“Tennis has a data problem”, a Wall Street Journal blog reported in the aftermath of the 2013 US Open. That and other blogs criticised the inanity of IBM statistics at the US Open: one IBM “key to a match” for one player was reportedly to serve at less than a specific miles per hour.
In truth, the tennis world as a whole has dedicated surprisingly little time to identifying meaningful data that might drive some of the sport’s variables, such as career success. To borrow from Nate Silver, there has been plenty of noise, but little signal. And nothing like what Bill James did for baseball.
So, by focusing on results and rankings from the ATP Tour over the last few years, this blog will contribute to fixing that.
The data presented will surely ask as many questions as it answers. The hard work is neither in having an opinion nor in having data, but in reconciling the two, or overriding one with the other where necessary.
All contributions welcome.