4-10 The rest
Just what Murray did to Federer's serve in Shanghai is enough to give him the edge here. Also,
his ROS is more reliable overall than Novak's, and much more efficient against big servers.
Agree that this is the most simple assessment of return of serve in the top ten. Nadal's ROS is underrated because his getting so many serves back can frustrate and does frustrate many of his opponents, and has worked for him rather effectively.
1. Murray - has taken over Fed's mantle as being the best at getting back big serves, and he can punish 2nd serves too. Look at how he handled Federer recently.
2. Djokovic - better than Murray at punishing weaker serves, not as good at getting back bombs. Top 2 are very close though and probably interchangeable.
3. Ferrer - gets back all but the best-placed serves. Rock solid, but less spectacular than the top 2.
4. Del Potro - rather underrated here. Great reach, gets lots of serves back, often with interest.
5. Nadal - not aggressive but gets a huge percentage of balls back to start the rally in a more or less neutral position. As his serve does, Nadal's return works beautifully bringing his weapons into play.
6. Monaco - similar to Ferrer: solid but unspectacular.
7. Berdych - great against Federer, inconsistent against everybody else. Can be brilliant, can suck.
8. Tipsarevic - not bad. Bit up & down. Better at aggressive than neutralizing returns.
9. Federer - part of his game that has drastically declined. Though not bad, he was never the best at punishing 2nd serves & is now one of the worst of the top players (signature shot: sliced return into the bottom of the net), but he was brilliant at getting big serves back deep and neutral. No longer, except in occasional matches when his whole game is clicking.
10. Tsonga - along with his backhand, his biggest weakness, except (as with Federer) when he is on a hot streak and everything's clicking. By & large though, he is hopeless against big servers & horribly inconsistent against shit ones.
Very succinct assessment, after Ferrer the returns of serve become rather average. DelPo's ROS can be spotty, especially against big servers. Nadal and Juan's ROS can be interchangeable, neither great, neither pathetic at return of serve, Nadal is more consistent however, but can get into trouble on faster surfaces. Even at his best Roger's ROS was only top 5 top6. He did have a great ability to frustrate big servers by neutralizing the ROS deep into the middle, Roddick for example, Roger used to read serves so well, especially Roddick's which emphasized the mismatch match-up.