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Roger Federer lidera la Zona de Rendimiento FedEx ATP en pisas de hierba con una marca de 131-19 y 14 títulos (.873 por ciento).

FedEx Performance Zone: Grass-Court Records

As the new extended ATP World Tour grass-court swing begins, we look at the FedEx ATP Performance Zone and explore the secrets of success on the surface.

As the new extended ATP World Tour grass-court swing begins, we look at the FedEx ATP Performance Zone and explore the secrets of success on the surface.

Crushed brick has been replaced by mown lawns. Ribbed soles have been unlaced in favour of pimple-soled shoes. Baseline battles and lengthy rallies won't be commonplace as knee-bending, dinks and sliced shots are now essential for success during the six-week grass-court swing.

In ATP history, since 1973, Roger Federer leads the FedEx ATP Performance Zone for career grass-court matches with a 131-19 mark and 14 titles (.873 per cent). Federer has clinched seven Wimbledon titles and the same number at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, which forms part of an expanded grass-court swing this year on the ATP World Tour.

John McEnroe is second overall in the all-time list with a 119-20 grass-court record and eight titles (.856), followed by Bjorn Borg, who won Roland Garros and Wimbledon back-to-back for three straight years (1978-80). The Swede, who was the first to wear pimpled grass-court soles, compiled a 61-11 mark, including six Wimbledon titles (.847). Pete Sampras, who won 10 titles and ended his career with a 101-20 tally (.835), is fourth overall.

So what attributes are needed to succeed? Seven-time Wimbledon champion Sampras believes it is "a person who moves well on grass and is a good athlete. When I played folks said that the serve was the key, but I always felt the return of serve was the key."

Australian John Newcombe, a three-time titlist at the All England Club, says, "A classical grass-court player must have a very good offensive and defensive volley, which has to be backed up by a solid serve that features a variety of pace and spin."

Neither Sampras nor Newcombe found the transition from clay to grass-court play difficult. It was entirely natural to them. "It was more of a mind set and making minor adjustments to your strokes," says Sampras. "At the end of the day by the time you get to Wimbledon you should have had plenty of time on the grass to make those adjustments."

Over the past 15 years, serve and volley play has dwindled. The 2002 Wimbledon final featured, for the first time, two players, Lleyton Hewitt and David Nalbandian, who played solely from the baseline.

Newcombe admits, "Most players today can put away a volley at net height or above but hardly any can volley effectively below net height such as Edberg and Rafter could. The problem is not so much in the court speed but the players' lack of ability to play difficult volleys. Subsequently there is a natural reluctance to come to the net.

"Players today hit the ball as hard as they can and run to the net, then look surprised when the ball comes back to their feet around the service line. Learning the art of net play has to happen between the age of 10 and 15."

The only other active player in the Top 30, joining Federer, is Andy Murray, who has a 78-16 grass-court record and five titles (.830).