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First Strike Tennis:
A Four Shot Battle

Craig O'Shannessy

Printable Version


A serve and a forehand—a winning first strike point?

In the last article, we looked at the number of hits that determine points and found that in pro tennis, despite a limited number of rallies that can last over 20 balls, most points are decided by 4 hits—or less. It's 60 % or higher.

What wins? First strike tennis. A serve, or a serve plus one shot. A return, or a return plus one shot.

If you are still struggling to get your mind around that, let's look at some specific pro matches with players including Stan Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokoivic and Bernard Tomic.

Let's see how success in points of 4 hits or less determined what happened to these players at the Australian Open in 2015.




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Craig O'Shannessy is widely recognized as the world leader in analyzing tennis statistics, tennis strategy, and applying his insights in coaching. His research has uncovered the real magic numbers in winning tennis across all levels of the game. He writes for the ATP Tour website and the New York Times among others elite publications.

He has coached on the tour for 20 years working with players including Kevin Anderson, Amer Delic, and Rajeev Ram. His website Brain Game Tennis offers detailed analysis and training programs based on his research that have helped thousands of players around the world.


Click Here to visit Craig's site and check out his amazing training products!


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