Attempt standing seven-plus metres behind the baseline to return serve. You could as properly be midway to the moon. Not solely does Daniil Medvedev thrive from this ultra-deep return location, however he has additionally damaged serve extra instances on arduous courts in 2021 than every other participant.
An Infosys ATP Past The Numbers evaluation of Medvedev’s prowess on arduous courts reveals the Russian broke serve 75 instances from 20 matches as much as the Olympics, simply edging compatriot Andrey Rublev, who at that time had damaged 74 instances from 24 matches.
Medvedev additionally leads the Tour with complete factors gained on arduous courts this season at 54.7 per cent (1637/2992). Rublev is as soon as once more in second place, successful 54.6 per cent (1791/3279) of hard-court factors. It’s now hard-court season within the U.S. and Medvedev is poised as soon as once more to be a pivotal participant chasing ATP Masters 1000 and Grand Slam glory.
The investigation into why Medvedev thrives from such an impossibly deep return location reveals his excessive court docket place efficiently morphs a standard return right into a pseudo-groundstroke. Conventional tennis mantra dictates that we’re on defence towards the facility of a primary serve and may due to this fact make use of extra of a blocking technique. The pondering is to decrease the pace of the first-serve return to make sure better management and get extra returns in. It’s at all times been simply positive to swing away towards a slower second serve.
Medvedev throws conventional tennis knowledge out the window. Actually, his common first-serve return pace (110 km/h) on the ATP Cup was precisely the identical as his opponents’ second-serve return pace. That’s simply laughing within the face of what has been accepted for generations. Medvedev’s excessive return location and vastly superior first-serve return pace are rewriting what’s doable returning serve on a tough court docket.
The next Hawk-Eye graphic compares Medvedev’s return hit factors to Matteo Berrettini’s within the ATP Cup last on arduous court docket in Melbourne in January. All of Medvedev’s returns have been from 4 to seven metres behind the baseline, whereas Berrettini was a metre contained in the baseline to round two metres behind.
Medvedev’s Return Contact Factors
Berrettini’s Return Contact Factors
Graphics courtesy Hawk-Eye Improvements/ATP Media
Contemplate the next returns speeds from the ATP Cup on arduous courts at Melbourne Park:
2021 ATP Cup – Common First-Serve Return Velocity
|Last vs Berrettini||100 km/h||87 km/h|
|SF vs Zverev||103 km/h||93 km/h|
|RR vs Nishikori||122 km/h||88 km/h|
|RR vs Schwartzman||116 km/h||80 km/h|
|AVERAGE||110 km/h||87 km/h|
2021 ATP Cup – Common Second-Serve Return Velocity
|Last vs Berrettini||125 km/h||107 km/h|
|SF vs Zverev||112 km/h||114 km/h|
|RR vs Nishikori||115 km/h||108 km/h|
|RR vs Schwartzman||116 km/h||111 km/h|
|AVERAGE||117 km/h||110 km/h|
With a view to totally join the dots on what Medvedev is absolutely attaining, the common rally pace must be factored in as properly.
2021 ATP Cup – Common Groundstroke Velocity
|Last vs Berrettini||113 km/h||110 km/h|
|SF vs Zverev||116 km/h||115 km/h|
|RR vs Nishikori||116 km/h||112 km/h|
|RR vs Schwartzman||117 km/h||111 km/h|
|AVERAGE||116 km/h||112 km/h|
Medvedev’s common second-serve return pace barely edges his common groundstroke pace (117 km/h to 116 km/h). The actual advantage of standing extraordinarily deep to return serve in comparison with the extra conventional location up nearer to the baseline was discovered within the pace he can hit first-serve returns.
• Common First-Serve Return Velocity Distinction = 23 km/h (110 km/h – 87 km/h)
• Common Second-Serve Return Velocity Distinction = 7 km/h (117 km/h – 110 km/h)
• Common Groundstroke Velocity Distinction = 4 km/h (116 km/h – 112 km/h)
Basically, Medvedev doesn’t need to “return” serve within the conventional sense towards a primary serve. He needs to again up so far as he can to let the primary serve decelerate after which swing as arduous as he can with a whole lot of runway to land the ball. What he provides up in court docket place he beneficial properties in uncooked pace.
Medvedev’s success begs the query: When going through a primary serve, why hit a standard forehand blocking return when you’ll be able to rope a daily forehand groundstroke as an alternative?