INSIGHTS: Serve Effectiveness

  • Posted: Oct 05, 2023

INSIGHTS: Serve Effectiveness

Serve Effectiveness shows the percentage of points in which a player’s serve creates an advantage

One of the latest INSIGHTS metrics, Serve Effectiveness takes a holistic look at player serves by simply measuring how often the shot earns a player an advantage in points.

Expressed as a percentage, the metric includes aces, service winners, unreturned serves and points in which a player is In Attack on the first ball after the serve.

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By combining all of these statistics into one measure, we can achieve a fuller understanding of a player’s serving prowess — stripping away unrelated factors like performance in ensuing rallies, which is implicitly factored into basic statistics like service points won.

Like all INSIGHTS, a player’s Serve Effectiveness data can be compared to his season average and the ATP Tour average to better understand how much of a relative strength (or weakness) his serve is.

Out of the initial 32 seeds for this year’s Wimbledon (prior to withdrawals), three players broke the 70 per cent mark by this metric on first serve over the previous 52 weeks: Nick Kyrgios, Hubert Hurkacz and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Ben Shelton is also among the leaders with a 67.5 Serve Effectiveness rate on first serve and a 33.3 % rate on second serve, based on statistics compiled during his US Open semi-final run.

The ATP Tour average Serve Effectiveness rate on first serve is 58 per cent, broken down as follows: aces (16%), unreturned (22%), attacking first ball (20%). That leaves 38 per cent for a neutral rally state on the server’s first ball, three per cent for defence on the first ball, and one per cent for return winners. The average Serve Effectiveness on second serve is 23 per cent.

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