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Let’s continue our advanced studies of tennis. This time we want to look at the accumulated fatigue, whether we can gain a tennis betting edge by considering it, or not. If you remember, we’ve already touched upon this factor in our article on tennis matches analysis.

Most of the players schedule their training sessions to be on their peak immediately prior to some definite tournaments or a series of them. The most important and offering most ranking points are Grand Slam events, the Indian Wells and Miami duo, the Canada Masters, the Cincinnati tournament, the long spring clay season leading to the French Open, indoors season and the ATP tour finals.  

Novak Djokovic in Shanghai 2014

federer trophySo at the very start of these peak points the players would wisely display steady and hasteless tennis tuning to the later rounds to show their best. But this is what is called an ideal variant which is rarely achieved. Thus, Novak Djokovic had a very tight match against Kukushkin in Shanghai 2014. No one expected the player from Kazakhstan to offer such a resistance to World No. 1. Djokovic managed to came off victorious in that encounter to have another challenging match against David Ferrer (6:4, 6:2). Judging by the score, it may seem like it was a walkover for the Serb, but in reality it was a very complicated fight and, as a result, Djokovic lacked strength and power to prevail over Roger Federer. Accumulated fatigue played its role. But this is a very simple example of the fatigue accumulated in the course of one event. Of course, it may also be accumulated in the long-running marathon of two consecutive events or even more.  

Fabio Fognini in 2013

Italian FogniniWe have a vivid recollection of the year 2013 when the Italian star showed a brilliant series of three tournaments (Umag, Stuttgart and Hamburg) to lose it in the final battle. He was exhausted to death. The same story happened twice at the Kremlin Cup 2014. Mihail Youzhny spent a difficult week in Asia at the Shanghai masters and then flew back to Moscow to struggle for the trophy in front of his countrymen but had a bad luck there. He took on Argentinian Juan Monaco in the second round and had to strain every sinew to defeat him. Then he faced his namesake Kukushkin to sail though the first two sets only (6:1, 6:7, 0:6). In the next round the story repeated and Mihail Kukushkin who had a tough run in Asia managed to offer resistance to Marin Cilic in the opening set only.

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The accumulated fatigue greatly impacts the players. It put pressure on the muscles of those players who tend to play many consecutive matches. To recover the strength of the body, they need time which they can’t afford due to their tight schedule. Very often a player who has just eliminated from one event has to rush to the next occasion in a  week or so. Or if you’re a top player it won’t be unusual for you to play the final match in Valencia today and tomorrow find yourself on courts in Paris. So there is no time for a full recovery. Consequently, you can’t get rid of the fatigue and has to get used to it.

That’s why most of the players show their best only on their favorite cover. The elite players are no exception here. Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer can’t keep the same pace all circuit long. They are forced to make breaks.  Another good example here is Roger Federer.  He has been an outstanding player in this summer’s two Masters Series tournaments and then faced a lot of troubles at the US Open against Monfils, Granollers to lose it to the eventual trophy-holder Marin Cilic.  This is what his amazing performance at the Masters led to.  

How can we, the punters, benefit from it? It’s all very simple.  The accumulated fatigue is a very profitable aspect for us. If you see a player has obtained a very tough victory we wait for the next match and suppose that he would have enough strength only for the first half of the encounter. Then we bet on his opponent’s victory as it’s very unlikely for the tired player to succeed through the second half.

We see that the bookies offered very appetizing odds at the Cilic’s victory as soon as it became visible that Kukushkin started to show physical decline. This strategy has many advantages in betting live as it will save us a trouble of estimating the number of games in the match. It’s very hard to do as we don’t know for sure when the players will run out of fuel. Both all-court players who rely mostly on their footwork (Youznhy, Kukushkin, Djokovic) and big servers are subject to the fatigue. As the accuracy and power of the served ball depend directly on attention focusing which decreases with every single rally. It’s worth remembering when betting on the matches with John Isner, Ivo Karlovic and Feliciano Lopez. As it turns out, these guys also get tired and the service hold percentage declines. And generally their serve becomes less efficient and dangerous.

Novak Djokovic and Jelena Ristic

djokovic coupleAnother kind of fatigue is mental exhaustion. Have you ever noticed that most of the top players have only one or two really outstanding seasons throughout their career? For Djokovic it was 2011 season, for Nadal – 2010, Federer showed his best in 2005-2006. It all stem from mental exhaustion. If you want to be on top and to achieve such brilliant results, you have to practice self-denial and to devote all your time to trainings. It’s a great challenge for your mind indeed.  Sooner or later you’ll start feeling tired. All personal issues like weddings, child birth, family relations fall in this very category. No matter how strong the player is, he is a human being whose body and head can’t function properly without rest. Take Novak Djokovic as an example. He is still unable to come back to the class he was showing before the announcement about his wedding with Jelena Ristic and their future baby.  

So keep in mind that there are no unbeatable players. All they can do is to dominate over some portion of the season. So it’s important to estimate the degree of the player’s exhaustion.

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And as a special treat watch the video with the exhausted Rafa who commits a lot of errors. 

Relevant news:
Australian Open preview and Prediction: Rafael Nadal v Novak Djokovic
ATP Chengdu Final preview: Fabio Fognini v Bernard Tomic
Wimbledon QF Preview and Prediction: Roger Federer v Kevin Anderson.
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Wimbledon final preview and prediction: Marin Cilic v Roger Federer



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