Data scientists say Federer will beat Murray (but what do they know?)


An in-depth predictive analysis of today’s Wimbledon semi-final clash between Andy Murray and Roger Federer has indicated heartache is on the cards for the Scotsman.

A number of indicators have been analysed by business intelligence firm Yellowfin’s team of data scientists, including the overall performance and time spent on court so far, as well as the standards of service and returning.

Federer has spent significantly less time on court during the competition so far at just 471 minutes total playing time, with only one of his five matches lasting longer than 90 minutes. That’s around 40% less court time than each of the other semi-finalists, who have all played for more than 640 minutes.

Federer’s performance suggests he is in solid form having dropped just 49 games so far, compared to Murray’s 65 dropped games.

Similarly, Federer has won 58.8% of all points played at Wimbledon – following by Richard Gasquet, who has won 55.2% of all points he’s played.

Federer also fares well when the ratio of winners to unforced errors is analysed, with an average of 2.9 winners for every unforced error made during the tournament so far. Gasquet (2.2), Murray (2.3) and world number one Novak Djokovic (2.4) are some way off the pace.

Wimbledon 2015 – total winners vs. total unforced errors

Down to the serve

Federer, the second seed, also seems to be serving well, having won 82% of points played in his service games. That’s a significantly higher ratio than the next best performer, Djokovic, who has won 74% of his service points.

The Swiss tennis legend has also won 25 games when returning serve – a number matched only by Gasquet, who demonstrated his formidable backhand return during his quarter final clash.

However, it’s worth considering that Gasquet has played an additional 107 points of tennis overall compared to Federer, which gives Federer a 42% average for points won when returning compared to Gasquet’s 38.6% average.

Percentage of points won on serve at Wimbledon 2015

Although the statistics point to a Federer triump, British fans will be quick to cite Murray’s respectable head-to-head record versus Federer – having won 11 out of the 23 matches they have played. 

“So we could well see Murray triumph in today’s semi-final clash with Federer,” said Peter Baxter, Yellowfin's MD for EMEA.

Statistics used in this analysis were drawn from the Wimbledon Championship’s official website, with head-to-head stats drawn from The numbers were subsequently analysed using Yellowfin’s business intelligence platform to produce data visualisations.  

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...