Why has Grigor Dimitrov changed his serve direction percentage and why it isn’t helping him!

Around 12 months ago no one played tennis at such an intense level than Grigor Dimitrov. After Wimbledon he went on to finish the year with a win/loss of 22/7 for the final half of the season. So far this year he is at 19/12 and has won only 3 of his last 10 matches on the tour.

Grigor is one of my favourite players on the tour and I’ve watched him a lot this season and written about him a lot, some of the pieces you can find below;

Grigor Dimitrov 6-7 2-6 4-6 Fernando Verdasco – Passive performance sums up year to date for Bulgarian

Raonic records his biggest win of the year as Dimitrov misses the benchmark again!

A much needed good week for Grigor!

Dimitrov off to Indian Wells with thinking to do after poor performance in Dubai defeat!

Grigor Dimitrov may be ranked at No.4 but Rotterdam showed us his second serve needs a big improvement!

The last piece I’ve linked to above is about his second serve which took a beating in the first stages of the season but after researching more his first serve seems to have taken an odd change.

I said at the beginning Dimitrov was the player who played with intensity like no one else and that intensity was there from the first shot which is the serve especially on the ad court.

 dimitrov ad side serve

Now this graphic I have put together shows serves made in the whole of 2017 and 2018 to date and the big question is why has Grigor changed his %’s on the ad side.

Last year he was hitting that kicker out-wide 52% of the time, it was literally unreturnable and out of the 255 points won 55 were aces and 92 were unreturned winning 83.3% of points wide compared to this year which is down 4%.

Completely same with down the T. Last year Grigor used it on big points sending 39.9% of his serves down there winning 71.6% of those however this year he is sending it down there 53.6% of the time and winning only 63% of those points.

So, why has he swapped it around?

It’s a difficult one to gage, the serve out wide was his bread and butter last year. Intensity was there, he’d go big off the serve and it would set him to control rallies and be able to step in. This year he has swapped it around I believe due to confidence as does he feel confident enough as he did 12 months ago to play with that intensity?

Swapping the %’s of where he hits the serve has not helped. He is now hitting down the T and it’s taken away his fear factor on serve. I said down the T serve is one used on big points but it is also sometimes the best for an opponent.

The serve return usually goes down the middle and if you are a player lacking on confidence the last thing you is options, you need what I call your bread and butter which for Grigor is the serve out wide.

Switching it up doesn’t make sense for me and Grigor is now No.6 in the world and 10 on the race to London and we should right now have his name in the bracket of contenders for Wimbledon but I feel we are a long way off right now!

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