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Greenville Team Changes NTRP Levels, Continues Winning

May 13, 2015 09:57 AM

Jonathon Braden
USTA South Carolina

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Kim McFall thought it’d be at least a couple years until her team's next USTA championship.

After her team won a state league championship at the 3.0 level last year, McFall’s entire team was bumped up to the 3.5 level before this year.

“We thought as all brand-new 3.5s we would (just) do our best,” McFall said last week.

Different rating, similar results. Her team again went undefeated this spring during local play and will again compete at the USTA South Carolina 40 and Over State League Championship, which starts Saturday morning in Aiken.

To be truthful, the team was ready for a new challenge.

Playing at 3.0 last year, McFall’s team went undefeated playing in the Upper Piedmont Tennis Association, a local USTA league in Greenville. The team also won the 3.0 level at the USTA South Carolina 40 and Over State League Championship. And at the USTA League 40 & Over Southern Sectional Championships, McFall’s team beat the team that went onto win the regional championships and the USTA League Adult 40 & Over 3.0 National Championships.

“We had about mastered 3.0 and were ready for 3.5s,” McFall said.

This spring, at the 3.5 level, her team again didn’t lose a match during local play. The group, which goes by the name “Love Means Nothing,” consists of 13 players, 10 of whom were on McFall’s 3.0 team last year.

She has noticed differences at the 3.5 level.

At 3.0, where beginners can sometimes enter the National Tennis Rating Program system, some matches are determined by who can keep the ball in play the longest, McFall said. But at the 3.5 level, more matches are determined by players hitting the ball harder and deploying strategy more often.

For instance, McFall said, 3.5 doubles players often work together and plot how they’ll end the point three or four shots into the rally. They then construct the point accordingly, she said.

That didn’t happen during her 3.0 tennis experiences, she said.

McFall started playing tennis about four years ago. She occasionally was the fourth player in a doubles game, when one of those players, USTA league captain Rhonda Jackson, encouraged McFall to join a USTA league team.

Now McFall plays about every day, and she’s also turned her family into tennis players. Her husband, Roger, is a 4.0 league tennis player. Their two daughters, Emma and Maureen, 14 and 13 respectively, both play high school tennis.

Kim McFall has proven her earlier thinking correct on her family and tennis. Years earlier, when McFall was playing tennis a few times a week with friends and spending that time away from her family, she remembers thinking, “If I just get them playing, it’s more playing time for me and less guilt.”

McFall and her 3.5 Kroc Center team will play in the USTA South Carolina 40 and Over State League Championship this weekend in Aiken. (Submitted photo)