As a science guy, I love numbers. They tell at least a part of the story of something without much bias (if used correctly). With the Australian Open on right now, I started asking myself, "what are the main stats to determine if a pro will win or lose their match?" So I hit the stats of this year's QF, SF and Finals (just for women's as Fed vs. Cilic is tomorrow) to see what I could find.
Here's the cool part; I found stats that were very important for a women's winner but an entirely different stat that was important for a men's winner. Maybe these stats will help you figure out what to focus on in your practice to start improving your game more efficiently!
The Statistic That EVERY Women's Winner Was Better On Was....
Above are the stats I did in compiling up the most important stat that made a difference in who won or loss in the women's QF, SF and finals matches. It might be obvious to you that looking at the winners and errors but this is really important for women's tennis. As a general pattern in the stats above, the player with the best differential in winners to errors won the match (Halep and Kerber was close but so was the match!). If you look closely at the numbers though, the main stat to focus on is unforced errors. Other than Halep's marathon match against Kerber, the winner had the least amount of unforced errors. Why am I saying this is so important? In women's tennis, hitting by their opponent is not as common as the men's based mainly on the speed of the groundstroke. Here are some stats on that from a couple of years ago. So if hitting by their opponent is not as easy, then staying consistent is a key for them to win the match. This is what seems to be the key. So for women's recreational matches, work on consistency and depth of groundstrokes rather than winners. This will give you a more focused practice to improve your overall game!
The Statistic That ALMOST Every Men's Winner Was Better On Was....
Here are the stats I compiled from the men's QF and SF matches. As you can see, I didn't focus on winners and errors as that was not a key indicator of who would win their match. It is common knowledge that men have a big advantage on the serve. So I found a statistic that seems to be the key to winning for the men's pro matches at this year's Australian Open (I'm pretty sure this would hold true for most matches in any tournament). Looking closely at the numbers above, it is clear that the winner of the matches had a higher success rate in winning off their first and second serve than their opponent (outlier is Dimitrov holding a slight advantage over Edmund but lost a close 5 setter). It's apparent that winning off the serve is a huge deal in men's tennis so if you want to improve your chances in winning your recreational matches and you are male, focus on the serve! Not only is the serve important but working on the second shot after the serve to keep the pressure on your opponent is important.
Want to improve your speed on the court? Try anticipating better!