Novak Djokovic Wimbledon 2023

Wimbledon 2024 analysis: The net or the baseline?

Trying to separate Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz on a stats sheet at Wimbledon this year is almost impossible.

With the help of Craig O’Shannessy of Brain Game Tennis, Tennishead analyses the best strategy for grass court play…

You are playing your opening-round match on Centre Court at Wimbledon. Your opponent hits a weak ball back to the middle of the court, and you step just inside the baseline to attack it.

This is what I call a “50-50” ball.

You can hit it with authority and stay back in your comfort zone at the baseline, or you can maintain your forward momentum and quickly move to the net to finish the point.

Which are you more likely to do? Which offers the highest winning percentage?

The next two weeks of your life are going to be dominated by Wimbledon tennis. You are going to binge-watch the greatest tennis show on earth and watch players employing a wide variety of strategies. Some strongly feel the magnetism of the baseline and won’t really look to go to the net to finish points. Other players will willingly take the opportunity to go to the net to finish the point.

Here’s what you should do on a “50-50” ball. Go to the net 100% of the time.

When you play tennis, your tactics and technique are quite often dominated by emotions. This can quickly lead to self-doubt when you lose a point. You need to have your tennis game grounded in percentages that you know will work the majority of the time. Here’s the real difference between baseline and net points from The Championships last year.

2023 Wimbledon: Points Won


  • Baseline = 46% (13,029/28,518)
  • Net = 65% (5377/8294)


  • Baseline = 47% (10,086/21,353)
  • Net = 65% (2563/3945)

As you can clearly see from the match metrics, there shouldn’t be a last-minute decision made at all when it comes to a “50-50” ball and the opportunity to go to the net. The net offers a vastly superior win percentage over the baseline.

Every year for both men and women, the average win percentage from the back of the court is under 50%. It was 46% for the men and 47% for the women. What drives this statistic below 50% is that the opponent can be standing anywhere on the court – net or baseline. As you can see from the win percentages, the net is a great place to be!

Think of it in simple terms. When players go to the net three times, they win two. Winning 65% of net points is a green flag for players to venture to the net as much as they can to dine on the vastly superior win percentages that the front of the court offers.

In last year’s men’s final, Carlos Alcaraz won 60% (26/43) at the net and only 48% (93/192) from the baseline against Novak Djokovic. The net served him well.

In the 2023 women’s final Marketa Vondrousova won 71% (10/14) at net and only 50% (42/84) from the back of the court in her 6-4, 6-4 win over Ons Jabeur.
Pay close attention for the next fortnight to the 50-50 ball. Look for the players that automatically go to the net to finish points off – and definitely copy this strategy for your own game. Also pay attention to players squandering opportunities to finish at the net. Are they really any better off at the baseline?

The net is a wonderful place to finish points. Winning two out of three points with any strategy is something you should gravitate to as often as possible in your matches.

Tennishead club competitionFor free access to Craig O’Shannessy’s complete courses on ‘25 Golden Rules of Singles‘ and ‘25 Golden Rules of Doubles‘, join thousands of other keen amateur tennis players and become a member of the Tennishead Club. Once you join we’ll immediately send you ground breaking coaching advice, a welcome pack including a full ASICS head to toe outfit including shoes, plus loads more. And it costs as little as £79/$99 to join with membership benefits worth over £600/$700 per year!

Craig O’Shannessy is the creator of Brain Game Tennis. For 20 years he’s been involved in tennis as a coach to players like Kevin Anderson and even Dustin Brown when he famously beat Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon. More recently Craig’s been working as a match analyst at Wimbledon and for the ATP Tour. He has also used the unique insights from his match analysis software dartfish to guide players such as Novak Djokovic with analysis of opponents and performances.

Visit to read the latest and best selling course ‘Getting Tight’ where Craig teams up with Jeff Greenwald to combine their specific skill sets to help you with the universal problem all players struggle with in matches.

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.