Purpose. Good serving is crucial to succeed in men's world class tennis; however, both chronological and skill-related service game development remain to be elucidated. The study aimed to systematically analyse the development of serving behaviour and serve efficiency in world class men's tennis over a period of 14 years. Methods. Historical data collected from all matches at the Wimbledon Championship between 2002 and 2015 (matches: n = 1772; service games: n = 63,838; serves: n = 401,527) were included for analyses. The analyses focused on 2 comparisons, serve efficiency development over time and possible differences within the world class, i.e. 1st tournament week results (matches: n = 1563; service games: n = 55,989; serves: n = 352,748) and 2nd tournament week results (matches: n = 209; service games: n = 7849; serves: n = 48,779). Results. An increase was observed of the percentages for service games won (p < 0.01), aces served (p < 0.01), and 1st and 2nd serve points won (p < 0.01), whereas double faults (p < 0.05) and serve and volley points played (p < 0.01) decreased over time. Direct comparisons of the 1st and 2nd tournament week show advantages in favour of the 2nd tournament week. Players competing in the 2nd tournament week won higher percentages of service games (p < 0.01) and points on the 1st (p < 0.01) and 2nd serve (p < 0.05), and served more aces (p < 0.05) but fewer double faults (p < 0.05). Conclusions. With a particular impact on the 2nd tournament week, the findings indicate increased serve efficiency in men's world class grass court tennis from 2002 to 2015, which may imply altered practice patterns in tomorrow's training and coaching.
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