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  • Writer's pictureShane Scrutton

It's all in the data. Or is it?

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

If you’re a tennis player struggling to get a few wins, well this might be the news you’ve been waiting for.

Yep, I’ve discovered a concept based on some pure data that’ll just give your game an edge.

Not in that running, down-the-line smash winner/passing shot way that Federer hit against Roddick that time indoors (you know the one where Roddick threw his racquet over the net).

And certainly not in the way that some tennis experts try and throw around numbers like confetti, bamboozling their audience with impressive-sounding statistics that don't mean all that much.

No, it’s a concept that shows that it is possible to win against someone who you may not even have ever played. But through masterful manipulation, I may just be able to prove to you that you can still beat them.

Take it from me. Being able to convince yourself that you are a better player than someone else, is a skill that can be enhanced with practise.

With it, in fact, I can logically conclude that I have actually recorded wins over some of the greatest players to have ever played the game. Now I don’t want to name-drop, but Agassi, Sampras, Becker?

Directly? Ok, well no. But Indirectly? Now that’s another story.

And, my fellow giant-slayers, you can use it too.

Firstly, in developing any concept (no matter how flimsy) and hoping for some buy-in, you really want some stats to back up your research.

And it helps if that concept sounds impressive too. Like this.


“A relation between three elements such that if it holds between the first and second and it also holds between the second and third it must necessarily hold between the first and third”


You better memorize that last bit;


That time I beat Wayne Arthurs in the under 14's? Hit a couple of topspin lobs over his head as he tried valiantly to serve-and-volley on the slow, net-rusher-unfriendly clay courts at North Ringwood Tennis Club? Guess who he went on to beat? Another guy who THEN went on to then beat another up-and-coming, talented Swiss player at the French Open who had some shotmaking genius and a rather questionable temperament.

That old stager who you may have embarrassingly been knocked off in a pennant doubles match - search far enough back and you might just find that, in Buenos Aries in 1974, they had a rather surprising win. Over? That’s right, a clay court specialist who would go on to win GRAND SLAM TITLES.

That's the beauty of tennis - a sport where two combatants put everything on the line each time they go out there. Where reputations can be enhanced or shattered in the course of a single match. But by taking into account a win you may have once had, it’s possible to turn virtually any outcome of any related match, into an outcome that can make you look even better than what you really are.

And what tennis player doesn’t want that?

It’s a heck of a lot more appealing than the alternative - which is that the road to becoming a top tennis player simply relies on a player’s attitude and their desire to work hard on and off the tennis court, constantly working on their game, slowly getting rid of weaknesses and gradually developing the weapons, speed, consistency, fitness and courage to produce under intense pressure.....

Still unconvinced? Well, I certainly wouldn't be the first to discover some obscure statistical data on a sport and base my entire coaching philosophy on it, that's for sure.

But perhaps best of all, it gives you the perfect response anytime someone asks you if you’ve ever beaten any certain top player.

As long as you’ve done your research, just reply ‘Sure, it was one of my best INDIRECT WINS ever.’

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