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Rafael Nadal's most dominant second-serve years have come of late on the ATP Tour.

Rafael Nadal's Best Tennis Is Happening Right Now

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers shows how Nadal dominates with his second serve

For the past three seasons, Rafael Nadal’s second-serve performance has elevated to beast mode.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the Spaniard’s second-serve win percentage since he first won an ATP event in 2004 identifies that 2017, 2018, and 2019 occupy three of his best four years on Tour.

Consider the following three second-serve achievements from Nadal:

1. Best Three-Year Streak
Nadal is currently first in second-serve points for the 2019 season at 59.97 per cent (836/1394). Federer is the only player within striking distance of taking year-end honours in this category, as the Swiss currently sits at 59.56 per cent (885/1486) won.

If Nadal does finish first in this category in 2019, it will be the first time in his career that he will have finished first in second-serve points won for three consecutive seasons.

Best Three 2019 Tournaments: Second-Serve Points Won
Rome = 67.44% (58/86)
Acapulco = 67.16% (45/67)
Indian Wells = 66.67% (60/90)

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2. 2017 Was The Best
Nadal’s best year since 2004 winning second-serve points was just two years ago in 2017, when he averaged winning 61.17 per cent (1095/1790).

At Roland Garros in 2017, he charged through the draw to win the title without dropping a set. Of the 20 sets he won, opponents won a maximum of two games in 14 of them. He went on a rampage with second-serve points won, winning a jaw-dropping 74.17 per cent (112/151).

His best three tournaments with second-serve points won in 2017:
Roland Garros = 74.17% (112/151)
Shanghai = 66.25% (53/80)
Brisbane = 66.10% (39/59)

3. No One Does It Better
Nobody has a higher win percentage on second serves during their career since statistics in tennis were first kept in 1991. What’s also extremely impressive is that Nadal has been positioned in the Top 10 in this category for the past 16 years.

The top three players in career second-serve points won:
R. Nadal = 57.45% (15006/26122)
R. Federer = 56.85% (24079/42353)
J. Isner = 56.11% (9972/17773)

Nadal’s 2019 US Open title saw him win an impressive 57.02 per cent (138/242) on the hard courts in New York. He is now just 0.03 of a percentage point away from winning 60 per cent or more for the third time in his career.

What will it take to tip the scales to 60 per cent in 2019? Win just one more second-serve point.

2004 - 2017: Rafael Nadal Second-Serve Win Percentage / Second-Serve Position

Year

Win %

Position

2017

61.17%

1

2008

60.12%

1

2019

59.97%

1

2018

59.57%

1

2010

59.52%

1

2013

59.14%

2

2005

57.30%

2

2006

57.18%

2

2012

57.07%

2

2009

57.01%

3

2011

56.72%

2

2007

56.49%

3

2014

55.44%

6

2015

55.44%

9

2016

54.38%

10

2004

53.92%

10

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