This is my first port on this forum. Basically, I wanted to share some analysis I have done on the recently released statistics by ATP. Here (http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings...atchfacts.aspx
) you can find some key stats on the top 200 players for every year since 1991 and this is the data I downloaded and used.
In this post, I try to shed light on the eternal debate about the surface speed and how it was slowed down lately. So I attach 3 charts (hopefully they will display well, still trying to figure out the system) that for each surface show these variables…
Percentage of first serve points won
Percentage of service games won
Percentage of points won returning first serve
Percentage of return games won
…averaged over top 50 players in each year. The pattern is fairly similar if I use all 200 players but some players ranked lower just don’t have enough matches so I cut at top 50.
These variables ***** for how easy it is to hold and break on a given surface in a given year, so we can get some nice insights from them. Here are my overall conclusions:
1) The slowing down of the Wimbledon grass is rather exaggerated. People say that the grass has been slower since 2002 (Federer stopped S&V in 2004) but since 2002 it actually became EASIER to hold serve and win points off the first serve! You can see an upward trend. At the same time, winning return games has become slightly more difficult, the line drops below 20%.
2) On hard courts the variations across years is small but the trends are striking: it has become easier to serve and more difficult to return if you compare early 1990s and late 2000s.
3) Clay has played fairly fast over the last 4 years.
This is obviously a very crude analysis but it goes contrary to the common belief that courts have been slowed down. So unless top 50 players suddenly became better servers and worse returners (unlikely, since the technology has benefited the defense game more), then we have to acknowledge that the courts are in fact playing quicker now.
This is rather surprising to me, other explanations for these results?
Later, I will post some analysis for players like Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic to see how their careers developed. Stay tuned!
PS. Any ideas how I can make those charts appear in the message and not as attachments? Thanks