alot guys here want to emulate that team and put together ridiculous teams and I think thats not what a NTRP league should be about.

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  23. Any "legit 4.5 player" should not have lost to a 5.0 player 0 and 0. The weak 4.5 players should not be the benchmark for 4.5.
    I don't see any ringer in our 4.5 league, only weak 4.5s, strong 4.5s and those in between.

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  24. That guy Murphy on Hangovers is the only guy in 4.5 league who could beat me 6-0 6-0. He makes Hurlburt look like a begginner. I heard he destroyed Tim Greene 6-1 6-1 when they played.

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  25. I love it when people have nothing better to do than spread false rumors. Grant has never played a match against me (Tim) and if he can beat you 0 and 0 than I am sure I can as well. If you care to look up Hurlbert you will see that he has wins over Davis Cup players such as Michael Judd who played for the Botswana Davis Cup team and also played for Metropolitain State. Someone like that will never look-like or want to look-like a beginner.

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  26. Well, I don't know if that's true about Murphy, but as far as I can tell there's nobody out of level in 4.0 or 4.5. 5.0 may be another story...Mambetov beat Phillips two and two and some people think PHILLIPS is too good...

    In response to the question about Yang's playing history, I believe he played some for Brandeis, which is a good academic school (D3 I believe) up in Massachusetts. Many of the D3 schools up there have very poor tennis teams.

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  27. Some good points made from all...

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  28. You know that's a troll, I would like to see him play Dinker
    As for David, he's a walk-on for senior year. I think he's a "legit 4.5"

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  29. I agree that there are not any ringers in 4.0 and 4.5. But for 5.0, that's a different story.

    Another thing to pay attention to is that if these ringers play their one match and get computer rated for this year, then they are "untouchable" for 2008. Count on seeing them again next year.

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  30. Actually it takes at least two matches to get computer rated.

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  31. I'd love to see one of the teams call themselves "Ringers" next season, that would be funny.

    Beat me 0 and 0. I love it.

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  32. Another good team name would be "OFF". Carefule if you beat them.

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  33. Dustin Phillips is a 4.5 and Alim Mambetov is a 5.0, so he should beat him two and two. I don't see a problem with that...(sarcasm off)

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  34. "Anonymous": I for one do not mind the challenge of players like Nanjappa playing in 4.5, because it will help all of our games; -but that's just my feeling. Although I'll be forty in a few months, I am working to get myself, and my game back in shape. So, it's nice to play tough players and take some losses; -that's how we get better. I think everything's relative. If I had played in my 20's someone would have been trying to get me DQ'd, due to my Top 70 national ranking and playing D1 and some satellites. These guys aren't unbeatable. Someone out there can beat them, whether it's in singles or doubles. I know the San Antonio team was stacked last year, and I know that is the goal of some captains to do so, but let's just enjoy playing higher level players, and all benefit from it. As David Hall stated earlier, his challenge is to try to beat some of the youngsters coming up. Hell, we're all getting older, and their will always be young studs coming up, and making their mark on the leagues'. Again, these are just my opinions.

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  35. Sounds like rationalization and justification to me.

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  36. Thats one way to look at it sure, but doesn't that defeat the purpose of ntrp leagues? If you want the challenge of playing open level type players, don't play 4.5, play 5.0 or higher. The ntrp leagues are supposedly about competitive matches with more or less evenly matched players. Joe 4.5 shouldnt have to play trent broach, chance morgan, tim hurlbert etc in 4.5 league. Anyway I do respect what you are saying about not being afraid to play the high level players. My feeling though is the typical 4.5 league player probably can do without the recent college players. This happens in every ntrp level unfortunately. I have a problem where it is now ok for strong 4.5 league players to be recent or current top juniors or college players. The blogger has called out people in 5.0 for fudging on the self rating questionaires, but I think it is far more rampant in 4.5 and 4.0. I believe this does take some enjoyment away from players in general.

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  39. Sorry guys. My computer was locking up, and somehow it re-posted my previous comments twice more. What I was trying to say to the last comment before my post was duplicated again, and again was: I understand your feelings. Unfortunately in every arena of life there will be the forever debated grey areas that are somewhat controversial and hard to police. Keep on blogging.

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  40. For those of you that don't know Tim Green's 4.5 team came in Dead Last in 2005 at League and the Team that won was from Northern California and stacked. People do not realize that once you get to the Semis at Sectionals and then Nationals everyone is out of level. Texas teams until last year never made the Semis but with that being said League is so competitive and I don't seeing the High Level of Competition changing anytime soon.

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  41. I think the only player that was out of level on the 2005 team was Borne, so Green's team won Sectionals with a team of 4.5's and one 5.0, which is pretty good.

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  42. So we're beating a dead horse.

    To recap: every great team stacks, or else they wouldn't be great.

    The average guys playing at their level get their butts kicked by these guys.

    Life goes on.

    Let's discuss world peace now.

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  43. No, let the whining continue...soon we can all wear skirts and b*tch about getting our butts kicked.

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  44. What's up with the censorship? Why you hatin' on what people say?

    (My comment may get censored...)

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  45. I heard about this blog so I thought I would check it out. ALL OF YOU sound like you take this league crap way, way too seriously but hell, why not, I guess I just don't properly appreciate the value of a straw hat with the state of Texas on the front. That is what I remember Tim's team getting for their 2005 efforts. Who wouldn't stack a team to high heaven for such a prized possession. Why do I even play, knowing I am not worthy to contend for such treasures.

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  46. I believe the self rating is not the problem with the league. I believe the system now is far better than the won where you could go in front of a varifier to get a rating and just play bad that day. The problem seems to be with the ratings not being enforced when they should be. Bumping someone up sometimes could have a little grey area for decisions to be made. However, when a player is currently playing for D1 or another ranked school and self rates they should be put to the correct rating when protested. I say this because they either lied on their profile or the section did not do its job of enforcing the correct rating. Why does a player like Dustin not get bumped up? A better example is from a few years ago Red and I lost to a player playing D1 in Portland who self rated on the Tyler team and was a 4.5 player. I did not protest our loss but someone needs to enforce the correct rating. The new system could work in the long run as long as no new ringers are allowed to enter the league. The current ones will get rated correctly in time. Once again the chart showing ages and colleges attended should always be followed for self rated players with no exceptions.

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  47. No censorship...I just removed duplicate posts.

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  48. Topspin AssassinJune 14, 2007 at 4:34 PM

    I am putting together a Ladies' 4.5 team for next summer and I was wondering if I could get any of you guys to cut your nuts off and join my team in return for the joy of beating up on even more overmatched opponents than you face currently. If you won't snip it, maybe you can get by with tucking. These ladies' teams are weak and have no right to get to go to Sectionals. Lets take it.

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  49. I wear my straw hat proud!!!

    Go Texas!!!

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  50. I nominate Darren Crasto for topspin assassin's team. No snipping needed. He can even be the captain.

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  51. Tim, you're absolutely right about the system bein better than when we relied on verifiers. I'm on the TTA League Committee and have been trying for the last 2 years to get the section to have verifiers at Sectionals and Nationals in addition to the dynamic ratings - but to no avail. The DNTRP is actually a good system but the leagues are way too large to expect the TTA to police the self rating. The year Broach got in as a 4.5 (2005) he literally got in under the radar. He played on Kallus' team without even self rating himself and noone caught it. Once you're in the system and computer rated you're safe. It's up to the players and captains to keep the system and new league players honest. I went to Nationals in 01 and 05 and will attest that the sandbagging (at least for women) is a lot less now. You guys should try playing women's tennis where last names change and then it's almost impossible to trace a player's history unless you know their maiden name.

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  52. topspin assassin wins the Comment of the Day Award

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  53. Someone mentioned several comments earlier that no Texas teams had ever been past the semi's at nationals until recently. That is not true. I played on Steve Serota's national 4.5 team in 1993 and we lost to Virginia in the Finals that year in Tucson. Had it not been for a couple injuries in the Semi's, we would have easily won that final match. In 1991 or 1992 Serota took a team to 3rd place at nationals as well. Serota knew how to recruit players and captain a team successfully. He reminds me of the successful captains now such as Ken B., Tim G., Jimmy K., Allen T. and Betsie Hollis on the women's side. They all recruit the best players possible. And if you are on the other side of that, it can be very frustrating. I have been on both. I have come to accept it and keep trying to get better. You guys need to hurry up and get fat and old. I would suggest eating many hamburgers and many frequent visits to your favorite coffee shop for those 10,000 calorie frapachinos.

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  54. bhollis...I understand that it is hard to expect the TTA to catch all those who try to fly under the radar. However, when someone is protested and pointed out to the TTA they should be easily moved to the proper rating. I am finding that to much decision making is going on in regards to the protest when the decision should be cut and dry. Why are similar protests being handled differtly? Can someone at the TTA answer this for me?

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  55. So did the Hangovers make Copperfield MIB come all the way to Memorial Park last night knowing a big storm was brewing?

    Just curious.

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  56. It's my understanding that the MIB team has pretty much disintigrated. Like much of my information, it's hearsay, but I understand there may have been some problem with Darren Crasto. Perhaps I'm mistaken. Someone else can furnish details if they have them.

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  57. It had nothing to do with Darren Crasto.

    The MIB team suffered some injuries, guys who went away for the whole summer, vacation schedules, work schedules, etc., and some of the guys were playing 4.0 and weren't available for 4.5.

    All combined, those factors made it hard to field a competitive team each week.

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  58. If the MIB are playing 4.0 and cannot make the 4.5 matches then why did they sign up for 4.5 league?

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  59. so they can complain how everyone is playing out of level and should be bumped to 5.0.

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  60. Just wait till the next season when MIB signs up for the 5.0 league. Then let the fireworks begin.

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  61. How about USTA create new 4.25 and 4.75 leagues for the players that are rated at 4.0 and 4.5 that want to play up?

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  62. Anon, It's funny you say that (re. 4.25, 4.75 leagues) because honestly that is part of the problem. There is such a huge gap between a high - sectional/national caliber player and someone at the lower end of the level. When I play a high 4.5 woman player, I get my butt smacked. But, the reality is I should. I didn't play College, Junioes, or HS - and someone who did should beat me. So many people use their own match results to rate a player. If I lose 0,0 to someone and I'm a 4.5 player then they must be a 5.0 player.

    A lot of people criticize Tim Green for finishing #1 in the 5.0's but they don't realize at the end of the year when they run the computers, the computer has no idea what level you're playing in for tournaments or league. Tim may have won every single 5.0 tournament match and finished #1 in the nation, but if he was playing 4.5 players he would still be considered 4.5. I saw Tim play at Nationals and if after those matches the system still felt he was a 4.5, then I have no doubt that he is. Yes, he can definitely hang with the 5.0's and probably can beat some of them but I trust the computers.

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