ATP Top 10 greatest returners of all time
Join Tennishead as we reveal which players are the best ever at turning defense into attack and rank as the greatest ATP returners of all time based on the stats.
10. Roger Federer
The Grand Slam legend places at number 10 on the list of ATP players having a return games won percentage of 26.58%. He has won 4,911 games out of a total of 18,475 games against the serve – the highest amount of games won and the highest amount of games faced by nearly 4,000 in this top 10 list.
Interestingly, he ranks at number five and six for return games won on hard-court and grass surfaces – with a percentage of 27.17% and 23.77% respectively.
However, despite having a higher percentage on clay (27.98%), which is to be expected compared to the other surfaces, Federer ranks 21st on the list of all time percentage for return games won on clay.
9. Roberto Bautista Agut
The ATP number 15 has played 539 career matches to reach an impressive win rate on return games with 26.61%. Has has won 1,755 games against the serve out of a possible 6,595.
The Castellon born Bautista Agut is certainly consistent across all surfaces. He ranks highest on grass sitting one place behind Federer in 7th position with a career return games win of 23.67%. He places a respectable 11th and 16th on the hard (26.25%) and clay surfaces (28.75%).
8. Giles Simon
Similarly to Federer, the French veteran’s longevity supplements his stats. He has a return games won percentage of 26.68% spread over a total of 10,595 games, winning 2,827 games.
He ranks seventh on clay with a return games won percentage of 30.58%, however places outside of the top 10 for both hard court and grass (13th and 20th respectively).
7. Fabio Fognini
Simon is pipped to the seventh spot by former Italian number one Fabio Fognini. The World number 36 has a return games won percentage of 26.90%, having won 2,297 out of 8,540 games faced in his career so far.
As expected, Fognini who is seen as a clay specialist, places in the top 10 of return games won with a percentage of 30.15% on clay. Similarly, he ranks 11th in the rankings for grass with a percentage of 22.54%. However, he ranks outside of the top 25 for return games won on hard court with a percentage of 24.02%.
6. Kei Nishikori
The 32 year old takes up the 6th spot in the top 10 with an impressive return games won of 27.20%.
His returning stats rank the highest on hard court surfaces where he places seventh with 26.85%. This is closely followed by an eighth place ranking on clay with 30.58%. He also proves to be consistent on grass too with 22.38% ranking 12th on the all time list.
5. David Goffin
The Belgian number one has a 27.37% return games won on all surfaces.
The former World number seven ranks in the top 10 on both hard and clay surfaces at number eight and six respectively. On grass however, he places outside of the top 10, one place behind Nishikori in 13th with a 22.05% return games won.
4. Andy Murray
The three time Grand Slam champion makes up the top four with a return games percentage of 31.07%, having won 3,407 games against the serve out of a possible 10,964.
The former British number one ranks in the top four for each surface individually. He ranks fourth and second overall on clay and the hard-court with a return games success rate of 33.15% and 31.76% respectively.
However it is on grass where he excels statistically. He ranks as the best ever returner on grass with a 26.51% success rate on return games – having won 471 games out of a total 1,777 games played.
3. Novak Djokovic
The current ATP World number one, across all surfaces, has a win rate of 32.18% against opponent’s service games.
He ranks in the top three for each surface – placing first, second and third.
Djokovic is third in the list for the greatest ever returners on clay, with a return games won percentage of 35.68% and places second on grass with a 26.93% success rate against opponent’s service games.
Therefore he sits at the top for the best returners of all time on hard courts. He has a return games won percentage of 32.07%, winning 2,726 games from a total of 8,501 games.
2. Diego Schwartzman
The Argentinian beats Djokovic to the second spot by 0.03%. In his 373 matches, Schwartzman has won 1,484 service games of his opponent out of a possible 4,607 games.
As Schawrtzman is known as a clay court specialist, it is no surprise his numbers are impressive. His return games won percentage sits at 36.19% putting him second on the all time list. But interestingly, he also ranks third on both grass and hard court surfaces with a return games won percentage of 26.12% and 29.52%.
1. Rafael Nadal
Number one in the top ten returners of all time is the World number four Rafael Nadal. His numbers are huge.
Across all surfaces with Australian Open Champion records a return games success rate of 33.60% – more than one percent higher than second place Schwartzman.
Interestingly, Nadal sits ninth and fourth respectively for his return game success rate on grass (23.18%) and hard court (29.29%).
But it is clay, where the ‘King of Clay’ lives up to his name and posts ridiculous numbers.
Nadal, throughout his career, has had a whopping return games won percentage of 42.94%, which is over 7% more than third place Djokovic and 10% more than fifth place Tommy Robredo. What makes this stat even more impressive is the consistency of his returning and performance over such a long career. He has maintained his 42.94% success rate having played 488 matches in his career on clay.
One of his best ever return games came in Shanghai in 2015 when he hit three consecutive return winners against the greatest server in ATP history Ivo Karlovic.
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