Stefanos Tsitsipas is a holding serve machine.
An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the eight players competing in the Nitto ATP Finals next week identifies the Greek as the toughest player to break based on his superior serve performance this season.
Tsitsipas has averaged being broken once out of every 8.4 of his service games in 2023, making him the leader of the pack chasing end-of-season glory in Turin. The other two players who elevated over the seven-game threshold were Novak Djokovic (7.9) and Jannik Sinner (7.6).
2023 Season: Average Service Games Per Break
1. Tsitsipas – 8.4
2. Djokovic – 7.9
3. Sinner – 7.6
4. Alcaraz – 6.6
5. Medvedev – 6.4
6. Rublev – 6.2
7. Zverev – 6.1
8. Rune – 5.7
If you postulate an average set score being 6-3, Tsitsipas will typically be broken just once in a straight-sets match. Holger Rune, on the other hand, is nudging closer to twice a match—especially if the score is tighter, such as 6-4, 6-4.
Not surprisingly, Tsitsipas leads the ATP Tour in percentage of service games won in 2023, at 88.72 per cent (826/931). Djokovic is in second place at 88.53 per cent (625/706), while Sinner sits in sixth place overall at 87.06 per cent (747/858).
Djokovic was outstanding in this department last week in capturing the Rolex Paris Masters title, only being broken six times out of 69 service games for a stunning average of one break every 11.5 service games. Tsitsipas reached the semi-finals and was broken four times out of 48 service games for an even better average of one break every 12 service games.
If you apply the same metrics from the return side of the equation, it’s Carlos Alcaraz who breaks serve at a faster clip per game than the other seven players competing in Turin.
Alcaraz is breaking serve every 3.08 games, closely followed by Medvedev (3.13) and Sinner (3.36). Tsitsipas now sits in last place, breaking serve on average once every 5.05 games.
2023 Season: Average Return Games Per Break
1. Alcaraz – 3.08
2. Medvedev – 3.15
3. Sinner – 3.36
4. Djokovic – 3.38
5. Rublev – 3.98
6. Zverev – 4.26
7. Rune – 4.58
8. Tsitsipas – 5.05
Djokovic toiled through three tough three-set matches to reach the final in Paris, mainly due to his inability to break serve as often as normal. Djokovic has broken every 3.38 games throughout the season, but that dropped down to an average of 4.93 games in Paris. The match against Andrey Rublev, in particular, was a tough nut for Djokovic to crack. He only broke twice in 18 return games from a total of eight break points.
Analysing holding and breaking serve in this slightly different light provides insights that you can benchmark against while watching these end-of-season blockbuster matches in Turin. It will be fascinating to see who is going to punch above their weight and who may struggle to post their season averages against the cream of the crop from the 2023 season.