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Momentum in tennis: Controlling the match


  • Helmut Dietl

    () (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich)

  • Cornel Nesseler

    () (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich)


Although many studies examine if players in sports and especially in tennis bene t from a psychological or physiological boost (momentum) none examine whether the set score as a dependent variable or tournament rounds as independent variables are important determinants when assessing momentum. We empirically investigate whether professional female and male tennis players benefit from momentum. In contrast to previous work, we nd players we find players bene t from momentum as long as they control a match. Once players lose control over a match, they have a signi cantly lower chance to win the next set than their opponent. This loss of control results in what we call anti-momentum.

Suggested Citation

  • Helmut Dietl & Cornel Nesseler, 2017. "Momentum in tennis: Controlling the match," Working Papers 365, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
  • Handle: RePEc:zrh:wpaper:365

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alex Krumer & Mosi Rosenboim & Offer Moshe Shapir, 2016. "Gender, Competitiveness, and Physical Characteristics," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 17(3), pages 234-259, April.
    2. Keith F. Gilsdorf & Vasant Sukhatme, 2008. "Tournament incentives and match outcomes in women's professional tennis," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(18), pages 2405-2412.
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    Cited by:

    1. Meier, Philippe & Flepp, Raphael & Ruedisser, Maximilian & Franck, Egon, 2020. "Separating psychological momentum from strategic momentum: Evidence from men’s professional tennis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    2. Philippe Meier & Maximilian Rüdisser & Raphael Flepp & Egon Franck, 2019. "Investigating the conditions for psychological momentum in the field: Evidence from men’s professional tennis," Working Papers 383, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).

    More about this item


    Momentum; anti-momentum; control theory; tennis;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

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