First Serve Win %: Ivo Karlovic, Milos Raonic Lead But Roger Federer Ranks Third? [Stats]

by Staff | March 9th, 2015, 11:27 am

In our look at the ATP Matchfacts at the two-month mark of the 2015 tennis season, we examine the first serve winning percentage leaders.

It’s no shock that power servers Ivo Karlovic and Milos Raonic lead the way at No. 1 and 2, respectively. But it does come as a surprise that Roger Federer is third on the list winning 81% of his first service points. The Swiss is ahead of towers Sam Querrey, Tomas Berdych and even Kevin Anderson in terms of backing up his first serve. That’s pretty good for a 33-year-old who in this era of big men stands just 6’1″.

And Federer’s never finished a season in the 80% range of that category. In fact, his career average in terms of first serve points won percentage is 77%, so is Federer serving better now than ever?

Among the Big 4, Novak Djokovic is 76%, Andy Murray is 74% and Rafael Nadal is 72%.

As expected, at the bottom we find claycourters Pablo Andujar, Fabio Fognini and Juan Monaco who don’t rely on their first serve to win points like the bigger guys.

Note: John Isner is at 83% but doesn’t qualify for the leaderboard with just six ATP matches played in 2015.

ATP First Serve Pts Won %
1 Karlovic, Ivo 85 17
2 Raonic, Milos 83 14
3 Federer, Roger 81 12
4 Querrey, Sam 80 8
5 Muller, Gilles 80 16
6 Berdych, Tomas 80 20
7 Anderson, Kevin 79 18
8 Struff, Jan-Lennard 78 8
9 Groth, Sam 78 11
10 Gasquet, Richard 77 13
67 Nieminen, Jarkko 67 11
68 Berlocq, Carlos 65 9
69 Monaco, Juan 64 12
70 Fognini, Fabio 64 10
71 Andujar, Pablo 63 8

As of March 9, 2015

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5 Comments for First Serve Win %: Ivo Karlovic, Milos Raonic Lead But Roger Federer Ranks Third? [Stats]

SG1 Says:

Talk about keeping that high % in different ways! Milos and Ivo pretty much win the points outright when they get the first serve in. Federer backs up his serve with the rest of his game better than anyone.

Interestingly, this stat also indicates that Federer has a hard time breaking serve. Given the ease with which he holds serve and the relative lack of titles over few years, it seems that Roger’s return game has become a bit of a liability. Particularly against the upper echelon guys.

SG1 Says:

And Fed has that loose arm which allows him generate excellent pop and wicked spin. If it’s possible for anything about Roger to be underrated, I think it’s his serve. He uses it better than anyone (including Raonic and Ivo) to set up the next shot. Much like Sampras but with a little less power.

chris ford1 Says:

Novak is not too shabby a serve returner. Federer’s serve was good enough to hold him at bay in the Dubai Final.
It is the serve that is keeping Fed in the mix at the top. Without it, he would not set up his recent top level attacking game that got Djokovic in Shanghai as well as Dubai.

sienna Says:

SG take a look at the stats of the other article. his return game is holding its own.

His lack of titles was only in 2013. 2014 5 and 2015 already 2. What is your comment about?

SG1 Says:

Federer’s return game has been steadily declining since ’09. The Wimbledon win against Roddick was a watershed match. A man who’s serve had never really bothered him (despite it’s speed), suddenly looked unbreakable. Federer is shockingly inefficient with his break point opportunities for someone so talented. It’s incongruous but I believe the statistics would bear this out.

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