Gilles Muller is one of the form players on the ATP Tour right now. Jo Wilfried Tsonga on the other hand has a win/loss record of 11-6 this year with 5 of those wins coming at Roland Garros. Jo was due to play at Nottingham last week however pulled out with an injury so his grass court preparation may not be where he’d like it to be.
I watched Muller play Dimitrov at Queens and it was one of the best serving performances of the year. On the grass players with a big serve are a bigger threat as the ball skips off the court and it was something Dimitrov couldn’t deal with. Having a big serve is great but not being predictable off it is even greater.
Quite a few players seem to go with the down the T or out wide serve but the body serve isn’t used as often as expected despite it causing problems for the receiver. With the right spin and pace on the ball the body serve can be as effective as an ace. The body serve jams the opponent and gives them little time at all to move and pick a return and most of the time just end up firing the ball wide.
I think the body serve can be effective on the second serve as well. Obviously it is going to have less pace on but if you can get good spin and bounce on the ball you could push the opponent back.
Tsonga on the other hand is a good server but is also very good all over the court. He has the ability to produce winners from standing positions at the back of the court and is good at the net and is something I think he should look at going to quite a lot. When Muller played Dimitrov I would say it was about 50/50 on points won at the net, sometimes the volley from Muller didn’t have great killer instinct on it and it gave Dimitrov time to pick his space. The times when Muller did get the joy on the volley at the net was when he got Dimitrov moving in the rallies.
Tsonga and Muller have met once on the tour before in France last year with Tsonga winning 6-4 7-5. They have also met on the challenger tour in the past with Muller winning their two meetings one in 2005 and the other in 2007.
Breaking serve for both players will be a tough challenge. Muller has played 33 matches this year with 445 aces and 90 double faults. He has saved a high 70% of break points and won 80% of points on his first serve winning 88% of his own serving games which is very good. Despite Tsonga playing less matches the percentages are quite close.
Who will come out on top at Wimbledon? Muller or Tsonga?