When Points Go Long, It’s Advantage Nadal & Federer

Nadal a clear leader in points of 9+ shots, with Federer a surprise second on the list

A rally begins, and it gets longer, and longer, and longer.

What you are seeing is not so much dominance building by one player over the other, but rather the exact opposite - a leveling out of each player’s fortunes as the length of the rally rises.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of extended rallies of 9+ shots from the year-end Top 10 in the 2019 season uncovers that this elite group combined to win just 52.5 per cent of total points in this specific rally length. The data set is from ATP Masters 1000 events in 2019 on Hawk-Eye courts.

The Top 10 leader was Rafael Nadal, who won a commanding 58 per cent of extended rallies in the 9+ rally length. The Spaniard was the only Top 10 player to cross the 55 per cent threshold.

What’s interesting is that Roger Federer, typically known for wanting to finish points quickly, came in second place, winning 54.5 per cent of points in extended rallies of nine shots or more. Few would have guessed that the Swiss placed higher up this list than his arch-rival, Novak Djokovic, who came in sixth place, winning 53.7 per cent (538/1002) of extended rallies.

The three players who all won in the 54 per cent range were Roberto Bautista Agut (54.4%), Gael Monfils (54.1%) and Matteo Berrettini (54.0%).

Daniil Medvedev had a breakthrough season in 2019, winning ATP Masters 1000 events in Cincinnati and Shanghai, but still only managed to win just 52.7 per cent of rallies of 9 shots or more. The three players in the data set who were below the Top 10 average were Dominic Thiem (51.5%), Alexander Zverev (49.7%) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (45.6%).

Reaching the elite status of being a Top 10 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings is based on developing a variety of strengths in your game. Creating a slight edge in longer rallies is just one of them.

2019 Top 10: Points Won In 9+ Rallies At ATP Masters 1000 On Hawk-Eye Courts

Player 9+ Points
Won
9+ Points
Total
Win %
Rafael Nadal 348 600 58.0%
Roger Federer 403 739 54.5%
Roberto Bautista Agut 436 801 54.4%
Gael Monfils 486 898 54.1%
Matteo Berrettini 238 441 54.0%
Novak Djokovic 538 1002 53.7%
Daniil Medvedev 648 1230 52.7%
Dominic Thiem 318 617 51.5%
Alexander Zverev 444 893 49.7%
Stefanos Tsitsipas 466 1023 45.6%
AVERAGE 4325 8244 52.5%