Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Serve in Modern Tennis

“Unless you're one of those rare mutant virtuosos of raw force, you'll find that competitive tennis, like money pool, requires geometric thinking, the ability to calculate not merely your own angles but the angles of response to your angles. Because the expansion of response-possibilities is quadratic, you are required to think n shots ahead, where n is a hyperbolic function limited by the sine of opponent's talent and the cosine of the number of shots in the rally so far (roughly)”.

If your thoughts on court are less analytical of David Foster Wallace's ones, the difficulties in answering increase. And the serve, as a fundamental of the game but principally seen as the stroke to start and determine your game, becomes more and more relevant. But how much? A possible answer, a first rough evaluation of the importance of service in determining the result of a tennis match, could arrive analysing the percentage of tiebreaks played out of the total amount of sets run off.

The data presented here consider this percentage only in Grand Slam tournament since 1980 to 2008, so considering also the not-so-world class last Australian Open editions at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club. This index has the advantage of being simple to be read and immediate to understand, giving a clear image without implying an excessive sacrifice to heuristic deepness.

(Continue to ATP Tennis 360)
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