Rating Your Level of Play

So how do you rate your play? The United States Tennis Association (USTA) has come up with an overview of how to rate yourself, which we include here.

To Place Yourself

  1. Begin with 1.5. Read all categories carefully and then decide which one best describes your present ability level. Be certain that you qualify on all points of all preceding levels as well as those in the level you choose.
  2. When rating yourself assume you are playing against a player of the same gender and the same ability.

General Characteristics of Various National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) Playing Levels

  • 1.5: You have limited experience and are working primarily on getting the ball in play.
  • 2.0: You lack court experience and your strokes need developing. You are familiar with the basic positions for singles and doubles play.
  • 2.5: You are learning to judge where the ball is going, although your court coverage is limited. You can sustain a short rally of slow pace with other players of the same ability.
  • 3.0: You are fairly consistent when hitting medium-paced shorts, but are not comfortable with all strokes and lack execution when trying for directional control, depth, or power. Your most common doubles formation is one-up, one-back.
  • 3.5: You have achieved improved stroke dependability with directional control on moderate shots, but need to develop depth and variety. You exhibit more aggressive net play, have improved court coverage and are developing teamwork in doubles.
  • 4.0: You have dependable strokes, including directional control and depth on both forehand and backhand sides on moderate-paced shots. You can use lobs, overheads, approach shots and volleys with some success and occasionally force errors when serving. Rallies may be lost due to impatience. Teamwork in doubles is evident.
  • 4.5: You have developed your use of power and spin and can handle pace. You have sound footwork, can control depth of shots, and attempt to vary game plan according to your opponents. You can hit first serves with power and accuracy and place the second serve. You tend to overhit on difficult shots. Aggressive net play is common in doubles.
  • 5.0: You have good shot anticipation and frequently have an outstanding shot or attribute around which a game may be structured. You can regularly hit winners or force errors off of short balls and can put away volleys. You can successfully execute lobs, drop shots, half volleys, overhead smashes, and have good depth and spin on most second serves.
  • 5.5: You have mastered power and/or consistency as a major weapon. You can vary strategies and styles of play in a competitive situation and hit dependable shots in a stress situation.
  • 6.0 to 7.0: You have had intensive training for national tournament competitions at the junior and collegiate levels and have obtained a sectional and/or national ranking.
  • 7.0: You are a world-class player.

Players in Wheelchairs

Players in wheelchairs should use these general characteristics to determine their NTRP skill level. The only differences are as follows:

  • Mobility: while players in wheelchairs may have skills that would normally provide them a certain rating, the mobility factor suggests that when competing against able-bodied players, they should participate at an NTRP skill level that provides for competitive rather than compatible play.
  • Serving ability: Due to the nature of the player's injury or disability, a powerful serve may not be possible. In this case, it may be more realistic to self-rate below 4.0 as service strength becomes key beyond this level.

Many tournament players in wheelchairs have already received an NTRP rating. Wheelchair players should check with players whose skills match their own before determining their rating. The very best world-class players in wheelchairs have an NTRP rating in the low 4.5s.