G’day from Monte Carlo,
It was a scintillating day of tennis today at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters with all eight matches in the Round of 16 completed.
Here’s the results:
- (1) Novak Djokovic def Taylor Fritz 6-3, 6-0
- (2) Rafael Nadal def Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-1
- (9) Borna Coric def Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4, 6-2
- (10) Daniil Medvedev def. (6) Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 1-6, 6-4
- (13) Fabio Fognini def (3) Alexander Zverev 7-6(6), 6-1
- Guido Pella def (11) Marco Cecchinato 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
- Dusan Lajovic def (4) Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-3
- Lorenzo Sonego def Cameron Norrie 6-2, 7-5
1: Where Did The Match Winners Forge Their Biggest Advantage?
Different playing styles will result in different areas where match winners do the most damage against opponents. Here’s the list of eight match winners, and in which rally length they dominated the most against their opponent.
0-4 Shot Rally Length
- Djokovic +15
- Sonego +15
- Nadal +13
- Lajovic +11
5-9 Shot Rally Length
- Fognini +15
- Pella +12
- Medvedev +4
10+ Shot Rally Length
- Coric +9
As you can see, the big advantages were created in “First Strike” tennis in the 0-4 shot rally length. Notable to see heavy-weights Djokovic and Nadal dominating their opponents in short rallies over long rallies.
2: Eight Matches Combined Total Rally Length – Single Digits vs Double Digits
The more I look at rally length this way, the more I like it. You take all the rallies that happened in single digits (0-9) and compare how many there were vs. double digit rallies. Here’s the eight matches combined.
- Single Digit Rallies = 873 (85%)
- Double Digit Rallies = 158 (15%)
There is no doubt that clay court tennis has evolved. As you see in Dirtballer, longer rallies have occurred in the past three years more in New York at the US Open than in Paris at Roland Garros.
Have you ever heard of the term BLUEPRINT?
It means “detailed plan or program of action.”
Here’s a question for you…
Have a look at the typical one hour lesson all over the world – especially on clay!!! It’s 50 minutes of forehands and backhands and consistency and shot tolerance and grinding and massive repetition. All for what?
Does it make sense to spend 85% of your lesson trying to be awesome in double digit rallies when 85% of your matches are in singe digits?
3: Total Rally Length
Are rallies really that much longer on clay? Do we need to be ultra-consistent to be successful on the dirt? Should I let endless, mindless forehands and backhands dominate my practice court – at the expense of serves and returns?
Here’s the breakdown of rally length from the round of 16:
- 0-4 Shots = 53%
- 5-9 Shots = 32%
- 10+ Shots = 15%
If you have already purchased Dirtballer, you look at clay court tennis with an educated eye. You know that the 0-4 shot rally length dominates on clay, and these numbers are no surprise.
Have a look at the relationship between 0-4 shots and 10+ shots. There are north of 300% more points played with just a maximum of two shots hit by each player over extended rallies of double digits.
It begs the question… should you spend 300% more of your time working on the consistency of your serve and return over pointlessly grinding? Let the match data answer that question for you!
4: 5-8 Shot Rally Length Shone The Brightest
When you look at match data, be determined to find where players craft their biggest advantage. When you look at the eight match winners from the Rd16, they collectively forged their biggest advantage in the 5-8 shot rally length (nickname = Patterns of Play)
- 0-4 Shots: Match Winners 295 / Match Losers 250 = +45 point advantage
- 5-9 Shots: Match Winners 191 / March Losers 137 = +54 point advantage
- 10+ Shots: Match Winners 92 / Match Losers 66 = +26 point advantage
This is where you win. This is where you perform better than your opponent. If you break it down by single digit rallies vs double digit rallies, it’s even more compelling
- Single Digit Rally Advantage = 99 points (79%)
- Double Digit Rally Advantage = 26 points (21%)
5: How Did Rafael Nadal Win?
Rafa is in ominous form (what’s new). He looked “cherry ripe” defeating Grigor Dimitrov today. Where did Rafa forge his advantage in the match?
- 0-4 Shots = Nadal 34 / Dimitrov 21 = +13
- 5-8 Shots = Nadal 19 / Dimitrov 18 = +1
- 9+ Shots = Nadal 10 / Dimitrov 8 = +2
As you can clearly see, the King of Clay is very much the King of First Strike. His main area of separation over Dimitrov was in the 0-4 rally length, where he touches the ball a maximum of just two times.
Welcome to Dirtballer data.
Welcome to a better way to understand clay court tennis.
All the best,