As the title stated - how important is the quality, quantity and variety in a player's development? The reason I'm asking is because I started to really take tennis seriously and focus on my improvement about 1 and 1/2 years ago. For the first 1/2 I had great competition with everyone in the group I played in regularly being better than me (some even FAR better). But now all these people have either left town to study or are focusing on school-work because they're in the last year of high school or whatever. The last year or so I've therefore been forced to play with younger and less skilled players (even though there still is one guy I practice with regularly that beats me). I experienced a greater developmental curve the first half year than I've done this year and my question to you is simply: how far can I get without constantly playing against A LOT of more skilled players, and how important is this component in the developmental process?
Thank you very much in advance