Australian Open Abstract – The Comprehensive Guide to the First Grand Slam of 2013 (Preamble)

December 25, 2012 · Print This Article

by: Jack Han

Is there such a thing as statistically rigorous tennis commentary? If such a thing can exist, then this is what we setting out to achieve with this multi-part series.  In tennis, until very recently, fans and journalists tend to measure a player’s talent with subjective criteria such as the fluidity of his one-handed backhand or with relatively one-dimensional numbers such as the speed of his first serve.  A case can be made that there’s much more to tennis than that.

If you are familiar with the book “Moneyball,” then you probably realize that there is more than meets the eye when watching sports.  In the case of baseball, some players are grossly overvalued given the traditional statistical metrics used by managers and fans, while others were consistently overlooked at because they didn’t look the part or fit the mold of what a good ballplayer should play like.  In the late 1970’s, a man by the name of Bill James began to fight against this injustice of sorts with an annual volume called “Baseball Abstract,” which showcased statistics not available anywhere else, and which gave these numbers “the power of language” and used them to describe why some teams win more often than others.

By looking at a variety of metrics, some of which rarely discussed before, perhaps we will be able to uncover some new insights which will allow us to answer pressing questions such as:

“Is Federer on the decline, and if so, how come?”

“Now that Murray has won one Grand Slam, what’s preventing him from winning more?”

“What is Djokovic’s weakness, if there is such a thing?”

“Who is the most likely player to win his first-ever Slam in 2013?”

And (last but not least) “Who will go all the way in Melbourne this January?”

In this multi-part series, we will take a close look at the statistical makeup of the thirty-two best tennis players in the world in an honest attempt to provide definitive answers to those burning questions.  Check back on the dates below to get the full story:

Part 1 (Dec. 27th): Seeded Player Profiles – The Old Guards

Radek Stepanek (’96)

Tommy Haas (’96)

Roger Federer (’98)

Jurgen Melzer (’99)

Mikhail Youzhny (’99)

Mardy Fish (’00)

David Ferrer (’00)

Part 2 (Dec. 28th): Seeded Player Profiles – Tour Veterans

Florian Mayer (’01)

Fernando Verdasco (’01)

Phillipp Kohlschreiber (’01)

Rafael Nadal (’01)

Janko Tipsarevic (’02)

Stanislas Wawrinka (’02)

Tomas Berdych (’02)

Gilles Simon (’02)

Richard Gasquet (’02)

Andreas Seppi (’02)

Juan Monaco (’02)

Part 3 (Dec. 29th): Seeded Player Profiles – In their Primes

Novak Djokovic (’03)

Nicolas Almagro (’03)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (’04)

Andy Murray (’05)

Marin Cilic (’05)

Juan Martin Del Potro (’05)

Jeremy Chardy (’05)

Part 4 (Dec. 30th): Seeded Player Profiles – Rising Stars

Sam Querrey (’06)

Alexandr Dolgopolov (’07)

John Isner (’07)

Kei Nishikori (’07)

Jerzy Janowicz (’07)

Martin Klizan (’07)

Milos Raonic (’08)

Part 5 (Dec. 31st): Previewing the Best – The Big Four, Revisited

Djokovic’s Achille’s Heel

Federer’s (Supposed) Decline

What Murray Needs to Be Number One

Nadal, Better Than Ever?

Part 6 (Jan. 1st): Previewing the Rest – Bracket Breakers

Part 7 (Jan 2nd): Conclusion & Predictions

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