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Getting Slammed in Tennis

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Author:Ivars Peterson (MathTrek)
Description: One arena where it's possible to test the apparent relationship between psychological momentum and sequences of successes or failures is best-of-five tennis matches. The question is whether the result of the first set changes the probability of success or failure in subsequent sets. If psychological momentum is truly a factor, the probability of winning a set would depend on the results of previous sets instead of remaining essentially constant for a given match. To investigate this effect, statisticians David Jackson and Krzysztof Mosurski of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, have taken a close look at the results of professional tennis matches. They describe their findings in a recent issue of Chance.

Levels: Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12), College
Languages: English
Resource Types: Articles
Math Topics: Data Analysis, Sports

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