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-   -   Success on second serve (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=332138)

krosero 06-07-2010 08:43 AM

Success on second serve
 
In the Madrid final this year, Nadal had a higher success on second serve than he did on first serve. So I ran a search of the stats that we've taken, plus our boxscores found in the press, and came up with a list of other folks who had a higher success on second serve.

Each name here is followed by the success on first serve, and then the success on second.

Connors – 64% to 66% (my count) – lost to Newcombe – 1975 AO
Connors – 47% to 54% (my count) – lost to Borg – 1978 Wimbledon
Jaeger – 41% to 44% (Moose’s count) – lost to Navratilova – 1982 RG
Mandlikova – 64.9% to 65.0% (Moose’s count) – lost to Navratilova – 1986 Wimbledon
Evert – 56% to 65% (my count) – lost to Navratilova – 1987 Wimbledon
Lendl – 77% to 79% (my count) – defeated McEnroe – 1987 USO
Wilander – 61% to 63% (my count) – defeated Lendl – 1988 USO
Seles – 52% to 60% (my count) – defeated Graf – 1990 RG
Graf – 69% to 100% (boxscore) – defeated Seles – 1992 Wimbledon
Pierce – 39% to 44% (boxscore) – lost to Hingis – 1997 AO
Sampras – 86% to 92% (my count) – defeated Rafter – 1997 Grand Slam Cup
Graf – 65% to 69% (boxscore) – lost to Davenport – 1999 Wimbledon
Agassi – 72% to 80% (ATP) – lost to Sampras – 1999 Los Angeles
Agassi – 64% to 68% (ATP) – lost to Rafter – 2001 Wimbledon
Federer – 76% to 79% (AO.org) – defeated Santoro – 2008 AO
Clijsters – 63% to 72% (USO.org) – defeated S. Williams – 2009 USO
Nadal – 54% to 63% (ATP) – defeated Federer – 2010 Madrid
Stosur – 70% to 66% – defeated Henin – 2010 RG

With some of these it's not a surprise, because people often talked about Connors' first and second serves being essentially the same. With players like Lendl it may be harder to explain.

LeeD 06-07-2010 08:46 AM

Statistics can be viewed and jockeyed to anything you want it to be....
Nadal's first and second are similar.
Opponent really tries to affect the outcome too....

krosero 06-07-2010 08:58 AM

Incidentally, I didn't use ATP stats in the 1990s because most are incorrect. However the ATP stats for the '99 Los Angeles final look okay because they agree with stats given in the press.

pc1 06-07-2010 01:42 PM

Success on second serve has always been a major key to winning matches. Jack Kramer used to think it was one of the keys if the not the main reason he was so effective as a serve and volleyer.

I was watching the last Nadal/Federer match and the commentators were mentioning how Federer seems to how more problems with Nadal's second serve because he needs pace on the backhand to return effectively.

One stat I would love to be able to get is the effectiveness of Connors on his first serve and second serve during his prime of around 1973 to 1983.

krosero 06-07-2010 08:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pc1 (Post 4743048)
Success on second serve has always been a major key to winning matches. Jack Kramer used to think it was one of the keys if the not the main reason he was so effective as a serve and volleyer.

I was watching the last Nadal/Federer match and the commentators were mentioning how Federer seems to how more problems with Nadal's second serve because he needs pace on the backhand to return effectively.

One stat I would love to be able to get is the effectiveness of Connors on his first serve and second serve during his prime of around 1973 to 1983.

A stat I'd like to get is Kramer's success on second serve; but God knows the likelihood of such old matches turning up on video.

That was Robbie Koenig who said that about Federer/Nadal. But at some point I'd like to rewatch the match and look at the second serves in particular. He may be right, but the 2010 Madrid final was the only Fed/Nadal match in which this happened (someone getting higher success on second than on first).

As for Connors, well who knows. In those two matches above he's doing better on second serve, but in other matches (81 W and USO vs. Borg), he's got more typical numbers (higher success on first serve). The key is getting this stat more consistently; most of the matches we've counted stats, we didn't do success on first and second balls (until recently).

I'd like to see that stat for servers like Cash or Edberg, yet we haven't got any (except from the ATP, and you know the problem with those).

Maybe I'll get that stat for Laver-Rosewall at Dunlop, since some of you seem interested in the stats for that match.

krosero 06-07-2010 08:37 PM

At the 2010 FO, some others who had higher success on second serve than on first:

Stosur against Henin, Pivovarova and Halep. (In the Halep match, both players had a higher success on second serve).

Nadal against Bellucci.

Dementieva against both Wozniak and Martic.

Schiavone against Kirilenko.

pc1 06-08-2010 05:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by krosero (Post 4744225)
A stat I'd like to get is Kramer's success on second serve; but God knows the likelihood of such old matches turning up on video.

That was Robbie Koenig who said that about Federer/Nadal. But at some point I'd like to rewatch the match and look at the second serves in particular. He may be right, but the 2010 Madrid final was the only Fed/Nadal match in which this happened (someone getting higher success on second than on first).

As for Connors, well who knows. In those two matches above he's doing better on second serve, but in other matches (81 W and USO vs. Borg), he's got more typical numbers (higher success on first serve). The key is getting this stat more consistently; most of the matches we've counted stats, we didn't do success on first and second balls (until recently).

I'd like to see that stat for servers like Cash or Edberg, yet we haven't got any (except from the ATP, and you know the problem with those).

Maybe I'll get that stat for Laver-Rosewall at Dunlop, since some of you seem interested in the stats for that match.

It seems that many of the former players raved about how great Kramer's second serve was. I know Kramer credits his strength on second serve in winning his tour with Frank Sedgman. So in general I would tend to believe that Kramer was excellent on second serve.

Thing is how do you gauge the effectiveness of a second serve? It is sort of like the discussion we all had on service return in some thread. Agassi was considered to have a better service return but maybe Michael Chang might have won a greater percentage of service return points.

I have no doubt Kramer had a better overall second serve than Jimmy Connors. But who knows, because Connors was so great with his mobility and groundstrokes, he very well may have won more points by percentage with Kramer on second serve.

I do have some skepticism on some of the old legends about the old time pros. When I did some research on a super famous player in the 1930's I was very surprised on how he didn't even come close to living up to his reputation.

I would love to see information about Jack Kramer just to see if some of the things former greats like Hoad and Sedgman said about him are true. Unfortunately I don't think we will ever get the information.

krosero 06-09-2010 03:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pc1 (Post 4744901)
It seems that many of the former players raved about how great Kramer's second serve was. I know Kramer credits his strength on second serve in winning his tour with Frank Sedgman. So in general I would tend to believe that Kramer was excellent on second serve.

Thing is how do you gauge the effectiveness of a second serve? It is sort of like the discussion we all had on service return in some thread. Agassi was considered to have a better service return but maybe Michael Chang might have won a greater percentage of service return points.

I have no doubt Kramer had a better overall second serve than Jimmy Connors. But who knows, because Connors was so great with his mobility and groundstrokes, he very well may have won more points by percentage with Kramer on second serve.

I do have some skepticism on some of the old legends about the old time pros. When I did some research on a super famous player in the 1930's I was very surprised on how he didn't even come close to living up to his reputation.

I would love to see information about Jack Kramer just to see if some of the things former greats like Hoad and Sedgman said about him are true. Unfortunately I don't think we will ever get the information.

I was wondering, in writings from before the Open Era, can you recall any mention of such stats like these (success on first or second serve)? I don't know of anything myself.

I know of references in the 70s to first-serve percentage (first serves successfully made). Then in the early 80s, CBS had success on first and second serve, in USO telecasts (Sports Illustrated used such a stat at 81W, too). Offhand I can't recall anything earlier.

pc1 06-09-2010 04:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by krosero (Post 4750304)
I was wondering, in writings from before the Open Era, can you recall any mention of such stats like these (success on first or second serve)? I don't know of anything myself.

I know of references in the 70s to first-serve percentage (first serves successfully made). Then in the early 80s, CBS had success on first and second serve, in USO telecasts (Sports Illustrated used such a stat at 81W, too). Offhand I can't recall anything earlier.

Unfortunately except for the stats from the early 1990's that I wrote about in another thread I don't have information about success on first and second serve.

Bursztyn 06-15-2010 08:44 AM

I found these stats intriguing. They reveal basically three things;

- the quality of the first and the second serves
- the quality of returners play behind the first and second serve
- the quality of servers play behind his first and second serve

In some cases players may have employed different tactics behind the first and second serves (e.g. S&V after the first serve and staying near the baseline after the second).

krosero 06-15-2010 06:04 PM

Just posted by Moose: Wilander, 1983 RG final, 53% on first, 62% on second.

krosero 06-15-2010 06:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bursztyn (Post 4767913)
I found these stats intriguing. They reveal basically three things;

- the quality of the first and the second serves
- the quality of returners play behind the first and second serve
- the quality of servers play behind his first and second serve

In some cases players may have employed different tactics behind the first and second serves (e.g. S&V after the first serve and staying near the baseline after the second).

Yes and you could even make a fourth category for the quality of return (distinct from the quality of play after the return).

The way you've listed it makes me think, with all those variables, there are bound to be some matches, statistically, where the success on second serve ends up higher than the first. Maybe the server is hitting the second serve well, but maybe the returner is also not attacking second serves very well (I think both things may have happened in that Lendl-McEnroe qf at 87 USO).

So yes, definitely, success on first and second serve is not just about the quality of the serves, not even just about the serves and the returns, but the entire quality of play from both players -- and a lot of different things could be happening.

My question now is basically, we know it can happen with some regularity and in some ways it's not a surprise, but how often does this happen? How often does the figure for second serve end up higher than first serve?

Bursztyn 06-16-2010 12:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by krosero (Post 4769479)
My question now is basically, we know it can happen with some regularity and in some ways it's not a surprise, but how often does this happen? How often does the figure for second serve end up higher than first serve?

I suppose that such information can be found in tennis databases.

By searching such a database we can get the number of matches in which players had more success on second serve than they did on first serve.

If we know the total number of matches in a database and a number of matches which fulfill this condition, we could easily calculate percentages.

hoodjem 06-16-2010 12:57 PM

I wonder about the percentages on Edberg's second serve?

I have always thought he had one of the best second serves in the game.

pc1 06-16-2010 03:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hoodjem (Post 4771550)
I wonder about the percentages on Edberg's second serve?

I have always thought he had one of the best second serves in the game.

When you think about it, Edberg and Patrick Rafter often used kick serves (which are essentially second serves) for their first serves so they could get into good volleying position. I was watching Rafter do this often against Agassi in one of their great Wimbledon matches. I forgot which one.

krosero 06-16-2010 05:43 PM

Edberg, Cash, Rafter, probably all those guys have some matches where they ended up with higher success on second serve. However I do know (from boxscores) that in Rafter's four Slam finals his success on first serve was higher. As for Edberg and Cash, offhand I can't recall how much data we have on first and second serves, but I know it's very little.

krosero 06-16-2010 05:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bursztyn (Post 4771481)
I suppose that such information can be found in tennis databases.

By searching such a database we can get the number of matches in which players had more success on second serve than they did on first serve.

If we know the total number of matches in a database and a number of matches which fulfill this condition, we could easily calculate percentages.

Certainly, though I don't know of any database where you could run a single search through the entire data. Not a publicly accessible one, anyway.

krosero 06-16-2010 06:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pc1 (Post 4771868)
I was watching Rafter do this often against Agassi in one of their great Wimbledon matches.

TC just showed their '01 semi. Per the ATP stats (which I think are mostly good after 2000), Agassi's second serve % was 68, higher than his first. Rafter had 75% on first and was way down at 46% on second despite winning the match.

So that's an odd match, the loser doing 22% better on second serve than the winner.

In their 2000 semi, the LA Times had this:

Quote:

Both players served effectively, getting 61% of their first serves in with Agassi's winning percentage a tad better, 70-69%. Second serve winning percentage was the same at 58%. Rafter had the edge in winners, including service, 56-52. Rafter won 161 points, Agassi 157.
All that is pretty close to the ATP numbers.

krosero 05-16-2011 07:43 PM

Gasquet just beat Federer in Rome with a higher success on second serve than on first - 74% to 65%

Curiously he had done the same in his loss to Federer earlier this year in Dubai (54% to 53%).

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Players/...=G628&oId=F324

Limpinhitter 05-17-2011 04:55 AM

I'd like to know what Gonzeles success on 1st and 2nd serves was. Virtually everyone who played Gonzales, including Kramer and Trabert, has said that his serve was the best they'd ever seen.


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