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Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Murray: What Do the Stats Say About Their Game?

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21:  (L-R) Andy Murray of Great Britain, Novak Djokovic of Siberia, Roger Federer of Switzerland and Rafael Nadal of Spain attend a ceremony for Carlos Moya's retirement during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena on November 21, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Vee JayAnalyst IJuly 20, 2011

My complaint against ATP is that they don't really make it easy to study stats. They do have match facts, but they are confined to this year.

Anyway, I decided to work with what I have to draw some conclusions about the game of the top four.

Service game stats:

 

Name

Aces

No.

1st serve

% age

1st serve

points won

% age

2nd serve

points won

% age

Service

games won

% age

Break points

saved

% age

N. Djokovic 239(20) 66(9) 75(16) 58(1) 89(3) 70(2)
R. Nadal 196(33) 67(6) 72(27) 57(2) 85(11) 66(11)
R. Federer 333(11)

64(14)

78(2) 57(3) 89(4) 65(12)
A. Murray 302(15) 59(50) 74(22) 48(58) 78(37) 59(43)
Highest no./ % age 509 72 80 58 90 72
Top Player M. Raonic P. Starace I. Karlovic N. Djokovic J. Isner I. Karlovic

Figures in brackets above indicate rank of the player by that variable; i.e., 66(9) under aces for Djokovic means he ranks ninth with 66 aces.

The above tables reveal that in service games, the top three players are neck and neck, but Murray lags behind. While on points won on first serve, all four are nearly equal, Murray's first-serve percentage is low.

This means that if all four serve 100 times, then ignoring double faults, the top three will win about 70 points whereas Murray will win just 64 points. No wonder his service games won percentage is significantly lower than that of the others. He lags 11 points behind Djokovic and Federer and 7 behind Nadal.

The other significant finding is that the top three are 1, 2 and 3 in points won on second serve, whereas Murray lags behind at No. 58.

If I were Murray's coach, I would make him focus on improving his first-serve percentage where he ranks 50th to the top three's ranking of above 14. I would also make him improve his second serve which seems to set apart the top three.

 

Return of Service stats:

Name

Points won

on return of

1st serve

% age

Points won

on return of

2nd serve

% age

Break points

converted

% age

Return

games won

% age

N. Djokovic 35(5) 58(2) 48(2) 39(1)
R. Nadal 35(4) 58(1) 47(3) 36(2)
R. Federer 34(9) 51(18) 39(42) 27(15)
A. Murray 37(1) 56(4) 46(7) 36(4)
Highest %age 37 58 50 39
Top Player A. Murray R. Nadal X. Malisse N. Djokovic

 

Figures in brackets indicate rank by that variable;, i.e., 35(5) under percentage of points won on return of first serve for Djokovic means he is ranked fifth by that variable with 35 percent points won on return of first serve.

In return of serve, Djokovic, Nadal and Murray are neck and neck, but it is Federer who lags behind here.

The above data also lend support to a study done by Andrew Cohen and reported in the Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective.

The study found that aces were not significantly correlated with high ranking points. The No. 1 predictor was service hold % followed by percentage of return points won.

Isner is top in hold percentage but 65th in return games percentage won. But Djokovic and Nadal are 3 and 11 in hold percentage and 1 and 2 in percentage of return games won.

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