Read & Watch: Medvedev Pounces On Second Serves For Best ATP Ranking

Infosys ATP Insights shows how Medvedev and other Top 10 players hone in on opponents' second serves

Do returners win more points against first or second serves?

Returners have more exposure against first serves, as north of 60 per cent are typically made, but it’s always easier to make hay against second serves. So what’s your guess?

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the current Top 10 identifies that, on average, players win slightly more second-serve points than first, but it’s a very close tussle. So far in 2019, seven members of the current Top 10 have won more points against second serves, while three have won more against first serves.

It’s important to note that one metric is not necessarily better than the other, as how many first serves an opponent makes, or misses, will also play a part. It’s more about understanding how different players, using different playing styles, find a way to navigate their way to victory from a returning standpoint.

You May Also Like: The One Stat That Pushed Medvedev To Cincy Title, US Open Final

Daniil Medvedev, who is up to a career-high No. 4 in the ATP Rankings following his run to the US Open final in New York, has won more second-serve return points this season than any other member of the Top 10, with 956. In taking the Cincinnati title, Medvedev comparatively won a higher ratio of second-serve return points compared to his season average.

Of the 1,637 return points Medvedev won in 2019 leading into Cincinnati, 52.4 per cent of those came on his opponents’ second serves and 47.6 per cent came on opponents’ first serves.

But in his six Cincinnati matches, 58.7 per cent of all points he won on return came on opponents’ second serves. That’s a significant increase of 6.3 percentage points on his season average.

Medvedev: First-Serve Return Points Won vs. Second-Serve Return Points Won
(bold = percentage second serve return points won)

D. Medvedev

First Return Points Won

Second Return Points Won


2019 To Cincinnati

779 (47.6%)

858 (52.4%)


2019 Cincinnati

69 (41.3%)

98 (58.7%)


2019 To Date

848 (47.0%)

956 (53.0%)


Roberto Bautista Agut has just cracked the Top 10 for the first time, and he has won the second most number of second-serve return points among the Top 10 this season, with 937. The five other players who have all won more second-serve return points this season compared to first-serve return points are Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem, Kei Nishikori and Karen Khachanov.

Rafael Nadal is one of three current Top 10 players who has won more points returning first serves compared to second serves this season. The other two players are Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The Top 10 combine to have a slender edge in second-serve return points won so far in 2019.

Current Top 10: 2019 Season Return Points Won
Total 1st Return Won = 7,683 (49.6%)
Total 2nd Return Won = 7,820 (50.4%)
Total Return Points = 15,503

Winning return points is never easy, and where elite level players collect the most from is not always the same.

Current Top 10: 2019 Return Points Won (bold = most)



1st Return Won

2nd Return Won

Total Return Points Won


N. Djokovic

785 (49.5%)

800 (50.5%)



R. Nadal

806 (52.9%)

718 (47.1%)



R. Federer

748 (49.5%)

764 (50.5%)



D. Thiem

643 (48.5%)

684 (51.5%)



D. Medvedev

848 (47.0%)

956 (53.0%)



A. Zverev

820 (52.5%)

743 (47.5%)



K. Nishikori

739 (49.0%)

768 (51.0%)



S. Tsitsipas

902 (52.5%)

815 (47.5%)



K. Khachanov

600 (48.6%)

635 (51.4%)



R. Bautista Agut

792 (45.8%)

937 (54.2%)


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