According to IBM, British tennis hope Andy Murray was doomed from the outset and was always going to lose to Grigor Dimitrov.
IBM credited Dimitrov with 50 aggressive forehands to 44 for Murray during Wednesday’s men’s quarter-final match, in which Bulgarian Dimitrov knocked out last year’s men’s champion in straight sets.
In short the IBM system claims the Briton was a less aggressive player than opponent Grigor Dimitrov and was due for a good kicking.
These figures tallied with our own predictions that were based on a simple algorithm. If player is British, then player = loser. Our algorithm was highly successful in the World Cup where we accurately predicted England being sent home.
This year’s Wimbledon marks the first time IBM has used the system which was developed from data combined from last year’s Wimbledon championship, the US Open, as well as this year’s Australian Open.
It defines an aggressive shot based on speed, landing location of the ball, distance the opponent had to move to get to the shot; and the opponent’s position for the return.
The statistics cannot be used to predict with certainty who will win a match, but they can help to analyse why a particular match against a particular player went the way it did, and also to prepare for an opponent, IBM says.
Bill Jinks, an IBM engineer working on the project, said that data was changing the way the game was played.
Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, who is ranked 13th in the world but beat Germany’s Angelique Kerber, ranked 7th, on Wednesday to reach the women’s semi-finals, said her coach looks at the IBM data.
The system predicted 38 aggressive forehands for Bouchard during the match against 29 for Kerber, and 23 aggressive backhands versus just 15 for the seventh seed.
At this rate the sports people will not have to actually play a game, the computer will predict who wins, everyone applauds and goes for strawberry and cream.