Sascha Zverev’s double fault problem that just won’t go away…

One of the mysteries for some time have been Sascha Zverev and double faults. Despite no tennis in some time the issue as shown in his participation in the Adria Tour hasn’t gone away but it goes much deeper.

2018

79 matches – 549 aces – 201 double faults

6.94 aces per match
2.54 double faults per match

2019 

69 matches – 709 aces – 392 double faults

10.27 aces per match
5.68 double faults per match

Comparing those two years there is quite a major different. In 2019 he played 10 matches less than he did the previous year but hit 191 more double faults but 160 more aces. It was a case of going for more on serve as you can see the average number of aces per match in 2019 was 10 but the double faults more than doubled from 2.5 to 5.6.

You could argue it balances itself out?

There was a confidence issue in his game and a lot was going on off the court as well which for someone who was 22 at the time can be a big distraction for anyone.

2020 didn’t start too well and the confidence issue looked to be a problem despite a stronger finish to 2019 than expected. 

He left the ATP Cup without a win in three matches and the numbers didn’t help.

2020 – ATP Cup

14 double faults v De Minaur
10 double faults v Tsitsipas
7 double faults v Shapovalov

3 matches, 3 defeats and 31 double faults. It didn’t look good heading to Melbourne.

2020 – Australian Open 

Suddenly it was a complete turn-around for the German who made his first Grand Slam semi-final and played his best ever Grand Slam tennis. 

He lost to Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals but in his six matches in Melbourne only hit 14 double faults, averaging about 2.35 a match from an average of 10 a week or so before.

Very bizarre!

Sascha left Melbourne on some confidence, had that small break after the first major and then in Acapulco things dropped back…

2020 – Acapulco 

One win
One loss
17 double faults

Over the course of 5-6 weeks we went from:

31 double faults in 3 matches
14 double faults in 6 matches
17 doubles faults in 2 matches

It’s consistently inconsistent.

Something just doesn’t seem right, I think his ball toss is way too high and his contact is soo late it’s catching him out.

Watching him in the Adria Tour has led to more questions. 

I don’t buy the feeling of it only being an exhibition because these players are playing to be ready not to just get out of the house for a few hours. 

On the first weekend in Belgrade the German came from 0-4 0-2 down to defeat Filip Krajinovic but in his first service game hit three double faults in his first four points. 

During the three matches in Zadar on the second weekend of the event he hit 12 against Petrovic, 8 against Cilic and 3 against Rublev losing to both Petrovic and Rublev. 

Like I said earlier on in the piece the only consistency is in the in-consistent serving performance and number. 

When the lockdown first came into place Zverev said:

“When Covid is over, you’ll know who really worked during this period”

By his own statement there is work to do here…

I just don’t get it, I said I think his ball toss is way too high for someone of his height. If you look at players of a similar height on the tour their ball toss height is much lower.

All of this is key preparation before he plays Cincinnati (at New York) and the US Open but I wouldn’t be surprised if the numbers are something similar to what we saw in Melbourne but who knows what will happen!

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