When Behind On Serve, Few Escape From Carlos Alcaraz | ATP Tour

Few doubted Carlos Alcaraz would force his way to the top of the men’s game. But the pace of his progress – and rise inside the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings – continues to surprise to the upside.

And the 18-year-old Spaniard is already building a case to be known as one of the game’s best returners, especially in the key metric of breaking serve.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of breaking serve from specific point scores from 2015-2022 identifies that Alcaraz is already leading the Tour in several key categories that highlight his penchant for breaking serve. The data set includes players who have played 30 or more matches from the 2015 season up to Indian Wells in 2022.

Breaking From 0/15
1. C. Alcaraz = 51.8%
2. R. Nadal = 51.2%
3. D. Schwartzman = 50.0%

Alcaraz is one of only three players who is statistically favored to win the game as the returner after winning just the opening point of the game. It’s a stunning statistic, especially considering that the Tour average sits at just 38.4 per cent. Alcaraz, Nadal and Schwartzman are the only three players to sit above 50 per cent in this specific match metric.

Breaking From 0/30
1. C. Alcaraz = 77.8%
2. R. Nadal = 72.9%
3. D. Schwartzman = 69.0%

When Alcaraz wins the first two points returning, he goes on to break serve more than three out of four times. He is the only player on tour to sit above the 75th percentile threshold (77.8%) breaking serve from 0/30. The Tour average, at just 59.4 per cent, is far below Alcaraz’s lofty number.

Breaking From 30/30
1. C. Alcaraz = 38.5%
2. R. Nadal = 38.3%
3. D. Schwartzman = 36.9%

Alcaraz narrowly edged Nadal breaking from 30/30 at 38.5 per cent. He also sits more than 10 percentage points above the Tour average at 27.8 per cent.

Breaking From 15/30
1. R. Nadal = 58.7
2. C. Alcaraz = 57.8%
3. D. Schwartzman = 55.1%

The Tour average for breaking from 15/30 is 45.2 per cent. Alcaraz sits second in this category at a lofty 57.8 per cent, which is less than one percentage point behind Nadal. When Alcaraz gets his teeth into a return game, he is very efficient at closing it out.

Breaking From 15/40
1. R. Nadal = 80.6%
2. C. Alcaraz = 80.3%
3. M. Kecmanovic = 80.3%

This is another clear example of Alcaraz finishing what he started. When he reached 15/40, he broke 80.3 per cent of the time, which is almost exactly the same as Nadal (80.6%), and well above the Tour average of 72.4 per cent.

Breaking From Deuce
1. R. Nadal = 40.5%
2. C. Alcaraz = 40.3%
3. S. Korda = 38.1%

Alcaraz (40.3%) and Nadal (40.5%) are once again neck-and-neck in this return statistic, significantly outperforming the Tour average of breaking from deuce at 28.7 per cent. It turns out the server only enjoys a 60-40 advantage serving at Deuce against these two Spaniards.

At just 18 years of age, Alcaraz is just beginning to build his statistical resume on tour. The fact that he is so often mentioned in the same breath as Nadal when returning serve – and sometimes superior to him – speaks volumes to his prowess on the return side of the equation.

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