Dating a player is a losing game
Second, we can infer that Federer does not engage in any short-term strategic tanking while playing. Even when he loses, the matches are rarely lopsided and almost every individual game is competitive.
A nuanced analysis of the chair umpire’s point-by-point score sheet in Simpson’s Paradox matches would reveal that Federer often wins his service games by a 40-0 or 40-15 count, frequently loses his return games after one or more deuces, and drops tightly-contested tiebreakers when the set score reaches 6-6.
Simpson’s Paradox can happen at the both the game level and point level in tennis.
The former would be where the score is, for example, 0-6, 7-5, 7-5; the match’s loser wins more total games than the winner of the match. The latter, those when the winner of the match wins less than 50 percent of the total points played, occur with some regularity and can be analyzed on a per-player basis., Jeff Sackmann, Ben Wright, and I investigated the incidence of point-level Simpson’s Paradox in tennis.
However, Federer also holds the dubious distinction of having the worst record among players active since 1990 in so-called “Simpson’s Paradox” matches–those where the loser of the match wins more points than the winner.
On the surface, his 4-24 record in such matches may seem hard to reconcile with the rest of his stellar statistics.
At 6’10,” Isner unleashes one of the most intimidating serves in tennis history.
He is also often remembered as the winner of the longest match in the history of tennis–an 11-hour epic at Wimbledon in 2010 that ended with a 70-68 fifth set win over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.
A quick inspection of the box score, however, shows that Mahut won 24 more points than Isner.
In a data set composed of more than 61,000 men’s ATP and Grand Slam matches dating back to 1990, we found that about 4.5 percent exhibited these paradoxical characteristics.
We then looked at the outlier players with the best and worst respective records to put our results in context.