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Investigating the conditions for psychological momentum in the field: Evidence from men’s professional tennis


  • Philippe Meier

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

  • Maximilian Rüdisser

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

  • Raphael Flepp

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

  • Egon Franck

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


We examine how interruptions and personal and contextual factors affect the manifestation of psychological momentum (PM). Using men’s singles tennis point-by-point data from the two Grand Slam tournaments, Wimbledon and Roland Garros, between 2009 and 2014 (N=29,934), we employ realized break points as the potential triggers of PM and rest periods between two sequential games as the exogenous task interruptions. Controlling for player ability and the state of the match, we find that players are more likely to win the next game after realizing a break point only if there is no rest period between games. Thus, our results suggest that interruptions terminate the momentum effect. Further-more, we find that the effect of PM increases for players with a lesser relative ability and at a later stage within a match, showing the importance of personal and contextual factors for PM.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:zrh:wpaper:383

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    Psychological Momentum; Performance; Interruption; Behavioral Economics; Tennis;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

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