Tennis Canada’s ‘Play Tennis’ Self-Rating Guide
Use the “Play Tennis” Self-Rating Guide to identify your level of play to help you find suitable playing partners and enjoy playing tennis more.
- Find your own general level of tennis ability.
- Find players of a similar level so that you can have competitive games.
- Play an individual at a higher level using handicap scoring to make the game more competitive.
- Participate in group lessons or league play with people of similar ability.
Guidelines to rate yourself:
- Study the “Play Tennis” self-rating chart
- Start reading from the top of the chart, beginning with Level 1.0.
- Find the level that best describes your general level of play.
- Ask your Instructor or Coach to validate your self-rating, if you think that will help.
- Remember that as you play more, and improve, your rating may improve.
- Update your rating periodically.
- Results in social and competitive matches will validate whether your chosen level is reasonably accurate.
Ground Strokes (forehand and backhand)
Return of Serve
Net Play (volleys and overheads)
|This player is just starting to play tennis.
|This player has been introduced to the game, however has difficulty playing the game due to a lack of consistency rallying and serving.
|Can get the ball in play but lacks control, resulting in inconsistent rallies. Often chooses to hit forehands instead of backhands.
|Tends to position in a manner to protect weaknesses. Inconsistent return.
|In singles, reluctant to come to the net. In doubles, understands the basic positioning; comfortable only with the forehand volley; avoids backhand volley and overhead.
|Incomplete service motion. Toss is inconsistent. Double faults are common.
|Can rally consistently 10 balls in a row, especially on the forehand, with an arched trajectory over the net when the objective is to hit to a partner at moderate speed.
|In singles, consistent when returning towards the middle of the court. In doubles, difficulty returning cross-court to start the point.
|Becoming at ease at the net in practice but uncomfortable in a game situation.
|Attempting a full service motion on the first serve. First serve in inconsistent (less than 50%). Uses an incomplete motion to ensure a steady second serve.
|Able to rally consistently 10 balls in a row on forehands and backhands. Able to maintain the rally when receiving high, short or wide balls, assuming the ball is received at a moderate pace, especially on the forehand stroke.
|Can control the direction of the ball in both singles and doubles, when receiving a serve of moderate pace.
|Very consistent on forehand volley with easy balls, inconsistent on backhand volley. Overall has difficulty with low and wide balls. Can smash easy lobs.
|Full motion on both serves. Able to achieve more than 50% success on first serve. Second serve much slower than first serve.
|Able to move the opponent around the court or hit harder when receiving easier balls. Can execute approach shots with some consistency (more than 50%).
|Can return fast serves or well-placed serves with defensive actions. On easy second serve, can return with pace or directional control; can approach the net in doubles.
|Becoming confident at net play; can direct FH volleys; controls BH volley but with little offense; general difficulty in putting volleys away. Can handle volleys and overheads that require moderate movement.
|Can vary the speed or direction of first serve. Can direct the second serve to the opponent’s weakness without double-faulting on a regular basis.
|Able to develop points with some consistency by using a reliable combination of shots. Erratic when attempting a quality shot, when receiving fast or wide balls, and when attempting passing shots.
|Difficulty in returning spin serves and very fast serves. On moderately paced serves, can construct the point through hitting a good shot or exploiting an opponent’s weakness. In doubles, can vary returns effectively on moderately-paced serves.
|In singles, comfortable at following an approach shot to the net. In doubles, comfortable receiving a variety of balls and converting to offensive positioning; can poach on weak returns of serve. Able to put away easy overheads.
|Can vary the speed and direction of the first serve. Uses spin.
|Can use a variety of spins. Beginning to develop a dominant shot or good steadiness. Erratic when attempting a quality shot in two of the following situations: receiving fast balls, wide balls, and in passing shot situations.
|Off first serves, can defend consistently but very inconsistent (less then 30%) when attempting an aggressive return. In doubles, has difficulty (less than 50%) returning a first serve at the feet of the incoming serve and volleyer.
|When coming to the net after serving, consistently able to put the first volley in play but without pace or depth; however, inconsistent when trying to volley powerful or angled returns. Close to the net, can finish a point using various options including drop volley, angle volley, punch volley.
|Aggressive first serve with power and spin. On second serve frequently hits with good depth and placement without double faults. Can serve and volley off first serves in doubles, but experiences some inconsistency.
|Able to maintain a consistent rally, 10 balls in a row on faster balls. Very steady strokes or has a dominant shot. Periodically succeeds (50%) when attempting a quality shot when receiving fast or wide balls, and in passing shot situations.
|Periodically succeeds (50%) at aggressive return off fast first serves using dominant shot (forehand or backhand). In doubles can return at the feet of serve and volleyer.
|In doubles, after the serve, has a good, deep crosscourt volley. Overhead can be hit from almost any position.
|First serve can win points outright, or force a weak return. Second serve can prevent the opponent from attacking. Serve and volleys on first serves in doubles with consistency.
|This player has developed a gamestyle which is recognizable as either an all court player, an aggressive baseliner, a serve and volleyer, or a retriever. Has developed good anticipation either technically (can read toss on serve, body positionâ€¦) or tactically (can read opponents tendencies in specific situations). Has no major weaknesses and can counterattack effectively against a hard ball, wide ball or in passing shot situations. Capable of competing in “open” category provincial level tournaments. Ability to use specific shots in order to exploit opponent’s weakness: drop-shot, lob, angle, moonballâ€¦
6.0 & 7.0
|These players will generally not need a rating. Rankings or past rankings will speak for themselves. The 6.0 player typically has had intensive training for national tournament competition at the junior level and collegiate levels and has obtained a provincial and/or national “open” ranking. The 6.5 player has extensive international “open” level tournament experience at the entry professional level (challenger or satellite experience). The 7.0 is a world class professional tennis player.