The most skilled male players are not necessarily the best players on the ATP Tour, and vice versa.
Being skilled is certainly an important aspect of achieving tennis success, but attributes such as athleticism, power, endurance, decision-making, confidence, experience and will also play vital roles.
For our purposes, we define skill as an ability to manipulate the ball and a point with a wide range of effective and varied tennis-specific techniques. Whether the player has the wherewithal or opportunity to implement that skills set is another issue entirely.
Tennis players' skill was more evident when wooden rackets were used. The finesse, touch and variety exhibited by Miloslav Mecir, John McEnroe and Manuel Santana allowed them to dominate foes. Today, the game is more about raw power.
David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin del Potro are among the best players in the world, but they are not among the most skilled players in our estimation. Ferrer survives on sheer relentlessness. Berdych and del Potro can simply blow opponents off the court.
To borrow a comparison from basketball, LeBron James would not rank among the most skilled players in the NBA, but because of his athleticism, power, court awareness, smarts and ability to perform in the clutch, he is generally considered the best player.
Here is our countdown of the most skilled players on the ATP Tour.