Amateur golfers are known to inflate their handicaps to gain a competitive advantage. Now it seems tennis players are DEflating their NTRP rankings to gain a competitive advantage in league play.
The Cheating Culture
Well known tennis writer Joel Drucker says, “Welcome to the culture of league tennis, where winning matters more than improvement, where a 4.0 who can win frequently will be more in demand than an entry-level 4.5, where players will intentionally lose games or even entire matches in order to stay at one rating level.”
“Has the pursuit of seemingly significant outcomes – a trip to the nationals, or even a victory – turned tennis into a cousin of Little League Baseball?”
And have you come across the 8.5 combo leagues? There, the team captain strives to combine a true 5.0 player who is playing down at a 4.5 level with a strong 4.0 player, to make an almost unbeatable doubles team (unless the opposition does the exact same thing).
Joel continues, “So the concept of doing well — of being considered a good player and having a steady flow of tennis mates – can often be less in the hands of the individual and more a matter of administrative politics, of captains who make lineups (including the order of matches, shuffling the deck for all sorts of personal and competitive reasons), of some teammates who are more available than others, of cheaters who manipulate their rating in the pursuit of esteem (wow) at what after all is only a game we play for our health.”
“In many cases, be it at a club or a park, league teams have become the central tennis community-building tool – in large part, taking on much of the work that should be done by a tennis director. Much of this is good. League tennis can be a fun way to compete and socialize in a workable manner. But there is also a poisonous aspect to it.”
For Joel’s full article at tennischannel.com, please click HERE
What are your league experiences?
Know someone who should read this? Send them a link and if you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at GeorgeWachtel@gmail.com
My Book: if you’d like to get a copy of “Senior Tennis”, just click on the link on the upper right of this web page to go to Amazon.com, look at the list of places under “My Book” on the bar above, or ask me what clubs are carrying it!