Nick Kyrgios Among Second Serve Standouts

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers looks at the Aussie's serving under pressure

The pulse of a player’s game can easily be taken with an examination of their second serve.

Performance in this critical area is a key indicator of the overall health of a player’s game, highlighting which way it’s currently trending. Winning second serve points is generally a 50-50 proposition, so stopping the bleeding here is always a focal point.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers Top 20 analysis of two specific second serve metrics uncovered five players who are performing better in both areas this season than last season.

The examination focuses on second serve points won and second serve points won saving break point. These moments in a match directly impact the win/loss column and define careers.

The five players in the Top 20 who have improved in both areas from 2015 to 2016 are Pablo Cuevas, Nick Kyrgios, David Goffin, Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka.

Cuevas, 30, from Uruguay, made the biggest season to season jump in the Top 20 with second serve points won, improving from 51.9 per cent in 2015 to 55.5 per cent so far in 2016. He reached a career best Emirates ATP ranking of 19 earlier this month on the back of winning two ATP titles earlier in the year in Brazil, and also reaching two other ATP World Tour finals.

2015-16: Second Serve Points Won

Ranking

Player

2015

2016

Percentage Point Difference

1

Novak Djokovic

60.2%

57.3%

-2.9

2

Andy Murray

52.2%

53.3%

1.1

3

Stan Wawrinka

55.6%

57.5%

1.9

4

Roger Federer

57.2%

56.4%

-0.8

5

Rafael Nadal

55.4%

53.1%

-2.3

6

Milos Raonic

57.7%

56.0%

-1.7

7

Kei Nishikori

54.7%

54.6%

-0.1

8

Tomas Berdych

54.5%

50.9%

-3.6

9

Marin Cilic

52.0%

54.1%

-2.1

10

Dominic Thiem

54.8%

54.9%

0.1

11

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

54.1%

52.3%

-1.8

12

Gael Monfils

51.7%

51.2%

-0.5

13

David Ferrer

53.7%

53.2%

-0.5

14

David Goffin

51.2%

51.5%

0.3

15

Richard Gasquet

55.3%

53.5%

-1.8

16

Nick Kyrgios

52.7%

55.8%

3.1

17

Roberto Bautista Agut

55.7%

54.0%

-1.7

18

Feliciano Lopez

53.5%

51.5%

-2.0

19

Bernard Tomic

50.3%

49.0%

-1.3

20

Pablo Cuevas

51.9%

55.5%

3.6

Saving break points off a second serve is a tough ask, as the returner normally feels more confident and aggressive after not having to defend against a stronger first serve. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made a big improvement in this specific area, jumping from 44 per cent, which was the worst in the Top 20 last year, to 60 per cent in 2016, launching the Frenchman into the top five. 

2015-16: Second Serve Break Points Saved

Ranking

Player

2015

2016

Percentage Point Difference

1

Novak Djokovic

59%

60%

1

2

Andy Murray

53%

52%

-1

3

Stan Wawrinka

55%

60%

5

4

Roger Federer

56%

47%

-9

5

Rafael Nadal

49%

48%

-1

6

Milos Raonic

69%

57%

-12

7

Kei Nishikori

62%

61%

-1

8

Tomas Berdych

53%

48%

-5

9

Marin Cilic

45%

52%

7

10

Dominic Thiem

50%

49%

-1

11

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

44%

60%

16

12

Gael Monfils

57%

53%

-4

13

David Ferrer

50%

48%

-2

14

David Goffin

49%

57%

8

15

Richard Gasquet

52%

53%

1

16

Nick Kyrgios

53%

59%

6

17

Roberto Bautista Agut

59%

53%

-6

18

Feliciano Lopez

58%

49%

-9

19

Bernard Tomic

47%

48%

1

20

Pablo Cuevas

60%

64%

4

Cuevas leads this category with 64 per cent of his break points saved on second serve. Second serve performance always has been, and always will be, one of the best indicators of a player’s fortunes in a match. The best in the world make it another strength of their game.


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