Analysis of Service Placement within Elite Tennis
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The service is the most important and influential stroke in tennis. Performing accurate and consistent serves has been shown to be a key indicator of successful performances. Previous research has examined service placement comparisons in terms of right and left handed players and court surfaces, however the differences between genders and 1st to 2nd serves has been neglected. The aim of this study was to therefore examine service placement in relation to gender differences and comparing 1st to 2nd serves. The data from 248 singles matches from Wimbledon 2014 was analysed and a Mann-Whitney U test was applied to determine statistical significant differences. Analysis revealed significant differences between both genders and 1st to 2nd serve in regards to ball placement within Zones 1 and 3 (p < 0.001). This could be attributed to both the greater speed with which men hit service balls and the speed differences between 1st serve and 2nd service ball deliveries, thus making the ball harder to return and therefore points are more likely to be won by men or through a 1st serve. Zone 1 was found to be the most favourable placement for percentage of points won; contradicting previous research that identified Zone 3. Differences in aims and sample sizes could provide explanation for this, so conclusive evidence cannot be drawn without future research being undertaken which takes into account variables examined in both studies.
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