Very impressive and entertaining how far MEP took his game. The difference in rec levels is often marginal. My experience playing up some in 5.0 was it was mainly hitting/offense skills that was the difference. I said pace/spin ... and that was true with some, but just as often they just did what you did better. For example ... I held serve at a high percentage in 4.5. A 5.0 opponent’s ros and passing shots might look exactly the same ... no big increase in pace or spin, but a higher skill level that made the difference. The same thing happened when our best 4.5 baseliner played a good 5.0 baseliner. The 5.0 baseliner’s better hitting skills (whether targeting, pace, spin, UE, etc) allowed them to dictate/control most points.In fact, MEP beat a college tennis player and took a set off a D1 girl as well. So his threshold of absorbing pace and spin is deceptively high.
Tennis is what you do to get the ball over the net and within the three lines - baseline and singles alley left and right. That's it. It doesn't matter how you get there but if you can keep it in way more than your opponent, you will win.
That was my experience anyway ... ran into level where hitting skills trumped athletic/movement skills.