Match Stats/Report - Henman vs Federer, Paris Indoor quarter-final, 2003


Hall of Fame
Tim Henman beat Roger Federer 7-6(5), 6-1 in the Paris Indoor quarter-final, 2003 on carpet

Henman would go onto win beat fellow unseeded player Andrei Pavel in the final to win his sole Masters Series title. He'd also beat new world number 1 Andy Roddick in the semis, on top of having beaten Gustavo Kuerten, Sebastien Grosjean and Nikolay Davydenko in earlier rounds. Federer was the Wimbledon champion and would go onto win the Year End Championship immediately afterwards

Henman won 68 points, Federer 54

Federer serve-volleyed off all but 4 first serves and more than half the time off seconds. Henman serve-volleyed occasionally off first serves

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (37/68) 54%
- 1st serve points won (29/37) 78%
- 2nd serve points won (18/31) 58%
- Aces 4, Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (21/68) 31%

- 1st serve percentage (30/54) 56%
- 1st serve points won (22/30) 73%
- 2nd serve points won (11/24) 46%
- Aces 2
- Double Faults 2
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (14/54) 26%

Serve Pattern
Henman served...
- to FH 32%
- to BH 58%
- to Body 9%

Federer served...
- to FH 40%
- to BH 56%
- to Body 4%

Return Stats
Henman made...
- 38 (13 FH, 25 BH), including 6 return-approaches
- 3 Winners (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 12 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 FH)
- 11 Forced (8 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (38/52) 73%

Federer made...
- 44 (15 FH, 29 BH), including 2 runaround FHs & 1 return-approach
- 1 Winner (1 BH)
- 16 Errors, comprising...
- 7 Unforced (7 BH), including 1 return-approach attempt
- 9 Forced (6 FH, 3 BH)
- Return Rate (44/65) 68%

Break Points
Henman 2/2
Federer 0/2 (1 game)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Henman 11 (2 FH, 3 BH, 3 FHV, 1 BHV, 2 OH)
Federer 15 (5 FH, 3 BH, 3 FHV, 1 BHV, 3 OH)

Henman's FHs - 1 dtl return pass and 1 inside-out
- BHs - 1 cc, 1 dtl return pass and 1 inside-in return pass

- 2 second volleys from serve-volley points (1 FHV, 1 OH)
- the BHV was from a return-approach point and played net-to-net

Federer had 6 from serve-volley points -
- 4 first volleys (2 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH)
- 1 second volley (1 FHV)
- 1 third volley (1 OH)

- FHs - 4 cc (3 passes - 2 of them at net) and 1 inside-out pass
- BHs - 1 cc pass and 2 dtl (1 return, 1 pass)

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Henman 22
- 5 Unforced (4 FH, 1 BH)
- 17 Forced (5 FH, 9 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 44

Federer 34
- 12 Unforced (5 FH, 3 BH, 3 FHV, 1 BHV)… including 1 FH at net passing shot
- 22 Forced (6 FH, 10 BH, 3 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 BH1/2V, 1 BHOH)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 50

(Note 1: all half-volleys refer to such shots played at net. Half -volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke counts)

(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
Henman was...
- 23/33 (70%) at net, including...
- 12/14 (86%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 11/12 (92%) off 1st serve and...
- 1/2 off 2nd serve
- 2/6 (33%) return-approaching
- 1/1 forced back

Federer was...
- 31/47 (66%) at net, including...
- 24/37 (65%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 18/24 (75%) off 1st serve and...
- 6/13 (46%) off 2nd serve
- 1/1 return-approaching
- 0/1 forced back/retreated

Match Report
Competitive and lively first set that could have gone either way, followed by a one sided second set make up an interesting match on a quick carpet quick

Henman serve-volleys irregularly - both in 1st set and the match as a whole. Federer serve-volleys off all but 1 first serve in first set (and all but 3 in the second). In first set, Fed has the better of play - without it amounting to a break. Or even particularly close. In other words - first set is mostly comfortable holds for both players, but more comfortable for Federer

Fed plays a two handed BH return to a body serve that apparently caught him by surprise. He nets the ball

The only break chances comes with Henman serving to take the set into tiebreak - and its fair to say Federer blows both his chances more than Henman thwarts him. Having drawn a weak volley, Federer is left with a comparatively simple FH pass from about the service line, which he nets

Coincidentally, the point before was a near facsimile - only Fed had made the shot. And the point after it was similar too (with an easier pass, further up in the forecourt), which Fed also won

Henman comes in behind a second serve on the second break and set point and Fed is able to lob him from a defensive position. Henman makes his way back to the baseline to hit a turnaround retrieval. First, Federer didn't make his way to net as Henman was forced back. Second, he misses an attacking FH to Henman's predictably weak retrieval. Fed chucks his racquet to the ground angrily at the miss

Serve volleying and a couple of excellent returns see Henman take the tiebreak. He won 41 points in the set and lost 44

Second set is very good from Henman but poor from Fed - more the latter than the former. Fed misses straight forward returns (10/19 of Henman's serves are unreturned - and he's usually not serve-volleying) and makes a number of easy volleying errors. The highlight of the set is game 6 where Henman breaks to love. Fed serve-volleys off all 4 second serves in the game and twice he goes nose to nose with a chip-charge returning Henman. On one such point, Fed misses a makeable BHV and on the other, Henman makes the same shot showing fine anticipation. Henman also forces a BHOH error with a lob and Fed finishes the job for him by missing an easy FHV

Serve & Return
Note the unreturned serve rates: Henman 31%, Federer 26% would be surprising at anytime but doubly so here as Federer was constantly serve-volleying (86% of the time off first serves) while Henman was doing so irregularly (38% off first serves). What's going on here?

Henman's number I would ascribe to Fed's poor returning. Note the 7 return UEs from Fed - all second serves. Henman serves well, and they were above average of strength for second serves... but still, very much second serves, far more makeable than not. Federer was not trying to be unduly aggressive with the return either. Just bad returning. He misses odd makeable returns against first serves too - which were generally well placed but not overly strong of power

I would also primarily credit Henman's returning for Fed's low unreturned rate. Fed's not licking lines, but serving more than well enough to be a handful and the court is quick. And he's coming in behind most serves. Henman appears to read Federer's serve about as well as I've seen anyone do. It would be interesting to watch more matches between the two closely to see if this was a general trend in the match up. Against the serve-volleying, Henman generally returns wide and when returning down the center, often gets the ball down low. And he rarely seems stretched or out of place.

Henman's chip-charging is another very well executed manuever

Excellent returning from Henman on the whole, with Fed not hitting his spots as well as he could with the serve, but well enough to be a lot more troublesome than Henman makes him look

Volley vs Pass
Henman is a class above on the volley - even in just the first set (in second set, Fed's volleying goes downhill). Anytime he's at net, volleys are put in corners. Fed by contrast, hits a few well away from Tim, but also a fair few not far out of his reach. Fed's volleying is good, but Henman's is top drawer... as good as they come

Both pass well too. Fed a bit better. Henman's ability to handle difficult volleys is also impressive... he makes many a powerful and off to the side ball. Usually without much authority, but it was a tough job just getting such balls back in play. Fed with 6 volleying FEs to Henman's 3 is due to Tim being able to get the kinds of balls back that Fed couldn't. And he faced more as Fed was stronger on the pass

When staying back, Henman's main attack is hitting FH inside-outs to Fed's BH. Its enough to put Fed firmly on the defensive (and occasionally, draw an error - forced or otherwise), a position from which Henman can come into net

BH rallies are about equal, Henman slightly more secure (1 UE to Fed's 3), but Fed's power advantage on the FH is obvious. He doesn't make the most of it... as far as attack goes, he seems focused on net play. Tim does handle Fed's FHs well defensively though

Summing up, a bright match. Henman's volleying is near flawless and highlights the relative weakness of the very good, but not top drawer net game of Feds - and some very good returning from Tim. Fed falling apart in the second set probably takes the eye most though


These are always a great read IMO as you cover not so well known matches. Do you watch the match start to finish and keep notes/stats by yourself? Thanks for all the effort!


Hall of Fame
Do you watch the match start to finish and keep notes/stats by yourself? Thanks for all the effort!

My pleasure!

that's pretty much exactly what I do, the notes being casual in the margins per point

When I started a couple of years ago, if I took stats then I couldn't make head or tails out of playing dynamics and would have to rewatch the match to get a sense of it. Now I can do both together, fortunately, otherwise would only turn out half as many matches


Bionic Poster
Henman's run to the 2003 Paris Masters title is probably his best ever. He beat the reigning world #1 (Roddick), the reigning Wimbledon champion (Federer), a multiple Slam champion (Kuerten), a former Paris champion (Grosjean) and a future Paris champion (Davydenko).

Moose Malloy

Interesting to see Henman S&V so little. That was my impression of the final vs Pavel as well. He was one of the players who was critical of the slowing of the grass at Wimbledon at the time, yet on indoor carpet he chooses to stay back on his serve so often.
Henman's run to the 2003 Paris Masters title is probably his best ever. He beat the reigning world #1 (Roddick), the reigning Wimbledon champion (Federer), a multiple Slam champion (Kuerten), a former Paris champion (Grosjean) and a future Paris champion (Davydenko).
Paris masters is indeed a curse for non big4 I guess


Thank goodness that ugly style died with him. Hopefully Bear can teach Titipas to stop with that foolishness making passes left and right.


Seems like Federer went in with a mindset of "I need to play S&V, it's just what you do" and it cost him.