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Rafael Nadal fights back from 15/40 better than anyone else in the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Rafa Is The Only Top 100 Player Who Does This...

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers shows how the Spaniard's grit and tenacity have helped him battle back on serve this season

One out of a hundred.

Ninety-nine players out of the Top 100 have a losing record holding serve in 2017 when falling behind 15/40. Only one player has won more than 50 per cent of his service games from this perilous point score.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the Top 100 players this week reveals that one player is World No. 1 Rafael Nadal. It’s an amazing achievement, considering the Spaniard does not possess a flame-thrower of a serve, or routinely ace his way out trouble. Nadal is ranked 33rd on tour this season in total aces hit at 278 from 75 matches – averaging 3.7 aces per match. 

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He is not the fastest server, and he does not enjoy as many free points on serve as other players. But Nadal has been mentally and strategically the best this season at dealing with the adversity and pressure of overcoming 15/40.

The Spaniard holds serve 50.7 per cent (37/73) of the time from that scoreline. Second place goes to Grigor Dimitrov, who is back to his career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 8 this week and has a 40-17 record in 2017. Dimitrov has held serve 47.9 per cent (35/73) of the time from 15/40, just two service games back from Nadal.

2017: Top 10 of the Top 100 at Holding Serve from 15/40

Emirates ATP Ranking

Player

Games Held From 15/40

Total Games Down 15/40

Hold Percentage From 15/40

1

Rafael Nadal

37

73

50.7%

8

Grigor Dimitrov

35

73

47.9%

51

Ivo Karlovic

14

30

46.7%

6

Dominic Thiem

47

110

42.7%

9

Stan Wawrinka

25

59

42.4%

13

John Isner

16

38

42.1%

16

Kevin Anderson

18

45

40.0%

56

Borna Coric

21

53

39.6%

30

Mischa Zverev

35

89

39.3%

66

Florian Mayer

16

42

38.1%

Infosys Nia Data found correlation with where a player is ranked in the Top 100 and how well he holds serve from 15/40.

Four Top 100 Groups: Holding Serve from 15/40

Players Ranked 1-25 = Held 33%

Players Ranked 26-50 = Held 28%

Players Ranked 51-75 = Held 27%

Players Ranked 76-100 = Held 24%

On average, the Top 100 have held serve from 15/40 28 per cent of the time this year. That immediately creates a drill for the practice court, where the server starts 10 service games from 15/40. If you can win three of them, then that’s right at the Top 100 average. If you can win half, then you know what it feels like to be the No. 1 player in the world.

Diego Schwartzman has faced 15/40 115 times this season, which is more than anyone else in the Top 100. He has held 24 times (20.9 per cent), which puts him in the bottom quarter of the Top 100.

Dominic Thiem has come back from 15/40 more than anyone else in the Top 100 so far in 2017, winning 47 out of 110 games. That places the Austrian at fourth best in the Top 100 at holding from 15/40.

The point score of 15/40 is all about overcoming adversity. Staying positive, being aggressive, and looking for a Serve +1 forehand to hit right after the serve are all hallmarks of Nadal’s prowess in this precarious position.

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