ATP Masters 500Gerry Weber OpenHalleRoger Federer

Halle 2017 vs Halle 2018: Comparing Federer’s Performance

As the 2018 Gerry Weber Open (Halle) has drawn to a close, it is interesting to compare Federer’s statistics in Halle in 2017 and 2018 over the course of the tournament.

Serving wise, Federer was very similar to last year. He hit 31 aces throughout the 2017 tournament, compared to 44 in this years. However, it is important to note that he did play 2 extra sets than he did in 2017, hence the increased number of aces.

In 2017, Federer hit 73.6% of his first serves in and won on average 80.2% of them, this stat is similar to this years as he hit 66.4% of his first serves in and won 82.8% of them. Second serve stats were also similar with Federer winning 58.6% of them in 2017 and 60.4% in 2018.

The key difference was the return game of Federer when compared. In the 2017 whole tournament, Federer won 35.2% of 1st serve return points won, but only managed to win 26% in 2018. For the 2nd serve return points, Federer managed to win 57.8% of them and only 51.7% in 2018.

This was especially shown in the final, Federer only won 13% of Coric’s 1st serve points, a stat directly contrasting to 2017’s where he won 57% of Zverev’s, which led him to victory in the end.

Federer did look tired and off throughout Halle 2018- slow footwork, ball abuse warnings, and more unforced errors in his matches.

As Federer lost to Tommy Haas in the first round in Stuttgart, this would have given Federer more time to recover and fully prepare for Halle. Contrasting to this year, where Federer won Stuttgart and barely had any time to rest coming into Halle. At 36 years old, rest is key for Federer, the less rest he has, the more vulnerable he is being beaten by other opponents.

Arguably, Federer not winning Halle could be a good thing for him, as the press would have made him the overwhelming favourite to win Wimbledon as he'd have been undefeated on the grass so far this year.

Halle 2017 Halle 2018
Aces 31 44
Average 1st serve % 73.6 66.4
Win % on 1st serve 80.2 82.8
Win % on 2nd serve 58.6 60.4
1st serve return points won % 35.2 26
2nd serve return points won % 57.8 51.8
Sets lost 0 3

Eric Han

Eric is a freelance writer that specialises in sports writing primarily for tennis. He keeps a keen eye on the results, development and inner workings of the sport in both the men’s and women’s professional game.

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40 Comments

  1. Interesting to see the numbers, a lot of fans have been going crazy about how bad he was in Halle 😆 but the stats are actually pretty good. Just his return a bit off.

    Coric was serving well through the whole tournament, I think he hadn’t dropped serve before the final?

  2. Many thanks for this, it´s interesting to see. I sat at home and was thinking, “oh my g*d, he is returning poor this year and then It was right. Is there any stats about how he did in Stuttgart? It would be interesting to see the difference, if there was any. Because I think he played very well there execpt for the first game when he was rusty.

  3. Aside of no rest Roger also drove himself home to Switzerland, then rushes back to Halle and quite different conditions with little time to practice on the courts to adapt his game. Then all these redlining, relatively unknown to him in matches players and the compressed schedule. Add in the press and fan demands, the fashion parade and World Cup viewing and it’s full on, with little R& R time.

    Roger made the point it was mostly all matches and no practice, so the rhythm for the Halle week never really got established. He gritted out two weeks of competition and just missed the second test but does now know how his body copes with this intensity after the layoff. Invaluable intel and soon to be interspersed with good breaks in the slam fortnight.

    Roger with a win and a final under his belt still has good chances and he’s removed “dead cert status” and the pressure for #100!
    He’s also looking ahead to 2019 Hopman Cup with an announcement he’ll be there so this also transmits to everyone he’s in a good place.

    1. Exactly. I did wonder “out loud” at the time whether the CH trip was a sensible thing to be doing. Let’s hope he’s had enough rest for Wimby – and that he gets a reasonable draw.

  4. Thanks for sharing this Jon! Why do you think when Fed is tired and another year older, his return game is affected so much? And with similar service stats, he’s broken many more times and lost three sets. Does that mean he served poorly in the big points and that’s evident of decreased mental toughness?

    Also he went in the 2017 final with a plan and he was toying Zeverev’s around with his variety but in the Coric match, he looked as though he had no plan and no answer at all

  5. This is a geat insight, yeah very telling in terms of him winning easily and struggling to win. I wonder if can share comparison for IW as well. I must add, Roger played only 1 match at Stuttgart vs this year. Freshness factor could influence his overall form.

  6. “Arguably, Federer not winning Halle could be a good thing for him”. I completely disagree with this statement. Roger will have exactly the same pressure as he would have if he had won Halle and winning always helps to be more confident.

    1. Yes agreed ,having got that far a win is always better than a loss.Djokovic looked bitterly disappointed to
      lose to Cilic at Queens.
      The draw is going to be SO important.Cilic playing so well,Del Potro lurking and I think I read somewhere
      that Berdych is the Bookies favourite,why I know not ,although he does play well at Wimbledon.

      1. Roger owns Cilic is a brave statement, Cilic looks determined to go one better this time, the sun is shining on Croatia currently, Cilic, Coric and 3 wins from 3 in the World Cup…
        I think it’s crazy having Nadal as no.2 seed, it will skew the draw if all top players end up in Feds half .US Open last year when Murray pulled out with 5 seconds to spare made it an awful badly balanced tournament

      2. What do you mean by ” it’s crazy having Nadal as no.2 seed”? I imagine you mean that he should have been seeded no 1 as in every other tournament in the planet( like the no 1 he is)

        The Cilic threat for Roger sounds to me like the Thiem threat for Nadal in RG.

      3. If Wimbledon seeding was purely based on grass, then yes it would be crazy to have Nadal as Number 2 seed and plenty of others in the top 10 wouldn’t be there based on results. But it’s not, so he’s rightfully at 2.

        Don’t think Serena deserved one tbh.

      4. The crazy thing here is Wimbledon being allowed to have their own seeding process. It should be like every other tournament in the world. Nadal should have been No 1 and putting him outside of the top 2 would be an absolute joke.

      5. Wimbledon, quite rightly given the paucity of tournaments on grass, is allowed to skew the seedings to reflect players’ performance on grass over the past 2 seasons, which means that Nadal’s ranking (deservedly) should take a hit. I’m disappointed/slightly surprised that it hasn’t been enough to move Cilic into second place, given that he’s won or been runner-up in the last 3 grass tournaments he’s played.

        (I believe RG also has the right to skew seedings based on clay court performance, but I don’t think it ever avails itself of that right)

      6. “The crazy thing here is Wimbledon being allowed to have their own seeding process. It should be like every other tournament in the world. Nadal should have been No 1 and putting him outside of the top 2 would be an absolute joke.”

        If grass got a fair amount of play in the season then maybe, there so few tournaments on the surface. I think Wimbledon rightly factors in past performance here.

        If there were more grass tournaments including a Masters 1000, then maybe they can seed as normal.

  7. Thanks for the post, Eric. Read loads that suggested like Fed forgot playing tennis on social media 😆 Glad the stats tells otherwise. But true he looked tired.

  8. Well he has time off now.Ipresume he will not play until Tuesday next week?So a reasonable break.Ido hope his family will be there as he does seem to play better when Mirka is around.Poor Mirka,if we go through agonies goodness knows what
    she must feel,but there have been wonderful triumphs to offset the disappointments.

  9. Well, if you think about it in a positive way:
    Roger’s grass court w/l before Wimbeldon: 2017 – 5-1; 2018 – 8-1
    Roger’s grass court ranking points before Wimbeldon: 2017 – 500; 2018 – 550
    Roger has won 8 matches in 11 days. When was the last time he did that?

    OK, tennis level wasn’t too good, and he struggled to much with his return game. But last year he kept his best level on grass to Wimby. If he plays his best, no one can touch him on grass. Even not a red-hot Cilic.
    Moreover, now at Wimby he will have a day to rest and practice between matches.

    I hope he has good practice sessions and good rest this week. No 9&99 is very possible.

  10. The tradition is that the winner of the previous year opens the show at Wimby. So Fed (seed 1) will play on Monday July 2 (the same for women) – not on Tuesday.

    Playing every other day would mean that if he wins 1st round, he would then :
    – Play Round 2 on Wednesday July 4
    – Rest on Thursday July 5
    – Play Round 3 on Friday July 6
    – Rest on Saturday July 7
    – Rest on Sunday July 8 : No match played at all at Wimby that day (tradition)  !!
    So, a nice 2-day break/training would occur at mid-tournament for him.

    He would not play until Monday July 9 : manic Monday with all Round 4 matches played the same day.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/wimbledon/wimbledon-2017-manic-monday-what-is-it-court-times-roger-federer-andy-murray-rafael-nadal-novak-a7833151.htm

    – Quarter-final on Wednesday July 11
    – Semi-final on Friday July 13
    … and if all tennis Gods are with him (and us) … A final on Sunday July 15…

    Do you agree ? I think then the 2 day-break would be excellent to handle fatigue if the 1st week is tough.

    On my side, I trust him. 120%. Confident he will be ready – fit – happy to be back in his garden to defend his title. Go Ro99er !

    PS : The draw will be on June 29 once the quallies are over.

    And let’s remember :

    “The strongest people aren’t always the people who win, but the people who don’t give up when they lose” .

    1. I like that quote French butter…
      Very interesting stats thank you Eric.
      As long as Roger stays fit and enjoys his tennis that’s what counts. Go Roger!!

  11. That’s good to know. I am always so disappointed when Fed reaches finals and then loses. All that hard work and no trophy! But the stats do not seem too discouraging, do they?

    1. To me they look rather discouraging and accurately depict his lower level this year. Almost 10% less points won on opponent’s first serve makes a world of difference obviously and while the drop in 2nd serve return isn’t quite as sharp, it’s still worrying. It’s not like he has played Karlovic, Raonic and Kyrgios in a row here!

      The lack of much of a return game also puts lots of pressure on his service game.

      There’s no doubt for me: If he can’t raise his level in Wimbledon, he is not gonna win it. Fortunately I think it’s very likely that he has another level. Will it be enough? That remains to be seen. I certainly hope so.

  12. https://mobile.twitter.com/crazyfedfan/status/1011906847643598849

    Another long interview of Fed here by his sponsor Jura – by clicking on the links inside the tweet.

    In German (or Swiss) with English subtitles at least for parts 1 and 2.

    It dates back to Autumn 2016 when he was recovering :  Interesting to listen to almost 2 years after… he “only”  had 17 Slams then ! 

    PS 1 : did you see he had his first training at Wimby this afternoon ?

    PS 2 : the Wimby draw will be on Friday – not Thursday as initially announced.

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