Stroke placement in women’s professional tennis: What’s after the serve?
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AuthorBorn, Philipp; Malejka, Louis; Behrens, Marius; Grambow, Ralph; Meffert, Dominik; Breuer, Jonas; Vogt, Tobias
Game OpeningCoachingCourt DivisionReturnTarget Zones
The aim of the present study was to investigate the placement of the return, and the 3rd and 4th strokes in professional women’s tennis, the possible differences related to the level of play and to derive practical recommendations from the results. In total this study contains an examination of 2562 returns, 2065 3rd strokes and 1606 4th strokes from 28 players in 19 professional women’s tennis matches (WTA & ITF 2018-2020 season). All strokes were classified using a specific court division method taking outcome (i.e., in, out, net) and placements into account for statistical analyses. Results show that returns are mainly placed into the court’s middle zones whereas 3rd strokes are placed more into offensive zone groups with 4th strokes similarly placed but more scattered. No correlation was found between the placement of the return and the 3rd stroke. Correlations were found between the placement of 4th stroke and the return, between the 4th and the 3rd stroke as well as between WTA and ITF players regarding all three strokes (return, 3rd stroke, 4th stroke). Present findings may be of interest to female tennis players and their coaches aiming to improve practice patterns in training and competitive performance in matches.