Sampras 2nd serve?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Chanwan, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. Chanwan

    Chanwan Legend

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    I know it is widely regarded as the best ever, but was it really? I've never quite understood the obsession with Pete's second serve. Sure, he was clutch many, many times and sure he could serve aces with it. there's no denying it was great. But the greatest?

    If you don't focus solely on the many saves he made with it and instead take a look at the broader statistical picture, his 2nd serve does not stand out. Overall, he wins less points on his second serve than Agassi, Courier, Muster and Rios from his own time and is a far cry away from how much Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Roddick wins behind theirs.

    He's 19th overall -
    http://www.atpworldtour.com/Matchfac...px?c=3&s=2&y=0

    and 96 (3rd) and 99 (5th) were the only years he made a top-5 finish in second serves won from 93-00

    And even if we take out clay and look at hard or grass, his stats are not that great:
    Hard, decent, 14th: http://www.atpworldtour.com/Matchfac...px?c=3&s=3&y=0
    (first in 96 though)

    Grass, 44th!?
    http://www.atpworldtour.com/Matchfac...px?c=3&s=2&y=0

    And yes, I know that ground game has a whole lot to do with how much one wins behind a second serve.
    But how come that Roddick is 3rd and Sampras is 19th! then?

    am curious to whether somebody can explain this anomaly between the stats and the common and established opinion about Pete's GOAT 2nd serve.

    thanks in advance
     
    #1
  2. slice serve ace

    slice serve ace Rookie

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    wrong stats. yes, it is that simple. browse through my posts, there aren't many of them, for more detailed explanation, if you are interested.
     
    #2
  3. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I think you already stated the reason in your post. When he really needed a point off that 2nd serve he more often than not got one.

    Pete's serve was always tough. There were a lot of games that opponents lost at love or 15. But Pete was human. Eventually, maybe, you'd get that weak service game and get a break point. It's the one and likely only opening you'd get in the set. He misses the first and now you have the opportunity you've been working for the entire set. Break point second serve. But then Pete throws down an ace or an unreturnable serve. He doesn't just win the point, he wins the point on the second serve.

    I can't tell you how many times I've seen that. The statistic you want to find and compare with other players, if it's possible to tease it out of the existing data, is winning percentage on break points (against Sampras) on the second serve. It's not the overall winning percentage on second serve, it's the clutch second serve that really separated him I think.

    And mentally just think how that kills Sampras' opponents. You work all set for the one opportunity that you're going to get, and then it's gone in a flash - erased. Sampras almost always went on to hold, and the best you can hope for now is a tie-breaker, which Mr. Big Serve (said with affection) will likely have the advantage in.
     
    #3
  4. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    None of your links work.
     
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  5. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    The ATP stats for 1992-99 are incorrect; their figures for second serve success are too low.

    You can see a summary of the problems here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=6127075#post6127075

    One example: in the 1999 Wimbledon final Sampras won 49% of his second serve points, according to Wimbledon.org and other sources in the print media. I did my own count and I actually got 50%. The ATP has him only at 39%.
     
    #5
  6. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Do you think the ATP could have had a typo with 49% and 39%? That's a big difference.
     
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  7. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I really don’t understand this question. You’re asking my opinion on this? The figures are easily accessible at the ATP site and you can check the math yourself.

    You know that I’ve documented this problem with the ATP stats thoroughly, because I’ve posted about it extensively here. Why would I have given this match as an example of an incorrect stat if the only problem there was a simple typo?
     
    #7
  8. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Sorry. I didn't check. Laziness on my part. My apologies.
     
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  9. Chanwan

    Chanwan Legend

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    thanks for that!
     
    #9
  10. Chanwan

    Chanwan Legend

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    thanks, will do!
     
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