You can take your guy or girl on tour through all the big (and small) tournaments, but that's essentially it for the Career mode. If pure tennis is what you're after, look no further, but there's very little in the way of flash and bravado here, which does make Top Spin 4 feel a little dour.
At each stage of your career you can choose to take part in a warm-up event and then a tournament. The warm-up event can be a sparring match against an AI opponent, with certain goals rewarding you with more XP, or a special event that brings with it extra XP.
As you progress with your player you'll unlock coaches (bronze, silver and gold varieties), which when activated give you stat and XP bonuses. Complete objectives set by each and you'll unlock more of their bonuses, but switch to a new coach and you'll only have access to that new set of bonuses.
Aside from a few odd moments when player faces look a little lifeless, Top Spin 4 is a brilliant looking game. Although three of the four major tournaments are officially licensed there's no Wimbledon, which is a shame considering it's considered the most prestigious event in the tennis calendar. Still, players are modelled well, animations are superb and everything runs at a beautifully smooth 60 frames per second.
If you don't have anyone to play with on the same console you're going to want to make use of the online multiplayer features. Top Spin 4 features numerous game modes that limit the players you can play with. If you want to play as your custom player you can do so in an Online World Tour or Exhibition, while the included pros can be used in a separate mode complete with unique leaderboard and a meta-like game that works out which Pro is the best based on online performances.
Top Spin 4 isn't flashy and doesn't come with any gimmicks, but it's an incredibly competent and in-depth tennis sim that the sport's fans would be foolish to pass up. It's more accessible than the previous entry and includes the necessary online functionality to keep you playing for months.