Zverev's Fast Starts Spark Easy Holds
Imagine only having to win the first point of your service game, and you are basically a lock to hold.
That was Alexander Zverev in Rome last week. Zverev, 20, won the Internazionali BNL d’Italia - his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title, and third overall title this season.
An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of Zverev’s maiden Masters uncovers complete dominance on serve on the clay courts at the Foro Italico.
Zverev had 68 service games in six matches in Rome. Almost 80 per cent of the time (54), he surged ahead 15/0. Of the 54 service games where he reached 15/0, he won 52 of them. That 96 per cent win rate was higher than his 2017 season average of 92 per cent. Just one point and the game is pretty much done and dusted.
Zverev’s 6’6” (198cm) frame is built for serving. He is tall, yet speedy around the court. He is lithe, yet has massive power at his disposal from his long levers.
Of the 14 times he fell behind 0/15, he won 80 per cent (11/14) of those service games. He only fell behind 0/30 five times, winning four of those games. If he got ahead 30/0, which he did 37 times, he won every single one of these service games.
Zverev’s second serve is an obvious area of improvement in his rise up the Emirates ATP Rankings.
Zverev second serve points won:
- 2015 = 47% (493/1041)
- 2016 = 50% (1088/2156)
- 2017 = 56% (550/979)
- 2017 Rome = 61% (73/120)
Zverev’s first serve is emerging as one of the best shots in the game. His 2017 season average for first serves made is 63 per cent. But when Zverev faced 14 break points in Rome, he made a first serve 71 per cent of the time. The ability to elevate under pressure is already a hallmark of his game.
In the deuce court, he made two of three first serves on break point, and made eight of 11 in the ad court. He won 60 per cent (6/10) of break points behind his first serve, and 75 per cent (3/4) behind his second serve.
What’s fascinating is that Zverev is actually putting up better return numbers than on his serve in the past 52 weeks. He is ranked 25th best on the ATP Stats Serve LEADERBOARD, powered by Infosys Nia Data, and 18th best returning.
Zverev is eighth best on tour converting break points in the past 52 weeks at 44.8 per cent. He was true to form in Rome, winning 45.2 per cent (19/42) of his break points. Overall in Rome, Zverev won 55.6 per cent (466/838) of total points - a significant jump over his 2017 season average of 52.1 per cent (2784/5339).
His Rome numbers send an ominous warning to the rest of the tour. If he can keep that up for a full season, that’s right where the World No. 1 ends up in total points won.