Tennis “Under Pressure”

Tennis is a tremendously matched sport, much more than the average viewer could imagine. Analyzing ATP Tour Stats from last season we can find an illuminating example: the No 1 Novak Djokovic just won the 54.2% of the points he played having won the 81.5% of his matches. Shocking, right? Not much. The No 10 John Isner only got the 50.8% of the balls in play.

Those numbers lead us to think that most of the matches are decided on very few points and the player who best handles pressure situations has the edge on court. The ATP shows statistics on this matter: the Under Pressure Leaderboard takes into account the Serve Rating (four service metrics percentages plus the average number of aces per match and subtracts the average number of double faults per match), Return Rating (winning percentage in the four service return categories) and the Under Pressure Rating, which is calculated by adding the percentage of break points converted and saved, percentage of tie-breaks won and percentage of deciding sets won.

That Ranking, headed by Nishikori, shows very interesting data, but going one step further I have analyzed the average of matches won after losing the first set, a critical situation in any match. It may seem crazy… but I found some really accurate information on the way.

In this homemade Ranking lead by Nadal, who won 5 of the 8 matches he started losing, just 4 of the Top 100 players reached 50% of wins (Nadal, Fognini, Gulbis and Opelka, who played only 2 matches under this circumstance) and just a few exceeded 30%.

So, considering this 30% of comebacks as starting point, I found the following:

  • 90% of the Top 10 players surpassed it (except Del Potro: 29.4%)
  • 50% between No 11 and 20
  • 26.66% between 21 and 50
  • 10% between 51 and 100

An almost perfect pyramid that could explain how physical and mental strength play a key role when it comes to competing

Over 30% Comebacks List

1- Djokovic 6/10 (37.5%)

2- Nadal 5/3 (62.5%)

3- Federer 5/7 (41.7%)

4- A.Zverev 7/13 (35%)

5- Anderson 12/14 (46.2%)

6- Cilic 8/12 (40%)

7- Thiem 11/18 (37.9%)

8- Nishikori 8/17 (32%)

10- Isner 9/17 (34.6%)

12- Coric 10/16 (38.5%)

13- Fognini 16/16 (50%)

16- Medvedev 9/21 (30%)

19- Dimitrov 7/14 (33.3%)

20- Cecchinato 12/20 (37.5%)

22- Goffin 8/15 (34.8%)

24- Bautista 8/16 (33.3%)

31- De Minaur 7/14 (33.3%)

35- Kyrgios 7/8 (46.7%)

38- Millman 8/17 (32%)

41- Klizan 5/7 (41.7%)

43- Jarry 9/14 (39.1%)

49- Fritz 8/13 (38.1%)

55- Herbert 7/15 (31.8%)

84- Umbert 1/2 (33.3%)

86- Kovalik 2/3 (40%)

96- Gulbis 5/5 (50%)

100- Opelka 1/1 (50%)

*Data: Tennis Abstract / Images: ATP Tour