A one-in-20 chance of success sounds daunting, but the best players in the world deal with these odds at some stage in basically every match they play.
What’s the exact scenario? Trying to break serve after the server has built a 30/0 lead.
An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the current Top 50 players in the 2019 season identifies that they break serve, on average, just five per cent (525/10,065) of the time after the server has built a 30/0 lead.
Federer, Nadal: The Masters Of Momentum
Who’s the best at coming all the way back and breaking when the server has already reached 30/0? None other than Rafael Nadal, who will return to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings on Monday.
Nadal has managed to break serve 9.9 per cent (20/202) of the time this season, which is right at twice the rate of the Top 50 average.
2019 Leaders: Breaking From 30/0 Leaders
Rafael Nadal – 9.9% (20/202)
David Goffin – 8.7% (18/208)
Kei Nishikori – 7.8% (17/218)
Novak Djokovic – 7.7% (15/196)
In the US Open final, Nadal triumphed 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 against Daniil Medvedev to win his 19th Grand Slam title and 54th “Big Title” overall.
In the first four sets of the match, Medvedev raced to a 30/0 lead eight times, holding all eight times. But in a thrilling fifth set, Nadal broke Medvedev twice in a row, at 2-2 and 2-4, after the Russian had built a 30/0 lead in both service games. Those were two of the biggest moments in a spectacular final.
Medvedev has broken serve the most (21 times) out of the Top 50 so far this season, but he has also trailed 30/0 when returning the second most on Tour, at 293 times. The Russian’s break percentage is a very healthy 7.2 per cent (21/293), which has him sitting in 10th out of the Top 50 in this specific metric.
Six other players who are ranked lower in the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings surprisingly elevated a long way up the list when it came to breaking serve from 30/0.
Punching Above Their Weight: Breaking From 30/0
Overcoming formidable odds is a key quality that helps these players succeed at the pinnacle of our sport.