What’s the difference between 15/0, 30/15 and 40/30? Essentially nothing…

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the Big Three since the start of the 2015 season up to Roland Garros at these three scorelines identifies that the percentage chance of holding serve varies only by about one percentage point.

You would naturally think there would be a significant increase in holding from 40/30 over 15/0, but it’s simply not the case. The following breakdown for Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer shows a consistent trend with all three point scores.

Percentage Point Range Between 15/0, 30/15 and 40/30
Novak Djokovic = 1.1 percentage point
Roger Federer = 1.0 percentage point
Rafael Nadal = 1.0 percentage point

No. 1 Novak Djokovic / 2015-2019 Holding Serve From Three Point Scores

Point Score

Points Played

Points Won

Hold Percentage

15/0

2298

2487

92.4%

30/15

1396

1517

92.0%

40/30

1034

1110

93.1%

Djokovic had the highest percentage chance of holding serve of the three point scores at 40/30 (93.1%). You would think being just one point from closing the game would significantly increase his chance of holding serve from a 15/0 position, but the gap between the two is just 0.7 percentage points.

No. 2 Rafael Nadal / 2015-2019 Holding Serve From Three Point Scores

Point Score

Points Played

Points Won

Hold Percentage

15/0

2023

2193

92.2%

30/15

1326

1432

92.6%

40/30

955

1024

93.2%

Nadal also held serve the most when leading 40/30, 93.2 per cent (955/1024) of the time. All three of Nadal’s win percentages fall within a one percentage point range, between 92.2 per cent and 93.2 per cent.

World No. 3 Roger Federer / 2015-2019 Holding Serve From Three Point Scores

Point Score

Points Played

Points Won

Hold Percentage

15/0

2183

2278

95.8%

30/15

1246

1314

94.8%

40/30

873

914

95.5%

Federer had the highest win percentages for the Big Three at all three point scores. Surprisingly, Federer had a slightly better chance of holding serve at 15/0 (2183/2278) than he did at either of the other two point scores.

When you drill down into statistics, you often find things can be quite different than you realise. In this case, the change you think is there doesn’t exist at all.