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Feb 8, 2019
Feb 8, 2019

Indoor hard season: A betting preview

Which players perform better indoors?

Which players perform worse indoors?

How much indoor tennis is played in US?

Indoor hard season: A betting preview

Credit: Getty Images

With the indoor hard season getting underway, our resident tennis expert Dan Weston looks at which players have shown an upgrade in ability on the surface, compared to their outdoor data.

In general, indoor hard is the second quickest surface on the ATP Tour, behind grass, with outdoor hard and clay generally slower. The table below illustrates the impact that the general surface has on both service points won percentages, and mean aces per game figures, across the last three years (data correct at February 4, 2019).

Indoor hard data

Surface

Service Points Won %

Aces Per Game

 ,

 ,

 ,

Grass

66.1

0.63

Indoor Hard

64.2

0.58

Outdoor Hard

63.7

0.56

Clay

62.3

0.38

Here we can see the consistency in rank of surface between service points won percentage and aces per game numbers, with grass being the highest for both, and clay being considerably the lowest across both metrics.

Indoor hard has only marginally higher figures than outdoors, but that doesn’t stop players being specialists in the area. Last year, several lower level ATP or Challenger players - such as Mirza Basic and Marius Copil - gave very good accounts of themselves in main tour events played on indoors, while Joao Sousa a few years ago had a magnificent record in 250 level tournaments under a roof.

Which players benefit from indoor conditions?

With this in mind, understanding which players have benefitted from conditions indoors across the last two years would be a useful exercise, and using a comparison between player service and return data is a good way to do so.

The table below looks at the two year service and return points won for players in the ATP Top 50, split by both indoor and outdoor hard (correct at January 31, 2019), with the players listed able to generate combined numbers indoors greater than or equal to 2.0% more than their outdoor figures. The players in this list could potentially yield some value in the coming weeks indoors.

ATP Top 50 hard vs. indoor hard best players

Player

Rank

2 Year Service Points Won %

2 Year Return Points Won %

2 Year Combined Points Won %

2 Year Service Points Won %

2 Year Return Points Won %

2 Year Combined Points Won %

2 Year Combined Points Won %

 ,

 ,

Indoor Hard

Indoor Hard

Indoor Hard

Outdoor Hard

Outdoor Hard

Outdoor Hard

Indoor Hard-Outdoor Hard

 ,

 ,

 ,

 ,

 ,

 ,

 ,

 ,

 ,

Klizan

38

63.4

36.8

100.2

62.3

32.4

94.7

5.5

Simon

31

63.2

41.3

104.5

62.1

37.5

99.6

4.9

Monfils

33

68.3

38.1

106.4

63.4

38.1

101.5

4.9

Edmund

29

68.6

36.2

104.8

65.2

35.7

100.9

3.9

Khachanov

11

68.0

38.2

106.2

66.2

36.2

102.4

3.8

Verdasco

26

66.7

38.4

105.1

63.6

38.3

101.9

3.2

Basilashvili

22

64.3

37.0

101.3

60.8

37.4

98.2

3.1

Gasquet

27

66.2

37.4

103.6

63.0

37.8

100.8

2.8

Goffin

21

64.4

41.2

105.6

64.3

39.0

103.3

2.3

Raonic

14

77.9

29.7

107.6

71.8

33.8

105.6

2.0

This data shows that ten players have been able to boast considerably better numbers indoors, with Martin Klizan leading the way. Last year, the Slovakian - a rather inconsistent competitor in general - reached the final indoors in St. Petersburg, beating Stan Wawrinka, Denis Shapovalov and Fabio Fognini on the way there - and won in Rotterdam in 2016. He’s also reached a semi-final indoors, and several quarter-finals, since the start of 2016.

We can also see that three French players - Gilles Simon, Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet - have better data indoors, and with several French indoor events taking place in the next few weeks, this trio could be one to keep an eye on.

For example, this week’s indoor tournament in Montpellier has had eight tournaments held there this decade. In these events, there have been six French winners and six French runners-up - only four non-French players in eight years have made the final.

Which players perform worse in indoor tournaments?

As will have been anticipated, there will also be players who have considerably worse records indoors, and who may be worth avoiding or opposing in the betting markets when they play tournaments on that surface.

The table below looks at the two year service and return points won for players in the ATP Top 50, split by both indoor and outdoor hard (correct at January 31, 2019), with the players listed able to generate combined numbers outdoors greater than or equal to 2.0% more than their indoor figures.

ATP Top 50 hard vs. indoor hard worst players

Player

Rank

2 Year Service Points Won %

2 Year Return Points Won %

2 Year Combined Points Won %

2 Year Service Points Won %

2 Year Return Points Won %

2 Year Combined Points Won %

2 Year Combined Points Won %

 .

 l

Indoor Hard

Indoor Hard

Indoor Hard

Outdoor Hard

Outdoor Hard

Outdoor Hard

Indoor Hard-Outdoor Hard

 ,

 ,

 ,

 ,

 ,

 ,

 ,

 ,

 ,

Carreno-Busta

23

53.1

34.2

87.3

64.2

37.8

102.0

-14.7

Cecchinato

19

59.2

26.8

86.0

64.1

32.5

96.6

-10.6

Johnson

34

58.5

31.9

90.4

66.1

33.6

99.7

-9.3

Querrey

48

66.6

31.8

98.4

68.2

36.4

104.6

-6.2

Cilic

10

65.9

35.1

101.0

67.4

39.1

106.5

-5.5

Fritz

40

63.1

32.7

95.8

65.1

36.1

101.2

-5.4

Coric

13

65.2

34.0

99.2

66.1

37.7

103.8

-4.6

Jaziri

43

59.9

31.5

91.4

60.3

35.3

95.6

-4.2

Mayer L

49

65.1

30.4

95.5

64.9

34.3

99.2

-3.7

Thiem

8

64.7

35.5

100.2

66.2

37.6

103.8

-3.6

Isner

9

72.2

27.7

99.9

73.0

29.9

102.9

-3.0

Lajovic

42

58.8

36.7

95.5

63.2

35.3

98.5

-3.0

Shapovalov

25

65.7

33.0

98.7

64.8

36.5

101.3

-2.6

Fognini

15

62.2

36.8

99.0

61.8

39.7

101.5

-2.5

Millman

36

62.7

37.3

100.0

63.2

38.8

102.0

-2.0

It is evident from this data that the worst players indoors deviate considerably more from their outdoor figures than the best players, and certainly, the likes of Pablo Carreno-Busta, Marco Cecchinato and Steve Johnson have really struggled during indoor conditions in the last couple of years.

What role does geography play?

The list generally comprises of return-orientated players and perhaps strangely to some, Americans. Very little professional tennis is played indoors in America, and perhaps this has some knock-on effect to their high profile competitors.

With the aforementioned Johnson, as well as Sam Querrey and John Isner all having a relatively serve-orientated game style, their failure to adapt to and thrive in slightly quicker conditions than average appears rather odd initially, but the lack of events indoors in America could be a logical explanation.

Hopefully the above article has given you some thoughts about how to evaluate players indoors during the next few weeks, and understanding which players are likely to thrive or struggle in the anticipated conditions is critical when entering the markets.

Odds subject to change

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