Why Federer & Co. Love Serving At 15-All
Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers shows how the top players take advantage of the 'even' scoreline
Don’t let the evenness of 15-15 fool you. It is a statistical green light for the server to play aggressively and employ first-strike tactics to get ahead in the game.
An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the current Top 10 players in the Emirates ATP Rankings reveals a positive environment for them to play bigger and seek shorter points by delivering more firepower at the start of the point.
Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings: Holding Percentages
|Ranking||Player||15-15||30-15||15-30||Gap From 30-15 To 15-30|
Score 15-15, Hold Serve Percentage: 84
The Top 10 players in the Emirates ATP Rankings hold serve 85 per cent of the time, according to Infosys Information Platform. With the score at 15-15, their hold-serve percentage drops only one percentage point, to 84, nearly identical to the opening point of the game.
Fifteen-all delivers a high win percentage that mentally puts the server in the driver’s seat, letting him unleash a few potential tactics, including a bigger first serve down the centre of the court if he's chasing an ace or a serve out wide in search of a forehand return error.
Score 30-15, Hold Serve Percentage: 93
With relatively little scoreboard pressure on the server at 15-15, the opportunity to stretch the lead to 30-15 is forefront in the tactical plan. If the server reaches 30-15, they will hold serve on average more than nine times out of 10. There is nothing not to like about that scoreboard situation.
Score 15-30, Hold Serve Percentage: 64
A server's likelihood of holding shifts 29 percentage points when the scoreline changes from 30-15 to 15-30. There is always a statistical consequence of losing a point, but this really isn’t so bad. If the server loses the point at 15-15, he is still likely going to hold serve two out of three times. Proficient servers like Milos Raonic and Roger Federer still manage to hold about 70 per cent of the time from 15-30, while World No. 1 Novak Djokovic holds 67 per cent of the time.
At 15-15, the server is looking for a shorter point to fully maximise the effects of the first serve, not letting the returner prolong the point into a more even battle. A serve, aggressive serve +1 forehand and a finishing volley is about as good as it gets strategically at this specific point in a game.