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By Chris Oddo | Friday, April 11, 2014

 
Roger Federer Australian Open

Is Roger Federer's new stick helping him get a stick on returns this season? The numbers say... maybe.

Photo Source: Corleve.

Roger Federer has won 29 percent of his return games thus far in 2014, a number that he hasn't reached on return since 2007. So, what gives? This winter I asked ESPN's  Darren Cahill about Federer's new racquet during an Australian Open conference call, and this is what he said: “I think overall it’s a good thing he’s gone to the new technology. It’s going to give him a little bit easier power. He won’t have to fight for it so much. Also on the return of serve, that frame or a different one, he’s going to find it’s going to help him against some of the big servers.”

>>>Statisfaction: April is Rafael Nadal's Month<<<

Is there a difference between Federer's return game this year and in year's past? The numbers say... maybe.

Here's a breakdown of Roger's return stats from 2007 to 2014:


Year

Return Gms Won %

2nd Srv Return Pts Won %

1st Srv Return Pts Won %

2014

29

53

33

2013

26

51

33

2012

26

51

31

2011

28

51

33

2010

27

51

34

2009

24

51

31

2008

27

53

32

2007

29

53

32



It could be purely coincidental, but the numbers do reveal a subtle uptick in Federer's return game thus far in 2014. One would think that the trend will continue with the clay-court season getting underway in full next week.

Some other stastical points of interest from 2014 thus far:

Cilic is an ace machine

The Croat, under the guidance of Goran Ivanisevic, has been serving lights out. He's already pumped in 282 aces, which is 25 more than John Isner.

Bradley Klahn's return game is on par with Ivo Karlovic

Klahn may be the second highest-ranked American, but his return game has been atrocious at the ATP-level this season. He's won 9 percent of return games in six matches, which is less than John Isner and tied with Ivo Karlovic.

A 6'8" double-faulting machine?

Kevin Anderson leads the ATP's top 20 in double-faults with 76.

Rafa, Nole Returning worse?

So far this season, while still close to the top among top ten players and the rest of the tour, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have been somewhat human when it comes to return games won. Nadal has won 31 percent of his return games, far less that his total in each of the last three seasons (2013: 34, 2012: 38, 2011: 34) and Djokovic has won 30 percent, also lower than in his last three seasons (2013: 33, 2012: 35, 2011: 39).

The WTA loves to hammer away at second serves

Four players--Li Na, Simona Halep, Dominika Cibulkova and Eugenie Bouchard--are all winning more than 60 percent of points while returning against the second serve. Of the four, only Bouchard does not rank in the top 10 in return games won.

Coco Vandeweghe can bring the heat

The American has won 77.9 of her first serve points this season at the tour level (seven matches). That's more than Serena Williams' 73.2 by a wide margin. Small sample size, but nice serving.

A new ace queen on the WTA Tour?

Karolina Pliskova is only four aces behind Serena Williams for the WTA's lead. Can she make it a race in 2014?


 

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