A New Year For the Match Charting Project

The 2015 tennis season was an amazing one for the Match Charting Project. We added more than 1,000 new matches to the database, including 800 from the 2015 season alone. In about two and half years, the project has grown from little more than a half-baked idea to a tremendous resource for tennis researchers.

The Match Charting Project relies on volunteers to record details of every point of professional matches. Over 50 of you have taken the time to learn the method and chart at least one match, and some of you have gone way, way beyond that. Taken together, the results are outstanding.

In a sport where most data is hidden away by federations and sponsors, the Match Charting Project is one of the few bright spots for analysts. Anyone can use this data to research players, tendencies, and tactics. Anyone can contribute and help us learn more about the game.

We now have shot-by-shot data for over 1,600 matches, including sizable samples for most of the current ATP and WTA top 40. We have particularly large datasets for some top players, including the ATP big four and several WTA favorites. The database includes at least one match for every player in the ATP and WTA top 100, as well as detailed records of matches for many notable retired players.

We made huge progress last year, but I think we can do even better.

In 2015, we added 1,069 matches to the database, just under three per day. At the end of the day on December 31st, we had a total of 1,617 matches covered.

My goal for 2016 is to double that:  another 1,617 new matches in 2016, a rate of about four and a half per day. To accomplish that, we’ll need more of you to pitch in. Hopefully those of you who have contributed in the past will continue to do so. Charting 1,600 matches is no easy feat, but with enough of us working toward that goal, we’ll get there.

For my part, in addition to charting an unhealthy number of matches, I’ll continue to write about my findings from the MCP dataset, and I’ll be developing ways to make the data more accessible to fans. Keep an eye out for updates–other researchers are working on projects that should create even more interest in the Match Charting Project.

Want to find out more? Ready to contribute? Here’s a list of MCP-related resources to fill you in on all the details of the project: