The great tennis player Venus Williams, follower of the analysis

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As the use of analytics becomes more widespread in all sports, one of the data enthusiasts is the great tennis player Venus Williams.

Just as some companies rely more on analytics to drive their decision-making than others, some team sports and individual sports player franchises are more data-driven than others.

Williams, who has won the Wimbledon singles championship five times and seven individual Grand Slam titles in total to go with 14 Grand Slam doubles tournaments, is one of those athletes who believe in the power of data and use analytics to help him in the field.

“I absolutely use the data,” she said in a March 30 Oracle sponsored web presentation. “I use analysis not only to learn more about my opponents, but for myself, so that I can see who my role models are and what my weaknesses are.”

The complexity of the data currently used in sport has increased dramatically in recent years.

In a similar webinar sponsored by Oracle in November 2020, Golden State Warriors team president and COO Rick Welts explained how the NBA basketball franchise has 150 cameras in its training facility to track every move of every player in order to optimize its mechanics.

Baseball teams have now surpassed the KPIs used by the Oakland A’s 20 years ago, when they were among the first to advance statistical analysis beyond traditional metrics such as batting average. and the average of the points earned. The Minnesota Twins, for example, get about 100 different data points on each terrain.

And in tennis, the kingdom of Williams, technology is similar. Cameras can capture the rotational speed of shots and break down player mechanics as they serve, move around the pitch, and hit volleys.

Tennis great Venus Williams (left) discusses her use of analytics with Ashley Hart, senior vice president of global marketing for Oracle Cloud, during an Oracle sponsored web presentation.

Williams, who is not an Oracle customer, however said the scans are more advantageous when it comes to looking for patterns in the game of her opponents so she can predict what they might do. at some point, such as when they could serve wide or mid, and if they attempt to hit volleys in certain parts of the pitch in certain situations.

In addition, the analysis has helped her own decisions as she tries to control the points.

“This offseason we’ve been working on the serve and then on that first shot to control the point,” said Williams. “The different data points help me focus on what I need to do on the pitch and then go into each game and look at each player, it’s like knowing what’s going to happen before entering the pitch, and that certainly gives you a more advantage. “

This additional benefit, she added, when the the difference in talent between the best tennis players is so minimal, can make a significant difference.

I use analytics not only to learn more about my opponents, but also for myself, so that I can see what my role models are and what my weaknesses are.

Venus WilliamsSeven-time Grand Slam singles tennis champion

“At this point everyone is awesome,” said Williams. “If you can have that 1% or 0.5% advantage on that important point, it can be the difference between winning a championship and not winning. If you have that data and that’s the point of the match and you know the other person’s preferred service, this gives you an added advantage. “

While Williams is a player who trusts analysis and uses data to help her make decisions on the court, the data is available for all players on the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) and ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals).

Multinational software giant SAP is a partner of the WTA and in 2019 introduced Patterns of Play, a tool for players and coaches that tracks players’ shooting choices throughout points rather than just what they do. at the start of the points under different circumstances. . Meanwhile, ATP – the governing body of professional men’s tennis – is partnering with Infosys for its analytical needs.

Whether players take advantage of all the data resources at their disposal, however, is an individual choice. Some players are heavily invested in analysis, while others are not.

“Some players hire someone on their squad just to look at the data,” said Williams. “It’s not a ton of players, but some have someone whose whole job is looking at data on other players.”

While Williams is among those who strongly believe that analytics can be an advantage in the field, she is also a firm believer in the power of data to better inform businesses when making key decisions.

Williams, while remaining competitive as an athlete, is also CEO of his own interior design company, V Starr Interiors, has his own fashion line, EleVen, and along with his sister Serena is part owner of the Miami Dolphins at the NFL.

“Knowledge is power; information is power,” Williams said. “The more you have, the more you know. There is so much we can do with data.”


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