Do taller tennis players win more? A statistical analysis of the 2014 Australian Open.

Do taller tennis players win more?  A statistical analysis of the 2014 Australian Open.

Tall players serve harder and have greater reach.  Shorter players are quicker.

So who wins more often?  Let’s look at the results of the just-concluded 2014 Australian Open to find out.

Round 1:  Mens Singles

Notes:

  • The taller player won 36 of 64 matches:  58%.
  • Players were of equal height in 8 matches.
  • The shorter player won 20 of 64 matches:  31%
  • Shortest players in Round 1:  David Ferrer, Tim Smyczek, Damir Dzumhur, Dudi Sela, and Albert Montanes (all 5′ 9″).
  • Tallest player in Round 1:  Ivo Karlovic (listed as 6’11” on ATP website).

Round 1:  Womens Singles

Notes:

  • The taller player won 34 of 64 matches:  53%.
  • Players were of equal height in 10 matches.
  • The shorter player won 20 of 64 matches:  31%
  • Shortest players in Round 1:  Sachia Vickery, Lauren Davis, and Kurumi Nara (all 5′ 2″).
  • Tallest player in Round 1:  Maria Sharapova (6′ 2″)

Round 2:  Mens Singles


Notes:

  • The taller player won 12 of 32 matches:  37.5%.
  • Players were of equal height in 6 matches.
  • The shorter player won 14 of 32 matches:  43%
  • Shortest players in Round 2:  David Ferrer and Damir Dzumhur (both 5′ 9″).
  • Tallest players in Round 2:  Kenny De Schepper, Kevin Anderson, and Jerzy Janowicz (all 6′ 8″)

Round 2:  Womens Singles

Notes:

  • The taller player won 14 of 32 matches:  43%.
  • Players were of equal height in 4 matches.
  • The shorter player won 14 of 32 matches:  43%
  • Shortest players in Round 2:  Lauren Davis and Kurumi Nara (both 5′ 2″).
  • Tallest players in Round 2:  Maria Sharapova (6′ 2″)

Round 3: Mens Singles

Notes:

  • The taller player won 4 of 16 matches:  25%.
  • Players were of equal height in 1 match.
  • The shorter player won 9 of 16 matches:  56%
  • Shortest players in Round 3:  Damir Dzumhur and David Ferrer (both 5′ 9″).
  • Tallest players in Round 3:  Sam Querry (6′ 6″)

Round 3:  Womens Singles

Notes:

  • The taller player won 8 of 16 matches:  50%.
  • Players were of equal height in no matches.
  • The shorter player won 8 of 16 matches:  50%
  • Shortest players in Round 3:  Lauren Davis and Kurumi Nara (both 5′ 2″).
  • Tallest players in Round 3:  Maria Sharapova (6′ 2″)

Round 4: Mens Singles

Notes:

  • The taller player won 5 of 8 matches:  62.5%.
  • Players were of equal height in no matches.
  • The shorter player won 3 of 8 matches:  37.5%
  • Shortest players in Round 4:  David Ferrer (5′ 9″).
  • Tallest players in Round 4:  Thomas Berdych (6′ 5″)

Round 4:  Womens Singles

Notes:

  • The taller player won 3 of 8 matches:  37.5%.
  • Players were of equal height in 1 match.
  • The shorter player won 4 of 8 matches:  50%
  • Shortest player in Round 4:  Dominika Cibulkova (5′ 3″).
  • Tallest player in Round 4:  Maria Sharapova (6′ 2″)

Quarterfinals: Mens Singles

Notes:

  • The taller player won 1 of 4 matches: 25%.
  • Players were of equal height in 0 matches.
  • The shorter player won 3 of 4 matches: 75%.
  • Shortest player in Quarterfinals: David Ferrer (5′ 9″).
  • Tallest player in Quarterfinals: Tomas Berdych (6′ 5″).

Quarterfinals:  Womens Singles

Notes:

  • The taller player won 0 of 4 matches: 0%.
  • Players were of equal height in 1 match.
  • The shorter player won 3 of 4 matches: 75%.
  • Shortest player in Quarterfinals: Dominika Cibulkova.
  • Tallest player in Quarterfinals: Ana Ivanovic

Semifinals: Mens Singles

Notes:

  • The taller player won 0 of 2 matches: 0%.
  • Players were of equal height in 1 match.
  • The shorter player won 1 of 2 matches: 50%.
  • Shortest player in Semifinals: Stanislas Wawrinka.
  • Tallest player in Semifinals: Tomas Berdych.

Semifinals:  Womens Singles

Notes:

  • The taller player won 0 of 2 matches: 0%.
  • Players were of equal height in 0 matches.
  • The shorter player won 2 of 2 matches: 100%.
  • Shortest player in Semifinals: Dominika Cibulkova.
  • Tallest player in Semifinals: Eugenie Bouchard.

Finals:  Mens Singles

Notes:

  • The shorter player won.

Finals:  Womens Singles

Notes:

  • The taller player won.

Conclusion 1:  there was no correlation between height and success at the 2014 Australian Open.

Let’s review the mens draw for the entirety of the tournament:

  • There were 126 matches played.
  • The taller male player won 58 of 126 matches, with a winning percentage of 46%.
  • Players were of equal height in 17 of 126 matches: 13.5%.
  • The shorter player won 68 of 126 matches, with a winning percentage of 54%.

 A review of the womens draw for the entire tournament:

  • There were 126 matches played.
  • The taller player won 58 of 126 matches, with a winning percentage of 46%.
  • Players were of equal height in x of y matches: 12.7%.
  • The shorter player won 68 of 126 matches, with a winning percentage of 54%.

But what happens over the course of a year?  Do taller players outperform shorter ones?

Let’s compare the height of those in the top 20 to those ranked 81 – 100.

ATP Top 20:

Notes:

  • David Ferrer is the shortest, at 5′ 6″.
  • John Isner is the tallest, at 6′ 10″.
  • Avg height: 73.65 inches.

ATP 81 – 100:


Notes:

  • Michael Russell is the shortest, at 5′ 8″.
  • Kenny De Schepper is the tallest, at 6′ 8″.
  • Avg height:  73.3 inches.

WTA Top 20:

Notes:

  • Dominika Cibulkova is the shortest, at 5′ 3″.
  • Maria Sharapova is the tallest, at 6′ 2″.
  • Avg height: 67.8 inches.

WTA 81 – 100:


Notes:

  • Lara Arruabarrena is the shortest, at 5′ 5″.
  • Kiki Bertens is the tallest, at 6′.
  • Avg height:  67.7 inches.

The height difference is negligible throughout the top 100 on both tours, with the average height in the top 20 being roughly equal to the average height of players in the ‘bottom 20.’

There appears to be an “ultimate height,” particularly for men, where:

  • agility
  • quickness
  • reach
  • angle and velocity of serve

reach a “happy medium.”  And that is 6′ 2″.  Coincidentally, that is the average height of the 4 men who have captured 90% of all of the last 10 years of ‘slams’:

  • Roger Federer (6′ 1″)
  • Rafael Nadal (6′ 1″)
  • Novak Djokovic (6′ 2″)
  • Andy Murray (6′ 3″)

Finally:  how do tennis professionals compare to average men and women, worldwide?

average height of professional tennis players

Comments

Comments are closed.