Tennis Statistics Explained


Porpoiseful Apps has developed an iPhone, iPad and iPod touch application to help us keep score in tennis. Now they would like to show the product of their hard work and explain to us how the app can make tennis statistics.

Just about every sport has statistics of some sort, associated with each and every action within the game. Sports are fun to watch and play, but even more so when you can follow statistics based on the progress of both teams and players.

Statistics can simply be the current score or something more complicated such as win percentages of one team or player versus another. This article focuses on statistics in tennis and uses Tennis Score Tracker to provide examples of many different types that you may encounter when viewing or playing tennis matches.

Above is a screen capture from Tennis Score Tracker showing some basic statistics for a tennis match. Tennis matches consist of a number of sets – typically from 1, 3, or 5 sets. In this case both players won a set. A “Set Point” is when a player or team is about to win the set – if they can win the next point. Each time Set Point is reached, we can increment the value to see how many tries it took to win the set.

Games Won are the number of games won by each player or team.

Points Won are the total number of “points” won by each player or team. For example, if Blake wins one point in a game such as 15-0, but Sarah wins the next series of points as 15-15, 15-30, 15-40, Game, Blake still gets credit for winning one point of this game.

Deuce Points Won are the points won when a game reached deuce, which is 40-40. Tennis Score Tracker keeps track of when a game reaches deuce, and logs the statistics accordingly.

Break Point in tennis is achieved when the receiver is able to win a game. A Break Point exists when the score is 30-40 (server-receiver) where the receiver has Break Point. There are other break point types such as Double Break Point (15-40) and Triple Break Point (0-40). Tennis Score Tracker displays the break point type while scoring matches. It also keeps track of statistics related to the breakdown of each break point type, although as of the current version does not display them.

Break Point Conversion is the percentage of break points won by the receiver when playing a game. It is calculated by dividing the number of break points won by the receiver, by the total number of break points played.

Break Point Saves is the percentage of break points won by the server when playing a game. It is calculated by dividing the number of break points won by the server, by the total number of break points played.

Tiebreaks Won and Tiebreak Points Won are recorded similar to Deuce Points but are associated with tiebreaks.

A variety of other tennis statistics are recorded by tennis score tracker including the number of Aces scored by each player. An Ace in tennis is where the server serves the ball in and the receiver is unable to even touch the serve, much less return it. You can tap the screen in Tennis Score Tracker to switch between the actual count (such as 10 Aces) or the percentage as shown above (50% each player).

Serving and Receiving Points Won are also recorded, and correspond to the points won when either serving or receiving, respectively.

First and Second Serve percentage are also calculated and correspond to the respective points won depending on the serve count.

Aggressive Margin in tennis is a heuristic measurement of the overall “aggressiveness” of a player and can be calculated a number of ways. Tennis Score Tracker determines the aggressive margin by using the following equation: (winners + service winner + return winners + forced winners) – unforced errors.

Service Winners are points won by the server while serving. Winners are points won by any player. Return Winners are points won by the receiver upon receiving a serve from the server.

Forced Winners are points won by a player who caused a forced error on another player. For example, after a service is exchanged, Player A hits a strong forehand towards Player B who attempts a return, perhaps making racket contact, but is unable to complete a successful return.

Forced Error is a point lost by a player when an error occurs which was forced upon them.

Unforced Error is a point lost by a player when an error occurs which was not forced upon them (e.g. hitting the ball off the handle of the racket and out of bounds).

A Double Fault is when a player errors on both the first and second serve. For example, serving the ball out both times.

A Foot Fault in tennis is when a foot of the serving player touches the serving line prior to the ball being hit by the racket. Foot faults are rare in professional tennis matches, but they do happen on occasion (A Fine Line on Foot Faults, New York Times).

A Let in tennis is when a ball hit while serving touches the top of the net and lands inside the serving area. There is no limit to the number of lets when serving.

Challenges allow any player to challenge a point or serve (such as in professional tennis matches). For example, if a serve is called out and the server challenges, and wins the call, then a point is awarded to the server. If a challenge is lost, then the point stands. The number of challenges won/lost are recorded by Tennis Score Tracker.

Serve Type percentages determine the number of serves hit compared to other serves, as well as the number of points won with each type of serve. Tennis Score Tracker displays the ratio of the number of serve types compared to other types on the top row (top-left of flat serve shows 24% of the servers were flat serves), and the ratio of the number of points won using a particular serve type (bottom-left of flat serve shows 73% of flat serves won a point).

Tennis Score Tracker also supports recording and statistics of penalties. The types of penalties recorded are warning, point, game, or match, and are awarded at the discretion of the referee, depending on the severity of a player’s actions. For example, cursing or slamming your racket down could result in a penalty warning.  Throwing your racket at your opponent could most certainly result in a match penalty.

A variety of other detailed statistics can be recorded, such as the percentage of shots made by the forehand/backhand, as well as the number of points won by each hand, respectively.  Tennis Score Tracker supports over 40 detailed return statistics.

The above screen should be self-explanatory and displays statistics related to time.

This blog post provides some explanation of a variety of tennis statistics you may encounter while playing or watching tennis. Perhaps you have downloaded a version of Tennis Score Tracker and can view these statistics, and hopefully improve your game play based on them.

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