With Wimbledon 2023 in full swing, let’s look at Math in Sports: Tennis. Tennis fans of the last decade are experiencing the game at a special time as all-time greats like Federer, Djokovic, and the Williams sisters (Serena and Venus) are dominating the game before our very eyes.
Statistics is a powerful tool for predicting wins and measuring greatness. Join Spark Math as we look at the numbers behind the greatest tennis players in the history of the game.
Serena Williams by the Numbers
In celebration of the WTA agreeing to pay professional women tennis players the same as male players, let’s take a look at the statistics of one of the greatest women to ever pick up a racket: Serena Williams.
$94,816,730 in prize winnings
858-156 Career Wins to Losses
367 Career Wins (All-Time Leader for Women)
23 Grand Slam Singles titles (The record)
14 Doubles Titles (With her sister, Venus)
5 WTA Championships
4 Olympic Gold Metals
Sports Math Pop Quiz!
What is Serena’s career win rate?
Hint: Her win rate can be calculated by dividing her total wins by the total number of games played.
How much prize money, on average, did Serena earn per win?
Hint: Look at her total earnings and her total wins.
Break Point Percentage
In crunch time, break points can turn the tide and win matches. A break point occurs when the returning player can win the game by winning the next point. Being the returning player is inherently more difficult in tennis, and the greats all excel at securing break points. To emphasize the difficulty of securing a break point, we will look at the break point percentage of three of the best men’s tennis players of all time:
Rafael Nadal has a 44.95% break point conversion rate, which is the 2nd highest ever.
Roger Federer’s and Novak Djokovic’s conversion rates are 44.10% and 44.27%, respectively.
That means that 3 of the best players lose over half of their break points!
How do we calculate break point percentage?
To calculate the break point percentage, we first need to know how many points the player has converted and the total points. From there, we then divide the points converted by the total points.
Break Points Converted ÷ Total Points × 100% = Break Point Percentage
Try to calculate Andy Murray’s break point percentage.
Andy Murray’s Total Points = 8251
Andy Murray’s Break Points Converted = 3547
What is his break point percentage?
Average Serve Speed
Average serve speed isn’t necessarily a predictor for wins and losses, but is a fun statistic to look at.
Fun fact: Sam Groth, a former professional tennis player from Australia, has the fastest recorded non-outlier serve in competition at 237 km/h. Let’s work on calculating the average serve speed of your child’s favourite tennis player.
To find the average serve speed, we need to know how to Add and Divide.
- Add together the serve speed for all the instances you want to take an average of.
- Divide the sum above by the number of serves.
Serve 1: 170 km/h
Serve 2: 159 km/h
Serve 3: 175 km/h
Serve 4: 167 km/h
Serve 5: 169 km/h
Total speed across 5 serves: 170 + 159 + 175 + 167 + 169= 840 km/h
Average Serve Speed: 840 km/h ÷ 5 = 168 km/h
While your family enjoys Wimbledon 2023 and the rest of the upcoming awesome tennis matches, your children will now have some insight into the pros. If you find them itching for more fun math subjects and math games, check out Spark Math where we offer classes for students from K2 to Primary 5.
Looking for more information about math in sports? Check out our blog all about Math and Baseball!
From math students looking for a challenge, to those who want to find a way to become a math all-star, Spark Math is there for your family. Check out our Spark Math blog for great news and activities the whole family can enjoy. Looking for a weekly online class filled with learning activities, gamified learning, and all led by real experienced math teachers? Sign up to try a free demo class today! Looking for more great resources, blogs, and activities from Spark Math for the summer? Check out our Pinterest Page!