The Importance Of Striking An Ace
Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers looks at how striking aces is the ultimate weapon
There are only five players in the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings that hit on average at least one ace per service game in 2018.
Aces are the ultimate serve weapon, but performance varies greatly at the pinnacle of our sport with the number of aces hit per game. An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers identifies that the average amount of aces that the Top 50 hit per game is 0.54, or approximately one ace every two games.
The table below has the leading five players from the current Top 50 (as of 13 August 2018) with the highest average aces per game, and also their performance in 2017 as a comparison.
Top 50: Leading Five Players Average Aces Per Game
|Current ATP Ranking||Player||2018 Aces/Game||2017 Aces/Game|
|No. 9||John Isner (USA)||1.45||1.40|
|No. 29||Milos Raonic (CAN)||1.38||1.07|
|No. 18||Nick Kyrgios (AUS)||1.34||1.06|
|No. 6||Kevin Anderson (RSA)||1.14||1.03|
|No. 34||Sam Querrey (USA)||1.03||1.00|
Imagine for a moment what it must be like to have such awesome firepower to begin a point. The influential dynamic for these five players is that they essentially only have to go and win three points in a service game, because they get to enjoy one ‘free’ point with their ace.
What’s also important to consider is that hitting the most number of aces on the ATP World Tour does not directly equate to being World No. 1. The average ranking of these five players is 19, so this also highlights that bombing aces is always nice, but there is still a lot of work to be done, as well on the return side of the equation, to win matches.
What’s fascinating is that World No. 1 Rafael Nadal actually drops to the bottom of this list, hitting the least amount of aces per game out of the Top 50 at just 0.2 aces per game, for an average of one ace out of every five service games.
The 19-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov leads #NextGenATP players in this category with an average of 0.72 aces per match this season. The following table highlights the Top 5 #NextGenATP players in the data set.
Top 5 #NextGen Players - Average Aces Per Game in 2018
|Current ATP Ranking||Player||2018 Aces/Game|
|No. 32||Denis Shapovalov (CAN)||0.72|
|No. 38||Frances Tiafoe (USA)||0.60|
|No. 4||Alexander Zverev (GER)||0.57|
|No. 15||Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)||0.56|
|No. 37||Andrey Rublev (0.39)||0.39|
This analysis shows that diversity of playing styles is alive and well at the pinnacle of our sport. Both John Isner and Nadal are ranked in the Top 10, but sit at either end of the spectrum with the amount of aces they hit in their service games.