Down On Serve, Stan Shows The Way Out
Would you rather be down 0/30 or 30/40 when serving? Would you rather be two points away from losing serve while trailing your opponent by two points, or just a single point away from being broken but also just one point away from getting back to even?
The feel and position of these two challenging point scores for the server seem different on the surface, but statistically, they are basically one in the same. An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the Top 10 in the Emirates ATP Rankings during the 2016 season uncovers the hidden parallels of 0/30 and 30/40 at the elite level of our sport.
Top 10 2016 Season – Percentage Chance of Holding Serve
0/30 = 49.7%
30/40 = 51%
Holding serve when trailing 0/30 or 30/40 is basically a 50-50 proposition for the Top 10. Holding from 30/40 is a slightly higher possibility, at 51 per cent, while holding from 0/30 slightly trails, at 49.7 per cent.
Top 10 2016 Season
|No.||Player||Holding From 0/30||Holding From 30/40|
Performance at both point scores varied considerably in the Top 10, with World No. 4 Stan Wawrinka clearly dominating in 2016 when these specific scorelines arrived in his service games.
From 0/30, Wawrinka held 61.4 per cent of the time, which was 7.5 percentage points clear of second-placed Novak Djokovic, at 53.9 per cent. The only other players to be above 50 per cent holding from 0/30 were Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils and Kei Nishikori.
Interestingly, some players held at almost identical percentages from both scorelines, while performance greatly varied from others. Tomas Berdych’s hold percentage jumped dramatically, from 42.9 per cent at 0/30 to 53.2 percent at 30/40. World No. 1 Andy Murray also preferred the 30/40 scoreline, jumping 5.4 percentage points, while Marin Cilic similarly rose three percentage points from 0/30 to 30/40.
And then there were others, such as Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, who were the opposite. They performed better at 0/30 than 30/40.
Top 10 2016 Season – Point Score Totals
Even though the hold percentages were basically even, the Top 10 had to navigate a 30/40 scoreline substantially more often than 0/30.
0/30 = 895 times (41%)
30/40 = 1302 times (59%)
Understanding the percentages of holding serve from specific scorelines in a game can highlight where a player excels, both physically and mentally, and where energy needs to be focused in order to improve.