The Hidden Danger Of 15-All
Fifteen-all is a leaking ship. The boat is still afloat, still steaming along in the right direction, but it is definitely taking on a little water that the server probably does not know about.
An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the Top 10 in the Emirates ATP Rankings shows a modest decline in the win percentage for the server from the start of the game at love-all to two points later at 15/15.
Top 10 Average Win Percentage
- 0/0 = 85%
- 15/15 = 82%
The Top 10 average a three percentage-point drop from 0/0 to 15/15, as the finish line for the game moves from four points away, to just three points away.
Top 10 Hold Percentage At 0/0 And 15/15 During The 2016 Season
The three players in the Top 10 who had the biggest winning percentage drop between 0/0 and 15/15 were Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and Dominic Thiem, all of whom saw their winning percentage fall four percentage points. There were four players right at the average decline of three percentage points, including Novak Djokovic, Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils and Marin Cilic.
Rafael Nadal's winning percentage dropped only two percentage points, while World No. 1 Andy Murray dropped only one percentage point. The outlier in the Top 10 was Tomas Berdych, who actually rose one percentage point, from 85 per cent to 86 per cent. In 2015, Berdych dropped like the rest of the Top 10, but it was only one percentage point, from 85 per cent to 84 per cent.
The key dynamic here is the closer proximity to the finish line. It’s still the same server, and the score is still even, but the end of the game has moved 25 per cent closer (from four points to three points), and that slightly favours the returner.