Strategic and Psychological Momentum in Professional Tennis

31 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2020

See all articles by Craig A. Depken

Craig A. Depken

University of North Carolina at Charlotte - The Belk College of Business Administration - Department of Economics

John Gandar

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte

Dmitry Shapiro

Department of Economics, Seoul National University

Date Written: July 2020

Abstract

We provide a theoretical and empirical analysis of strategic momentum and psychological momentum in best-of-three contests where players have asymmetric abilities. As a theoretical benchmark, we develop a fully rational model of best-of-three contests and define psychological momentum as systematic deviation from the theoretical equilibrium. An empirical analysis of 67,730 professional tennis matches from 2002-2020 shows that our theoretical model closely matches first set outcomes, which is when psychological momentum is absent. Overall, the empirical results show that both strategic momentum and psychological momentum contribute to the outcomes of best-of-three tennis contests.

Keywords: tennis, best-of-N tournaments, game theory

JEL Classification: Z20, L83, C73

Suggested Citation

Depken, Craig A. and Gandar, John and Shapiro, Dmitry, Strategic and Psychological Momentum in Professional Tennis (July 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3659495 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3659495

Craig A. Depken (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina at Charlotte - The Belk College of Business Administration - Department of Economics ( email )

Charlotte, NC 28223
United States

John Gandar

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte ( email )

9201 University City Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28223
United States

Dmitry Shapiro

Department of Economics, Seoul National University ( email )

San 56-1, Silim-dong, Kwanak-ku
Seoul 151-742

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