1994 WIMBLEDON ("FAST GRASS") vs. 2011 WIMBLEDON ("SLOW GRASS"): INTERESTING RESULTS - MensTennisForums.com

MensTennisForums.com

MenstennisForums.com is the premier Men's Tennis forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.Please Register - It's Free!

Reply

Old 07-27-2011, 04:04 AM   #1
country flag NYCtennisfan
Fed Fo Mod
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: On vacation...
Age: 43
Posts: 11,198
NYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond repute
Default 1994 WIMBLEDON ("FAST GRASS") vs. 2011 WIMBLEDON ("SLOW GRASS"): INTERESTING RESULTS

StatRacket's excellent thread about "Tournament Speed" gave me the impetus to create this thread (please don't merge . I've wanted to compare the statistics from a Wimbledon tournament from the early-mid '90s with the statistics from a recent Wimbledon but never really had the time. I availed myself of the free time I have on board airplanes and at the airport (I travel very regularly for business) and of course the hi-speed WiFi. The results are very interesting.



First: a little explanation about the chart if you are not familiar with statistical testing. I wanted to go more in-depth with the stats than just "total amount of service points won" because that statistic gives you only limited information. The most important piece of information when comparing how quickly these two tournaments played is "% of points won on 1st serve." So, I plotted every serve (and ipso facto, return) stat for every match in both the 1994 and 2011 Wimbledons. Unless there is a walkover, each tournament contains 127 total matches and statistics for 127 X 2 = 254 different player performances.

The "Statistically Significant Difference" column lets you know if there is a real statistical difference between the means of various categories between these two tournaments. The results for a particular statistic, say "% of First serve points won," from the 127 matches from Wimbledon 1994 were in one column and the same numbers for the same statistic from Wimbledon 2011 were in another column. A T-Test for two samples was run. The alpha (or P value) used was .05. This means that the test determines whether or not there is something that is causing the differences in means between the two sets of numbers with a 1-.05=.95=95% certainty. So, let's say the "% chance of randomness" column reads that there's a 2.5% chance of randomness between the mean 1994 "% of first serve points won" category and the 2011 "% of first serve points won" category. This means that there's a 2.5% chance that something absolutely random is causing these numbers to be different, and that there is a 97.5% chance that there is some factor or reason that is causing these means to be significantly different. If we use .05 as an alpha, it means we reject our null hypothesis (which is "There is no significant difference between the numbers") if our T critical value (after running the test) is less than .05 and we accept the null hypothesis if the t-critical value is greater than .05. The T-critical value turned out to be .025 which is less than .05 so we reject the null hypothesis that there is no difference. As you can see from the chart, most of the chances for randomness are extremely small. This means that there is SOMETHING or SOME FACTOR that is causing these means to be different. 6.4E-15 means that there is a .0000000000000064% chance that the difference in % of second serve points won was something completely random.

It was significantly easier to win points off of the first serve in 1994. It was significantly easier to hit aces and win second serve points in 2011. Breaks per set and breaks per game and break chances per game were significantly higher in 1994 compared with 2011. Players in 2011 had a significantly higher overall 1st serve % compared with players in 1994.

Some observations:

--Once the first serve ball was in play, it was statistically significantly easier to win the point in 1994 compared with 2011. Was this because of the lighter balls and "quicker" and lower bouncing courts? Was it because players followed their first serves to net and then closed the point at net? In serve and volley tennis, the first serve dictates the result of the point more than in baseline play (although any style of play is dictated by the first serve, and especially so if it is a really good first serve) since a returner cannot "reset" the point with a return that lands near the baseline (even if it is 'looped' back) thereby negating the overall effect of the 1st serve. In serve and volley tennis, a good serve sets up a player to win the point in the next two or three points as a direct result of the serve and its effect. It was harder to return serves due to inferior racket and string technology. A good serve in 1994 was more difficult to return low at the volleyer's feet and it was difficult to 'stretch' the volleyer with a return. In addition, after the first volley (which could end the point after a particularly effective serve), the return had a more difficult time putting the ball back in play because of the low bounce and the inferior rackets and strings that did not allow a player to pass the volleyer by picking a ball up 8 inches from the ground and putting a lot of pace and good direction on the ball.

--What's amazing about the fact that it was much easier to win a point after connecting on a first serve in 1994 compared with 2011 is that there it was significantly easier to hit aces in 2011 compared with 1994. In 1994, there were 1300 more first serve balls in play but 200 fewer aces hit. You would think the opposite were true. If it's easier to hit aces in 2011, wouldn't it be easier to win a great % of points off of the first serve? Amazingly -- NO. Could it be that players are statistically significantly taller and stronger now? The rackets? It doesn't seem to be the surface because then the % of points won off of the first serve would be higher for 2011 as well but it isn't. In fact, 1994 had a significantly higher number of instances where a player won 90% of the points off of their first serves (15 compared to 4 in 2011), and a higher number of players win win 80% of their first serve points even when losing (19 to 7). In 1994, a player won less than 70% of their first serve points a total of 67 times out of a possible 254 times and only 6 times by the winner. In 2011, a player won less than 70% of their first serve points 81 out of 254 times and 10 times by the winner.

--The % second serve points won in 2011 was much, much higher than in 1994. Players aren't serving and volleying and thus the returner isn't winning points right off of the return or the next shot. At some point, players decided that it was suicide to come in on their second serves. Was racket and string technology making it easier to return serve? Was the grass playing differently? If the surface was "faster" and lower bouncing, perhaps the return had more value, especially if you got it at the feet of the volleyer. There are no available statistics for tournaments played before 1991, but from eyeballing the stats of 1991, 1992, 1993, and the rest of the "serve and volley years," 44%-46% seemed the norm for points won on the second serve. Perhaps the available technology and the bounce convinced the players that they HAD to come in off of their second serves, but staying back might not have produced results worse than only 43.8% of second serve points won, which was the mean for all players in 1994. Baseliners like Agassi and Courier did well on second serves. Agassi won 51.7% of his second serve points in 1992 and 52.5% of the 2nd serve points in 1999. Courier won 51.4% of second serve points in 1993. Both players' %s were very much above the mean, but perhaps they had skills that few others had. Sampras did very well on the second serve winning 50%, 55%, 53%, 56%, 54%, 50%, 57% of second serve points in his title years, all above the means for those respective tournaments. It would have been interesting to see Lendl in 1990 stay back more because Agassi did it in 1992 and Courier in 1993, only 2 and 3 years later and they were very successful on second serves. Then again, weather and rain and how the court was playing may have made it difficult for Lendl to do so, but 1992 was a wet and rainy Wimbledon.

--The one stat that I didn't enter was the double fault, and I wish that I had. There was a statistically significant amount more double faults in 1994 than in 2011. Players needed more on the second serve to volley, maybe they felt there was a great risk-reward ration (see observation about winning points easier off of the first serve in 1994), and so on. If the double faults in 1994 were dropped down to the 2011 levels, the % of points won on the 2nd serve for 1994 would dramatically rise. There were 60 instances of players winning 50% or more of their second serve points in 1994. There were 134 such instances in 2011, more than half of all possible instances.

A lot of these observations can be read in table form:



--The biggest factor in determining the breaks per set, breaks per game, and break chances per game was the significantly LOWER first serve % in 1994. Had the first serve %s been the same, the breaks per set, breaks per game, and breaks chances per game numbers from 1994 would have been almost identical to 2011's numbers or maybe even less. Is it easier to hit a first serve now due to racket technology and string technology? McEnroe often mentions that it used to be considered a good day to hit 55% of your first serves in when he was playing but now that's not good at all. If you plot the median/mean first serve %s from 1984, 1990, 1995, 2000, and today, the average first serve % is probably statistically significantly higher today than in any of those years except for maybe 2000. Then again, as mentioned previously, maybe players went for more on the first serves knowing there was a greater chance of reward. The statistics show that once the first ball was in play, it was easier to win the point in 1994. Then again, this could be the result of the aforementioned effect of a player closing the net after a first serve an thereby taking direct advantage of the first serve's effect.

There is a large difference between the % of first serve points won and % of second serve points won for 1994 Wimbledon. The gap is smaller for 2011 Wimbledon. The gap is even smaller, as one would expect, at clay tournaments. The value and expected reward of the first serve was higher at Wimbledon 1994. Here is final chart that shows some the differences between % of points won off of first and second serves.



EDITED TO ADD A LOOK AT THE HEIGHTS OF THE PLAYERS:

To add another wrinkle into the conversation, the mean heights of the players entered in Wimbledon 1994 and Wimbledon 2011 are almost identical. It could be supposed that the mean height in 1994 was somewhat skewed by the fact that grass specialists (who tended to be taller players) were in the draw in place of players who skipped the tournament although most of the top 100 was in the field.


Last edited by NYCtennisfan : 11-09-2011 at 03:27 AM.
NYCtennisfan is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 

Old 07-27-2011, 04:13 AM   #2
country flag NYCtennisfan
Fed Fo Mod
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: On vacation...
Age: 43
Posts: 11,198
NYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: 1994 WIMBLEDON ("FAST GRASS") vs. 2011 WIMBLEDON ("SLOW GRASS"): INTERESTING RESU

Here is an image of all the data used for Wimbledon 1994. The colored rows denote that a round has been completed.

NYCtennisfan is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2011, 04:15 AM   #3
country flag NYCtennisfan
Fed Fo Mod
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: On vacation...
Age: 43
Posts: 11,198
NYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: 1994 WIMBLEDON ("FAST GRASS") vs. 2011 WIMBLEDON ("SLOW GRASS"): INTERESTING RESU

Here is Wimbledon 2011.

NYCtennisfan is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2011, 04:19 AM   #4
Snowwy
Registered User
 
Snowwy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: A place that's too cold.
Posts: 21,024
Snowwy has a reputation beyond reputeSnowwy has a reputation beyond reputeSnowwy has a reputation beyond reputeSnowwy has a reputation beyond reputeSnowwy has a reputation beyond reputeSnowwy has a reputation beyond reputeSnowwy has a reputation beyond reputeSnowwy has a reputation beyond reputeSnowwy has a reputation beyond reputeSnowwy has a reputation beyond reputeSnowwy has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: 1994 WIMBLEDON ("FAST GRASS") vs. 2011 WIMBLEDON ("SLOW GRASS"): INTERESTING RESU

Brilliant research, very interesting read, I need to think about what this really means for a bit before I can formulate an opinion, why does this happen is a very interesting question.
__________________
Peter Polansky
Nestor - Chvojka - Pospisil - Raonic - Peliwo
Snowwy is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2011, 04:45 AM   #5
country flag The Magician
Banned!
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,517
The Magician has a reputation beyond reputeThe Magician has a reputation beyond reputeThe Magician has a reputation beyond reputeThe Magician has a reputation beyond reputeThe Magician has a reputation beyond reputeThe Magician has a reputation beyond reputeThe Magician has a reputation beyond reputeThe Magician has a reputation beyond reputeThe Magician has a reputation beyond reputeThe Magician has a reputation beyond reputeThe Magician has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: 1994 WIMBLEDON ("FAST GRASS") vs. 2011 WIMBLEDON ("SLOW GRASS"): INTERESTING RESU

Wow great work Shows what we already knew though. Serves have increased in speed, players are taller on average, and almost every player in the top 100 has a quality serve. There are no more clay specialists, and the top two players in the world don't have near the best serves in the game. Also, players go for aces more while a good kick serve/slice is equivalent to a serve/volleyer. All of this leads to more aces.

The biggest surprises for me are:

1. The idea that returners have gotten better is a myth. Returners have gotten worse statistically, and serve/volley was consciously killed by the ATP rather than naturally dying out because of better returns.

2. The game has become slower and more exciting is also a myth. There are more aces now and less breaks which is the opposite of the conventional wisdom.

3. First serve percentage has gone up quite a bit. That's very interesting since form hasn't changed since Rod Laver, and Pete Sampras's service motion influenced many players today such as Roger Federer. The only thing that could have changed in my opinion is physicality which prevents players from getting tired and losing their first serve. Very suspicious though, I can't imagine that big a change being the result of just nature and time.
The Magician is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2011, 04:47 AM   #6
country flag abraxas21
Registered User
 
abraxas21's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Age: 28
Posts: 12,521
abraxas21 has a reputation beyond reputeabraxas21 has a reputation beyond reputeabraxas21 has a reputation beyond reputeabraxas21 has a reputation beyond reputeabraxas21 has a reputation beyond reputeabraxas21 has a reputation beyond reputeabraxas21 has a reputation beyond reputeabraxas21 has a reputation beyond reputeabraxas21 has a reputation beyond reputeabraxas21 has a reputation beyond reputeabraxas21 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: 1994 WIMBLEDON ("FAST GRASS") vs. 2011 WIMBLEDON ("SLOW GRASS"): INTERESTING RESU

very interesting research. i didnt expect some of those results
__________________
abraxas21 is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2011, 05:08 AM   #7
country flag NYCtennisfan
Fed Fo Mod
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: On vacation...
Age: 43
Posts: 11,198
NYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: 1994 WIMBLEDON ("FAST GRASS") vs. 2011 WIMBLEDON ("SLOW GRASS"): INTERESTING RESU

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Magician View Post
Wow great work Shows what we already knew though. Serves have increased in speed, players are taller on average, and almost every player in the top 100 has a quality serve. There are no more clay specialists, and the top two players in the world don't have near the best serves in the game. Also, players go for aces more while a good kick serve/slice is equivalent to a serve/volleyer. All of this leads to more aces.

The biggest surprises for me are:

1. The idea that returners have gotten better is a myth. Returners have gotten worse statistically, and serve/volley was consciously killed by the ATP rather than naturally dying out because of better returns.

2. The game has become slower and more exciting is also a myth. There are more aces now and less breaks which is the opposite of the conventional wisdom.

3. First serve percentage has gone up quite a bit. That's very interesting since form hasn't changed since Rod Laver, and Pete Sampras's service motion influenced many players today such as Roger Federer. The only thing that could have changed in my opinion is physicality which prevents players from getting tired and losing their first serve. Very suspicious though, I can't imagine that big a change being the result of just nature and time.
Federer has spoken about this quite often that almost everyone can serve now. The average serve, due to player heights, new rackets, strings, etc., is not only better now, but gets put into play more often. When Roddick came along in the early 2000s, he showed everyone that you can serve bombs and serve them in with a high %.

1. I don't think it's that the returners have gotten worse, but that it's a different style of play. In the original post, I mentioned that the average % of second serves won in the early '90s (on grass at least -- I haven't looked at other surfaces but I might if I get the chance) is around 44%--46% Unless you had a really good second serve (or a really good first serve that put pressure on the returner when the got a LOOK at a second serve or a combination thereof), you weren't going to win a lot of points on the second serve.

Some players who stayed on the baseline on second serve points did generally better than those rushing the net, even on '90s grass with '90s balls. Agassi and Courier won 50%+ of their points on their second serves. We can say that they're great baseliners (especially Agassi right on the baseline), but the trend of doing well on second serves while staying back has continued. In 2011, in 134 of 254 possible instances, the player won 50% of their second serve points. That's about 53% of the time for all players in all rounds, winners or losers. In 1994, it was 60 out of 254 total instances which is about 24% of the time. This is an incredible difference, probably the biggest statistical difference for any stat metric out there. It's easier to win points off of the second serve by staying back because then the points becomes more similar to what's played on clay. In 2006, at Monte Carlo, Roma, and Hamburg, players won about 48%--50% of all their second serve points, about a 50-50 proposition. Neither the server nor the returner had an advantage. The second serve is not going to cause any damage and the surface is not fast enough for the returner to cause any damage. This might be the case for 2011 Wimbledon.

2. "Exciting" is of course subjective, but there are less breaks now and fewer break chances. HOWEVER, as I mentioned in the original post, that has more to do with first serve %. If the first serve % of the players in 1994 were to be the same as the first serve % of the players today, the breaks per set and break chances would be about equal.

3. I think the rackets and string technology make a big difference. When Pete started playing his exhibitions, he played with a newer, larger racket than his 85" and he said that it was almost unfair. He was referring mostly to baseline tennis, but it can be applied to the serve as well. I think players have a better "feel" with the new technology to get it into that service box.

On top of that, I think players are taller now than they were in 1994 and certainly taller than players in Laver's time. I don't know if the players are statistically significantly taller or not, but I could run a test on that. Your idea about being in better physical condition and not tiring as easily is an interesting one. Players are better athletes today and in better shape due to necessity, nutrition, sports medicine, training, etc., and perhaps they don't tire as easily so serve stats in third, fourth, fifth sets doesn't drop as drastically.

Last edited by NYCtennisfan : 07-27-2011 at 05:15 AM.
NYCtennisfan is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2011, 05:19 AM   #8
country flag MTwEeZi
Registered User
 
MTwEeZi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 3,152
MTwEeZi has a reputation beyond reputeMTwEeZi has a reputation beyond reputeMTwEeZi has a reputation beyond reputeMTwEeZi has a reputation beyond reputeMTwEeZi has a reputation beyond reputeMTwEeZi has a reputation beyond reputeMTwEeZi has a reputation beyond reputeMTwEeZi has a reputation beyond reputeMTwEeZi has a reputation beyond reputeMTwEeZi has a reputation beyond reputeMTwEeZi has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: 1994 WIMBLEDON ("FAST GRASS") vs. 2011 WIMBLEDON ("SLOW GRASS"): INTERESTING RESU

Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCtennisfan View Post
MTwEeZi is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2011, 05:32 AM   #9
country flag NYCtennisfan
Fed Fo Mod
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: On vacation...
Age: 43
Posts: 11,198
NYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: 1994 WIMBLEDON ("FAST GRASS") vs. 2011 WIMBLEDON ("SLOW GRASS"): INTERESTING RESU

Quote:
Originally Posted by MTwEeZi View Post
I didn't want to "break" the browser. It's a large file -- you can download it and open it up in any image viewer and see all the individual stats.
NYCtennisfan is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2011, 05:44 AM   #10
country flag NYCtennisfan
Fed Fo Mod
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: On vacation...
Age: 43
Posts: 11,198
NYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: 1994 WIMBLEDON ("FAST GRASS") vs. 2011 WIMBLEDON ("SLOW GRASS"): INTERESTING RESU

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Magician View Post
The biggest surprises for me are:

1. The idea that returners have gotten better is a myth. Returners have gotten worse statistically, and serve/volley was consciously killed by the ATP rather than naturally dying out because of better returns.
An additional thought. Even though it's more difficult to win points off of the first serve, it seems that it should still be possible to serve and volley off of the first serve on grass. The problem is that it would be very difficult to do so off of the second serve, so players aren't playing this way anymore and academies aren't teaching this style. Federer makes for an interesting case because he is, in a way, tennis's (or at least tennis on grass) evolutionary "missing link."

He played a lot of serve and volley when he beat Pete in 2001 and played a fair amount of serve and volley in 2003 when he won the Wimbleon title. After he split with Lundgren, he pretty much stopped serving an volleying. In his early playing days, Hewitt, Nalbandian, and Agassi would often pass him and Federer would lose a service point outright. He knew that he had more game than anyone so why allow them to win a point off of a single shot when chances are, due to his athletic ability and his shotmaking prowess, that he would be able to win a greater % of points that are extended beyond the "serve-return" points. In order to play the new baseline game, he needed to strengthen his BH and make it more consistent. He was always able to hit amazing winners once in a while off of that wing (maybe even more so than now), but he made a lot more mistakes and wasn't as consistent with depth and/or placement. Players coming up now that if they commit to serve and volley tennis, to be successful, they have to go "all in," and this is a risky proposition. Is it possible to become a great serve and volleyer and work on your baseline game? Edberg, JMac, Rafter, Sampras, Cash, etc., were all in. Federer didn't think he could do both or work on both and be effective in the newly evolving game. In hindsight, Federer made the absolutely correct decision.
NYCtennisfan is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2011, 05:48 AM   #11
country flag n8
 
n8's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Canberra, Australia
Age: 29
Posts: 6,449
n8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: 1994 WIMBLEDON ("FAST GRASS") vs. 2011 WIMBLEDON ("SLOW GRASS"): INTERESTING RESU

Wow! Amazing work NYCtennisfan! Very interesting numbers and thanks for calculating the t-stats.

Firstly I think taller players and racquet and string technology have made serves better (first and second). The extra angle (height) and spin (strings and racquet) means more serves in and more aces. My hypothesis for lower points won on first serves in 2011 follows.

An important point that not many people have raised is bounce consistency. The whole reason the grass seed formula at Wimbledon was changed was to increase bounce consistency (reduced speed was a side-effect).Source - see court durability.

With unpredictable bounces from first serves, returning 1st serves back in 1994 was very difficult, hence the high 1st serve points won. And with more players serving and volleying, miss-hit returns could be easily put away.

Now when players make 1st serves, returners can better predict the ball's flight and therefore make better returns. Miss-hit returns are less likely but even when this does happen, it's not goodnight as the server isn't at the net.

The lower points won on second serve in 1994 is mainly due to slower serves back then with less spin. Inconsistent bounces don't make up for this because the returner generally had enough time after the bounce to prepare his shot.

Once again, great work and thank you!
n8 is online now View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2011, 05:52 AM   #12
country flag NYCtennisfan
Fed Fo Mod
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: On vacation...
Age: 43
Posts: 11,198
NYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond reputeNYCtennisfan has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: 1994 WIMBLEDON ("FAST GRASS") vs. 2011 WIMBLEDON ("SLOW GRASS"): INTERESTING RESU

Quote:
Originally Posted by StatRacket View Post
Wow! Amazing work NYCtennisfan! Very interesting numbers and thanks for calculating the t-stats.

Firstly I think taller players and racquet and string technology have made serves better (first and second). The extra angle (height) and spin (strings and racquet) means more serves in and more aces. My hypothesis for lower points won on first serves in 2011 follows.

An important point that not many people have raised is bounce consistency. The whole reason the grass seed formula at Wimbledon was changed was to increase bounce consistency (reduced speed was a side-effect).Source - see court durability.

With unpredictable bounces from first serves, returning 1st serves back in 1994 was very difficult, hence the high 1st serve points won. And with more players serving and volleying, miss-hit returns could be easily put away.

Now when players make 1st serves, returners can better predict the ball's flight and therefore make better returns. Miss-hit returns are less likely but even when this does happen, it's not goodnight as the server isn't at the net.

The lower points won on second serve in 1994 is mainly due to slower serves back then with less spin. Inconsistent bounces don't make up for this because the returner generally had enough time after the bounce to prepare his shot.

Once again, great work and thank you!
All excellent points, StatRacket. It was much easier to play off of the baseline once the bounces were truer. Agassi and Courier paved the way for a new style of play with a more predictable bounce. I wonder, though, what would the % of second serve points won stats look like in the late '80s and very early '90s if the players stayed back and dealt with the unpredictable bounce and having to hit up on the passes off of lower bouncing balls without the benefit of modern string technology? Would a great baseliner such as Lendl be able to do better than 43.8%?
NYCtennisfan is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2011, 06:09 AM   #13
country flag tribalfusion
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 3,277
tribalfusion has a reputation beyond reputetribalfusion has a reputation beyond reputetribalfusion has a reputation beyond reputetribalfusion has a reputation beyond reputetribalfusion has a reputation beyond reputetribalfusion has a reputation beyond reputetribalfusion has a reputation beyond reputetribalfusion has a reputation beyond reputetribalfusion has a reputation beyond reputetribalfusion has a reputation beyond reputetribalfusion has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: 1994 WIMBLEDON ("FAST GRASS") vs. 2011 WIMBLEDON ("SLOW GRASS"): INTERESTING RESU

Very interesting thread...good work!
tribalfusion is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2011, 08:00 AM   #14
country flag n8
 
n8's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Canberra, Australia
Age: 29
Posts: 6,449
n8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond reputen8 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: 1994 WIMBLEDON ("FAST GRASS") vs. 2011 WIMBLEDON ("SLOW GRASS"): INTERESTING RESU

Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCtennisfan View Post
All excellent points, StatRacket. It was much easier to play off of the baseline once the bounces were truer. Agassi and Courier paved the way for a new style of play with a more predictable bounce. I wonder, though, what would the % of second serve points won stats look like in the late '80s and very early '90s if the players stayed back and dealt with the unpredictable bounce and having to hit up on the passes off of lower bouncing balls without the benefit of modern string technology? Would a great baseliner such as Lendl be able to do better than 43.8%?
That's the trouble. So many variables changing over time (most notably style of play, type of grass, racquet/string technology and, to a lesser extent, size of players) makes it hard to prove causality. Nevertheless, your stats clearly show some very interesting things. One thing I remember watching tennis as a kid, was being extra excited when a player missed a first serve on a big point. Now, as your stats show, it's not as big a deal. Especially with guys like Djokovic, Nadal and Murray.
n8 is online now View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2011, 12:01 PM   #15
country flag dombrfc
Registered User
 
dombrfc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: UK
Posts: 4,204
dombrfc has a reputation beyond reputedombrfc has a reputation beyond reputedombrfc has a reputation beyond reputedombrfc has a reputation beyond reputedombrfc has a reputation beyond reputedombrfc has a reputation beyond reputedombrfc has a reputation beyond reputedombrfc has a reputation beyond reputedombrfc has a reputation beyond reputedombrfc has a reputation beyond reputedombrfc has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: 1994 WIMBLEDON ("FAST GRASS") vs. 2011 WIMBLEDON ("SLOW GRASS"): INTERESTING RESU

Excellent research although the results are, for me, down to the players in the eras as opposed to the courts, the change in speed is undeniable.
__________________
Roger Federer

Pablo CARRENO-BUSTA - Juan Martin DEL POTRO - Grigor DIMITROV

Marcos BAGHDATIS - Julien BENNETEAU - Roberto CARBALLES BAENA - Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV - Dan EVANS - Ernests GULBIS - Robin HAASE - Nick KYRGIOS - Lukas LACKO - Leonardo MAYER - Giles MULLER - Lukas ROSOL - Dominic THIEM - Jiri VESELY
dombrfc is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


Copyright (C) Verticalscope Inc
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
vBCredits v1.4 Copyright ©2007, PixelFX Studios