Rafael Nadal says he’s been trying to hit his second serve harder this year, and it’s paying off.
Speaking during his pre-tourney presser Monday in Madrid, Nadal said the goal was to get more pop on that shot, and so far so good.
“That was something we had in mind, maybe have a little bit more speed on the second serve. But we don’t have to be crazy about it or start to analyze things that perhaps now I’m doing better.
“Basically what I’m doing better or what I’ve been doing better for the last couple of months is that I’ve been playing way better than what I did in 2015. Last year I had an injury, but I was playing well, too.
“But, yes, I’m trying to hit my second serves a little bit harder. Apparently it’s working. It’s a little bit easier to try things when the results are there. Maybe you can make decisions to change things in your game, with the speed, second serve, whatever it is.
“But for the moment, things are working out. I think I am serving quite well during the whole year. The second serve, it’s true it has been one of the things that is a key point.
“The statistics of the points won with the second serve, I’m up there. I’m one of the best players that wins points with the second serve. I think that’s a very important statistic on the tour.
All the years that I’ve been playing, I think I’ve always been one of the best players in the statistics of points won with the second serve, without having the second serve that I have right now.”
As Nadal said, the stats do back up what Nadal’s saying.
Service speeds are not available, but Nadal has averaged winning 57% of points on second serve through his career. This year he’s at 61%, which would be a season-best if he can maintain it (previous bests was 60% in 2010 and 2008). And he leads the tour right now in that category with Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios next at 58%.
On first serve, Nadal is at 73% this year, ahead of his 72% career average.
Nadal also averaged .22 aces/game (ace every 5 games) last year. This year he’s up slightly to .25 (ace every 4 games).
The saying goes, you are only as good as your second serve. Nadal has been good!
ATP 2017 SECOND SERVE WINNING PCT LEADERS
1 Rafael Nadal 61%
2 Roger Federer 58%
3 Nick Kyrgios 58%
4 Horacio Zeballos 57%
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