Fantastic tennis game (from experienced tennis player)
I play as an aggressive baseliner in the game, and find that, at least against other baseliners, the overall challenge to winning points is extremely easy in easy mode, though it does take marginally more patience and strategy in higher levels. Extreme topspin angles typically push your opponent out of court, and if you can work them side to side, you can generate outright winners or force unforced errors. I will say that a simple flick of the risk simply will not suffice in most cases. In fact, the reason I enjoy the game so much is that I can take a full, long backswing and rip the ball with all the power I can muster through the entire stroke. Drop shots work fine, but only, as in the game of real tennis, if you have your opponent on the defensive, out of court, and your player is well inside the baseline. Down the line shots, just as in real tennis, tend to be a less stable shot if you are being aggressive with them, and do tend to fall out more than the safer crosscourt shot.
Serve and volley opponents represent the real challenge to my playing style. Play Sampras or Edberg at the expert setting, and you're in for a serious sweat fest. It's very difficult to pass these guys, even with hard, well placed passing shots, and you've got to dig deep and have the patience of a saint to win many of these points, especially when your opponent follows in a good serve. Lobs, as in real tennis, are effective, but only in the right situations. To outright win a point with a lob, you typically have to have reasonable court position, if not, you end up sailing floaters up that the Sampras' and Edberg's of the world make short work of. Again, this is not a flaw of the game, unless you somehow wish to make the argument that it's a flaw of real tennis.
The only real disappointment I've found with this game, beyond the occasional court positioning quirk, is the lack of any life-like service routine. In the next iteration, I'd love to have the ability to serve as I would on a real court, with access to spin and pace according to how the ball is struck in the air. The simple wrist flick currently at the heart of the serve protocol is just not very satisfying.
Again, I think this is a great game, that deserves a look, perhaps especially by real tennis players. I've never found a tennis game in which I can actually take a full swing at the ball with all my might and generate extra heat and perhaps even topspin as a reward for my efforts.
Stick with this game, learn the angles, learn how to generate topspin and use it effectively, and all players should be rewarded for their efforts.
Just as a counter point to GameSpot's review, I have a full grand slam in both easy and intermediate difficulty settings. I don't think the massive frustration experienced by the game's reviewer will be the common experience.