During a game of tennis, what do you think is the most important point? There are a variety of opinions; but here is one from tennis’ “statistics guru” based on his study of the pros (in support of his client, Novak Djokovic).
Serving at 30-30
“Win the 30-30 point and the percentages are overwhelmingly in your favor to hold serve. Lose the point, and the odds now say you are more likely to get broken,” says Craig O’Shannessy, on his Brain Game Tennis website.
Here Are the Numbers..
Top 10 Players in 2019
- Holding from 30-30 = 80%
- Holding from 40-30 = 93%
- Holding from 30-40 = 49%
“The gap difference between holding from 40-30 (93%) and 30-40 (49%) = 44 percentage points = A MASSIVE DIFFERENCE!
“So… how much risk should you take on board when serving at 30-30? Is it a good time to go for an ace and to play big, or is it better to play the percentages and make a first serve and look for a Serve +1 forehand?
“When you find yourself serving at 30-30, there are a number of elements that come into play.
- Do you have a specific serve direction you know you can make?
- Does the opponent have a significantly weaker return side?
- Is it a good time for a surprise serve location?
- Is your opponent stepping in and attacking your serve?
- Where should you serve to bring the ball back where you want it?
- All factors to consider…
“When you arrive at 30-30, think of the outcome of the point like a fork in the road, where one pathway gives you an excellent chance of holding serve, while the other road is basically a coin flip to decide if you are going to hold serve.
“Pro players can serve much more at the corners at 30-30, because they have the proficiency to do so. I want you to serve more at the body at 30-30, which will improve the percentages that you will make the serve. Going jam forehand or jam backhand both work, so you will need to figure out which direction makes the opponent more uncomfortable.
“If the return is made, your opponent will probably be aiming towards the middle of the court to your backhand side. I want you to run around this backhand and upgrade to a forehand and then go deep to your opponent’s backhand to push them back where they can’t hurt you. Win the court position battle first, and then you can start to focus on forcing an error or hitting a winner.”
My Two Cents
In my opinion, the most under rated important point in a game is 15-30… win that point and you can then face Craig’s positive stats above. But, lose that point and you are facing a steep hill to climb at 15-40, double break point.
What do you think about critical points?
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