How Quickly Federer, The Top 10 Race Through Their Service Games

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers shows how Federer and the Top 10 efficiently hold serve

The pathway to holding serve for the Top 10 is not as straightforward as you might expect. With each point won or lost in a service game, outcomes vary and the percentage chance of holding serve rises and falls.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the point score in a service game, and the corresponding win percentages, sheds new light into the different ways elite players navigate their way to the finish line of holding their serve.

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The data set includes 27,399 service points from the Top 10 on the Monday after Wimbledon from the start of the 2015 season up to and including The Championships in 2018.

Roger Federer and Kevin Anderson lead the Top 10 in winning the opening point of their service games and surging to 15/0. When Federer has gone to 15/0 during the past three and a half years, he has won an astonishing 95.9 per cent (1766/1840) of his service games. In 2018 alone, Federer has dropped serve only nine times (335/344) after leading 15/0.

Best Record Moving to 15/0

Position

Player

15/0

0/15

1

R. Federer

74.5%

25.5%

2

K. Anderson

71.5%

28.5%

T3

J. Martin del Potro

70.4%

29.6%

T3

J. Isner

70.4%

29.6%

5

N. Djokovic

69.7%

30.3%

6

M. Cilic

69.2%

30.8%

7

G. Dimitrov

68.5%

31.5%

8

A. Zverev

66.3%

33.7%

9

D. Thiem

65.8%

34.2%

10

R. Nadal

65.1%

34.9%

-

AVERAGE

69.1%

30.9%

With two points completed, eight of the 10 players are more likely to be sitting at 30/0 than any other scoreline. The two outliers were Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem, who were more likely to be at 15/15 than 30/0.

Federer again led the field, getting to 30/0 52.8 per cent of the time, while John Isner rose up the leaderboard to second place at 50.5 per cent. When Isner has led 30/0 on serve in the 2018 season, he has dropped serve only one time, winning 258 of 259 service games.

Best Record Moving to 30/0

Position

Player

30/0

15/15

0/30

1

R. Federer

52.8%

39.8%

7.4%

2

J. Isner

50.5%

41.5%

8.0%

3

K. Anderson

49.9%

40.8%

9.3%

4

N. Djokovic

46.6%

43.1%

10.3%

5

M. Cilic

46.6%

42.9%

10.5%

6

J. Martin del Potro

45.8%

44.6%

9.6%

7

G. Dimitrov

45.6%

42.1%

12.3%

8

R. Nadal

44.7%

44.4%

10.8%

9

D. Thiem

43.3%

44.3%

12.4%

10

A. Zverev

42.6%

45.2%

12.1%

-

AVERAGE

46.8%

42.9%

10.3%

All players in the Top 10 had a higher percentage chance of being at 30/15 than either 40/0, 15/30 or 0/40 after the first three points of their service game.

Juan Martin del Potro had the highest percentage chance of hitting 30/15, finding himself at that scoreline in about 46 per cent of service games. When the Argentine has led 30/15 since the start of the 2015 season, he has held 93 per cent (708/761) of the time.

Most Likely To Be At 30/15

Position

Player

30/15

1

J. Martin del Potro

45.7%

2

J. Isner

45.3%

3

A. Zverev

43.7%

4

N. Djokovic

43.1%

5

M. Cilic

43.1%

6

D. Thiem

43.1%

7

R. Nadal

42.8%

8

R. Federer

42.7%

9

K. Anderson

41.8%

10

G. Dimitrov

41.0%

-

AVERAGE

43.1%

The most likely outcome after four points for the Top 10 is to be at a scoreline of 40/15. Isner was the best performer at this scoreline, navigating his way to 40/15 43 per cent of the time.

The most likely scoreline after five points are played is game over. All of the Top 10 average holding serve more than 50 per cent of the time from this scoreline, with Isner leading the way at a commanding 60.9 per cent.

Holding Serve After Five Points

Position

Player

Game

1

J. Isner

60.9%

2

R. Federer

60.1%

3

K. Anderson

58.8%

4

M. Cilic

56.6%

5

N. Djokovic

54.7%

6

J. Martin del Potro

53.0%

7

R. Nadal

52.6%

8

G. Dimitrov

52.5%

9

D. Thiem

52.1%

10

A. Zverev

51.4%

-

AVERAGE

55.3%

And this is a look at the average game score of our Top 10 group after five points have been played:

Game = 54.7%
40/30 = 30.7%
30/40 = 14.6%

This fascinating deep dive into point score and win percentages uncovers that a point score in a game for the Top 10 progresses from Love-all to 15/0, 30/0, 30/15, 40/15 and finally game. But it’s not always as smooth sailing as that.

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