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.
Stat of the Week: 8%
Novak Djokovic is the unanimous favorite to win back-to-back (sort of) Wimbledon titles. In the 2019 final, Novak defeated Roger Federer in an epic 5 set thriller, 7–6(5), 1–6, 7–6(4), 4–6, 13–12(3).
So what makes Novak especially dangerous on this surface?
In the matches that really mattered – QF, SF, and Final – Novak won 76% of all first serve points with a first serve percentage of 64%. On second serves, he won 49% compared to opponents’ 45%.
There are 2 sides to the coin. Good serving forces poor returning and vice versa.
- The quality of Novak’s serve dampened his opponent’s return numbers.
- The quality of Novak’s return game nullified his opponent’s serves.
A double whammy.
When returning a first serve, Novak made 8% fewer errors than his opponents (20% vs 28%), bolstered by 8% more returns in play (80% vs opponents’ 72%). Getting more balls back in play, and making fewer errors on return is a deadly combination.
In the key 1 to 4 rally battle, Novak edged his opponents by just 2%, but as the rallies got longer, the margins grew. The best chance opponents had to beat Novak was in short rallies, and even then they were outmatched.
Point of the Week
The first shot you hit – the serve and the return – are by far the most important shots of every rally. You will play one or the other on every point in a match and they set the tone for the rest of the point.
The irony is that they are also the least practiced shots, often as an afterthought in any workout. And, hitting 20 serves out of a basket is not the same as serving in point situations.
Make a point of devoting the appropriate amount of time in each practice to these shots.
How do your numbers compare?
Film your own match and upload it to Tennis Analytics to get over 30 statistics on your serve, return, & more! Learn more here.
Photo of the Week
The Novak Djokovic backhand.