How Schwartzman Became The Return Giant In 2017
Since 2008, the best returner in the game has either been Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal.
Those two players have finished atop the Infosys ATP Return Games Won LEADERBOARD every year for the past nine seasons, but neither of them are currently first in 2017.
The surprise package who is dominating on the return side of the equation so far this year is Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman.
Schwartzman, 24, boasts his career best Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 33 this week, primarily driven by winning a tour-leading 36 per cent (192/532) of his return games. Nadal is in second place winning 34 per cent (212/626), while Djokovic is in fourth place, winning 31 per cent (141/461).
At 5’7”, 141 lbs, Schwartzman plays a big game when returning serve, being ranked in the leading five players in all four of the Infosys Return Ratings. He is ranked just 61st this season on tour with Service Games Won, at 68 per cent (358/523).
2017 Infosys Return Ratings
|Return Games Won
|2nd Serve Return Points Won
|1st Serve Return Points Won
|Break Points Converted
Schwartzman has a 24-20 record so far in 2017, scoring his biggest win last week in Montreal, taking out No. 7 ranked Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-7(7), 7-5 in the Round of 32. Thiem only won 29 per cent (16/56) of his second serve points for the match, being broken six times.
When Schwartzman is receiving this season with the opponent serving with new balls, he is winning an impressive 40 per cent (20/50) of those games. Nadal, by comparison, is only winning 26 per cent (18/68) against new balls.
Schwartzman does slightly better breaking serve in the Ad court, winning 46 per cent (150/324) of his break points there, and 42 per cent (42/100) in the Deuce court.
When he barely gets ahead 0/15 in his opponent’s service games this season, the Argentine is actually favoured to win the game, winning a remarkable 57 per cent (127/224). At 15/30, the percentage chance to break elevates to 60 per cent (93/154), and at 0/30 it jumps all the way up to a 79 per cent (74/94) possibility to break.
The Buenos Aires native has just 10 Emirates ATP Rankings points to defend from the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati and the upcoming US Open, so look for him to keep setting personal bests in the coming weeks.