The effect of score-line on elite tennis tactics
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Match statistics from 234 men’s Grand Slam singles matches were analysed to investigate the different tactics adopted by players, in winning and losing match situations. A preliminary study found a significant difference between the distribution of the set lost, and the expected uniform frequency distribution, in men’s matches concluding in four sets (p = 0.001). The effect on tactics of the match winner losing a specific set in four set matches was analysed. Percentage finishing and percentage of net approaches was used as an indicator of tactics. The match winner approached the net significantly more when the set lost was the first (p < 0.008), however this was the only scenario where the match winner adopted a change in tactics. This suggests that match winners only adopt a change in tactics when in a losing position. Consistent with previous research, the match loser adopted a significant change in tactics in all match scenarios, including success in the first set (p < 0.008). This suggests that players should try to maintain the tactics used in a successful set. The findings of this study can be used to aid coach and player education, with regards to tactics and strategy in certain score-line situations.
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