In USTA League play, players often want to be bumped up at year-end. Reasons for this vary.
For some, it is a sense of accomplishment and achieving a goal to be bumped up and validates that a player has improved their game. For others, it is a status symbol, the ability to say "I'm a 4.5". And related to this, at some clubs, players aren't allowed to "play up" so getting bumped up may be required to get to play on a certain team or with friends. Some relish the opportunity to play stronger opponents at the next higher level.
Of course, some players want to be bumped down. Sometimes this is because someone wants to sandbag and be bumped down so they can play and clean-up at a lower level, or be part of a team that wants to make a run to Nationals, but occasionally it is for a slightly better reason. These include there being limited to no playing opportunities in their area at the higher level, or age or injury are affecting their game and they want to get down to the level that better reflects their ability.
Since I do a lot of Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Reports, I usually find out if someone is wanting to be bumped up or down. What I've observed is that most people want to be bumped up, but a few want to be bumped down.
As far as the split between men and women, I'd say more women want to be bumped up than men. Of course, this can be influenced by what level the player is presently at too as it is more common for lower level players to want to be bumped up and higher level players to want to be bumped down. I'd say the sweet spot for women is 4.0 and men is 4.5.
This passes the smell test as it balances the desire to have a high NTRP level and be recognized as a good player, but not so high that they aren't able to compete and win.
What do you think? What level do men and women aspire to getting to but not exceeding?