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Djokovic Approaching Mount Everest As A Returner

Only two men in the past 29 years have conquered the Mount Everest of converting break points in a single season by winning more than they lose. Novak Djokovic is currently tantalisingly close to becoming the third.
An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of break points converted identifies that Djokovic has won 49.41 per cent (209/423) of his break points in 49 matches so far in 2019. It represents a big leap forward from his performance in this area in 2018, where he won only 39.87 per cent (246/617) from 65 matches.
What will it take for Djokovic to reach the magic 50 per cent marker? Win the next five break points he sees, which will put him at 214 of 428 – exactly 50 per cent.

When Djokovic won the 2019 Australian Open, he won exactly 50 per cent (42/84) of break points. When he won the Mutua Madrid Open in May, he was at 66.7 per cent (10/15) break points converted. In winning Wimbledon for a fifth time this year, he was not far off his average, winning 46.8 per cent (37/79) of break points.
The career single-season record holder in this metric is Italian Filippo Volandri, who blew it out of the water in 2004, winning 53.13 per cent (212/399) of break points in 53 matches. Volandri won the ATP Tour title in St. Poelten that year, winning 53.7 per cent (29/53) of break points for the tournament.
Filippo Volandri At 2004 St. Poelten

Round

Result

Break Points

Final

d. X. Malisse

(won 6/9)

SF

d. D. Sanchez

(won 8/11)

QF

d. V. Hanescu

(won 4/6)

Round Of 16

d. R. Sluiter

(won 5/9)

Round Of 32

d. T. Berdych

(won 6/18)

 

Total

Won 53.7% (29/53)

It’s interesting to note that Volandri and Djokovic crossed paths only once, at the 2004 Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag. Volandri won the first-round meeting 7-6(5), 6-1.
The other player to win north of 50 per cent of break points is former No. 1 Gustavo Kuerten, who won 50.11 per cent (234/467) from 75 matches in 1999.
Kuerten won two ATP Masters 1000 titles that year – the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome and the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. He was dominant on break points in taking the Monte-Carlo title, winning a jaw-dropping 60.5 per cent (23/38).
Djokovic currently trails Rafael Nadal by 1,960 points in the ATP Race To London. If the Serbian is to repeat as year-end No. 1, converting break points at his current clip will be a key factor.
1991-2019: Season Leader Break Points Converted

Year

Tour Leader

Win Percentage

2004

F. Volandri

53.13%

1999

G. Kuerten

50.11%

2003

V. Spadea

49.87%

1995

T. Muster

49.43%

2019

N. Djokovic (YTD)

49.41%

2012

R. Nadal

49.19%

2001

F. Mantilla

49.13%

1996

J. Novak

49.08%

1991

A. Jarryd

48.71%

2011

X. Malisse

48.50%

2007

D. Ferrer

48.48%

2014

R. Nadal

48.44%

2006

J. Nieminen

48.10%

2017

D. Dzumhur

47.93%

2013

N. Davydenko

47.90%

1994

S. Bruguera

47.68%

2008

N. Djokovic

47.38%

2015

G. Simon

47.29%

1993

A. Berasategui

47.21%

1992

A. Agassi

47.21%

2009

R. Nadal

47.05%

2005

N. Kiefer

46.97%

2002

J. Novak

46.92%

1998

K. Kucera

46.81%

1997

A. Corretja

46.48%

2018

G. Monfils

46.42%

2000

L. Hewitt

46.28%

2010

J. C. Ferrero

46.13%

2016

G. Monfils

45.79%

Editor’s note: Craig O’Shannessy is a member of Novak Djokovic’s coaching team.
Source: ATP World Tour

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