If Tennis Eliminated The Second Serve, Federer Would Dominate Even More

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers shows how Federer fares during his first serves and during first-serve returns

Imagine playing a match with only first serves. Who would win?

When you factor in performance behind first serves and also with first-serve returns, there is just one player in the past 52 weeks who is ranked in the Top 10 on the ATP World Tour in both categories. He is Roger Federer.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of serving and receiving performance only with first serves reveals the 'Swiss Maestro' is equally adept at firing down first serves, and receiving them.

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Here is a look at the players with the best combined rating of first-serve points won and first-serve return points won. The data set comes from players ranked in the Top 50 in the specific categories of first-serve points won and first-serve return points won during the past 52 weeks.

Past 52 Weeks: Top 10 Performers with First-Serve Points Won & First-Serve Return Points Won

#

Player

First-Serve
Win %

First-Serve Return
Win %

Combined Total

1

Roger Federer

81.0%

32.5%

113.5

2

Novak Djokovic

73.4%

35.2%

108.6

3

Marin Cilic

78.8%

29.6%

108.4

4

Dominic Thiem

76.6%

31.0%

107.6

5

Benoit Paire

76.1%

30.9%

107.0

6

Juan Martin del Potro

76.9%

29.5%

106.4

7

Alexander Zverev

73.3%

32.1%

105.4

8

Peter Gojowczyk

76.9%

28.2%

105.1

9

Grigor Dimitrov

75.3%

28.8%

104.1

T10

Aljaz Bedene

72.3%

31.1%

103.4

T10

Karen Khachanov

75.6%

27.8%

103.4

Overall, Federer was ranked third best with first-serve points won, and sixth best with first-serve return points won. He was the only player in the data set to be ranked in the Top 10 in both statistical categories.

Second best was Novak Djokovic, who actually led the first-serve return points won category, winning 35.2 per cent of his return points against first serves. Also in the top five were Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem and Benoit Paire.

In looking at the players who round out the Top 10 in this category, it’s a mix of established ATP World Tour stars and a couple of players who might surprise you.

Del Potro

In sixth place is the surging Juan Martin del Potro, who recently made it back to the US Open final. The Argentine started 2018 at No. 11 in the ATP Rankings, but is back up to No. 4 after a strong season that has included titles in Acapulco and his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

Alexander Zverev is in seventh place on the combined first serve & return leaderboard, and is placed seventh overall in the past 52 weeks in first-serve return points won.

Read More: Del Potro Shows He's The Ultimate Closer In Tennis

Peter Gojowczyk, a 29-year-old German, comes in in eight place. Gojowczyk won his maiden ATP World Tour title just over a year ago at the ATP World Tour 250-level Moselle Open in Metz and reached two 250-level finals this season, in Delray Beach and Geneva. Grigor Dimitrov is in ninth place, and tied for 10th is Aljaz Bedene and Karen Khachanov.

The first serve is the biggest weapon in our sport, and these players have shown outstanding proficiency in both delivering the first serve and receiving it.

Click Here To View Full List Of Serve Leaders In Infosys ATP Stats LEADERBOARDS

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