How many double faults do you average in a set?

How many DFs do you average in a typical singles set? Multiply by two if you play only doubles

  • 1-3

    Votes: 38 61.3%
  • 4-7

    Votes: 18 29.0%
  • 7-10

    Votes: 3 4.8%
  • More than 10

    Votes: 3 4.8%

  • Total voters
    62

socallefty

Hall of Fame
In another thread about what to do when your ‘serve is off’, I noticed that the vast majority of posters interpret this as making too many double faults during a match rather than reduced first-serve % or reduced accuracy in targeting specific spots. It makes me wonder how many double-faults most players here average in a set during a match and I thought I would start a poll.

The poll is for how many double-faults you average in a singles set. If you play only doubles, multiply by two the number of double-faults you make in a doubles set before answering the poll. Please think about what your DF average would be for all the sets you play in a week and don’t consider only outliers which are your best or worst days.

Let‘s see if we are all mostly ‘Zverevs’ on here with the need for a service coach!
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I hate having to hit a second serve let alone a DF. So if I hit more than one in a set it means I've working on changing something
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
This is pretty hard to estimate because the number of points you serve in a set varies pretty widely. 12 service points can win you an entire set, or a single hard-fought deuce game.

When practicing, my first serve percentage is about 60%. My second serve percentage is about 90%. Let's ignore the reality that those numbers are probably a bit lower under match pressure - that should mean I will double fault on 4% of my serves, or once every 25 points. If we assume I usually serve around six points a game, and serve around five times a set, that's a little over one DF a set.

But if my opponent is able to take me to deuce a couple of times, that number blows out really quickly.
 

onehandbh

Legend
I think I double faulted about 2 or 3 times last week in doubles. 2 sets. All were in my first service game because I was not warmed up and laughing too hard. The first serve I hit in that game landed at the baseline.
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
This is pretty hard to estimate because the number of points you serve in a set varies pretty widely. 12 service points can win you an entire set, or a single hard-fought deuce game.

When practicing, my first serve percentage is about 60%. My second serve percentage is about 90%. Let's ignore the reality that those numbers are probably a bit lower under match pressure - that should mean I will double fault on 4% of my serves, or once every 25 points. If we assume I usually serve around six points a game, and serve around five times a set, that's a little over one DF a set.

But if my opponent is able to take me to deuce a couple of times, that number blows out really quickly.
Well thought out post and I agree with your numbers. 60% and 90% are fair enough targets. I probably go for higher first serve percentage, but my first serve isn't the weapon it used to be.
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
This is pretty hard to estimate because the number of points you serve in a set varies pretty widely. 12 service points can win you an entire set, or a single hard-fought deuce game.

When practicing, my first serve percentage is about 60%. My second serve percentage is about 90%. Let's ignore the reality that those numbers are probably a bit lower under match pressure - that should mean I will double fault on 4% of my serves, or once every 25 points. If we assume I usually serve around six points a game, and serve around five times a set, that's a little over one DF a set.

But if my opponent is able to take me to deuce a couple of times, that number blows out really quickly.
If you have to calculate using math how many DFs you average in a set, it is obviously not a problem which is the way it should be. I tell my wife who started tennis only three years ago to stop counting her DFs in a match as she is focusing on the wrong thing - I tell her she should count her service winners instead. In my case, I definitely count my aces - unfortunately, my ace average per match keeps declining as my age climbs over 50 even though I‘m not getting broken more. I guess it is in line with serving with better location more strategically and a higher %, but at a lower pace.
 
I think it depends on how you are feeling that day but more importantly what tou are trying to chive with your serve for that specific match/opponent.

1) Many opponents may make us feel pressured if they return early/well inside the baseline. The tendency may be to go for more on both serves and cause a few extra misses.

2) An opponent may have a big weapon (a fh groundstroke) that they may punish rather quickly in a point. So it's possible we go for a bit extra to try and get some service winners in.

Honestly.... df's aren't that massive of a deal in hindsight. As long as they stay within 1-3 per set. Now if they occur consistently on specific types of situations like 30-40 or Deuce. Then there's and issue of mental clarity and possibly nerves when serving for more substantial points. That's something that should be worked on for sure.

There can be so much written on this topic but most has been covered above.

More important stat is %ages of first serve. Likely technique/form/ toss of serve motion and what needs to be corrected.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
I think it depends on how you are feeling that day but more importantly what tou are trying to chive with your serve for that specific match/opponent.

1) Many opponents may make us feel pressured if they return early/well inside the baseline. The tendency may be to go for more on both serves and cause a few extra misses.

2) An opponent may have a big weapon (a fh groundstroke) that they may punish rather quickly in a point. So it's possible we go for a bit extra to try and get some service winners in.

Honestly.... df's aren't that massive of a deal in hindsight. As long as they stay within 1-3 per set. Now if they occur consistently on specific types of situations like 30-40 or Deuce. Then there's and issue of mental clarity and possibly nerves when serving for more substantial points. That's something that should be worked on for sure.

There can be so much written on this topic but most has been covered above.

More important stat is %ages of first serve. Likely technique/form/ toss of serve motion and what needs to be corrected.
Agree here. Another factor is - practice. Total years of practice, as well as recent (this week) maintanance.
Speaking from personal experience, second serve is one of my strengths. I do miss it more than once per set, but I also get some misses and weaker returns from most players I encounter. I can have days when I completely rely on my serving even though the matches are tough.
However, there are periods when, after say 2 solid serving games, my consistency suddenly goes out of the winddow. Usually I can get it back focusing on some key cue, but to do both this and also figure out general match development is not that easy... Afterwards I recall that I haven't been practicing serve for couple of weeks cause it's cold outside since then, and indoors courts are expensive and overbooked...
 
Agree here. Another factor is - practice. Total years of practice, as well as recent (this week) maintanance.
Speaking from personal experience, second serve is one of my strengths. I do miss it more than once per set, but I also get some misses and weaker returns from most players I encounter. I can have days when I completely rely on my serving even though the matches are tough.
However, there are periods when, after say 2 solid serving games, my consistency suddenly goes out of the winddow. Usually I can get it back focusing on some key cue, but to do both this and also figure out general match development is not that easy... Afterwards I recall that I haven't been practicing serve for couple of weeks cause it's cold outside since then, and indoors courts are expensive and overbooked...
I like the key/cue that you mentioned. This certainly helps me a lot when I start to drop my serve percentage.

Also for me, I get more free points off of my kick serve than my first serve. I'll often use the kick as a first serve depending on the situation and opponent. Especially on the Ad side. A solid kick serve will likely result in a mid court return that can be hit with a forehand to anywhere in the court. S&V is also fun as well with the kick.

Do you find that if you serve well, the match will feel easier even if it's a close one?
 

Mongolmike

Hall of Fame
Not many. Most of them would be from being too aggressive with placement of my 2nd serve.
I think anyone who plays with me enough isn't concerned if I double fault a few times, and neither am I.
Aceing on the last point to win a match, yeah, done that more then a few times. Love it.
That said, double faulting on match point.... yeah, I've done that too. Play long enough and it happens, but those really sting.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
If I only DF once/set, it probably means I'm not serving aggressively enough and my opponent is probably taking advantage.

A more accurate stat would be % of points won off of the 2nd serve [not that I ever track that in my head].
There are lots of factors in that equation. First serve percentage, first serve points won, second serve points won, DF number.
I've found having a toned down but high first serve percentage, gets me far more points than a more aggressive but lower percentage first serve that leads to more second serves and DF's.

But I don't have a strong overpowering serve. I've always won based on point construction and precision deep groundstrokes.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
I don't think this stat is that useful - because it really depends on the match. I want to win points with my serve - and thus if I get up in a point like 40/0 I am going to be super aggressive with my serve. So I think my double faults can go up if I am serving great! OTOH I can be hammered if I am just puff balling in my second serve. There is a problem extrapolating pro stats to amateurs.

Obviously if you can't get it in no matter what that's a huge problem. But for most rec players they have a serve they can get in a lot - they just don't want to hit it. :p I also don't see many of the mythical "I hit my second serve with more energy then my first" crowd even in 4.5s. I don't think you even see that often until 5.0.
 

MaxTennis

Semi-Pro
It varies but unfortunately, I usually hit more double faults than aces. I probably average 2 aces a set and maybe 3 double faults.

If only I was a couple of inches taller...
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
I am usually pretty good about limiting DFs. If I ha e several in a whole match it is a bad day. Maybe a couple per set usually.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Typically 0 to 2.

Most of the serves I hit are kickers so I usually get the first serve in. I will hit a flat or slice serve from time to time but those are something like 5%. More DFs outside compared to inside.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
I am a bad double faulter, but on the flip side I do win a lot of points behind my second serve.

I don't hit the big flat serves as much anymore unless it's to push people well behind the baseline only to slice them out wide, or to keep lefties from cheating towards the T whilst camping the AD court by hitting the big flat first out wide towards their forehands.

Most of the time I'm trying to use more slice and kickers to continue developing a good, aggressive second serve.
 

zaph

Professional
Two or three in a long set. Double faults are a pet hate of mine, so many players who basically hit two first serves. Usually with the excuse that they win lots of points behind it or they are an aggressive player.

The reality is a double first server is rarely an effective player. They fault away their service games and they remove the score board pressure from their opponents. Nothing relaxes me more than my opponent double faulting, I know it will be an easy match. Especially since players are more likely to hit the double on critical points when they are under pressure.

The problem is too many players can't accept the fact that a proper second serve is always going to be easier to attack than a first serve because to make it safe you can't hit as hard. That is true even if you have an excellent second serve, a powerful kicker, for example. Even the pros who hit 130mph plus first serves are hitting their second in the 90-100 mph range.

Still if you think you know something an ATP level pro doesn't, go ahead, continue to hit two first serves because you're an aggressive player.
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
If tennis had analytics like in baseball, maybe tennis players would hit two first serves.

Take a couple of examples - Example A: if you hit 65% first serves and win 65% of points while you win only 40% of second serve points, you’ll win 56% of total points. If you hit first serves only and double fault only 10% of the time, you would win 59% of points.

Example B: If you hit 60% first serves and win 60% of points while winning 40% of second serve points, you would win only 52% of points. If you hit all first serves and double fault 10% of the time, you would win 54% of points.

Example A might be comparable to pro match stats and Example B might reflect 4.0 to 4.5 level rec tennis. In both cases, the numbers favor hitting two first serves If you doublefault only 10% of the time while hitting only first serves. Even if you double faulted 20% of the time, your % of winning points might not be that different from hitting a second serve. The point patterns will be better and you will probably have more fun playing the points as the server if you hit two first serves. So, maybe the players that @zaph complains about know something that he doesn’t and are having more fun.

Pete Sampras averaged 11 aces and 4 DFs per match for a ratio of 2.5 aces per DF in a match. Players like Federer and Nadal average less than 2 DFs per match in their career and their ratio of aces/DF is closer to 4, but Sampras had more service winners and quick serve/volley points and took a different level of risk with his second serve often serving 120-130mph which only Zverev does today. We all make fun of Zverev’s DF service problems, but he was in the SF of the AO and final of the USO (two points from winning it) this year which he never achieved when he was more conservative with his second serve. There are different ways to serve and win a tennis match.
 
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Dragy

Hall of Fame
If tennis had analytics like in baseball, maybe tennis players would hit two first serves.

Take a couple of examples - Example A: if you hit 65% first serves and win 65% of points while you win only 40% of second serve points, you’ll win 56% of total points. If you hit first serves only and double fault only 10% of the time, you would win 59% of points.

Example B: If you hit 60% first serves and win 60% of points while winning 40% of second serve points, you would win only 52% of points. If you hit all first serves and double fault 10% of the time, you would win 54% of points.

Example A might be comparable to pro match stats and Example B might reflect 4.0 to 4.5 level rec tennis. In both cases, the numbers favor hitting two first serves If you doublefault only 10% of the time while hitting only first serves. Even if you double faulted 20% of the time, your % of winning points might not be that different from hitting a second serve. The point patterns will be better and you will probably have more fun playing the points as the server if you hit two first serves. So, maybe the players that @zaph complains about know something that he doesn’t and are having more fun.
What if you win 45% of second serve points?
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
What if you win 45% of second serve points?
You do the math for different players based on their career stats. What you will see is that the variance between playing as they do now and with hitting two first serves will not be too different in most cases. At least when players with good serves like Isner, Opelka, Raonic, Andersen play top baseliners like Nadal and Djokovic on slow surfaces, it might be a strategy for them to consider.

I don’t hit two first serves, but it is an interesting hypothetical scenario to consider.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
You do the math for different players based on their career stats. What you will see is that the variance between playing as they do now and with hitting two first serves will not be too different in most cases. At least when players with good serves like Isner, Opelka, Raonic, Andersen play top baseliners like Nadal and Djokovic on slow surfaces, it might be a strategy for them to consider.

I don’t hit two first serves, but it is an interesting hypothetical scenario to consider.
It is indeed. Daniil Medvedev used it against Djokovic - if I remember correctly, it was during his win in Cinci.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
Also Kirgios did serve both serves as firsts at times. Maybe it's not a bad idea to vary safe 2nds with aggressive serving to keep opponent off-track.
 

megamind

Hall of Fame
In my last match, I gave away 3 DFs in one service game, and another 3 in another service game in the second set.

Sad.

And it is a weakness.

But I won the match :cool:
 

weelie

Semi-Pro
I've play in a local 1h match league (one match a week), for like 4 years now. Have never lost a match when I did not DF. If I hit more than 1 DF, I am likely to lose. If I hit one, I assume I still usually win... but still. I don't want to DF to give away a loose point. I started serving only 2nd serves in the first service game or two. I am no Kyrgios, you know. But that is probably playing it too safe. But as I more likely to DF to ad court, I currently mostly hit 2nd serves to that box in a match (aiming them mostly to opponents BH).
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Recall watching Andre Agassi playing a set around '93 or '94 where he got 100% of his first serves into play. No DFs. No 2nd serves. He might have even kept this up for the whole match. He was just was pretty much just spinning his serve in.

Believe he was using a very abbreviated serve motion at the time. It might have been an early round match which he won rather easily. The commentators had indicated that he was babying his wrist after returning to play after a hiatus.


I think he had suffered a wrist injury (and other injuries) in '93. He didn't play AO or RG that year. This might be why he had adopted the abbreviated motion shown in the video above. He had surgery at the end of '93. Didn't play AO 94. I might have been watching him play after his return in '94.
 

Injured Again

Hall of Fame
I aim for somewhere around three per set. If I'm doing that, it means I've gotten fairly sizeable leads in my service games and have had the opportunity to be hyper-aggressive on the 40-0 and sometimes 40-15 points. If it's a highly competitive set, I still feel this is a good number for the right amount of aggression without taking the risks that I would on a 40-0 second serve. Less than that and I'm usually cruising. If I'm playing safe second serves, I'd probably double-fault at least once per set anyway. Being aggressive doesn't cost me that much.
 
I've play in a local 1h match league (one match a week), for like 4 years now. Have never lost a match when I did not DF. If I hit more than 1 DF, I am likely to lose.
2 DFs is only 2 points out of how many in a match? Maybe 70?

Add DFs into your UE count. How much impact would those 2 DFs have? It might be tiny.

I have stats on a match I played with 83 points: I had 21 UEs and 0 DFs. So if I had 2 DFs, my UE count would rise a mere 10% to 23. Would have have made the difference in an 83-point match? Perhaps, it they came in the critical 3rd set TB. But in aggregate, unlikely.

So maybe it's not the DFs themselves but what they do to your mental game?
 

weelie

Semi-Pro
So maybe it's not the DFs themselves but what they do to your mental game?
Or: they are an indication of where my head is. That’s how I see it. I don’t need to DF at all, but when I do it is usually me being lazy. Either I don’t hit the 2nd hard enough, or I don’t focus on the spin enough. In our doubles 1h match I did the latter on our match point, s&v on 2nd serve at deuce, hit through it too much. We lost that and the next two games, but won the match anyway (4-2, 4-3 in a fast four). Hitting the net, meaning not hitting the 2nd serve hard enough, that’s the really annoying one, hitting long is still ok, if it’s rare.

Anyway, in a 1h match it so much about UE. If I am in the right mental state, I don’t double fault. Or hit wide. I keep it under control. Keeping the 1st percentage high etc.

I wish I had video of my matches, so I could really see the errors I make.
 

chic

Professional
When I have the time and am maintaining my serve once or twice a week I get down to 2-3. When I'm not in usually at 4-5.

As OP in the thread you reference, that day was probably 15+

I kept getting to deuce acing the deuce side and df the ad or vice versa
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
When I have the time and am maintaining my serve once or twice a week I get down to 2-3. When I'm not in usually at 4-5.

As OP in the thread you reference, that day was probably 15+

I kept getting to deuce acing the deuce side and df the ad or vice versa
This reminds me of a USTA league doubles match memory that I’ve tried to suppress for 7 years. We were up a break 4-3 in the third set of a USTA match when my partner stepped up to serve and got a quick 40-0 lead. He then double-faulted four friggin. times in a row to make it Ad-out. Then we did this dance where we would win the Ad-Out Point to get it back to deuce and then he DF’d on the deuce point another 3 or 4 times in a row before we finally lost the game. Of course, we lost the match after that as his confidence was totally shattered. He usually DFs 3-4 times in a match which itself is too much, but I swear he set a world record that day as I can’t believe anyone would have more than 7 or 8 DFs in ONE game ever in the history of tennis. It is almost impossible to do it on purpose! I never had the nerve to ask him what the heck happened to his serve as he was a high 4.0 player at that time. That ugly memory lingered for a few years before I forgot about it and now you revived it:eek:.
 

chic

Professional
This reminds me of a USTA league doubles match memory that I’ve tried to suppress for 7 years. We were up a break 4-3 in the third set of a USTA match when my partner stepped up to serve and got a quick 40-0 lead. He then double-faulted four friggin. times in a row to make it Ad-out. Then we did this dance where we would win the Ad-Out Point to get it back to deuce and then he DF’d on the deuce point another 3 or 4 times in a row before we finally lost the game. Of course, we lost the match after that as his confidence was totally shattered. He usually DFs 3-4 times in a match which itself is too much, but I swear he set a world record that day as I can’t believe anyone would have more than 7 or 8 DFs in ONE game ever in the history of tennis. It is almost impossible to do it on purpose! I never had the nerve to ask him what the heck happened to his serve as he was a high 4.0 player at that time. That ugly memory lingered for a few years before I forgot about it and now you revived it:eek:.
:laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

I've actually done that dance in doubles. Just restarted playing like a year and a half ago, mostly doubles. I had a couple partners mention to me 'at this point I don't even care if you double faults us down 0-40 because I know that you'll just hit 3 unreturned serves and we'll have to play out deuce.'

But the aforementioned time was the only time I let it get to me. Most of the time I have a, hey you're a big server, errors happen' mentality
 

Papa Mango

Semi-Pro
This reminds me of a USTA league doubles match memory that I’ve tried to suppress for 7 years. We were up a break 4-3 in the third set of a USTA match when my partner stepped up to serve and got a quick 40-0 lead. He then double-faulted four friggin. times in a row to make it Ad-out. Then we did this dance where we would win the Ad-Out Point to get it back to deuce and then he DF’d on the deuce point another 3 or 4 times in a row before we finally lost the game. Of course, we lost the match after that as his confidence was totally shattered. He usually DFs 3-4 times in a match which itself is too much, but I swear he set a world record that day as I can’t believe anyone would have more than 7 or 8 DFs in ONE game ever in the history of tennis. It is almost impossible to do it on purpose! I never had the nerve to ask him what the heck happened to his serve as he was a high 4.0 player at that time. That ugly memory lingered for a few years before I forgot about it and now you revived it:eek:.
Oh man, that brings back memories .. but happy ones for me.
This is the year we went to Nationals. It was round 2 play off match to go to districts (40+). We are tied 2-2 (when there used to be 5 lines). Playing D3.

I am having a very very bad serving day DFing 1-2 every game. But to my credit ;) I was missing everything long. Partner was encouraging for me to keep going for it. Split the first two sets and down 1-4 in the third (full set), my serve. Get it in 15-love. Next 2 points DF. 15-30. Partner comes to me says you are hitting everything long take 5 steps back from the base line and HIT IT. That did it.

Went on to win the match then districts/sectionals, team never dropping more than a line. Team got dumped after the initial flight @ Nationals but I personally did pretty ok there.

To answer the OP if I am having a good day maybe 2-3 DF/set, but I have a decent second so don't DF much even on bad days story above being a rare exception.
 
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