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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all

Who has the best rallying ability on each surface? Here is the table that shows percentage of points won in a rally by each player. This is estimated as the average between points won on 2nd serve and points won returning second serve (published by ATP). I think it's fair since second serves are mostly rally-starters.

These are career statistics since 1991 but:
- only years where the player had 20 or more matches are considered
- 3 or more of such years are required for the player to be considered for this analysis
(to get rid of random outliers)

This table was edited from its previous version following comments by LisaKoh . Before, I took simple average across all years the player was active in, so years with few matches counted as much as years with a lot of matches. This, for example, skewed Nadal's stats on HARD considerably. Now I take weighted average so that each match (and not each year) counts equally.


______________________ALL_________________________________HARD
Rafael Nadal__________56.3%__________Rafael Nadal__________55.9%
Andre Agassi__________55.1%__________Andre Agassi__________55.6%
Thomas Muster_________54.5%__________Roger Federer_________54.4%
Roger Federer_________54.2%__________Michael Chang_________54.3%
Juan Carlos Ferrero___54.0%__________Lleyton Hewitt________54.1%
Michael Chang_________54.0%__________Jim Courier___________53.9%
Lleyton Hewitt________53.6%__________Juan Carlos Ferrero___53.7%
David Nalbandian______53.5%__________David Nalbandian______53.5%
Novak Djokovic________53.4%__________Novak Djokovic________53.5%
Andy Murray___________53.3%__________Marcelo Rios__________53.5%
Marcelo Rios__________53.2%__________Andy Murray___________53.5%
David Ferrer__________53.1%__________David Ferrer__________53.4%
Alberto Berasategui___53.1%__________Olivier Rochus________53.3%
Jim Courier___________53.0%__________Andy Roddick__________53.3%
Nikolay Davydenko_____53.0%__________Stefan Edberg_________53.3%
Andy Roddick__________52.9%__________Vincent Spadea________53.3%
Juan Martin Del Potro_52.7%__________Robby Ginepri_________53.2%
Byron Black___________52.7%__________Patrick McEnroe_______53.2%
Felix Mantilla________52.7%__________Ivan Lendl____________53.2%
Patrick McEnroe_______52.6%__________Thomas Muster_________53.1%

______________________CLAY________________________________GRASS
Rafael Nadal__________57.3%__________Rafael Nadal__________56.2%
Thomas Muster_________55.8%__________Roger Federer_________55.6%
Juan Carlos Ferrero___54.2%__________Lleyton Hewitt________55.2%
Sergi Bruguera________54.2%__________Andre Agassi__________55.2%
Alberto Berasategui___54.1%__________David Ferrer__________54.6%
Felix Mantilla________53.7%__________Brett Steven__________54.5%
David Nalbandian______53.5%__________Stefan Edberg_________54.5%
David Ferrer__________53.4%__________Javier Frana__________54.1%
Andy Roddick__________53.2%__________Byron Black___________54.0%
Novak Djokovic________53.2%__________Francisco Clavet______53.8%
Guillermo Coria_______53.2%__________Richard Gasquet_______53.8%
Carlos Costa__________53.2%__________Juan Carlos Ferrero___53.7%
Roger Federer_________53.1%__________Michael Stich_________53.6%
Juan Monaco___________53.1%__________Janko Tipsarevic______53.4%
Albert Costa__________53.0%__________Juan Martin Del Potro_53.3%
Nikolay Davydenko_____53.0%__________Marcelo Rios__________53.3%
Andre Agassi__________53.0%__________Wally Masur___________53.2%
Marcelo Rios__________52.8%__________Patrick Rafter________53.2%
Tommy Robredo_________52.8%__________Olivier Rochus________53.1%
Juan Martin Del Potro_52.8%__________Pete Sampras__________53.1%
 

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And some stats from 1991. 'til today gives you answer whose groundgame is best in history?
 

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Hakeem
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Not surprising honestly.
 

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awesome stats. thanks for sharing and keep up he good work.


so now people will finally realize what my sig really means.

however it all changes after 2010.
 

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Hakeem
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awesome stats. thanks for sharing and keep up he good work.


so now people will finally realize what my sig really means.

however it all changes after 2010.
Because people are that retarded that they don't see some Spanish guy hitting over the head topspin shots all day right?
 

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Hakeem
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Janko Tipsarevic...

:spit:
 

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Somewhat interesting, but irrelevent. It is wins that count. Clay- Nadal, Grass- Sampras- Hard- Federer. Overall, not just Slams: Roger, Pete, Agassi, Rafa.
 

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Somewhat interesting, but irrelevent. It is wins that count. Clay- Nadal, Grass- Sampras- Hard- Federer. Overall, not just Slams: Roger, Pete, Agassi, Rafa.
How is Pete's ground game better than Agassi or Nadal?! Pete's serve was the most important part of his game. Agassi and Nadal are far better in rallies than Sampras - can't imagine Sampras living with Nadal while Agassi could.
 

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The stats just don't add up.
Too much relies on 2nd service return, rather than just rallying. And endless other nuances and variables.

Unless you think Patrick McEnroe is a better HC rallier than Nole.
 

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How is Pete's ground game better than Agassi or Nadal?! Pete's serve was the most important part of his game. Agassi and Nadal are far better in rallies than Sampras - can't imagine Sampras living with Nadal while Agassi could.
Pete would kill Nadal on grass and hard.....Pete's ground game was very solid
 

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Andy Roddick ups his clay stats in Houston every year, it really doesnt make much sense does it?
 

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If consistency of putting the ball in play is what you mean by best ground game, then either Nadal or Borg should top that. I will go with Nadal if that is your parameter. However, the best groundgame cannot be based on how much 2nd point and returns you win. The ground game cannot be isolated from the serve. It can actually be argued that Nadal's ground game per your data is that high because of his serve and his unwillingness most times to go for a winner. He prefers his opponents beating themselves - I won't be surprised to see that over 70% of points won by Nadal would be either unreturned lefty serves and errors made by his opponents, mostly unforced errors. That cannot be used to determine who has the best ground game in tennis history.

Most consistent ground game could be Nadal and possibly Borg as a second as their games were based on that. Best ground game is subjective and I do not believe there is clear answer to that. Likes of Nalbandian, Davydenko, I can argue, have possibly some of the best if not the best ground games ever. This is because of what they can do with the ball when the point is at or close to neutral. Some could argue also that Federer has the best ground game just because of what he has been able to accomplish but even then his serve sets up most of his points. If I had to pick one, I will probably pick Borg. Amongst the current players, I do not think anybody's ground game at peak is as good as Nalbandian, followed maybe by Davydenko. These guys were a pain the rear when dialed in and could outwit anyone even with their deficient serves. I actually believe Nalbandian at peak will give anybody in the history of the game fit off the ground. Anybody!

If Nalbandian had a better serve, was fitter and did not choke as much, he should be in the conversation of 10+ slams. But, I guess that's why all variables have to be considered. Just my thought...
 

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Credit also to the likes of Hewitt and Connors. For at least 2 years, Hewitt made the lives of every player on the tour miserable because of both his consistency of the ground and ability to turn defense to offense.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Great work! :) Although probably not entirely representative (for example I don't see Roddick's ground game being superior to Federer's on clay :p)
True, the biggest problem is that the stats are based on the matches played, and they are also a function of who you play

Vicent Spadea did well in smaller turnaments where he didn't have to meet big guys, so his stats are good

Roddick crashed out of Roland Garros early while Federer went all the way and had to play Nadal many times. So Roddick's stats are better because he played (percentagewise) weaker oppponents
 

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The one problem here is that its going to preferentially pick out players who have really good 2nd serves and return of 2nd serves. Particularily those players who are good at both (eg Lleyton Hewitt). But it probably evens out to some extent.

No surprise that the winners of this are guys who tend to be a little more defensive. Its easier to force errors than it is to hit winners.
 
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