G’day from Torino,
Novak Djokovic and Holger Rune combined to come to the net an eye-opening 56 times in their ATP Finals match last night. Djokovic defeated Rune 7-6(4), 6-7(1), 6-3 in three hours and four minutes. It was a very entertaining match, with Rune trying to throw the proverbial kitchen sink at Djokovic to rattle the cage. Boris Becker was a few seats down from me and it was fascinating to see him standing up for almost the entire match trying to pass on positive energy to Rune. He may have also been trying to get into Novak’s head as well…
Net Points Won
- Djokovic = 62% (16/26)
- Rune = 60% (18/30)
When you break it down, someone was at the net on average, one out of every four points (217 total points divided by 56 net points).
This begs the question… when is the right time to come to the net?
Glad you asked!
Let’s examine the five matches Djokovic played at the Paris Masters 1000 two weeks ago, where he took the title.
Let’s improve your net game!
Djokovic Serving: Net Points Won By Rally Length
Just a reminder that the table above is net points only with Djokovic serving. So the dark blue columns are net points won for Djokovic and the light blue columns are net points lost. The server can only win odd-number rallies (1, 3, 5, 7, etc) and the returner can only win even-number rallies (2, 4, 6, 8, etc) because rally length in tennis is calculated by the ball hitting the court (in) rather than the racket.
The column that had the most points won was three shot rallies, with 20 points won for Djokovic. He won 11 points in five-shot rallies, nine points in seven-shot rallies, and eight points in one-shot rallies, which means serve and volley points.
Now let’s look at Djokovic winning points at the net when returning.
Djokovic Returning: Net Points Won By Rally Length
Djokovic won 55 points at net when serving, but just 16 when returning serve. The most points he won at net when returning was five points from eight-shot rallies. As you can clearly see, it’s so much easier to get to the net when you are serving, and it’s so much easier when you go straight in with your Serve +1 shot after the serve = three-shot rallies.
It turns out that the serve provides a great assist for points won at the net.
Next time you are on the practice court, plan to go straight to the net as much as you can following a quality serve and a short return.
Let the serve be the best friend of the approach.
It helps so much in your mind to think about going straight to the net after a quality serve. Don’t let the returner get settled. Don’t let them find any rhythm in the point. Climb all over them as soon as you can and take their time away.