Daniil Medvedev, Matteo Berrettini Test World’s Best Returners

Aneela SiddiquiWeb Editor

18th Sep, 2021. 10:56 am
Matteo Berrettini

Matteo Berrettini

When Matteo Berrettini cracks a first serve in the Ad court, it’s a coin flip whether or not it’ll come back into play. When it comes to first serves, Stefanos Tsitsipas reigns supreme, winning nearly two out of every three points on the Deuce court after his first serve.

In both the Deuce and Ad courts, an Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the Top 10 in 2021 reveals who forces the most unreturned serves and who wins the most points when the initial serve is returned back into play.

Deuce Court: 1st Serves Unreturned

Daniil Medvedev dominates the Top 10 in unreturned serves in the Deuce court this season, at 44.3 percent (227/512). There were 103 aces and 124 returns that did not return to play in that total. A total of 65 aces were hit straight down the T, while 38 aces were hit wide. Both Matteo Berrettini (44.2%) and Alexander Zverev (43.8%) came within a percentage point of Medvedev’s top Deuce court unreturned percentage.


Deuce Court: 1st Serves Unreturned

Top 10 Player Unreturned
D. Medvedev  44.3%
M. Berrettini 44.2%
A. Zverev 43.8%
D. Shapovalov 41.3%
A. Rublev 40.4%
C. Ruud 38.7%
S. Tsitsipas 37.8%
P. Carreno Busta 31.8%
N. Djokovic 30.9%
R. Nadal 27.5%

Ad Court: 1st Serves Unreturned

Berrettini jumped to the top of the list with 46.3 percent (195/421) of first serves unreturned in the Ad court. From his strong first serve, the Italian hit 80 aces (47 wide / 33 T) while also collecting 115 wayward returns. Denis Shapovalov (42.7 percent) and Medvedev (42.7 percent) were the only two players in the Ad court who had more than 40% unreturned serves (42.6 percent ).


Ad Ct: 1st Serves Unreturned

Top 10 Player  Unreturned
M. Berrettini 46.3%
D. Shapovalov 42.7%
D. Medvedev 42.6%
A. Zverev 38.4%
A. Rublev 38.1%
S. Tsitsipas 38.1%
C. Ruud 36.8%
R. Nadal 30.4%
P. Carreno Busta 26.2%
N. Djokovic 25.4%

Deuce Court: 1st Serves Returned & Won Point

When the initial serve is returned, the returner has established a strong position in the point. Stefanos Tsitsipas led the field in the Deuce court, winning 65 percent of first-serve points returned (241/596). When the return was brought back into play, only world No. 1 Novak Djokovic (63.5 percent), Christian Ruud (62.0 percent), and Andrey Rublev (61.4 percent) were the only players to break through the 60 per cent points won barrier when the return came back in play.

Deuce Ct 1st Serves Returned & Won Point

Top 10 Player Won Point
S. Tsitsipas 65.0%
N. Djokovic 63.5%
C. Ruud 62.0%
A. Rublev 61.4%
M. Berrettini 59.7%
D. Medvedev 59.6%
P. Carreno Busta 58.1%
A. Zverev 57.4%
R. Nadal 55.5%
D. Shapovalov 54.6%

Ad Court: 1st Serves Returned & Won Point

Shapovalov, a 22-year-old Canadian lefty, led the Top 10 in points won on the Ad court from first serves returned to play, with 63.5 percent (139/219). In the Ad court, Medvedev (62.5%), Tsitsipas (61.8%), Rublev (61.5%), and Berrettini (60.6%) all received more than 60%  in the Ad court.

Ad Court
1st Serves Returned & Won Point

Top 10 Player  Won Point
D. Shapovalov 63.5%
D. Medvedev 62.5%
S. Tsitsipas 61.8%
A. Rublev 61.5%
M. Berrettini 60.6%
A. Zverev 59.3%
P. Carreno Busta 58.5%
C. Ruud 57.4%
N. Djokovic 56.4%
R. Nadal 55.9%

Traditional tennis statistics such as first serves made and first serves won can assist us assess a player’s performance when it comes to his first serve. The Infosys Serve Tracker reveals how many first serves do not return to play and who performs better when they do. So far this season, Berrettini and Tsitsipas have risen to the top of the Top 10 crop.

The data collection includes 2021 matches from Hawk-Eye courts from the ATP Cup, ATP Masters 1000s, and select ATP 500s and 250s. To be included in the top 10, players must have played 20 matches on Hawk-Eye courts (as of August 23). No. 11 Christian Ruud and No. 12 Pablo Carreno Busta take the place of the injured Dominic Thiem (18 matches) and Roger Federer (13 matches).

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