Executive Summary: There is no substitution for hitting a deep ball (of whatever pace), executing crisp well angled volleys, and having a 2nd serve that drops within the box > 80% of time. Strategy begins to rear its head and players have the ability to assess and attack an opponent’s weakness. Techniques that work at the <4.0 level do not suffice when playing 4.0 and above. Background: I took up tennis about 18 months ago in Central and Southwest Asia and have recently been playing 3.0 tournaments with a large measure of success. I am a former college football player within ten years of graduation and am in good but not excellent shape. I have well above average upper body strength and am very fast and fairly quick. I take lessons twice a week with a former touring pro and hit with another 3.0 once a week. My coach recently told me to try 4.0 so I did and this is what I observed: you have to hit the ball deep. Depth is more important than pace as any short sitter will be likely be a victory for the opponent. Sloppily executed dinks to corners---which has propelled me to a 90% win rate at the 3.0 level—resulted in failure as opponents have the ability to close and direct a short ball away from you. Poorly placed floating lobs over the backhand shoulder are normally money shots for me; at 4.0 they were volleyed for victory calmly and confidently. The players may not beat you with winners, but they can hit the ball back over the net largely error free. The amount of free points decreases aside from the occasional shank and double fault. Strategy become much more important. I believe that below 4.0 it’s of tertiary import at best. Above 4.0 it is of secondary or primary relevance. E.G.; My 2nd round opponent knew that I had a winning forehand and could run; thus, he sliced to my backhand VIRTUALLY EVERY SHOT. The result was either an unforced error by me or a short ball which he put away. A 3.5 player may very well recognize a weakness, but their ability to slice to a backhand consistently is very questionable. A legit second serve is needed. I have a 105-110 Mph first serve but a tap in second serve that barely floats over the net. Some 3.5s and 3.0s can slam these lofty 2nd serves for winners but surprisingly many can’t. The 4.0s normally get a quick free point off this. The players can angle volleys off the court. Not much more to say re this. Technique is very important. Normally when I play I get a few athletic looking plays that are high on style points. Against the 4.0 player I did not have a chance to execute any diving switch hand tap winners or jumping smashes into the next court. Being out of position spelled defeat; no amount of cool looking body contortions can serve as savior. Takeaways: I have a long way to go on my tennis journey. I need to learn a slice and a dtl backhand. Patience must be acquired. One needs a real 4.0/4.5 to hit with as you can’t get better playing with anyone below this level; it actually makes one worse, as lots of victories from a BS technique provides a false sense of satisfaction. Positives: I went one and one and lost to a more experienced borderline 4.5 player in my first ever 4.0 tournament. My opponent lost in the semifinals in a close tie breaker. I possess a real weapon and my serve is largely unreturnable at the 4.0 level. At one point I hit 5 serves in a row for four aces. I was rarely aced and can block back kick serves and fast flat serves deep.