Last week, the Match Charting Project hit an exciting milestone: 3,000 matches!
The MCP has been logging shot-by-shot records of professional matches for about two and a half years now, and in doing so, we’ve built an open dataset unlike anything else in the tennis world. We have detailed records of at least one match from almost every player in the ATP and WTA top 200s, and extensive data on the top players of each tour. Altogether, we’ve tracked 450,000 points and over 1.7 million shots.
The research that could be conducted using this data is almost inexhaustible, and we’ve barely scraped the surface. My work on Federer’s new-and-improved backhand was just one example of what the Match Charting Project has made possible.
One of the most valuable aspects of the project last year was the addition–spearheaded by Edo–of nearly all men’s and women’s Grand Slam finals back to 1980. (We’re still missing a handful of them–if you can help us find video, we’d be very grateful!) This year, we’ve taken on another challenge: All of the head-to-heads of the ATP Big Four. Already, we’ve covered the 37 meetings of Federer and Nadal (through yesterday’s Miami final), and we’re near the 75% mark for the 216 total matches contested among these four all-time-greats.
Meanwhile, we’re continuing to add a broad range of matches almost as soon as they happen, including over 20 each from Indian Wells and Miami, along with the occasional ITF and Challenger contest. While the data is skewed toward a handful of popular players, we’ve been careful to amass several matches for nearly every player of consequence on both tours.
If you’re interested in tennis analytics, I hope you’ll consider contributing to the project by charting matches. This data doesn’t magically collect itself, and like most volunteer-driven endeavors, a small number of contributors are responsible for a substantial percentage of the work. Even a single match is a useful addition, and the biggest risk you face is that you’ll get hooked.
Here’s to the next 3,000 matches!