Match Stats/Report - Becker vs Ivanisevic, Grand Slam Cup final, 1996


Hall of Fame
Boris Becker beat Goran Ivanisevic 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in the Grand Slam Cup final, 1996 on carpet in Munich, Germany

It was Becker's only title at the event. Ivanisevic had been the defending champion

Becker won 83 points, Ivanisevic 63

Becker serve-volleyed off all first serves and rarely off seconds. Ivanisevic serve-volleyed off all first serves and all but 5 seconds

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (40/75) 53%
- 1st serve points won (39/40) 98%
- 2nd serve points won (21/35) 60%
- Aces 18 (1 second serve), Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 7
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (38/75) 51%

- 1st serve percentage (38/71) 54%
- 1st serve points won (32/38) 84%
- 2nd serve points won (16/33) 48%
- Aces 12, Service Winners 2
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (35/71) 49%

Serve Patterns
Becker served...
- to FH 34%
- to BH 56%
- to Body 10%

Ivanisevic served...
- to FH 42%
- to BH 55%
- to Body 3%

Return Stats
Becker made...
- 32 (15 FH, 17 BH), including 2 return-approaches
- 4 Winners (2 FH, 2 BH)
- 21 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH)
- 20 Forced (7 FH, 13 BH)
- Return Rate (32/67) 48%

Ivanisevic made...
- 30 (10 FH, 19 BH, 1 Behind Back)
- 19 Errors, comprising...
- 2 Unforced (1 FH, 1 BH)
- 17 Forced (2 FH, 15 BH)
- Return Rate (30/68) 44%

Break Points
Becker 3/6 (4 games)
Ivanisevic 0

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Becker 19 (4 FH, 5 BH, 8 FHV, 2 OH)
Ivanisevic 7 (1 FH, 2 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)

Becker had 5 from serve-volley points
- 4 first volleys (3 FHV, 1 OH)
- 1 second volley (1 FHV)

- 1 FHV from a return-approach point, a drop
- 2 other drop FHVs
- 1 other FHV and 1 OH were played net-to-net

- FHs (all passes) - 1 cc return, 1 dtl, 1 inside-out and 1 inside-in return
- BHs (all passes) - 2 dtl and 3 inside-out (2 returns, 1 net-to-net)

Ivanisevic had 7 from serve-volley points
- 4 first 'volleys' (1 FHV, 2 BHV, 1 FH at net)… 1 BHV was a drop
- 3 second volleys (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)…. the BHV was a drop and can reasonably be called a BHOH. it was played jumping and well above head high, but guided and not a smash

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Becker 14
- 8 Unforced (3 FH, 2 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV)
- 6 Forced (1 FH, 4 BH, 1 BHV)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 52.5

Ivanisevic 22
- 7 Unforced (4 FH, 3 BH)… including 1 BH at net
- 15 Forced (3 FH, 7 BH, 1 FHV, 1 BHV, 2 BH1/2V, 1 Behind Back)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index

(Note 1: All 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net. 1/2 volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke numbers)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Becker was...
- 35/41 (85%) at net, including...
- 26/28 (93%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 20/21 (95%) off 1st serve and...
- 6/7 (86%) off 2nd serve
- 1/2 return-approaching

Ivanisevic was...
- 31/48 (65%) at net, all serve-volleying, comprising...
- 18/24 (75%) off 1st serve and...
- 13/24 (54%) off 2nd serve
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
As simple a match as you'll see. Becker's return is the key difference that allows him to get enough counter-play to break the serving stranglehold that otherwise runs through the match

Both men with about 50% unreturned serves. Becker winning 98% first serve points, 93% serve-volleying and not being taken to deuce, much less face break point. His 15 service games comprise -
- 3 love holds
- 9 holds to 15
- 3 holds to 40

Goran is able to reach 0-15 3 times and twice extends that to 15-30. That's as close to a break as he gets

Its a fast court and both men serve big. Goran though can't get any counter-play returning at all. That's not poetic exaggeration, literally, almost 0 counter-play and while there's absolutely nothing easy to be had... just the percentage consistency of his failure in this area is disappointing

On top of the 18 aces and 1 service winner from Boris, there's 19 other serves that don't come back (including a couple of second serves that he didn't come in behind). Most are nowhere near doing so... Goran's returns landing in bottom of net or miles wide. Those that do are usually high and easy putaways

Evens that's a step up from his passing in play. 0 winners and 1 forced volleying error. Becker's volleying isn't particularly impressive.... he puts away the easy ones, but the few medium high volleys he puts in play without finality. Goran misses passes by miles and miles. Its rare for him to even be close to getting ball in play

Boris mostly stays back on second serves. Occasionally, he hits near first serve power second serves and otherwise, the shot is still strong enough to be at least not easy to get in play. Serve-volleying, he's flawless winning 93% points (only higher number I've found with significant number of approaches is by Ivan Lendl of all people, and on clay of all surfaces). Staying back off second serves leads to short baseline rallies, Becker swinging hard to make errors, coming in to net to usually win or Goran making routine errors. and 7 double faults

Goran's first serve is even stronger than Becker's though at the pace they're hitting, that's like saying a tiger with full set of teeth is more dangerous to humans than one missing a fang. Becker's return is key. He stands near the baseline, sometimes guesses direction (usually wrong... he tends to move to center, which as I recall was Goran's favourite, but Goran usually goes out wide here). What he can hit, he usually hits well

4 good, strong return of serve winners from Boris. The 2 BHs are both inside-out. Generally speaking, he's particularly strong with this return against serve-volleyers

Goran also mostly holds easily, on back of 49% unreturned serves, but with Becker making odd strong returns and Goran sooner or later having games where he misses most first serves... Boris creates enough counter-play to get the break he needs

On games he's broken, the first serves Goran makes are 2/5 (including a double fault and a Becker return winner), 1/5 (including a double, a Becker chip-charge return and net-to-net passing winner set up by strong return) and 3/5

The last is the best return game of the match, with Becker whacking a first serve return FH cc for winner, forcing a first 1/2volley error, getting a strong first serve back with authority to finish with good pass winner (I think he guessed direction right) and finally, drawing first 1/2volley with strong return, coming to net and whacking a smash away net-to-net

Note Goran with 0 volleying UEs (he does have a BH at net though) to 4 FEs. A indicator of Becker hitting hard whatever he could get in play. Does so wisely too... a couple of those errors are pure power based, forcing reflex type errors without being low or wide. Always worth a shot, especially against an iffy volleyer like Goran

Note Becker with just 5 groundstroke FEs (all passes) to 5 passing winners in play (he also has 4 returns). Brilliant rate. Goran has 7 forecourt winners to 4 FEs... which is also good from Boris' point of view. Save unreturned serves, he was a hit passing. Of course, unreturned serves make up the wide bulk though

Some funky shots from Goran. Having moved in wrong direction for a serve, he returns it behind his back. Boris smashes that away. Forced back from net, he gets ball back with tweener, but Boris is there to drop volley another winner. Goran is also aced to a ball near his body that he misanticipated direction of

Note 0 approaches other than serve-volley from Goran

A note on net points stats methodology. I don't count 'delayed' serve-volleys (when player takes couple of steps into court after serve, waits to see the return and if its weak, runs into to hit third ball volley) as serve-volley points. In this match, both players are looking to genuinely serve-volley off all first serve points. On some points, especially for Goran, the return error is made when the server is barely 1/2 way to service line

Effectively, these are indistinguishable from a 'delayed' serve-volley. But they've all been marked serve-volleys in line with assessment of intent behind the points. Goran's first 'volley' FH at net winner is hit from a couple of steps behind service line... were it not a third ball and intent to serve-volley clear, I wouldn't have marked it a net point

Becker has 2 break points in game 4 that are thwarted. He goes on to break in game 8 and serves out the set. Then breaks again to start second set - so 5 games in a row for Boris

2 best volleys of the match come early in the set. First, Becker inches his way to net and puts away a stretched FHV winner net-to-net. Second, a very low first FHV that Becker picks ups cc for a winner. Goran attempts a behind back shot later in set, which he can't get in play. A well controlled very high BHV winner by Goran early in the third. He jumps and the ball is still well over his head, but he controls it and drops rather than smashes it for a winner.

After the great return game to break, Becker boldly return-approaches against a first serve, but Goran finishes with OH. Next point is Goran's tweener

Summing up, very fast paced match that's completely dominated by serve. While mostly helpless returning, Becker does find enough strong returns and powerful passes when he has the chance to get the necessary breaks. Goran by contrast is completely helpless on return all match
Man I miss this tournament. I know, it was some somewhat of a gimmick but still, it was so cool to see the top guys of the year for one last hurrah to end the season. What a shame that indoor/carpet Tennis has vanished like that.
Also Becker`s 1996 carpet campaign was unbelievable. I think he played the best tennis of his whole career in those late 1996 months. Makes you wonder hwat happened to him over the winter, as he was basically done once 1997 started?