Well to me, forehands and serve are of no real importance in the game of tennis. Technical aspects.. blah nonsense!
This might surprise you, but what I look for in a player is intelligent play, not sticking on the baseline like peanut butter, friendliness on and off court and charisma (in a good way, not the Malisse or Hewitt charisma).
I want a game to entertain me. I want to have fun watching an interesting rally which has basically everything in it. Therefore I am a huge doubles fan and I'll go for my Doubles players Top 10.
#1 and #2 would be Paola Suarez and Virginia Ruano Pascual, but I realize this is a MENS tennis forum, so here goes:
1) Jonas Björkman. Besides amazingly talented and industrious, this Swede is also amazingly funny and nice.
2) Todd Woodbridge. That would make you think I am a big Björkman/Woodbridge fan. Well, I like them, but they aren't my favourites
But seen as individual doubles players (what a paradox), I really appreciate both. Woodbridge should be on my list, after his record. I never really liked him at the side of Mark Woodforde (he kept beating Jacco and Paul!), but now I've started to appreciate his ability more and more. He has got a lot of talent and would be Mr. Fair Play on the doubles tour.
3) Fabrice Santoro, basically because he is a nice oddball on the doubles tour. He can do virtually anything with the ball, without powerhitting all the time. Fabrice is extremely funny and one of the best players to watch in doubles matches.
4) Now it's hard for me.. Daniel Nestor because he is a good player and a real nestor on Tour. He is not too skilled, not too nice, not too industrious. Yet he is one of the best players out there. He has got everything a doubles player needs, but in the right proportions.
5) Michael Llodra, who stole my heart after hitting that pigeon at the AO last year (not because he hit the pigeon, though). I never saw him play in real life, but I really want to! Just a great player.
6) The third Frenchman already in this Top Ten (and yes, another one is coming up after this). Arnaud Clément. Though he isn't a real doubles player, he plays the game so very well. The main reason why he is #6 on this list is because he actually has fun on court and he shows that.
7) Nenad Zimonjic from Serbia & Montenegro is a lot of fun to watch as well. I am still waiting for his breakthrough. He deserves it, although it struck me as quite awkward that Sébastien Grosjean played better than him in a match in which they were partners..
8) Based on one match solely (yes, the one together with Nenad against Knowles/Nestor, which they lost
), Sébastien Grosjean deserves this spot. I had always disliked him, before I watched this match. Now I really like him! :d
9) Oops! Still have some players to get on the top 10. They won't all fit.. #9 is Czech doubles player Leos Friedl (all the Czechs are great at doubles, aren't they?). He is not necessarily better than compatriots Novak, Stepanek, Cibulec (ok he is better than Tomas), Damm and Suk, but he is nicer. He is really down to earth and, thus, approachable.
10) A player from the Bahamas. Oh, that must be Mark Knowles, mustn't it? No it mustn't, because spot #10 goes to Mark Merklein, for being a real nice player, a real nice guy. Robbie Koenig could've had this spot for exactly the same reason, only somehow my fingers typed Mark Merklein..
These players didn't make the top 10, but they alone are a good reason to expand the top 10
- Roger Federer. The best top singles player is also the best doubles player amongst the top singles players.. And friendly too! Wrong choice: playing together with Max Mirnyi, who I don't like. But they play well together..
- Tommy Robredo. He is just not good enough to make the top 10. But he is a great player and I want to watch him play together with Juan Carlos Ferrero. Tommy can actually volley (how many Spaniards can say that, besides Juan Balcells, Francisco Roig and Tomas Carbonell?).
- Leander Paes. Very skilled player, very friendly player and he deserves the sympathy vote here as well. Still, he didn't make the Top 10, because he just doesn't appeal to me.
- Paul Haarhuis. The best Dutch doubles player since Tom Okker. He just isn't friendly and fun enough to get the vote from a fellow Dutchman.
- David Rikl. In contrast with is sometimes grumpy appearance, he is actually a really friendly guy. Very patient and calm. As a doubles player, I've seen him performing way less than other top doubles players and therefore he didn't get a top 10 spot.