Need to find a hitting partner matched to your level? Want to find a regular group that fits your game?
The self-rating guide will help you find playing partners and tennis activities matching your level of play. It’s a friendly and universal guide for beginners to experts and is being used across Canada.

The purpose of the rating system is to improve access to tennis through easy identification of a player’s level, matched to programs and leagues. The national rating and league system will allow for easy inter-province access for any player moving from one province to another. The guide is a great tool for coaches and volunteers to organize tennis for all players, particularly at the entry and intermediate levels. Use the “Play Tennis” Self-Rating Guide below to assess your level of play.


  • 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.

“Play Tennis” Self-Rating Guide

(forehand and backhand)
(volleys and overheads)
1.0 This player is
just starting to play tennis
1.5 This player has been
introduced to the game, however has difficulty playing the game due to
a lack of consistency rallying and serving.
2.0 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.
In complete service motion. Toss
is inconsistent. Double faults are common.
2.5 Can rally consistenly 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.
3.0 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.
(forehand and backhand)
(volleys and overheads)
3.5 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.
4.0 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.
4.5 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.
(forehand and backhand)
(volleys and overheads)
5.0 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
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.
5.5 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 position…) 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, moonball…
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.