Nikita Taparia
Sep 12, 2015 · 3 min read
This gif took longer to make than some of those graphics. Wait for it to load! Photo Credit: Jimmy Baikovicius
Let the audio run and I will give you instructions on when to scroll to the next section. I will explain each graphic so that you can go back and explore the data yourself! There are pauses built in to give you some time to look at the data during the run through. For convenience, I put the recording times for each graphic in the caption in case you want to skip ahead or want to listen to a particular section only. Enjoy! Don’t forget to recommend, share and follow afterwards!
Recording times — 0:00 to 3:18. During the recording I break down her career highs and lows so that you have some context of what happened during each year.
Recording time: 3:18–4:05. Percentages are scaled to the loss averages for 500+ matches. Around 13% higher represents the averages for matches won. 2015 US Open not included. Data only available from 2003.
Recording: 4:05–4:55. Data only available from 2003 and does not include 2015 US Open but 500+ matches.
Recording time: 4:55–5:58. Breakpoints are relative to the averages for matches won (n = 500+). The actual values are shown in the graphic to give an idea of the difference between matches won and lost. Data only available from 2003 and does not include US Open.
Recording time: 5:58–6:24. Serena has won 18 deciders — 12 from 1 set down and 6 from 1 set all this year. She has 2 losses — one against Roberta Vinci at the US Open. BTW, if you are wondering about 2005, she played 8 matches: 6 from 1 set down and 2 from 1 set all.Her dominance against top 20 players has risen to an incredible level over the last couple of years.
Recording time: 6:24–6:43. Based on the work by Andrew Moss, Isaac determined the clutch ratios for two of the greatest female athletes: Serena Williams and Steffi Graf. Chris Evert’s matches were analyzed and had a huge downward trend. Data is not shown here but is available upon request.
Recording time: 6:43–7:30. The darker regions represent more frequent 1st serve areas and % is points won based on this return( n = 43 matches). The averages in yellow and green are from 500+ matches.
1st serves placement and success rate has been a big portion of Serena’s game this year.
Recording time: 7:45–7:55. The darker regions represent more frequent return areas and % is points won based on this return( n = 43 matches). The averages in yellow and green are from 500+ matches.
Improvement in short returns this year!
Recording time: 8:12–9:10. For 43 matches, the % of shots won is illustrate on the top and the total bar represent average total points won in a match. The bottom graph deconstructs the points further by looking at each rally and considering the difference between winners/opponents forced errors and unforced errors. This is relative to the loss average (n=6) and the win average (n=37) is shown in the dotted lines.The key thing here: 1 to 3 shots this year have been incredible — above the averages for matches won (n=37).
Recording time: 9:13–9:40.
Recording time: 9:40–10:06. Created by Charles Allen, check out this interactive that pools 45 matches from tennis abstract in order to compare Serena to her opponents. By the way, RIP = returns in play. Also note, for unforced errors and double faults, the axis was flipped so that the higher number of errors is closer to the center of the radar.
Recording time: 10:06–10:38. This is just a limited list of many records she has achieved over the last two decades. This on its own is monumental.

Data analysis/visuals done by Isaac Brute, Charles Allen, and Nikita Taparia. Audio recording done by Nikita Taparia. Music by Robin Grey, Waylon Thornton and Jason Shaw, all under the creative commons license. Special thanks to Jeff Sackmann, who runs Tennis Abstract, and Stephanie Kovalchik for sending data on Serena Williams. Also thank you to those who took the time to chart the matches. For another piece on Serena Williams, check out Tennis Note #18 by Ramon Osa!

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The Tennis Notebook

A ‘romantic’ tale between tennis enthusiasts and an elegant sport. Includes light commentary and analysis of the game.

Nikita Taparia

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Engineer. Scientist. Data Nerd. Cookie/Coffee Addict. Educator. Tennis/WoSo. Photographer. Musician. Artist. Whiteboards. @ByTheMinTennis Commentator. Writer.

The Tennis Notebook

A ‘romantic’ tale between tennis enthusiasts and an elegant sport. Includes light commentary and analysis of the game.