Serve stats comparison: Tsonga, Berdych, Federer and others [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Serve stats comparison: Tsonga, Berdych, Federer and others

tennis_analyst
03-18-2012, 04:14 PM
Hi all

From time to time we have these discussions about whose serve is better. So I pulled the following stats on hard courts over the last 5 years for the following players (comparing overall stats is unfair because, let's say Soderling played more matches on clay than Tsonga; also hard courts are playing more even from year to year than natural surfaces and there are more matches on them allowing for a lot of observations).

1srv effect = 1srv won * 1srv perc


Name__________________1srv won___1srv perc___1srv effect___srv games won
Andy Roddick__________78.8%______67.0%_______52.8%_____ ___89.6%
Roger Federer_________78.4%______62.8%_______49.2%______ __89.8%
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga____77.4%______62.8%_______48.6%_________86. 2%
Robin Soderling_______77.6%______62.0%_______48.1%______ __86.6%
Juan Martin Del Potro_73.3%______61.8%_______45.2%_________83.0%
Tomas Berdych_________77.4%______57.4%_______44.4%______ __84.4%
Mardy Fish____________78.0%______54.0%_______42.1%______ __83.6%


These statistics are not very informative about the effectiveness of the serve per se but about the effectiveness of the serve + ground game. For example, Federer is good on these stats because he backs up his serve so well.

To evaluate the effect of the serve alone, I net out the percentage of points won in rallies. ATP doesnt publish this one explicitly, so I estimate it as (perc of points won on 2nd serve + perc of points won returning 2nd serve) / 2. This is reasonable since 2nd serves are mostly rally-starters. From here I calculate the percentage of unreturned first serves.

Here is the example that shows how it is estimated: let’s assume Karlovic has x% of his first serves unreturned and (1-x%) goes to the rally. Of these rallies, Karlovic wins 46.8%. So on the whole, he wins x% + 0.468(1-x%) of his first serves. This must be equal to 82.8% (first column), so x = (0.828-0.468)/(1-0.468) = 67.7%. I thank romismak for making me think about the right method to correctly estimate unreturnables

Column "service winner probability" is the product of "1st serve unreturned" and "1st serve percentage". This is the key column because it shows the probability of winning the point directly off the serve. So, basically once the player steps up to serve, this is the chance that the serve will win the point immediately.



Name__________________rallies won___1srv unret_____service winner probability
Andy Roddick__________52.8%_________55.1%__________36.9 %
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga____49.8%_________55.0%__________34.5%
Robin Soderling_______52.2%_________53.2%__________32.9%
Roger Federer_________54.7%_________52.2%__________32.8%
Tomas Berdych_________52.4%_________52.5%__________30.1%
Mardy Fish____________51.3%_________54.8%__________29.5%
Juan Martin Del Potro_52.6%_________43.6%__________26.9%


Conclusions:

1) Andy Roddick, as expected, is by far the best server of the pack. His official stats are great but his rally-adjusted stats are also good. His dominance comes largely from high first-serve percentage.

2) Federer is better than anybody else but Roddick on official stats. But much of it comes from his ground game. Once you adjust for that, he falls behind Tsonga and Soderling but is still ahead of Fish and Berdych.

3) JMDP's serve is really not that great. He is a steady rallier but his serve by itself is subpar relative to the oter guys. I though he would rank better, that's why I included him in the mix.

4) Berdych's serve also ranked lower than I expected. Possibly, too predictable for returners.

5) Tsonga's serve by itself is excellent and is close to Roddick's by its adjusted effectivenss. However, he is the weakest rallier of the group. So he loses to Soderling when it comes to holding.

romismak
03-18-2012, 04:34 PM
I am not surprised by this stats, Delpo´s serve is generally worst among those big hitters and even Roger can use his serve better than Delpo.

Right now i think Tsonga is clearly 1st, Roddick´s serve declined.

I can see now what it means that 1st serve effect, i think nobody is tracking record of unreturnable serves or something like that, i think it could be interresting statistic about pure 1st serve point won directly - ace, service winner, or unreturnable serve, and also some easy points like 1 groundstroke needed to finish point or winning volley, smash. I wonder how much Isner, Raonic can win directly on their serves withoug going to rally.

Rafter_forever
03-18-2012, 04:40 PM
interesting, very interesting. Great job..

what about other players like Karlovic, Isner, Raonic?

And about and statistic efficiency.. How % for not big server players, like Nadal, Djokovic, Ferrer?

cmoss
03-18-2012, 04:55 PM
Del potro should have had a very powerful serve because of his height,but it's too weak compare to other big guys.

tennis_analyst
03-18-2012, 06:44 PM
I expanded the analysis to include other palyers


Name______________1srv______1srv______1srv______sr vgames__rallies__1srv________srv winner
__________________won_______perc______effect____wo n_______won______unreturned__probability

Ivo Karlovic______82.8%__*__66.4%__=__55.0%_____91.6%_ ____46.8%____67.7%_______44.9%
John Isner________77.0%__*__67.8%__=__52.2%_____90.2%__ ___48.1%____55.6%_______37.7%
Andy Roddick______78.8%__*__67.0%__=__52.8%_____89.6%__ ___52.8%____55.1%_______36.9%
Pete Sampras______81.2%__*__58.6%__=__47.5%_____89.3%__ ___52.0%____60.7%_______35.6%
JW Tsonga_________77.4%__*__62.8%__=__48.6%_____86.2% _____49.8%____55.0%_______34.5%
Robin Soderling___77.6%__*__62.0%__=__48.1%_____86.6%___ __52.2%____53.2%_______32.9%
Goran Ivanisevic__80.5%__*__53.4%__=__43.0%_____83.7%___ __49.2%____61.6%_______32.8%
Roger Federer_____78.4%__*__62.8%__=__49.2%_____89.8%___ __54.7%____52.2%_______32.8%
Tomas Berdych_____77.4%__*__57.4%__=__44.4%_____84.4%___ __52.4%____52.5%_______30.1%
Mardy Fish________78.0%__*__54.0%__=__42.1%_____83.6%___ __51.3%____54.8%_______29.5%
JMDP______________73.3%__*__61.8%__=__45.2%_____83 .0%_____52.6%____43.6%_______26.9%


The first four columns are pretty much the official stats

The last two columns are important because here I net out the effect of points won on neutral rallies. The percentage of neutral rallies won is estimated as the average between points won on 2nd serve and points won returning 2nd serve.

Column "1st serve unreturned" is the percentage of first serves that are won without going into a neutral rally.
Here is the example that shows how it is estimated: let’s assume Karlovic has x% of his first serves unreturned and (1-x%) goes to the rally. Of these rallies, Karlovic wins 46.8%. So on the whole, he wins x% + 0.468(1-x%) of his first serves. This must be equal to 82.8% (first column), so x = (0.828-0.468)/(1-0.468) = 67.7%. I thank romismak for making me think about the right method to correctly estimate unreturnables

Column "service winner probability" is the product of "1st serve unreturned" and "1st serve percentage". This is the key column because it shows the probability of winning the point directly off the serve. So, basically once the player steps up to serve, this is the chance that the serve will win the point immediately.

I think this is the fairest measure of service quality, so all players are sorted by this last column.

Macbrother
03-18-2012, 06:57 PM
Thanks for compiling this and showing it in such a clear, concise manner. Pretty much backs up what we expected when we give these players the "eye test" but good to see the actual results nonetheless.

ballbasher101
03-18-2012, 07:17 PM
Great job by the OP. Del Potro really needs to work on his serve massively.

romismak
03-18-2012, 07:33 PM
Great job really:)

Can i ask how you get those stats for unreturnable? I was lately just for fun writing for myself Raonic stats on 1st serves unreturnables and so on, and those numbers by Ivo and John are pretty low, those are still just HC numbers yes? Ivo for example at his best serving year- 2007 when he won 84% FS at HC, had more than half of FS unreturnables like nothing. By my calculation just ace ratio was 0.37 FS was ace.

Those numbers are i think so low, because they are career stats, those guys at their best season won pretty much half of FS and more directly as unreturnable

tennis_analyst
03-18-2012, 08:21 PM
Great job really:)

Can i ask how you get those stats for unreturnable? I was lately just for fun writing for myself Raonic stats on 1st serves unreturnables and so on, and those numbers by Ivo and John are pretty low, those are still just HC numbers yes? Ivo for example at his best serving year- 2007 when he won 84% FS at HC, had more than half of FS unreturnables like nothing. By my calculation just ace ratio was 0.37 FS was ace.

Those numbers are i think so low, because they are career stats, those guys at their best season won pretty much half of FS and more directly as unreturnable


Thanks for pointing out the issue. Before, I just deducted the percentage of points the guy wins in a neautral rally but this was way too loose. I edited the post to explain how I estimate the unreturnables now. The rankings of the players are pretty much as before but the numbers in the last two columns are now more meanigful.

romismak
03-18-2012, 08:56 PM
Thanks for pointing out the issue. Before, I just deducted the percentage of points the guy wins in a neautral rally but this was way too loose. I edited the post to explain how I estimate the unreturnables now. The rankings of the players are pretty much as before but the numbers in the last two columns are now more meanigful.

Really great job, we can see that Ivo´s 1st serve was pretty lethal during his career on HC, he is more likely going to loose rally than win it. So for him unreturnables are life important. But can i ask how you get those unreturnable? if it is not your secret of course:) i can´t find such stats anywhere.

Rafter_forever
03-19-2012, 04:03 PM
with the correction, Karlovic, for example, 2 out of 3 of his first serves are not returned by rival .. Am I right?

tennis_analyst
03-19-2012, 09:35 PM
with the correction, Karlovic, for example, 2 out of 3 of his first serves are not returned by rival .. Am I right?

That's correct. To be precise, this is the percentage of first serves that are not neutralized to a rally. If you barely get it over the net for Karlovic to hit a sitter, this would count as an unreturnable.

Of course this is just an estimate but I think it's fairly accurate. Here is how it works:

67.7% of Karlovic's first serves win him the point directly
Of the remaining 32.3%, he wins 0.468 (as estimated from his rallying ability)
So in total he wins 67.7% + 32.3%*0.468 = 82.8% behind his first serve, which is the official stat by ATP

On the contrary, someone like Federer wins a lot behind his first serve but a big chunk of this is his rallying:
52.2% + 47.8%*0.547 = 78.4%