Why Serving On Break Point Is Extra Dangerous Against Nadal

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers examines Nadal's break point success

Rafael Nadal is more efficient at converting break points this season than any other of his illustrious career.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of break points converted from when official statistics were first recorded in 1991 shows that Nadal has reached rarified air this season. He is converting break points 49.2 per cent (126/256) of the time, a higher rate than any other season in his career. Nadal has led the Tour converting break points in three other seasons, but he is trying to cross the 50 per cent mark for the first time.

Nadal Year-End No. 1 Converting Break Points
• 2012 = 49.2% (213/433)
• 2014 = 48.4% (249/514)
• 2009 = 47.0% (295/627)

Hot on Nadal’s heels this season is 25-year-old Serbian Laslo Djere, who won the ATP 250 event in Sardinia in October. Djere has converted break points 48.3 per cent (72/149) of the time in 2020, and 54.3 per cent (19/35) en route to the Sardinia title. In third place is Italian teenage sensation, Jannik Sinner, who broke into the Top 50 just last month. Sinner is converting break points 47.3 per cent (88/186) of the time this season. In the three recent clay-court events in Kitzbühel, Rome and at Roland Garros, he was even more efficient, converting 54 per cent (73/136) of break points.

Rounding out the leading 10 players converting break points so far in 2020 are Diego Schwartzman (47.2%), Alexander Zverev (45.3%), Karen Khachanov (45%), Grigor Dimitrov (44.5%), Filip Krajinovic (44.4%), Andrey Rublev (43.8%) and Novak Djokovic (43.7%).

The high-water mark for this statistical category dates back to 2004, when Italian Filippo Volandri converted a staggering 53.1 per cent (212/399) of break points. The only other player to cross the 50 per cent threshold in a single season was Gustavo Kuerten in 1999, when the Brazilian converted 50.1 per cent (234/467) of break points.

Nadal has been ranked in the Top 10 in this specific category 12 times in his career and has always been one of the leading 20 players since 2004, when he won his maiden ATP title in Sopot, Poland.

2004-2020: Rafael Nadal Break Points Converted/Category Ranking

YEAR

Break Points Converted %

Category Year-End Rank

2020

49.2%*

1

2012

49.2%

1

2014

48.4%

1

2009

47.0%

1

2013

46.8%

2

2011

46.5%

3

2005

45.8%

4

2018

45.6%

3

2016

45.5%

3

2019

45.0%

2

2008

44.5%

6

2007

44.2%

11

2010

43.6%

8

2004

43.4%

10

2006

42.5%

18

2015

42.5%

11

2017

42.4%

13

*Entering Rolex Paris Masters semi-finals
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