Italian Rising Star Jannik Sinner’s Serve Revolutionizes His Game
Have you noticed anything different about Jannik Sinner’s serve lately?
The Italian prodigy has introduced a new serving technique mid-season, resulting in remarkable improvements and impressive statistics, as revealed by TDI Insights data.
A Serve to Remember
Sinner’s serve has become the cornerstone of his recent victories at the Nitto ATP Finals. In a commanding 6-4, 6-4 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas, he won an astounding 89% of points on his first serve. He followed it up with a thrilling three-set match against Novak Djokovic, where he won 79% of his first serves against the legendary returner.
“The serve has improved with Darren [Cahill], and that’s an incredibly challenging feat,” praised former world No. 4 Greg Rusedski in an interview with ATPTour.com.
“I’ve been thoroughly impressed; the entire team has done a fantastic job with him. It all started with a change in his serve, his body, and his transition, incorporating slices and other elements. Although they’re not yet completely natural, they will only get better with time because he’s a hardworking individual.”
Sinner’s transformation is evident in the graph below, showcasing his altered movement in the latter half of the year.
Sinner has made significant adjustments to his stance and preparation technique. Previously employing a backfoot or platform stance, where the back foot remained stationary until takeoff, he now utilizes a raised foot stance. This new stance involves a wider initial foot placement, with both the front and back foot moving up before leaving the ground.
In addition to the stance change, Sinner has also refined his preparation technique. Previously characterized by an exaggerated separation between ball placement and racquet arm, resembling a spiral motion, he has now adopted a more conventional topspin technique. This modification involves a smoother, circular movement of the racket positioned in front of the shoulder line, reducing the delay between ball placement and racket elevation.
An Expert’s Analysis
Craig O’Shannessy, ATPTour.com Brain Game analyst, shared his observations: “After watching his first two matches at the Nitto ATP Finals, you can see that he has simplified his serve. He starts in a ready position and essentially drops the ball, minimizing unnecessary movements.”
“He excels in serving while leading, winning crucial points against Novak. He has found the right rhythm and balance between lifting his foot and keeping it back. I believe this is the serving motion he should continue to follow.”
Impressive Data Insights
TDI Insights data highlights the significant impact of Sinner’s service changes. His first serve quality has risen from 7.8 to 8.2, and the effectiveness of his serve has increased from 61.6% to 64.9% (see graph below). Furthermore, the data reveals that Sinner is making contact with the ball at a higher altitude, reaching 2.88m compared to 2.85m previously.
The data also demonstrates Sinner’s improved performance on break points, saving 75% of them compared to his previous rate of 66%. Most notably, he now wins 89% of his service games, up from 84% before the changes.
A Bright Future
With his formidable serve now serving as the foundation of his success, Sinner is poised to achieve even greater heights in the upcoming season.
“He’s in better physical shape after shedding some weight. He’s also willing to incorporate slices and execute forward transitions. It’s a matter of mentality,” remarked Rusedski. “He doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses on either side of his game. As he becomes more comfortable transitioning forward with his powerful shots from the baseline, his shot selection continues to improve.”
“I believe he is one of the players destined to win a Grand Slam. If you envision a player who has a real chance of reaching the final or winning it in 2024, Jannik Sinner’s name is at the top of the list right now.”
However, Sinner remains focused on his immediate goal of clinching the Nitto ATP Finals crown before setting his sights on the future.