It has been suggested that the ATP stats support the idea that rtn of the
second serve is the most important shot for the Big 4 on the ATP.
This may be correct and is an interesting question given the importance of
winning pts when returning 2ond serve and how key that is to breaking serve.
As a small test, I did a quick charting of the 2012 FO Highlights with the 2 best
returners in the game. I looked at pts where the rtn guy won the point and
made a couple of assumptions that you may or may not except. imo they are
1st assumption is that if rtn player hit more than 4 shots after the rtn in a
basically even rally...then the rtn was not key other than getting the pt started.
2ond was if the rtn player hit a very weak sitter and won the pt, the rtn was
not important other than getting the point started.
3rd was that if the point was less than 4 hits by the rtn player and he won,
I would assume the rtn helped him close it out,...even though it may not have.
I also expect since this highlights, it would be skewed towards showing awesome rtns as a highlight. So, 2 great returners, on clay, highlights,
and credit if they could close it in 4 shots.
I did the count quickly and only saw 17 rtn pts won by these 2 great returners.
A small sample size and I intend to look at more vid on this.
But the results on clay, by 2 great returners of the big 4 is worth looking at
imo and they were overwhelming so far in what I saw.
9 pts- 5 by Dj and 4 by Rafa went well over 4 shots by each player
6 pts- 3 by each were won after soft or easy rtns to the middle T area.
2 pts- both by Dj were won on less than 4 shots (one was 2 and one was 3)
Imo this indicates from this highlight vid, that only 2 of 17 returns were of any
quality to be of worth other than avoiding a total miss and not getting ball in
play. Maybe more to come if there is any interest.