Friday, 27 September 2013

Winners vs Errors

When the question is asked of young students learning the game of Tennis as to what it takes to win a match, the answers are generally the same - 'hit more winners than your opponent'. It's an answer that in most instances is incorrect, especially if you look at the past history of big matches on the Men's World Pro Tour.

In 1988 my idol Mats Wilander from Sweden took on the defending Champion Ivan Lendl in the US Open Final, and in just under 5 hours Wilander came away with a victory that took him to World Number 1 . Here are the statistics of that famous match:
Lendl hit just under 90 winners  but made almost as many errors, 83;
Wilander the Champion hit just 40 winners and 37 unforced errors.
The tactics of not over hitting were by far a safer way of playing.

The US Open Final in 2013 between Nadal and Djokovic was very similar in the way the statistics favoured the player who was prepared to wait for his opponent to miss:
Djokovic hit 46 winners but made 53 unforced errors;
Nadal the Champion hit just 27 winners and made only 20 unforced errors.
In 4 hours of Tennis at the highest level this statistic by Nadal is quite remarkable yet it proves two things:
Less errors will more often than not beat your opponent's higher winner count and being technically brilliant at a game such as Tennis will give you an edge in just about every match you play ..........

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