Are French Players Bad At Recovering Losing In-Play Positions?


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There has been much speculation over recent years that French players give up way too easily in matches, and have low levels of mental strength, particularly against 'better' opponents.

I decided to check this out, using my new Low Price Lead Loss & Recovery spreadsheets.  This allows us to quantify whether this is indeed the case, as it enables assessment of the following deficit recovery percentages, since July 2014.

1) The percentage a player wins the first break of set 2 when they lost set 1.
2) The percentage a player recovers a set and break deficit.
3) The percentage a player recovers a break deficit in set 3.

The table below illustrates the results for the French players in these spreadsheets, from 1/7/14 to 13/5/15:-

Player

Losing Situations

When Lost S1



First S&B, Recovers



Set 2      Comeback Score

1st Break Down S3, Recovers



Set 2&3 Comeback Score

Set 2&3 Break Recovery



Break 1st S2














Yes

No

%

Yes

No

%


Yes

No

%



1/7/14 to 13/5/15

2460

449

774

36.71

231

576

28.62

33.50

155

275

36.05

33.94

31.20

Benneteau

20

4

7

36.36


7

0.00

22.22

1

1

50.00

25.00

11.11

Chardy

35

6

12

33.33

3

10

23.08

29.03


4

0.00

25.71

17.65

De Schepper

12

1

5

16.67


5

0.00

9.09


1

0.00

8.33

0.00

Gasquet

18

2

8

20.00

2

5

28.57

23.53

1


100.00

27.78

37.50

Mahut

8


4

0.00


4

0.00

0.00




0.00

0.00

Mannarino

25

5

7

41.67


7

0.00

26.32

2

4

33.33

28.00

15.38

Mathieu

7


3

0.00

1

1

50.00

20.00


2

0.00

14.29

25.00

Monfils

19

4

6

40.00

2

4

33.33

37.50

2

1

66.67

42.11

44.44

Paire

23

7

7

50.00

4

3

57.14

52.38


2

0.00

47.83

44.44

Roger-Vasselin

20

5

6

45.45


7

0.00

27.78


2

0.00

25.00

0.00

Simon

40

8

14

36.36

5

10

33.33

35.14

2

1

66.67

37.50

38.89

Tsonga

12

1

4

20.00

1

3

25.00

22.22

3


100.00

41.67

57.14

French Players Overall

239

43

83

34.13

18

66

21.43

29.05

11

18

37.93

30.13

25.66


The data does indeed indicate that French players are worse for recovering losses than average - with four players in and around the top 20, and a number around top 50 level also, it's difficult to even say that this is because the players are of low quality.

From 126 first set losses where there was a break in the second set, French players took the first break in the second set 43 times (34.13%), below the ATP mean of 36.71%. Indeed, Kenny De Schepper, Nicolas Mahut, Paul-Henri Mathieu and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga managed this feat just twice between them, from 18 occasions (11.1%).  Benoit Paire (50%) produced the best figures.

Nicolas Mahut has been awful when in losing positions since July 2014...

From a set and break down, the figures were even worse.  Just 18 of 84 set and break deficits were recovered (21.43%), over 7% below the Tour average of 28.62%.  It is clear that French players do not generally thrive from these situations.

Here, a particular mention must go to Messrs Benneteau, De Schepper, Mahut, Mannarino and Roger-Vasselin, who failed to recover a single set and break deficit between them, from 30 situations!

However, French players were marginally better in the final set, with 1.88% more break deficits being recovered (11/29).  

Overall, French players were 3.81% down on set 2 comebacks (either first break in set 2 or set & break deficit), and 5.54% on break deficits in both set 2 and set 3, clearly showing that they lack the quality of the average ATP player to fight back in sets 2 and 3 of matches.

Having said this, credit must go to Monfils, Paire, Simon and Tsonga, who did produce above-average overall figures, and Monfils and Paire in particular, who have excellent recovery stats.  

Despite the overall trend, Benoit Paire produced excellent deficit recovery figures...

This cannot be said for the likes of Benneteau, Chardy, De Schepper, Mahut (who didn't manage to recover a single deficit), Mannarino, Mathieu and Roger-Vasselin, who were well down on comeback figures.
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