Of all the descriptions of plaver levels — from “A, B and C” to “beginner, intermediate, advanced” — the best system we found was developed bv the U.S. Tennis Association in 1979.
The USTA defines player levels on a scale from 1.0 to 7.0 in its National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP). A condensed version appears below.
If you are interested, take a few moments to determine your likely playing level.
1.0 Just starting to play tennis
1.5 Has limited experience and is still working primarily on getting the ball into play.
2.0 Needs on-court experience. Has obvious stroke weaknesses but is familiar with basic positions for singles and doubles play.
2.5 Learning to judge where the ball is going although court coverage is weak. Can sustain a short rally of slow pace with other players of the same ability.
3.0 Fairly consistent when hitting medium-paced shots, but is not comfortable with all strokes and lacks execution when trying for directional control, depth or power. Most common doubles formation is one-up and one-back.
3.5 Has achieved improved stroke dependability with directional control on moderate shots, but still lacks depth and variety. Starting to exhibit more aggressive net play, has improved court coverage and is developing teamwork in doubles.
4.0 Has dependable strokes, including directional control and depth on both forehand and backhand sides on moderate shots, plus the ability to use lobs, overheads, approach shots and volleys with some success. Occasionally forces errors when serving and teamwork in doubles is evident. Rallies may be lost due to impatience.
4.5 Starting to master the use of power and spins and beginning to handle pace, has sound footwork, can control depth of shots and is beginning to vary game plan according to opponents. Can hit first serves with power and accuracy and place the second serve. Tends to overhit on difficult shots. Aggressive net play is common in doubles.
5.0 Has good shot anticipation and frequently has an outstanding shot or exceptional consistency around which a game may be structured. Can regularly hit winners or force errors off of short balls and can put away volleys, can successfully execute lobs, drop shots, half volleys and overhead smashes and has good depth and spin on most second serves.
5.5 Has developed power and/or consistency as a major weapon. Can vary strategies and styles of play in a competitive situation and hit dependable shots in a stress situation.
6.0 Has obtained a sectional and/or national ranking.
6.5 Has extensive satellite tournament experience.
7.0 Makes his living from tournament prize money.