PDA

View Full Version : Roddick Serving Irrationally


M J
06-10-2008, 11:32 PM
Throughout the 2007 US Open, Andy Roddick's first serve percentage was 71%. When he got the first serve in, he won 82% of the points. He won 52% of his second serve points. He rarely double-faulted. I couldn't find his double fault numbers, but I'm guessing his 2nd serve percentage was around 99%.

Though these numbers are typical of Roddick, and similar for other players with big serves, they are totally bizarre. When he steps up to the line for a 1st serve, he wins the point 58.2% (71%*82%) of the time. If he misses his first serve, why would he bother hitting a conservative second serve if he has less than a 52% chance of winning the point with it? If he's trying to win points, he should just be hitting bombs for both his first and second serves. Sure, he will double fault a lot, but it's still his best chance of winning the point. If he had hit nothing but bombs when he played Federer at the US Open last year, the numbers suggest he would have won the match.

If he is trying to win points, Roddick, like many other players, is not serving rationally. It really is strange that players would continue to spin in their second serve when the numbers show this plainly that it is a bad idea. You would think that coaches would look at stats to see if there are any obvious areas of improvement like this. Sampras even demonstrated that you can have great success hitting huge 2nd serves, even with a healthy amount of double faults.

I'm sort of at a loss to explain this anomaly. Either Roddick is irrational, or he is maximizing something other than his probability of winning points. That's not to say that I don't empathize with Roddick; I too have an excessive fear of double-faulting. Nothing is more infuriating in tennis. Your opponent is just standing there waiting for you, and you lose the point before it starts because you can't even get it in the box. For some reason, it feels much worse to lose a point this way than after a nice rally.

Maybe winning isn't all Roddick cares about, and how he wins or loses is important to him. If hates double faulting a lot, he might be willing to lose some matches to avoid too many double faults. If he were consciously making that choice, it seems like unusual behavior for a professional athlete.

Maybe Roddick and I are overconfident in our groundstrokes and we think, "if I can just get the serve in, I will probably win the point anyway." Other than that, I don't really have any other idea of how to explain this. It's just so strange.

Whatever the reason for this apparent irrationality, I think it can be overcome. All Roddick needs to do to win another grand slam is serve rationally.

HoVa
06-11-2008, 01:00 AM
We are all taught that "if we don't get the ball in, we'll never have a chance to win the point"

with that being said, you attribute his 52% of 2nd serve points won to being conservative on his serve. Maybe he does hit 135mph 2nd serves but his mental game doesn't allow him to win the points if and when his opponent gets the ball back.

i find tennis a strange sport where you can win a majority of overall points, but still lose the game/set.

It goes to show that you have to capitalize when you have the chance.

Alafter
06-11-2008, 01:16 AM
That's interesting. Are you going to analyse year on year, surface on surface as well? It would be interesting to see a proof beyond all doubts mathematically that it should be 2 first serves.

daddy
06-11-2008, 03:37 AM
I was just wondering how did you come to the conclusiong that he has less than 52% chance to win on 2nd serve ? There is no way based on your analisys to conclude where did you get the info.

From what Ive concluded looking at his year to date stats, his first serve is not 71% but 67% for this year and he wins 79% of his 1st serves averaging 53% of the points won when he steps up to serve for the first time. His 2nd serve stats show clearly that he wins 56% of the 2nd serves in, so mathematics did you no good.

It is a close call but let me just say that based on sanity - 56% beats 53%. Based on common sense, he should not rely on his serve so much and he should not get as tired doing the first serve only ( as they all have average serve days or even bad serve days ) especially over the course of longer matches. Hitting first serves only does not help you with your confidence about the shots - you can lose feel for your return game which is all so important in tennis game. Hitting bombs to decrease percentage of points won for 3% on 2nd serve, sacrificing your stamina, strenght and feel is not advisable.
Courtesy of ATP.

Service Record Year-to-Date
Aces: 343
Double Faults: 46
1st Serve %: 67
1st Serve Points Won %: 79
2nd Serve Points Won %: 56

Ps - to add, it would be a shame for such a guy to lose in R32 because of the percentage on the day is say 64% and because he did not have it all his way while trying to bomb 2nd serves in.

zagor
06-11-2008, 04:06 AM
Roddick has a great kicker for a second serve and usually has a high percentage of first serves in.I think if he always blasted two first serves in his shoulder would fall off.It seems to me from watching a lot of Roddick's matches that his serve loses a little zip as the match progress(unlike for example Sampras's,Stich's and Fed's serve).I remember when Sampras looked tired and in the fifth set he could still blast aces,it came so naturally to him.

Supernatural_Serve
06-11-2008, 04:14 AM
A large number of double faults has psychological and momentum effects that aren't easily quantified. So, going for a big 1st serve on 2nd serves based on probabilities has negative effects beyond simply winning/losing the point.

However, over time, if Andy's less then sound mobility or conditioning goes south, then in his waning years, he might consider going more aggressive on 2nd serves.

Bottle Rocket
06-11-2008, 06:09 AM
A large number of double faults has psychological and momentum effects that aren't easily quantified. So, going for a big 1st serve on 2nd serves based on probabilities has negative effects beyond simply winning/losing the point.


Yeah...

The problem with these statistics is that it ignores all of the different situations when all of these serves are hit. If down set point and he has to hit a second serve, its going to be a lot easier for Roddick to hit a second serve in the box than it will be to get a first serve in the box.

Hitting that first serve with that much on the line is incredibly risky. Besides that, making Roddick's opponent get one of his second serves back in play on a huge point, at least to me, is clearly a safer bet than going for an nonreturnable bomb. Putting the pressure back on your opponent is what it's about, especially in these big moments.

Sometimes I do wonder why he doesn't go for more second serve bombs when he is up in a game though, but I think he is just simply doing what he thinks give him the best chance for winning. I think feeling comfortable about your approach to the game is just as important if not more important than doing what the statistics say will win you a match.

Sort of along the same lines as this, I do think Roddick, at least in his bigger matches, returns irrationally. I think when he is playing the top guys, most of the time, he is way too conservative on his returns. Then again, making so many balls, even if they aren't as effective as they can be, puts a lot of pressure on his opponents. His game of consistency is pretty underrated, in my opinion.

NamRanger
06-11-2008, 06:16 AM
Yeah...

The problem with these statistics is that it ignores all of the different situations when all of these serves are hit. If down set point and he has to hit a second serve, its going to be a lot easier for Roddick to hit a second serve in the box than it will be to get a first serve in the box.

Hitting that first serve with that much on the line is incredibly risky. Besides that, making Roddick's opponent get one of his second serves back in play on a huge point, at least to me, is clearly a safer bet than going for an nonreturnable bomb. Putting the pressure back on your opponent is what it's about, especially in these big moments.

Sometimes I do wonder why he doesn't go for more second serve bombs when he is up in a game though, but I think he is just simply doing what he thinks give him the best chance for winning. I think feeling comfortable about your approach to the game is just as important if not more important than doing what the statistics say will win you a match.

Sort of along the same lines as this, I do think Roddick, at least in his bigger matches, returns irrationally. I think when he is playing the top guys, most of the time, he is way too conservative on his returns. Then again, making so many balls, even if they aren't as effective as they can be, puts a lot of pressure on his opponents. His game of consistency is pretty underrated, in my opinion.


He's just plain out underrated on this board, period. He is consistently in the top 10, and many people just like to call him a one shot wonder. Guess what, Karlovic isn't a multiple slam finalist. And he has a better serve. Roddick has to be good at something else.

Dilettante
06-11-2008, 06:20 AM
Roddick is hugely underrated here.

Mikael
06-11-2008, 06:23 AM
The answer isn't black or white...

Roddick should adapt his serving strategy to the opponent he is playing, and he is probably already doing that to a certain extent, ie, hitting bigger second serves against excellent returners/guys much better than him off the ground; while taking it a little easier on the second serve when he feels more confident about the baseline battle or wants to groove his strokes.

That said, I agree that having a mental block against doublefaults is very common, it is something that is drilled into you as a junior (in order to improve your second serve) and then stays with you even as your game evolves and your second serve becomes safe enough, but not aggressive enough.

I have seen a few pros occasionally blast second serves beyond a rational risk/reward ratio... For example I remember a Taylor Dent match a few years ago where Taylor doublefaulted 4 times in his opening service game, going for 130mph second serves... It seemed crazy. On the other hand I saw Monfils last year at Wimbledon attempt the same thing, but successfully, throughout an entire match... Still not sure whether he was just lucky, or skillful (in that case I don't understand why he doesn't do it more often, his serve looked completely unbreakable).

basil J
06-11-2008, 06:30 AM
If I could hit a 125mph kicker, I wouldn't hit anything else. I would mix it up & S&V on first and second serves and focus more on pulling my opponent off of the court. Roddick is very predictable with his placements and serve strategies. He should take a litle off of his first serve and focus more on moving it around the box and get his opponents guessing more.

callitout
06-11-2008, 06:38 AM
If he hit his second serve as if it were a first serve and got his second serve in 70% of the time and won 70% of those points he would win less than half of his second serve points (.7x.7=.49 or 49%) of points.
His current percentage of 52% of second serve is higher.
Hard to assume that he could play with the pressure of losing the point off double fault and still serve at 70% and win 80% of them. So I did assume
a slightly lower percentage. But its like any calculation the assumptions determine the answer.

Mikael
06-11-2008, 06:50 AM
If he hit his second serve as if it were a first serve and got his second serve in 70% of the time and won 70% of those points he would win less than half of his second serve points (.7x.7=.49 or 49%) of points.
His current percentage of 52% of second serve is higher.
Hard to assume that he could play with the pressure of losing the point off double fault and still serve at 70% and win 80% of them. So I did assume
a slightly lower percentage. But its like any calculation the assumptions determine the answer.

I agree with this. All players have - more or less - a mental block against doublefaults, which would make them more prone to doublefaulting on crucial points. Not only that, the serve is also the most complicated shot, requiring the most coordination and relaxation, so under pressure it is much more likely to fall apart ( even if you didn't have an ingrained sense of shame/guilt associated with doublefaulting).

nousername
06-11-2008, 07:17 AM
Service Record Year-to-Date
Aces: 343
Double Faults: 46
1st Serve %: 67
1st Serve Points Won %: 79
2nd Serve Points Won %: 56

using these numbers in response to the OP ... the way you presented the number, sure it appears as though Roddick should his 1st serves for his 2nd serve. but the part not highlighted in your analysis was that he hits his 2nd serve rarely due to his high 1st serve percentage. Thus, his 2nd serve number/statistics do little to affect his overall likelihood of winning a service point.

Using the above numbers, below is an analysis of roddick's OVERALL probability of winning a service point ("P" stands for probability):

P(Winning the Point) = P(W when 1st Serve In)*P(1st Serve In) + [ P(W when 2nd Serve In)*P(2nd Serve In) ] * P( 1st Serve Out )

( NOTE: To the OP, everything you said was right, you just didn't consider the effect of the factor in red )

P(W when 1st Serve In) = 79 %
P(1st Serve In) = 67 %
P(W when 2nd Serve In) = 56 %
P(2nd Serve In) = 95% (I made this number up)
P( 1st Serve Out ) = 33 %

Thus using his current game, the odds of Roddick winning the point are:
P(Winning the Point) = 69.2%

Now, if he hits 1st serves as his 2nd serves, this is the formula to use (note the difference in the bold terms):

P(Winning the Point) = P(W when 1st Serve In)*P(1st Serve In) + [ P(W when 1st Serve In)*P(1st Serve In) ] * P( 1st Serve Out )

So, if Roddick uses his first serve as his second, then his odds of winning the point would be:
P(Winning the Point) = 70.4%

BUT .... that is ONLY a 1% greater chance of winning the point if he uses his 1st serve as his 2nd serve! AND that does not consider the mental affects of him using his 1st as the 2nd ... imagine what that would do? imagine the extra stress, pressure, and thought that would be in his second serve? with that mind set certainly his 2nd serve numbers would NOT reflect what he currently does on his 1st serve.

( ... regardless, roddick sucks, he's cocky, his form is putrid, and i would not mind if he goes away. )

Supernatural_Serve
06-11-2008, 07:34 AM
Yeah...


Sometimes I do wonder why he doesn't go for more second serve bombs when he is up in a game though, but I think he is just simply doing what he thinks give him the best chance for winning. I think feeling comfortable about your approach to the game is just as important if not more important than doing what the statistics say will win you a match.
Excellent points, especially the one about when he's on a roll and up in the set. He should serve more aggressively.

But Andy thinks his ground game (solid as it is) is better than it is.

So, he's content to work his way into a point with a 2nd serve or simply gets a return back, which for the Non-top 10 players he faces, is probably the right strategy, a good Andy mix of aggressive/conservative tennis.

Yet, for the top guys, he should really face the truth about the quality of their mobility and footwork, and ground games, relative to his own and rely on more aggressive serves and returns, because letting top 10 players (or simply players who have a history of hurting him) into the point or Andy simply getting returns back gives many of the top players advantages.

And we've all seen the psychological damage he does when he's bombing serves. It disrupts his opponents rhythm. They feel helpless, the games end quickly, the pressure to hold mounts, and Andy trots over to the chair with a little extra step and his chin held higher. You can feel his confidence and it carries over to the next return game, so that when he breaks someone, his confidence goes through the roof. Its like he knows the set is over, "I got the one and only break I need"

M J
06-11-2008, 10:04 AM
Lots of good points. I think his season numbers do not suggest as convincingly that he should only hit first serves because the numbers include slower courts, where his first serve is less effective. I still think he should be going for bombs on the faster surfaces like the US Open and Wimbledon.

Even if he has about the same chance of winning the serve with a kicker and a flat serve for his second serve, he should, at the very least, be hitting a lot of flat serves for his second serve. Maybe he should have a 50/50 mix of kickers and flat serves. How much more effective would 120 mph over your head be if you also had to worry about the possibility of 140 mph into your body?

wangs78
06-11-2008, 11:20 AM
Though these numbers are typical of Roddick, and similar for other players with big serves, they are totally bizarre. When he steps up to the line for a 1st serve, he wins the point 58.2% (71%*82%) of the time. If he misses his first serve, why would he bother hitting a conservative second serve if he has less than a 52% chance of winning the point with it?

The simple answer is that he's not going to win 58.2% of his points if he decides to hit an aggressive second serve. Once a server misses his first serve, he has to deal with the stress that if he misses again, he'll lose the point. That stress will decrease his serve percentage to less than 71%. So the right way to think about it is that IF he were to hit an aggressive 2nd serve, he would win the point at 60% (or something around there) * 82% which is about 49%. Also, there is another psychological factor in which a server who misses his serve will lose confidence and will be more likely to hit even more faults. Therefore it's in the server's interest to hit a conservative shot which is more likely to fall inside the service box, thereby allowing the server to regain confidence in his service.

M J
06-11-2008, 12:07 PM
I'm not sure I buy the arguments that, because of psychological factors, his serve percentage would drop dramatically if he were hitting the flat serve for his second serve. He's a professional athlete; he's paid for mental toughness as well as his physical abilities. If he doesn't have the mental fortitude to do suck it up and take risks, he should either work on performing under pressure or find a different job. Brett Favre would be nothing if he had been too scared of getting hit or throwing an interception to perform.

I just don't believe that Roddick's mind is so weak that he would crack under the pressure and his performance would suffer. His serve should be pretty mechanical at this point, and he has dealt with pressure situations before; hitting a big 2nd serve in the middle of a match should be no big deal for him.

wangs78
06-11-2008, 12:38 PM
I'm not sure I buy the arguments that, because of psychological factors, his serve percentage would drop dramatically if he were hitting the flat serve for his second serve. He's a professional athlete; he's paid for mental toughness as well as his physical abilities. If he doesn't have the mental fortitude to do suck it up and take risks, he should either work on performing under pressure or find a different job. Brett Favre would be nothing if he had been too scared of getting hit or throwing an interception to perform.

I just don't believe that Roddick's mind is so weak that he would crack under the pressure and his performance would suffer. His serve should be pretty mechanical at this point, and he has dealt with pressure situations before; hitting a big 2nd serve in the middle of a match should be no big deal for him.

Brett Favre gets paid to win ball games. He's not paid to throw hail mary's in the first quarter on 1st down. He does it when he has no other option or if he sees that his receiver has got the cornerback beat. In other words, he weighs his risks and takes the action most likely to achieve a good result.

If you don't think psychology affects professional players then I suggest you pick up a newspaper now and then and read about athletes such as:

- Andy Roddick who faced a tremendous psychological hurdle in beating Fed. He just couldn't get it done 12 times in a row or something like that.

- Alex Rodriguez who faced inconceivable pressures as the highest paid baseball player causing him to "choke" in key at bats in the playoffs

- Bret Favre who made a bad pass resulting in an interception during the Green Bay Packer's last possession during the NFC Championship game last winter

- Roger Federer who hit routine forehand after forehand either long or into the net against Rafael Nadal in the 2008 FO Open final.

Psychology doesn't affect professional athletes? Think again.

M J
06-11-2008, 01:18 PM
Sure, there are huge consequences for athletes when they don't perform well under pressure. But that doesn't mean that professional athletes always perform worse when it's a pressure situation. I think Fed happened to have a bad day in the FO final, but Nadal was under more pressure, (after all, it was really his tournament to lose) and he did not have a bad day.

In general, I think the quality of play in high-pressure sporting events, such as the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Stanley Cup, the NBA finals, is not any worse just because it is a high-pressure event. If what you say is true, and athletes generally perform worse under pressure, these events should be an ugly mess of mistakes from the competitors cracking under the pressure. If anything, I think the quality of play is slightly elevated at these sort of events, and they show athletes at their best.

I think this is also true in tennis. Players are not at their worst during finals. There seems to be a relatively random assortment of good days and bad days. To cite another example, look at what players like Sampras and Federer do when they are break point down. Federer always seems to come up with a big serve when he really needs it. (think of the 5th set of the Wimbledon final last year)

Any true professional, not just in athletics but in anything, does not crumble in pressure situations. There is no reason to think that Roddick is any different.

harr
06-11-2008, 01:36 PM
using these numbers in response to the OP ... the way you presented the number, sure it appears as though Roddick should his 1st serves for his 2nd serve. but the part not highlighted in your analysis was that he hits his 2nd serve rarely due to his high 1st serve percentage. Thus, his 2nd serve number/statistics do little to affect his overall likelihood of winning a service point.

Using the above numbers, below is an analysis of roddick's OVERALL probability of winning a service point ("P" stands for probability):

P(Winning the Point) = P(W when 1st Serve In)*P(1st Serve In) + [ P(W when 2nd Serve In)*P(2nd Serve In) ] * P( 1st Serve Out )

( NOTE: To the OP, everything you said was right, you just didn't consider the effect of the factor in red )

P(W when 1st Serve In) = 79 %
P(1st Serve In) = 67 %
P(W when 2nd Serve In) = 56 %
P(2nd Serve In) = 95% (I made this number up)
P( 1st Serve Out ) = 33 %It isn't the factor in red that makes your result differ, it is the one in bold. Earlier calculations assumed 100%. 95% is quite possibly closer (he doesn't double fault a huge amount, but then with a 67% first serve percentage, he only gets the chance to miss a second serve on one in three service points), but as you said, psychological factors swing it.

wangs78
06-11-2008, 01:57 PM
I agree that we do see athletes perform well in pressure situations. But I don't necessarily agree with your point that athletes tend to rise to the occasion rather than crack. It's just that the media tends to cover spectacular plays so we hear more about them than we do about a ground out, or dropped pass, etc.

I think that with ANY player, the potential of losing a point outright because of a double fault would create enough psychological stress to lower the effectiveness of the 2nd serve relative to the 1st serve. To deal with this stress, players hit with more spin and less pace on the 2nd serve. But I do understand your point. You're saying that Roddick should look at the numbers and by the rules of probability, he should hit two first serves because theoretically he'll win more points that way, assuming that he can wholeheartedly accept this theory such that he won't feel any additional stress during the 2nd serve. What I'm saying, is that it is beyond human ability to be able to isolate the pressure and shut it out.

One other point that I just thought of is that we have no idea if there is a correlation between the first serve being in or out versus the next serve (whether a 2nd serve or a new first serve) being in or out. In other words, is it more likely for a player who just made a serve, to make his next serve? And is it more likely for a player who just missed a serve, to miss his next serve? I would tend to think there is a correlation. Because missing a serve damages confidence and making a serve builds confidence. Again, it's all psychological, and all of the top players recognize that confidence, which is a pyschological concept is critical towards quality of play. They all recognize that you are unable to shut out psychological pressure.

Finally, to your point that Roddick should be able to deal with that pressure on each and every 2nd serve, I have my doubts. I think in a match where he was winning or early on in a match, sure. But if he's losing or if he's in a 5th set or in a tiebreaker, I think it would be very tough on him.

BeHappy
06-11-2008, 02:00 PM
two players who actually did that are:

Pete Sampras

and

Mark Philipoussis



They both hit more topspin than sidespin, so even they didn't produce as much spin overall as Roddick, they had more margin for error.

daddy
06-11-2008, 02:07 PM
two players who actually did that are:

Pete Sampras

and

Mark Philipoussis



They both hit more topspin than sidespin, so even they didn't produce as much spin overall as Roddick, they had more margin for error.


Boris Becker before all these guys. Those who watch him play remember that he used to hit 2nd serve as hard as the first on many occasions especially at 40-15 and 40-30.

daddy
06-11-2008, 02:14 PM
using these numbers in response to the OP ... the way you presented the number, sure it appears as though Roddick should his 1st serves for his 2nd serve. but the part not highlighted in your analysis was that he hits his 2nd serve rarely due to his high 1st serve percentage. Thus, his 2nd serve number/statistics do little to affect his overall likelihood of winning a service point.

Using the above numbers, below is an analysis of roddick's OVERALL probability of winning a service point ("P" stands for probability):

P(Winning the Point) = P(W when 1st Serve In)*P(1st Serve In) + [ P(W when 2nd Serve In)*P(2nd Serve In) ] * P( 1st Serve Out )

( NOTE: To the OP, everything you said was right, you just didn't consider the effect of the factor in red )

P(W when 1st Serve In) = 79 %
P(1st Serve In) = 67 %
P(W when 2nd Serve In) = 56 %
P(2nd Serve In) = 95% (I made this number up)
P( 1st Serve Out ) = 33 %

Thus using his current game, the odds of Roddick winning the point are:
P(Winning the Point) = 69.2%

Now, if he hits 1st serves as his 2nd serves, this is the formula to use (note the difference in the bold terms):

P(Winning the Point) = P(W when 1st Serve In)*P(1st Serve In) + [ P(W P(W when 1st Serve In)*P(1st Serve In) ] * P( 1st Serve Out )

So, if Roddick uses his first serve as his second, then his odds of winning the point would be:
P(Winning the Point) = 70.4%

BUT .... that is ONLY a 1% greater chance of winning the point if he uses his 1st serve as his 2nd serve! AND that does not consider the mental affects of him using his 1st as the 2nd ... imagine what that would do? imagine the extra stress, pressure, and thought that would be in his second serve? with that mind set certainly his 2nd serve numbers would NOT reflect what he currently does on his 1st serve.

( ... regardless, roddick sucks, he's cocky, his form is putrid, and i would not mind if he goes away. )

I know you basically agree with me but lets just go over this once again.

Service Record Year-to-Date
Aces: 343
Double Faults: 46
1st Serve %: 67
1st Serve Points Won %: 79
2nd Serve Points Won %: 56

Out of total 100% points played on his serve he hits 67% first serves and wins 79% of those equaling 54% total points on serve. 33% of the time he hits second serve and wins 56% of those points including double faults ( exclude the 95% you calculated because those 5% you invented are actually calculated within those 44% of lost 2nd serve points ). This is a clean perspective - out of 100% points on serve, he succesfully wins 54% total points when serving lights out - going for the first serve.

If we assume the 33% out of total 100% points on serve are the 2nd serves as they are, we have a clear picture. If he was to hit a first serve on those 33% total points, he'd win 54% ( using the same logic we calculated above - if the 33% is a total and he hits a first serve again ). He wins 56% with the 2nd serve.

You made different calculation by assuming double faults are not already calculated while they are - in the 2nd serve lost points. Double fault is the point you lose on your second serve.

daddy
06-11-2008, 02:25 PM
To sum up :

1st serve percentage 67%
1st serve total points won 54%
1st serve points won when he hits it 79%
2nd serve total points won 56% ( out of 33% )

Alafter
06-11-2008, 08:10 PM
You started this with simple mathematics, so I will question back in simple mathematics. Has anyone here considered what the standard deviation in his first serve percentages is? (For ppl who forgot: high standard deviation means that his actual 1st serve % in from game to game, or set to set, or match to match varies greatly, with the average being 70%).

The average may be 70% or so, but if the standard deviation is very high, then it is no good to do 2 first serves.

On the other hand, the standard deviation of second serve is almost 0%.

So it all depends on the standard deviation. If the deviation is high enough, then it's a risk that almost certainly no player would be willing to take.

Breaker
06-11-2008, 08:26 PM
Boris Becker before all these guys. Those who watch him play remember that he used to hit 2nd serve as hard as the first on many occasions especially at 40-15 and 40-30.

What about Goran? In the matches I've seen of him he threw caution to the wind on second serves, frequently getting ten or more doubles in his matches.

Vision84
06-11-2008, 09:20 PM
I know players that do second serves like first serves and sometimes do really well and other times double fault constantly. It is good to have a reliable second serve that will help you everyday. Two first serves don't give you that.

daddy
06-11-2008, 11:56 PM
You started this with simple mathematics, so I will question back in simple mathematics. Has anyone here considered what the standard deviation in his first serve percentages is? (For ppl who forgot: high standard deviation means that his actual 1st serve % in from game to game, or set to set, or match to match varies greatly, with the average being 70%).

The average may be 70% or so, but if the standard deviation is very high, then it is no good to do 2 first serves.

On the other hand, the standard deviation of second serve is almost 0%.

So it all depends on the standard deviation. If the deviation is high enough, then it's a risk that almost certainly no player would be willing to take.

Actually I agree with you as I have taken a three different exams in statistics but lets just put it this way - OP was trying to present numbers as a back up for his opinion disregrding almost everything, from mental part of the game ( too many double faults ) to the very likable tiredness one would feel after hitting a ton of first bombs in. There's no way this could ever work or otherwise some smartass n tennis would have been doing it for decades. I just proved that by using simple maths those stats were wrong, the very ones presented by him.

Standard deviation was just a notch up too high for me to try and explain in my non native language as I expect mose people do not even like maths to any extent, let alone torture then with something they'll [potentialy not read, and even if so - may not understand because of lck of knowledge / my bad english ..

Comprende ?? ;)

daddy
06-11-2008, 11:59 PM
What about Goran? In the matches I've seen of him he threw caution to the wind on second serves, frequently getting ten or more doubles in his matches.


Agreed. But Becker was more of a subtile German act, 'I know I can and I know I will because of my good chances and because im ahead in the game' while Goran is typicall of our guy - 'I don't stand a chance of playing at this point so I may as well crack it up .. '.

Difference being Becker did it with huge succes.