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: 70%
At the WTA level, 70% more return errors are hit long than wide. This ratio drops almost proportionately through the lower divisions.
At the ATP level, we see a similar pattern.
When returning 1st serves, missing long occurs 80% more than wide. For the 2nd serve return, twice as many errors are long.
The biggest jump in this error gap happens between the U14 and U16 levels.
This could be attributable to physical strength. Either way, the higher level tennis players are missing returns long, not wide.
Point of the Week
Your return strategy is crucial to winning matches.
On the first serve, focus on returning deep down the middle of the court. Just get the point started and try to get back to neutral.
When you see a second serve, you can start to put pressure on the server. Still focusing on depth, you can go for the corners a bit more here.
Pro Tip: Make the returner hit a S+1 backhand to break serve more often. Aim deep down the middle of the ad side.
Photo of the Week
Andy Murray’s backhand slice approach shot.