8 Responses

  1. Steve
    Steve January 6, 2013 at 7:01 pm |

    Interesting.

    One thing to note though is that the Pat Rafter Arena is probably the one outdoor court on tour whose conditions mostly resemble those indoors. Always feel like I’m watching indoor tennis due to the partially closed roof. Obviously nicer conditions for serving than the average outdoor court.

  2. Henk
    Henk January 6, 2013 at 7:26 pm |

    I actually know a thing or two about statistics, and while I don’t have my textbook with me at the moment, so I can’t perform an analysis of variance, I do know that Dimitrov played 43 matches in 2012, but only 5 so in Doha. This means the effect of noise on the data is about 3 times as big! (48% vs 15%) In other words be very careful about straight up comparing figures in such a case.

  3. Matt (secondservehack)
    Matt (secondservehack) January 6, 2013 at 11:44 pm |

    This is a neat post, but, as you note several times, the sample size is extremely small, which means it’s hard to extrapolate much of anything from it. I’ve only seen Dimitrov play a few times, but I do remember he seemed to have a pretty big serve. It certainly seems possible that he’s made an adjustment that would make an already good serve better.

    One interesting thing that came up here was Nadal’s seemingly magical 2010 US Open serving improvement. I remember one of the questions in the 2011 season was: where did that pumped up serve go? Interestingly, I think the answer is that Djokovic took it away. During the off-season I was re-watching some of the 2011 finals from the Masters 1000s. When watching the Indian Wells final, one of the first things I noticed was the mph on Nadal’s first serve. He was regularly hitting upwards of 125 and getting to 130, which (even in the desert) I imagine is fairly rare for Nadal. In the first set it seemed to be working and he was winning a lot of free points, but in the second and third sets, both of which Nadal lost rather badly, his first serve percentage went way down. He was still hitting those big numbers, but the serve wasn’t going in, and you could actually see him losing confidence in the serve as the match wore on. It’s not much of a surprise that a few months later people were asking him why his serve wasn’t like it was during the US Open. In pressure situations he found it unsustainable.

    Anyway, long story short, the numbers above don’t point to Dimitrov making an unsustainable improvement, so perhaps, small sample size admitted, it does bode well for him in the future.

  4. Fernando
    Fernando January 7, 2013 at 11:52 am |

    Fernando says interesting analytic on a very intriguing player. However, sometimes the stats on serving are a function of what the player does after the serve rather than the serve itself.

    Given how aggressive Grigor played, his unforced error total was not too bad. Fernando has never seen”Baby Maestro” play with such consistency throughout a tournament. And he did a very good job of taking his chances and changing direction on his forehands. Grigor actually did look like Maestro this tournament.

    But as you aptly state, the big question in whether this was a flash in the pan or real progress. So many times, we see players have a great tournament and then fade back into the pack. We shall see, no?

    Fernando is Fernando @vivafernando

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