© Clive Brunskill/ALLSPORT

Goran Ivanisevic was unstoppable during his 2001 Wimbledon title run.

Why Is Federer Missing From This Top 10 Wimbledon Serving List?

Goran rode his first serve to a Wimbledon title but Roger’s sustained grass success can be found in his second-serve stats

Who has the best first serve on grass? Goran Ivanisevic, that’s who…

The 6’4” Croatian won Wimbledon in 2001, defeating Patrick Rafter in the final, and lost the 1994 and 1998 finals to Pete Sampras, and the 1992 final to Andre Agassi. His lefty serve was feared just as much down the middle as out wide on both sides, with his lightning-quick motion pretty much impossible to read.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of career first-serve points won on grass sees Ivanisevic sitting at the top of the table, being the only player to win north of 85 per cent behind first serves.

Top 10 Career First-Serve Points Won On Grass

Ranking

Player

First-Serve Win Percentage

Matches

1

Goran Ivanisevic

86.98%

85

2

Marc-Kevin Goellner

84.82%

32

3

Pete Sampras

84.70%

105

4

Ivo Karlovic

84.60%

113

5

Mark Philippoussis

84.08%

70

6

Richard Krajicek

84.03%

88

7

Wayne Arthurs

83.64%

60

8

Greg Rusedski

82.77%

116

9

Milos Raonic

82.71%

66

10

Sam Groth

82.08%

25

What’s fascinating is that Ivanisevic’s first-serve prowess did not spill over to his second serve. He is ranked way down the list with the 159th best second-serve win percentage on grass, at 50.47 per cent (1823/3612). His first serve was a hammer, but if he missed it, he barely won half of his second-serve points on grass.

It’s also interesting to note that Australia boasts three players in the Top 10 of the category, while Croatia has two. Germany, The Netherlands, Great Britain, USA ad Canada all have one Top 10 representative.

One player that is conspicuous by his absence from this Top 10 list is eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer. The Swiss star is ranked only 32nd with first-serve points won on grass, at 79.54 per cent (9097/11437). Federer has performed much better behind his second serve, being ranked second with a win percentage of 59.05 per cent (3550/6012).

Wimbledon 2001
Ivanisevic steamrolled to the 2001 title, continually taking out big names and fellow big servers as the tournament progressed.

2001 Wimbledon: Ivanisevic Opponents & First-Serve Win Percentage

Round

Opponent

First-Serve Win Percentage

First-Serve Points Won

First-Serve Total Points

1

Fredrik Jonsson

90.70%

39

43

2

Carlos Moya

87.32%

62

71

3

Andy Roddick

87.50%

70

80

4

Greg Rusedski

92.59%

50

54

QF

Marat Safin

90.24%

74

82

SF

Tim Henman

80.37%

86

107

Final

Patrick Rafter

81.32%

74

91

-

Average / Total

87.15%

455

528

Ivanisevic’s first-serve performance taking the title in 2001 was slightly better than his career average, winning 87.15 per cent, compared to 86.98 per cent for his career on grass. He was in especially devastating first-serve form in the middle of the tournament against Greg Rusedski and Marat Safin, losing only 12 first-serve points against both of them combined in seven sets.

In the final against Rafter, Ivanisevic won a thrilling encounter 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 9-7. His first-serve performance was at its very best in the thrilling fifth and deciding set.

2001 Wimbledon Final Per Set: Ivanisevic First-Serve Points Won Percentage & Aces

Set

First-Serve Points Won

Aces

1

81%

3

2

77%

5

3

83%

4

4

73%

5

5

86%

10

Ivanisevic won 22 titles from 1990 to 2001, with the Wimbledon title being his last. What a way to go out with a bang.