Back when I first started playing tennis (about a billion years ago, lol!), players had to be physically rated by a USTA official. Yep, unlike today’s self-rating system, newbie players like myself had to actually go to a designated tennis club – and only on certain days – fill out paperwork with our info, and then based on this chart below, we had to rate ourselves. But that’s not all…
We had to sit in bleachers that lined one of the club’s tennis courts, and based on our self-rating, we were called onto the court in groups of 4 (for doubles), where we played maybe 8 or 10 points (with everyone getting to serve), or for a long enough time for the officials to study our game. Then we were called off the court to sit and watch as a new foursome took to the court to do the same. Waiting for our ratings seemed to take forever, but after 30 minutes or so, a list of ratings was posted, and mine was a disappointing 2.38 (yep, they use hundredths, lol!), but I was classified as a 2.5. It was deserved though, as I only knew how to slice, and had no weapons of any kind.
That was back in the early 90’s. There is a BIG difference in skills from the beginner I was to the solid player I am today. Over the years, I’ve worked hard to improve my game, taking lessons, drills, and clinics, and now I’m a solid 4.5, though I have played – and won – at the 5.0 level.
It takes a while for a rating to go up (or down). I climbed to 3.5 quickly – in about 2 years, but it took longer to move up to 4.0 – maybe 4 years. And it took even longer to get up to 4.5. Once you get into the 4.5+ range, there really isn’t much difference in skill level, just consistency and perhaps a little power. The only way to move up from here is to play stronger people.
For everything there is to know about NTRP ratings, including helpful links on how you can get your rating, or appeal it, please visit my “FAQs About NTRP Ratings”
How ’bout you? What are you currently rated, or what do you think you’d be rated? You can find your tennis rating using the National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) category chart. Developed by the U.S. Tennis Association in 1979, this is the most accurate rating system available.