Why Some Tennis Matches Take Forever

But some players matter just as much as the year or surface. The difference between Dustin Brown, the fastest player with at least 50 matches, and Nicolas Massu, the slowest, is 12.6 seconds per point — bigger than the difference between the slowest and fastest years, or slowest and fastest tournaments.7All the player data is relative to retired American Aaron Krickstein, again chosen because he came first in alphabetical order. Since he played slightly faster than average for his time, the regression output shows the average player as contributing time to matches, so is best used to compare players to each other, and not as an absolute number. I’m listing only players with findings significant at the p<0.02 level — a stricter standard than p<0.05 to be more confident in the findings, but not quite as strict as p<0.01, which eliminated many more players — both for matches they won and for those they lost. My method found different estimates for winners and losers, but they were highly correlated — r-squared = 0.76 — so I combined them to form a single measure for each player, weighting the two estimates by his number of wins and losses in the data set. That’s the estimate shown in the following table. We’ve posted pace estimates for 218 players and for 205 events on GitHub.This analysis isn’t only about how much time players take between points. The official stats don’t break out that number. A player can affect the pace of play both by how much time he takes between points — mainly when serving — and how much time it takes him to play a point. Players who are fast between points but engage in epic rallies during them — such as Monfils — don’t show up as outliers. Nadal, meanwhile, is slow between points and also plays many long rallies.To check what I was capturing, I went back to Little Data. Using my trusty smartphone stopwatch function, I timed how long 15 players took to serve at the French Open. Then I correlated the time they took between each serve with the time the analysis showed they add to the average point. The two quantities had a fairly high correlation, suggesting that the players who add time to matches do so at least in large part by adding time between points.8The 15 players were as follows: Faster than Aaron Krickstein: Nicolas Almagro, Roger Federer, Daniel Gimeno Traver, John Isner, Andrey Kuznetsov, Nick Kyrgios, Benoit Paire, Lukas Rosol, Bernard Tomic. Slower: Pablo Andujar, Carlos Berlocq, Borna Coric, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal. I measured time before 120 of their serves between Thursday and Saturday. They were playing on courts at the same facility, in roughly the same weather conditions. The r-squared for the correlation was 0.44. The serve speed data also is on GitHub.Playing slow puts players in good company. Some of the greatest players of all time do or did: Nadal, Djokovic and Murray join fellow multiple-Slam-winners Jimmy Connors, Jim Courier, Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe, who were all slow, albeit relative to their cohorts’ faster times. But slower players are only marginally better: There is essentially no correlation between career winning percentage and relative speed of play.9r-squared=0.01 Great players like Federer and 2001 Wimbledon champ Goran Ivanisevic played faster than average.My analysis assumed each player maintains the same pace throughout his career, but anyone can change his pace of play. To find out who has, I compared actual and expected pace for each match10By inserting the regression coefficients, so I was controlling for opponent, surface, year and other factors.:Nadal is vexed that time has become such a pressing topic lately. “I don’t know why but is very interesting that we are talking a lot about time the last three years,” he said in response to a question of mine at a news conference here at the French Open. “I have been on the tour for 13 years, so for the first 10 years I have been on the tour I don’t think I was quicker than now, and we were not talking about that.” Nadal was so peeved by one umpire’s enforcement of time rules earlier this year that he asked for the ump to be removed from his upcoming matches, a request that was granted.Murray knows sometimes he is too slow. “I don’t mean to do it,” he said. Then again, it’s hard to know when he’s taking too much time. “Are we supposed to spend the 25 seconds before you serve counting in your head to 25? No, you’re thinking about tactics or, you know, other things, what you’re about to do with the serve, where you’re going to play the serve. And, yeah, sometimes you can go too slow.”Since Murray and Nadal grew tired of all the time questions, I asked some of today’s fastest players why they push the pace. All of them said that’s always been their style.Australian Bernard Tomic said he plays fast deliberately. He told me that mixing up pace between points is another way to throw off opponents, like changing the speed or spin of the ball. “Everyone plays differently,” Tomic said. “That’s the weapon you have these days.”Lukas Rosol, a Czech player, and American Sam Querrey both said they like to get into a rhythm when serving. Waiting too long between points can break that up. Querrey gets annoyed when he has to wait too long to return, and he figures spectators do, too. “Sports that are popular are ones that have pretty good pace of play,” he said. Some players told The Washington Post they want the game sped up, such as by forcing servers to hit their first ball toss, no matter how errant.On Monday, during Nadal’s slow-paced match against Sock, I caught up with some more outliers among retired greats at a joint news conference to promote the seniors tournament. The ex-players’ sense of their own pace generally squared with the analysis.“I didn’t take any time,” said Ivanisevic, the 2001 Wimbledon champ. “I just liked to play fast.” He recalled playing Agassi, another fast player, in a five-setter that took two hours. He was a bit off, but the match was still pretty fast for a five-setter, taking two hours and 50 minutes. Ivanisevic has to watch a lot of tennis these days, as coach of defending U.S. Open champ Marin Cilic, and he wishes players would move faster. “Maybe they should go to the towel just half the time,” he said.Michael Chang, the 1989 French Open champ, correctly guessed that he was somewhere in between Ivanisevic and Nadal in pace. He doesn’t blame Nadal: “A guy like Rafa, he sweats profusely,” Chang said.So did Pat Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon champ. “I was one of the sweatiest players in the history of the game,” he said. He also often ended points at the net, so he needed time to walk back to the baseline. Nonetheless, he used to rush as a young player, until he was taught to slow down — so slow, he was one of the slowest players, relative to his era.Cash thinks that the sport, with its protracted baseline rallies, is better today, and that there’s nothing wrong with players taking a 30-second break after a rally at least that long. “Spectators have got to catch their breath,” he said. Nine-time French Open champ Rafael Nadal is one of the slowest players of the last 25 years. Roger Federer is faster than average. Novak Djokovic is slower than average — but has gotten faster. Andy Murray, on the other hand, has slowed down.I’m not talking about foot speed, or about the speed of the ball off the racket. I’m talking about how long it takes to play a point of tennis. Like baseball, tennis isn’t bound by a clock, but it does keep time. A match isn’t over until one player wins two sets or three. And who the players are goes a long way to deciding how long it takes to go from start to finish.The topic has been especially urgent at this year’s French Open, which lacks a roof and floodlights and must squeeze in play between darkness and rain. If Djokovic and Murray played slightly faster, they might have finished their semifinal Friday. Instead the match was suspended at 3-3 in the fourth set because of an imminent storm at around 8:30 p.m. local time. That will force the winner of the match to play three days in a row, which could be a disadvantage in the final.For an illustration of how much pace matters, consider two four-set matches that finished Monday in Paris. Speedy Roger Federer finished off relatively fast Gael Monfils in two hours and 12 minutes, taking 36 seconds per point. Rafael Nadal’s defeat of Jack Sock, on the other hand, required two fewer points but 41 more minutes; it took 47 seconds per point. All those seconds add up fast.1The Federer match was much faster than Nadal’s even though it had more long rallies: 36 of nine or more shots, compared with 27 in the Nadal match.Before just about every serve, Nadal went through most parts of his usual ritual: He cleaned the baseline with his foot, tapped his shoes with his racket to knock the clay off, rejected one of the three balls he was offered, bounced one of the others with his racket while with his right hand he picked at the back of his shorts, dried his face and the area behind his ears, rubbed his hand on his shirt, rocked back and forth — and served. When he missed the first serve, he did some of the same things on his second serve, including picking at the back of his shorts and rocking back and forth.Players are allowed no more than 20 seconds between serves at Grand Slams225 seconds at ATP World Tour events; if they exceed that threshold twice and are called for it, they lose a first serve. Some players stretch and shrink the time as a tactic to rest or throw off opponents.Over several games and sets, slower play can add 15 minutes or more to a match, throwing off television schedules and testing the patience of fans. It matters enough to the ATP, which runs the men’s tour, that it cracked down on slow play two years ago by enforcing the rules more strictly. Then again, thrilling long rallies take longer and create longer breaks in between, so a slowdown could be a good sign for the sport.I’ve studied the question of what determines the length of a match before, using Little Data: stopwatching the time between a few hundred points, correlating with rally length and other factors. But now we have easy access to big data in tennis. Analyst Jeff Sackmann has posted to GitHub match stats for the last 25 years of the men’s tour. (Match stats for the women’s tour aren’t available.3The WTA, which runs the women’s tour, hasn’t cracked down on slow play like the ATP has with the men. And the men notice. Just after the ATP became stricter, in early 2013, men and women both played an Australian Open warmup event in Brisbane. Andy Murray recalled in a news conference last week that men timed women’s matches and complained that 35-second delays weren’t being penalized, while men were dinged for going two seconds over their limit.) There are nearly 25 years of matches in there — 71,027 in all,4The database was updated through April 27 when I downloaded it. Tennis data is imperfect, including some errors in the historical record. I scrapped all matches with no time info, plus other oddballs (including matches with stats that looked wrong, like a handful of matches with points that averaged less than 15 seconds or more than six and a half minutes). and enough variables for us to tease out which factors have the biggest effect on how long matches take. Like I did last year with baseball games, I ran a regression to see how each of a match’s building blocks affects how long it takes, per point.5I used R. The dependent variable was time divided by points. The variables I included started with the breakdown of points in the match, by type. More precisely, these variables were the percentage of points that were followed by: changeovers after the first game of a set, when there is no prolonged break; changeovers later in sets, with longer breaks; ends of sets; end of matches by one player winning the requisite number of sets; end of matches by retirement; end of matches by default; all other ends of games; tiebreaker changeovers, when players switch side in tiebreakers, after each six points; tiebreaker changes of serve, after an odd number of points; and all other tiebreaker points. I also included four groups of dummy variables: the year of the match; the tournament-surface (treating Madrid’s clay tournament separately from the old Madrid hard-court event and from Rome’s clay event); the winner; and the loser. (We’ve uploaded part of my findings on Github for all to see.)In the early 1990s, the era in which Pete Sampras served-and-volleyed to success and Andre Agassi rushed from one side of the court to the other between serves, the game sped up. Then, starting in the late 1990s, as play shifted to baseline battles, it slowed down — until 2012, when the average point took 4.6 seconds longer than in 1991, all else equal. That doesn’t sound like much, but it amounts to 19 extra minutes over 250 points, a typical number for a best-of-five-set match.In 2012, the five-set Australian Open final between Nadal and Djokovic took five hours and 53 minutes, and raised cries for the game to speed up. The next year, the ATP answered by encouraging umpires to call time violations more strictly — and it appears to have worked. That year play sped up by 2.6 seconds per point, and it has remained roughly at that level since.Surface matters, too. The four fastest tournaments were on grass — with Wimbledon the fastest. The 11 slowest were on clay. Grass encourages the fastest rallies in the sport, which take less time and require less recovery. Clay is at the other extreme.6Because of the nature of the regression, I had to choose one event to serve as the benchmark for all others. So I went with the first one listed when the events were lined up in alphabetical order. All the speed data is relative to data from 1998 to 2007 for ‘s-Hertogenbosch, a grass tournament in the Netherlands. Since it’s played on a relatively fast surface, the regression output shows the average tournament as contributing time to matches, so is best used to compare tournaments to each other, and not as an absolute number. Also note that some of the names were formatted inconsistently, so a few tournaments appear more than once, covering different time periods. That doesn’t affect our findings for other types of variables. read more

Serge Gnabry is finally unveiled at Bayern Munich

first_imgFormer Arsenal midfielder Serge Gnabry has today officially been announced a Bayern Munich player, 12 months on from signing for the club.Gnabry initially signed for the German giant’s last summer but was immediately sent out on loan to fellow Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, ensuring that he was never revealed to fans officially.That all changed today, however, as the 22-year-old made his first proper public appearance at the Allianz as a Bayern Munich player. „Meine Ziele würde ich kurz fassen: So viele Titel, wie es geht, zu holen.“ ? #Packmas, @SergeGnabry! ? ➡ https://t.co/DsKlIJCyo0 #FCBayern #MiaSanMia pic.twitter.com/91n089Exfg— FC Bayern München (@FCBayern) July 2, 2018He spoke to the media as he received his welcome this Monday, as reported by The Sun: “It’s certainly a proud moment.”“FC Bayern are a club that everyone knows about from when they’re a child – a club with huge success. It’s an honour for me to play for Bayern”Jadon SanchoMerson believes Arsenal should sign Sancho Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho might be the perfect player to play for the Gunners, according to former England international Paul Merson.The German international spent 5 years at the Emirates under Arsene Wenger – spending one season on loan at West Brom – but failed to establish himself in the Arsenal first team before being sold to Werder Bremen in 2016.Gnabry’s loan spell last year with Hoffenheim was the success that Bayern had hoped it would be, as he scored 10 goals in 22 domestic appearances for the club.He now joins the ranks of one of the biggest football clubs in Europe and he will hope to prove himself to new manager Nico Kovac quickly, in order to contribute to a team that has won the last 6 domestic league titles in Germany.last_img read more

Gio Simeone cant wait for his dad to coach Argentina

first_imgDiego Simeone’s older son who is having a great debut in European football, stated publicly that he knows his father will manage Argentina sooner or later.A couple weeks ago there was an interview in the Spanish radio where Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, spoke about his son Giovanni and the narrow chances he has of bringing him to Atletico Madrid and the possibility of coaching Argentina in the future. The youngster hadn’t spoken in public after that interview and he did it this Thursday in Fox Sports Argentina, he revealed that his father’s words were hard to digest but he agrees with him. As Diego Simeone’s son, Giovanni always had a hard time to make people respect him because they always believed that he was a product of nepotism. Ever since he made his debut in River Plate at a very early age, young Giovanni never had it easy to rise through the ranks and he is one of the few examples of a football family where the descendants improve the bloodline. Today as a Fiorentina striker, Gio has many of the same trades his father had during his career but he uses them as a striker. The oldest of the Simeone children is a fighter like his dad, but he was also born with the gift of scoring many goals that have brought him to Europe on his own merits and has also given him the honor of making his debut for Argentina with a goal. ¿PRESIÓN PARA PAPÁ?#90MinutosFOX – Esto dijo Giovanni sobre las chances de que el Cholo Simeone llegue alguna vez a la Selección Argentina. pic.twitter.com/pGfMszR7T4— FOX Sports Argentina (@FOXSportsArg) September 27, 2018The lad also spoke about the dream of representing the National Team where his father once played as a young professional, but he set his sights on the striker position and he keeps working hard to accomplish that in the future. One of the most expected questions that the Fox Sports panel had for young Giovanni, was if he wanted his father to take control of the Argentina National Team during this term before the next World Cup. The player obviously said yes, but he understands why he chose to not do it now because of everything he is currently going through with Atletico Madrid. However, the Fiorentina striker keeps his hopes high and truly believes that his father will coach Argentina in the future. For Gio, Diego Simeone becoming the Argentina National Team manager is only a matter of time and he reflected the wish that everybody in the country has to let him have a go at coaching the squad in the near future. But this is not the time for ‘Cholo’ to manage Argentina yet, there are many things that AFA need to fix in order to convince the Atletico Madrid manager to take the team sometime in the future.”VENIR A EUROPA ME HIZO MADURAR MUCHO”#90MinutosFOX Giovanni Simeone, en exclusiva pic.twitter.com/CMj9yV427YCristiano Ronaldo, JuventusSerie A Betting: Match-day 3 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Considering there is a number of perfect starts so early in the Serie A season, as well as a few surprisingly not-so perfect ones….— FOX Sports Argentina (@FOXSportsArg) September 27, 2018“Of course I would’ve like my father to be the Argentina manager, I tell you this both as a player and as an Argentinean. Of course I wish he takes control of the national team someday, most of all because he is a manager who has a lot of heart as we all know, he always finds the best way to motivate his players and he always convinces every player to make their greatest effort to fight. Exactly like you see him do in Atletico Madrid. I tell you this as an Argentinean but also as his son, I know that my father coaching the National Team is only a matter of time. I wish I can get to be Argentina’s number ‘9’ in the Qatar World Cup. I know it’s not easy but I will do my best to achieve it. The support I get from the city of Florence is immense. I have to keep doing things the way I’m doing them right now, I keep a mindset that tells me I have to score a goal tomorrow and also on the next match. I felt very moved when I made my debut for Argentina, but I realized what just happened after the match. In order to triumph in life, one must first fail repeatedly and I will keep doing that every day for the rest of my life,” said Giovanni during the interview with Fox Sports Argentina.”Sé que mi papá va a dirigir la Selección Argentina”: Giovanni Simeone dejó la puerta abierta para que su padre asuma la Selección Argentina en el futuro. https://t.co/mEWzbn8DQu pic.twitter.com/nvQbab8yHA— Futbol Argentino (@Argentina_futbo) September 27, 2018How long do you think it will take Diego Simeone to make the decision to manage Argentina? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.last_img read more

Mourinho denies having anything to do with agents comments

first_imgJose Mourinho claims he had nothing to do with his agent’s comments regarding his Manchester United futureThe Portuguese coach has come under increased scrutiny this season with United eight points adrift of fourth-place Chelsea in the Premier League.While United have fared better in Europe, this hasn’t stopped reports spreading that Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is the favourite to succeed Mourinho at Old Trafford.Speaking on his client, Jorge Mendes made a rare statement last week in which he denied that United were unhappy with Mourinho and that the former Chelsea coach remains content to stay on.But, apparently, not even Mourinho himself was aware of Mendes’ statement.Jose Mourinho, Lionel MessiMourinho: “Lionel Messi made me a better coach” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho believes the experience of going up against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi at Real Madrid made him a greater coach.“Which statement?,” said Mourinho on the Belfast Telegraph, when asked about the intention behind Mendes’ statement.“No, I’ve nothing to do with the statement. It’s Jorge’s statement, not my statement.”As for whether he knew of Mendes’ plans, Mourinho added: “No, I didn’t know. I didn’t know at all and I don’t care about it.”Mourinho will lead his United side out against Valencia tonight in their Group H finale of the Champions League.last_img read more

Researchers suggest magicians mirror tricks could be used as large scale cloaking

first_img Cloaking devices have become an item of interest to both the general public and physicists. The Harry Potter movies showed what a cloaking device might look like, while breakthroughs in metamaterials have allowed for the creation of real cloaking materials. Unfortunately, the real materials only work for certain wavelengths of optical frequencies and for very small sample sizes. Another, less high-tech approach is to use mirrors to make objects “disappear” as magicians have been doing for years. That’s what Howell and his son have done.Cloaking devices all work under the same principles—they bend light in such a way as to cause an object to be hidden from view. A simple example would be a small island in a river. Water is split at one end of the island, moves past on either side, and is then reconnected at the other end. If the water were replaced with light, the island would appear to be invisible from the point of view of an observer (in two dimensions, of course). (Phys.org) —John Howell, a Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester, and his teenage son, have uploaded a paper to the preprint server arXiv in which they suggest that some common magicians’ tricks could be used to create large cloaking devices. They describe three types of simple cloaking devices: one made of Plexiglass and water, another of inexpensive lenses, and a third constructed using ordinary mirrors. © 2013 Phys.org Citation: Researchers suggest magicians’ mirror tricks could be used as large scale cloaking devices (w/ video) (2013, June 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-06-magicians-mirror-large-scale-cloaking.html Journal information: arXiv Researchers create first 3D invisibility cloak Howell and his son aren’t suggesting they’ve invented anything new; rather, by building and demonstrating some simple cloaking devices, they are showing that such devices might be useful for real world applications, such as hiding satellites. They fully acknowledge a major limitation of their devices, namely that they only work when viewed from a specific angle. But that’s not the point. The real point is that age-old technology could be updated for use in practical modern applications. If a mirror-based cloaking device were put into space to hide a satellite, for example, it could be computer controlled to keep it at the proper angle as it circled the globe. Even simpler would be “hiding” satellites that hover in a geosynchronous orbit.Such cloaking devices, they note, would work across the entire visible spectrum and could be made in virtually any size and, perhaps best of all, could be made inexpensively using materials that are already well understood. More information: Simple, broadband, optical spatial cloaking of very large objects, arXiv:1306.0863 [physics.optics] arxiv.org/abs/1306.0863AbstractWe demonstrate three simple cloaking devices that can hide very large spatial objects over the entire visible spectrum using only passive, off-the-shelf optics. The cloaked region for all of the devices exceeds 10^6 mm3 with the largest exceeding 10^8 mm3. Although uni-directional, these cloaks can hide the cloaked object, even if the object is transversely or self-illuminated. Owing to the small usable solid angle, but simple scaling, these cloaks may be of value in hiding small field-of-view objects such as mid- to high-earth orbit satellites. A cloaking device based on Snell’s law. Credit: arXiv:1306.0863 [physics.optics] Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

What matters more Writer or manuscript

first_imgKeen observers of contemporary Indian literature would agree that most recent books have depended heavily on promotions and marketing. But if publicity rules the roost, does the manuscript get its due? It is no surprise that a handful of successful authors have come to dominate the literary scene in India, but there has been no serious analysis of their dominant presence.For instance: If one were to look at the overall sales of novels and non-fiction titles by Indian publishers in 2016 and so far this year, some 50 known faces account for about 80 per cent of output. All the self-published authors, along with many debutants and unsuccessful authors, share a meagre 20 per cent market share while their aggregate number may range in the tens of thousands. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe privileged class of writers include the likes of Amish Tripathi, Anuja Chauhan, Ashwin Sanghi, Shashi Tharoor, Ramachandra Guha, Arundhati Roy, Vikram Seth, Amitav Ghosh – as also the popular fiction writers like Chetan Bhagat, Ravinder Singh and Durjoy Dutta. On the other hand, there are writers you have never heard of and are unlikely to hear about in the future.The reason? The Indian publishing industry is a highly manipulated area of popular culture where social media trends and following have come to decide the number of copies a book sells. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThis ultimate fate of the book – it’s market value – is also the deciding factor for many publishers to select the subjects and authors of their non-fiction titles and their final verdict on a manuscript. What the publishers gleefully call “Selling Points” is responsible for the cauldron of mediocrity that contemporary Indian literature finds itself in.And it is certainly not that there is a lack of quality writing. A significant number of good books are ignored by headline publishers and never see the light of day. Not to forget, it is these “homes of bestsellers” who had even rejected Amish Tripathi and Ashwin Sanghi, whose gross sales are now in crores of rupees. They like to play safe, refrain from experimentation, count on authors with successful past records and many-a-times ignore potential creative talent due to what they call “market pressure”. But is there actually a compelling market pressure? Or, are the readers being merely fed the books that, according to the publishers, have strong “Selling Points”?While it may again be a case of “What came first: The chicken or the egg?” one thing that holds ground is the exorbitant marketing that headline authors use. With marketing budgets of these “privileged authors” running often into lakhs of rupees, the reach and visibility of first-time or less popular authors is consequently marginalised.But what matters more: The author’s profile or the manuscript?Poulomi Chatterjee, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Hachette India, said that it largely depends on situations, adding that when it comes to non-fiction, the profile of the author is very important because you can’t do an economics book by a politician if he or she is not really an expert at it.”If I am doing a book on e-commerce, I would have to have someone who is able to study the business or is an insider. But he has to be an expert, I cannot have an historian do it. There, the better known the name, the better is our selling point. The author’s profile is very important when it comes to non-fiction,” Chatterjee said.In fiction, she said, the profile doesn’t matter that much. It’s not like men cannot write about women. What matters is the story, the style and the craft of the writer. Chatterjee also said that if there is a successful published author, it is always a plus point and that increases the prospective sales of the book.”But if you are a true reader, you would also be experimental in your reading and look out for debut authors. You would be interested to know whether what is being said in the blurb is really true. I am a book buyer, I am a reader and I want to read a new voice. So I don’t think it matters all that much,” she maintained.Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee, former Director of the National Book Trust (NBT) shared a more honest view.He said that the manuscript, for him, is paramount and no matter how popular the profile of the author is, an ideal publisher should never compromise with the quality of writing and the potential of the manuscript.last_img read more