If you have been following information posted on our website, or attending many of our clinics, you may be aware of the latest philosophy that most rallies in a match do not last longer than 4 shots. The “first 4 shot” theory has been presented and defended by Craig O’Shannessy, master statistician for the ATP tour. All of the stats have supported that regardless of age and level, amateur and professional, rally length is usually less than 4 shots.
How does surface influence rally length? Most people may assume that this theory may not hold up on clay. During the men’s finals of the French Open between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, 52% of the points ended between 0-4 shots. Twenty four per cent ended in the 5-8 shot range, and an identical 24 per cent lasted nine shots or longer.
If you would like to read a more complete analysis of Craig’s opinion, click here for his evaluation of the match.
Another interesting finding is that despite both players being known for their consistency and movement from the baseline, Novak won 79% of his points at the net (26/33). So remember, if you don’t win the point off your serve or serve return immediately, then move forward and your chances of finishing off the point on the next shot will be greater. Thanks to Craig for sharing all of the stats and giving all of us a different view of the game – regardless of the surface.