Sir Andy Murray (*1989 / GBR) has finally reached the long envisioned tennis throne in 2016. The same way like during his successful 2012-13, he reached the top and absolute dominance in the men’s game during the second half of 2016 while having the legendary Ivan Lendl (CZE/USA), which whom he shares many tennis and personal commonalities, on his side.
Andy’s excellent feeling for the ball/timing and his size of 191cm (6’3”) help him to make from the service, which is rather suboptimal from the margin point of view, still quite a successful weapon, but it’s his return and rally game, which actually make him to the #1. Over his career on the tour, Murray has the 1st service percentage of just 58% (Federer 62%, Djokovic 65%, Nadal 69%) on which he won 75% of the points (Federer 77%, Djokovic 73%, Nadal 72%). He also won just 52% of points on his 2nd service (Federer 57%, Djokovic 55%, Nadal 57%). In total Murray won 65% of his overall service points (Federer 69%, Djokovic 67%, Nadal 67%). Murray’s ace probability per game is 55% (Federer 60%, Djokovic 44%, Nadal 27%, … Muller 102%, Raonic 113%, Isner 122%, Karlovic 142%) and his double fault probability per game is 20% (Federer 15%, Djokovic 18%, Nadal 13%). Also on saving of the break-points is Murray behind with his 63% success quote (Federer 67%, Djokovic 66%, Nadal 66%).
The above numbers tell us that Andy’s service statistics are mostly (besides aces) quite below the ones of his closest competitors, the margins are the problem. It’s mainly his excellent return and rally game (here also the 3rd stroke = his answer to the opponent’s return) that make him to such a successful player he is. From the technical point of view, as I personally see it, a limited pronation and a rather unclear distinction between the follow through 1 (= active part of the follow through) and follow through 2 (=relaxation part of the follow through) are the reasons behind Andy’s lower service margins. Interestingly enough, Ivan Lendl (1st serve 56%, overall service points won 66%) had similar issues in his career. The best servers in the history were/are using a little known distinct element (many of them probably without being aware of it in detail) increasing the service efficiency and margin, which I sum up under the term “targeted pronation”, both Murray and Lendl were/are missing this very element. The described situation is quite well visible at the slow-motion videos from Andy’s practice during the 2016 US.Open shown below:
Andy’s service looks almost perfect up to the impact – starting with a comfortable wide base, well-controlled toss, exact transfer from the platform to the pinpoint stance, just the racket line-up in the cocking phase seems to be suboptimal with the racket coming with its edge against the intended target rather late. Then after the impact, Andy’s pronation is rather distinct and there is a rather unclear distinction between the follow through 1 (=targeted pronation) and follow through 2 (=relaxation), which is otherwise quite typical for the best servers, many of whom are being presented in the blogs on this website. In general, the services in both of the videos shown here are almost identical, the one below is in my opinion slightly better and was also
More details can be seen in the photos presented below:
This is just a partial service analysis, more detailed photos and information including the information about the details concerning an efficient targeted pronation with optimal body energy integration into the stroke (TENNIS 3.0 CODE) are available upon request at drmgb11(at)gmail.com
Video & photos (August 2016) & text (January/February 2017) copyright by Dr. Martin G. Baroch