Stats Preview: Razor-Thin Advantages For Djokovic, Nadal

  • Posted: May 31, 2022

Stats Preview: Razor-Thin Advantages For Djokovic, Nadal

Find out where the advantages lie for each man

In matches of fine margins, statistics can often shine a light where the naked eye fails to see. Tuesday night’s Roland Garros quarter-final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal promises to be such a contest, with the World No. 1 and the 13-time Roland Garros champion set for their 59th ATP Head2Head meeting. digs into the numbers to understand where the advantages may lie for each player, analysing data from the first four rounds in Roland Garros.


Every point begins with this crucial shot, so this preview will start there, too. The standout statistic here is Novak Djokovic’s 82 per cent save rate on break points. The Serbian has saved 14 of the 17 break points against him while Nadal has erased half of the 18 break chances against his serve.

Both men have been solid on serve this fortnight, but they have dominated in slightly different ways. Nadal is stronger on second serve, where he has won 63 per cent of his points to Djokovic’s 56 per cent. The Spaniard’s average second serve comes in at 154.6 km/h while Djokovic delivers at an average of 142.5 km/h.

Nadal has reaped the rewards of a more aggressive second delivery, while Djokovic has the edge on first serve, winning 77 per cent of those points to Nadal’s still-strong 73 per cent. Both men have averaged roughly 182 km/h on first serve, with the Serbian hitting 31 aces to Nadal’s seven.

  Djokovic Nadal
 Break Points Saved 14/17 (82%) 9/18 (50%)
 First-Serve Win Rate 77% 73%
 Aces 31 7
 Second-Serve Win Rate 56% 63%
 Avg. Second-Serve Speed 142.5 km/h 154.6 km/h


Nadal and Djokovic have both won 41 per cent of first-serve return points, but the World No. 1 holds the edge on second-serve return, where he has claimed 63 per cent of the points on offer, compared to Nadal’s 58 per cent.

Both men have converted break points at roughly the same rate: Nadal at 46 per cent (26/57) and Djokovic at 48 per cent (23/58).

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Rallies & Net Approaches

In rallies short (0-4 shots), medium (5-8 shots) and long (8+ shots) in length, no significant edge stands out. Djokovic and Nadal have both enjoyed strong advantages in all three categories.

Against Felix Auger-Aliassime, Nadal lost the short rallies, 41-44. Djokovic edged the long rallies by just one point against both Alex Molcan (22-21) and Diego Schwartzman (23-22).

Looking at the winner count, both quarter-finalists are well over the 100 mark. But Djokovic has hit 134 winners on 395 points won (33.9 per cent) compared to Nadal’s 126 winners on 423 points won (27.8 per cent).

Despite Djokovic’s higher winner rate, his average rally length has been significantly longer than Nadal’s: 5.25 shots to 4.66 shots.

   Djokovic Nadal
0-4 Shots 204-144 228-197
5-8 Shots 114-67 131-73
9+ Shots 77-55 65-46
Avg. Rally 5.25 4.66

It’s also interesting to note that Djokovic has committed more unforced errors than forced (100 to 72), while Nadal’s number skew the opposite way with 97 unforced and 119 forced errors off his racquet.

When it comes to net play, both men have visited the forecourt more than 100 times, with Djokovic converting those points at a slightly higher clip than Nadal. The Serbian has won 80 of his 103 net points (78 per cent) to Nadal’s 75 of 106 (71 per cent).

Time On Court

After the pair’s four-hour and 10-minute semi-final showdown in the 2021 Roland Garros semi-finals, another long match could favour Djokovic. The Serbian has spent exactly two-and-a-half hours less on court than Nadal this fortnight, playing two fewer sets.

After battling for four hours and 21 minutes in his five-set win over Auger-Aliassime, Nadal has spent 10 hours and 43 minutes on court. Djokovic has been efficient in eight hours and 13 minutes of play.

ATP Head2Head History

While Djokovic holds a 30-28 advantage overall in this legendary rivalry, Nadal holds a decisive 19-8 record on clay and an even stronger 7-2 mark at Roland Garros.

– Stats courtesy of Roland Garros

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