Virtua Tennis 2009 features several international tennis stars like Roger Federer, Boris Becker or Maria Sharapova against which the player needs to compete against or play with in the heart of the game: The World Tour. The player creates his own character from scratch and plays to reach the number one rank on the world ranking list.
As its predecessor Virtua Tennis 3, Virtua Tennis 2009 is not a hardcore simulation of the sport and only needs three buttons to perform all possible shots. Still time needs to be invested in training the character through practice matches, specific training sessions at the Tennis Academy and 12 different kinds of mini-games. These include "Pirate Wars" which requires the player to hit and sink moving pirate ships and "Shopping Dash" where the player needs to collect items on the tennis floor while avoiding balls thrown at him. These mini-games, as well as the normal singles and double matches can also be played with/against friends.
In the World Tour mode, the player can only take one action per week. He can only play in a tournament or do one of the mini-games but not both for example. In addition he has to watch his stamina level which decreases more or less every time he plays a match or does a training session. This means form time to time it is necessary to sit out a week or two and go on a vacation, returning fully rested. By winning tournaments the player also earns money that can be invested in different sports gear and clothes.