Schwartzman, Fognini Thrive In Court Of Giants
The average height of the Top 10 at the end of the 2018 season was 6'3”. While our sport is undeniably getting taller at the top of the tree, last year, there were two Top 20 standouts under 6' who led the way in the crucible of converting break points when returning.
Hello Fabio and Diego. An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the Top 20 in the year-end 2018 ATP Rankings focused on break point conversion against first and second serves. The analysis uncovered that Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman stood tallest on tour when the biggest moments in a match arrived.
Break Points Won vs. First Serve
Fognini (5’10”) led the Top 20 in 2018 with break points won against first serves, converting 34.7 per cent (123/329) of the time. The 31-year-old Italian finished the 2018 season ranked No. 13, which equaled a career-high he first reached in 2014.
The leading five players from the Top 20 in the 2018 season:
F. Fognini = 37.4% (123/329)
B. Coric = 36.7% (80/218)
N. Djokovic = 36.3% (143/394)
R. Nadal = 35.8% (102/285)
R. Federer = 35.4% (86/243)
Break Points Won vs. Second Serve
Schwartzman (170cm / 5’7”) was only 17th best of the Top 20 winning break points against first serves in 2018, but he vaulted all the way up to the the top when he got a look at a second serve.
The leading five players converting break points against second serves in 2018:
D. Schwartzman = 62.1% (123/198)
R. Nadal = 60.1% (113/188)
F. Fognini = 56.5% (113/200)
A. Zverev = 54.7% (135/247)
K. Khachanov = 53.9% (103/191)
Alexander Zverev saw the most break points against second serves in 2018 with 247 and had the second highest total against first serves, at 352. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic had the most break points against first serves, at 394.
There was almost a 20 percentage-point gap between the average win percentage of the Top 20 converting break points against first serves versus second serves in 2018.
Against First Serves = 31.6%
Against Second Serves = 51.1%
Taller players universally reign supreme on serve leaderboards in our sport, but players under 6' are still thriving and competing at the highest level by dominating on the return side of the equation.
A hidden gem of our sport is that John Isner, at 6’10”, and Schwartzman, 5'7”, can equally be superstars on the global stage. Diversity of player height and game styles in tennis continues to offer a pathway to the top for anyone who has the burning ambition to reach for the stars.