The tennis world has now had a week to process the end of the 2020 French Open, but many of us are probably still struggling to understand how the 56th meeting of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal could turn out to be so underwhelming. As one of the most noticeable changes in Djokovic’s game strategy this year, it is tempting to point blame at the drop shot. But would that be a fair assessment? Using data from the Match Charting Project, let’s see if we can determine if Djokovic’s drop shot strategy was what cost him his latest chance at an 18th Major title.
If you’ve been tuning into the 2020 French Open and found yourself saying, ‘man, seems like guys are going to the net a lot’, you wouldn’t be wrong. So far, the approach rate at RG this year is an average of 19 per 100 points compared to 17 per 100 points in 2019 and 15 per 100 points in 2017 and 2018. It may seem small, but an upward shift of this size requires multiple players to be going to the net at an above average rate. So who might be driving this shift? And is the shift more than a one-off?
For any tennis player, the serve is a delicate balance between power and control. How well do the best players in the world manage this balance? Guest blogger, Peter Tea, uses decades of match data to examine trends in the serve leaders and losers among top-ranked ATP and WTA players.
Guest blogger, Peter Tea, returns for another chapter of the conundrum that is Alexander Zverev’s serve. In this second part of the When Two First Serves are Better Than One series, Tea investigates the trends behind Zverev’s serve and attempts to identify the specific factors that have made him a surprising candidate for a two-first-serve strategy.
The Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) is a new tennis league created by Patrick Mouratoglou that is aiming to attract younger fans to tennis. When the league debuted this month, it was clear that it was taking a lot of inspiration from e-sports, introducing more gaming features like UTS cards. These cards give players the chance to change the value of some points, adding extra chances for strategic advantage. So far, the players haven’t always seemed to know how to use the cards to their best advantage. In this post, I show how to estimate the expected value of each UTS card and rank them from most to least valuable.