The US Open introduced an extra way to engage with the event this year with a Fantasy Tennis competition. In this post, I share a simulation model that can help with fantasy strategizing. The basic idea is to run outcomes of the US Open men’s and women’s draws, predict match statistics for each hypothetical match, and tabulate the corresponding fantasy points that are up for grabs with each match. This model alone won’t win you the fantasy game, where so much luck is involved, but it can be a useful tool for choosing more winnable strategies.
With 7 consecutive match wins standing between a pro player and a Grand Slam title, it would seem obvious that consistency in performance is essential to a major win. But no player can play to their best in every match. And no player can avoid the occasional off day. This raises a more interesting question with a less obvious answer: what level of consistency must a player maintain to win a slam?
In just one week, Rafael Nadal will begin his journey towards a 14th Roland Garros title. Since his first win in Paris in 2005, Nadal has dominated the surface and only injury has been a consistent foe. Will 2021 continue that pattern? This post looks at the trends in player clay ratings ahead of the French Open main draw and the story they tell about a growing threat to Nadal’s reign as the definitive ‘King of Clay’.
Change of direction is the skill of moving the ball from one side of the court to the other. Being able to control the direction of the ball during a tennis point can be a key strategy for forcing an opponent out of a comfortable position and setting up a winning shot. With modern tracking data, where the trajectory of every shot in a point is known, we can begin to investigate how change of direction is best quantified. This post is a collection of some initial ideas on a statistic for change of direction.
Using a recently discovered source of summary tracking data for Grand Slam matches, Peter Tea explores the spatial features of top men’s and women’s serves.