A mathematical, statistical, probabilistic and strategic analysis of tennis


Pollard, Geoff

Available versions


Tennis has a challenging tri-nested scoring system of points, games and sets. The candidate used mathematical and probabilistic techniques to determine the optimal serving strategy. He challenged the traditional measure of importance of each point with a new way of looking at importance. He developed tests for analysing the independence between points and then analysed point-by-point data. He introduced the analysis of tennis as a game of point-pairs, one to each service court, and he measured the efficiency of the different scoring systems and tournament structures. Finally, he outlined strategic decision making at major events such as the Australian Open.

Publication year


Thesis supervisor

Denny Meyer

Publication type

Thesis (PhD)


Copyright © 2018 Geoff Pollard.

Thesis note

A thesis for the fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Swinburne University of Technology, 2018.