Is your second serve a strong point in your game?
I can say with almost certainty that it is not, because it is not for almost everyone on the 🌏.
Earning more points on the second serve will be discussed in detail during the webinar Serving strategy: patterns, percentages and exerciseswhich is now available for sale.
Consider these numbers from the last US Open for men and women.
MEN US Open: 2nd serve point scored
The first thing to consider is that these are the best male players in the world – and they can barely break even with second serve points. They played over 80,000 points starting with the second serve and only managed to build a 321-point lead.
So that’s not good news for the rest of us who aren’t as adept at hitting second serves and continuing to defend strong +1 serves. If the world’s best are barely above water in this statistical area, then there’s a good chance we’re statistically underwater (<50% of points scored).
The top five men with second service points earned in their careers are:
- Rafal Nadal = 57.28%
- Roger Federer = 56.83%
- Jan Isner = 56.01%
- Andy Roddick = 55.94%
- Novak Djokovic = 55.37%
Now let’s take a look at the women at the US Open.
WOMEN 2015-2021 US Open: 2nd place on site
This dataset is smaller because there are no data for 2016 and 2020, and 20 matches are missing from 2021. But that doesn’t really matter because the rest of the data is consistent and tells a fascinating story. Women at the US Open can only win 45% of their second serve points, which is a big hole in their game.
Two things really stand out to me from the tables above.
- Scoring points on a second serve is an “art”.
- The second serve and everything after it must take up most of your time on the training ground.
Let’s move on to the first topic.
“ART” for earning 2. serve points.
There are many more second serves that come back into play than the first serve.
US Open 2021 MEN
- 1. Service Not Refunded = 36%
- 2. Service Not Refunded = 18%
2021 US Open WOMEN
- 1. Service Not Refunded = 29%
- 2. Service Not Refunded = 18%
Interestingly, the percentage of non-returned second service was the same for men and women and amounted to 18%. So the flip side of the coin is that 82% of second serves come back into play and that’s where the rubber meets the ground.
Let’s focus on the 82% return to the game and the goal of over 50% of those points. Here are the elements to consider:
- Are you mixing up your second serve enough that the returner can’t just walk into it?
- Do you target the weaker return side for big points and mix with the strong one when you can afford to lose a point?
- Can you hit both a slice and a second serve kick?
- Is your +1 serve strong enough defensively against aggressive turns?
- Are you good enough at blocking your way out of trouble when you have limited time to prepare for a Serve +1 hit?
- Do you feel comfortable extending the point on your second serve, trying to switch from defense to attack?
- Is your technique strong enough to withstand the pressure? Do you have a constant high point of contact?
- How often do you commit double fault? Are you more likely to double-feel in difficult situations?
These and many other topics are covered in detail in this article Serving Strategy Webinar. The art of scoring a second serve is to mix serve spots and have a strong defensive footing with a +1 Serve. It also involves a positive attitude and a clean foundation of service traffic. The “art” is to first understand all of these specific elements and then develop them one by one into the strength of your game.
Exercises for the training court will also be in the webinar.
I can’t wait to have you with me and help make the other side a strong point in your game.