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Numbers game: the Australian Open and predicting success

By Michael Bane

Most of the focus of the Australian Open will be on the contenders for the men's and women's singles championships, but behind the superstars are the journeys of younger, less-experienced players. Who is on their way to the top ten in the next few years? And who will never make it into the top 100? Michael Bane writes that sports data science provides some insight into the potential for future success - and failure.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The Australian Open is upon us for another year, and the best tennis players in the world have assembled in Melbourne to compete for the right to call themselves “champion”.

Much of the focus will be on the genuine contenders for the men’s and women’s singles trophies – the likes of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Victoria Azerenka and Serena Williams. But for many Australians, the focus of the tournament will be 20-year-old Bernard Tomic who is currently ranked 64th in the world.

Will Tomic be able to follow through on suggestions he’s good enough to break into the top ten? Or will his highest-yet world ranking of 27th – reached in June 2012 – be as close to the top ten he gets?

While such questions are very difficult to answer, there is a branch of science that’s making...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Michael Bane is a research fellow currently employed by a joint venture between Victoria University’s Institute of Sport Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL), the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and Tennis Australia’s Sports Science and Medicine unit. This article was originally published at The Conversation.