Every week, Tennis Analytics dives deep into the data, bringing you a stat of the week to help you understand tennis better and become a little smarter.
For the month of August, we will look at junior data from the 2021 French Open and Wimbledon Championships. Clay and Grass are on two opposite ends of the court surface spectrum. Conventional wisdom is that clay plays slow (longer rallies, better for returners), while grass plays fast (shorter rallies, better for the server). We’ll see if conventional wisdom holds up.
Stat of the Week: 3%
Last week, we took a look at the first touch (serve and return) on the clay vs grass.
This week, we look at the second touch for each player – the serve+1 (server’s 2nd shot), and the return+1 (returner’s 2nd shot).
For serve+1 stats, there was almost no difference between the two surfaces. It was on the return+1 shot that we noticed something. For both Boys and Girls, there are 3% MORE return+1 errors on grass than on clay.
The reason for this?
As Craig O’Shannessy points out, on the serve+1 there is a lingering or carryover effect from the serve. For both the serve and the serve+1, the odds are stacked in favor of the server. Rather than resulting in more winners though, this advantage translates into return+1 errors. On grass, the faster surface, there is a more profound effect.
Point of the Week
For most players, the dominant side is the forehand side. The forehand is the sword, while the backhand is the shield. On your 2nd shot, you are more likely to hit a forehand winner than a backhand winner.
Factor this into your practices by working on structuring serve placement that will generate more forehands (e.g. slice serve wide in deuce court), and then work on the necessary footwork and balance to hit inside out or inside in forehands from the ad court.
Serve and return drills are best when structured in the context of point play. In other words, you should be practicing things that actually happen in a match.
Photo of the Week
Karolina Pliskova’s inside-in forehand.