After watching the US Open for the past several years and loving tennis on TV, I decided to learn how to play. I am in my mid-30s and used to be athletic. Im still in pretty good shape and have gravitated to weight lifting and running in my old age, although my favorite (best results) producing workout is interval training with a jumprope (500 jumps followed by 5 min on recumbent bike, repeat 4 times, This is an intense 40 minute workout). I can run 6 miles at a leisurly 8-8:15min mile, so im not unhealthy, althought at 6'1" and 200lbs, im carrying around an extra 10-15lbs of dead weight. I crave to have the quickness and endurance I had when I was in my late teens. Tennis seems like somthing I will be good at. Can I turn back the clock and get to the same level of fitness and aggression I had when I was 20? Having never picked up a racquet before, I decided to sign up for lessons with a local Pro. I bought a Wilson K 6.2. In my first lesson I learned about the split step, the forehand and the backhand, also basic footwork. He fed me easy balls to build up my confidence. Over the past two weeks I have been working 2 hours every day with a ball machine. The tennis courts in my association have a tennis tutor and the courts are two minutes from my house. I've been practicing proper stroke mechanics taught to me by the pro and supplemented with groundstroke videos on the web. I have been practicing the backhand about twice as much as my WW forehand. 2 days of backhand followed by one day of forehand. Ive been trying to "codify" and train my body to reproduce accurate groundstrokes. Im developing a system of footwork, quick steps, hip and shoulder rotation,wrist angle, grip, visualization, etc. Stances, footwork, and core muscles are not unlike like the karate I used to study. I have the advantage of being an adult and knowing how to learn and I dont have any bad habits from my childhood to unlearn. In two weeks time I have gone from very little control, to hitting most of the balls in court with a fair ammount of pace and near the baseline. I hate being bad at this so I am driven to improve. So my question is given ideal circumstances, access to a pro, ball machine, good work ethic, a good fitness foundation, etc, how long will it take to reach the 5.0 level? I know most people never reach this level, but I think I can do it in a few years or quicker. My plan is this: *Be mindful of my health and train within my limits. (I have learned about tennis elbow and how proper technique can prevent.) *Move from weight training and endurance running to sprint and jumprope training. Get down to 6'1" 180lbs. *Work up to 3+ hours of practice a day. Continue drills with ball machine. Focus on perfecting my serve. (BTW, 3 hours a day for 3 years is about 5000 hours, or half of what I read an average young player practices before going pro.) *Keep taking provate and group lessons. *When I am nailing groundstrokes with pace and have a respectable serve, start the local ladder/tournament system to learn about game play, but stay more focused on practice than competition against other losers. When I get very good at hitting, seek out other great players to practice with. There is a tennis academy outside Washington DC near where I live. I am interrested to see what I can do with this.