G’day from Torino,
Through the first four matches here at the 2023 ATP Finals, there have been 16 breaks of serve from 102 service games. That means players are holding 84% of the time. That’s a very solid number. As a comparison, the men held serve 78% at the US Open this year. One factor to consider is the different sizes of the data sets (4 matches compared to 127).
So what is the common theme with the breaks of serve in Turin the past couple of days? Longer service games.
The table below highlights the average amount of shots players hit when holding serve and when they are broken.
On average, players are hitting 17 shots (including serve) when they are holding serve and 21 shots when they are broken. The difference is an average of four shots.
Only one match featured a player (Zverev) hitting fewer shots on average holding serve compared to when he got broken (14 to 13).
The world’s best serve strategy lives here!
This is a really interesting match statistic that I will follow and add to for the remainder of the Torino matches. This is a great number to know from a mental/strategy viewpoint. If you want to break serve, the data proves that you need to go deeper into your opponent’s service games – but it does not have to be that much deeper. On average, making the server have to hit four extra shots per service game does the trick.
This is a great stat for coaches to pass along to juniors, who understandably don’t really have a clue about rally length when breaking serve. The message is to make the server hit four more balls (on average), and that will go a long way to helping you break serve.
Put one more ball in play. Make the server have to hit extra shots. They all add up!
Cheers from Torino,