Originally Posted by Bursztyn
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?