Originally Posted by floridatennisdude
To me, when I see a true 3.5 player (ie will be a 3.5 forever) I picture someone that bears absolutely no resemblance to tennis that would be seen on TV.
If they are fit, they have bad strokes. If they have a good forehand, their backhand is terrible. If they have a good backhand, their serve is a lollipop. If they have good footwork, their swings are slow and without pace.
Reason being is that if they were fit, had decent and reliable strokes, a serviceable backhand and a respectable serve, and any signifigant pace on their shots....they'd be a 4.0 or better.
So, for anyone with an average base of athleticism I would start there: fitness, strokes, serve, and power. If you have 3 out of the 4, you might be better than a 3.5. 2 out of 4 and its unlikely you'll be seen as a sandbagger.
Just read this and it's mostly true. However, I feel like some 3.5's can remain at 3.5 and "look like what's on TV" due to getting up there in age or being ok in all aspects but just not having a solid game or being weak mentally. That's what I've observed playing 3.5 this season as a huge sandbagger, but for the most part, floridatennisdude is right on.