Data visualization and BI reveal a gamblers? guide to the Australian Open

The Australian Open is on. And we’re in the mood for a wager. So let’s investigate past tennis results with the help of Business Intelligence (BI) and data visualization, and see if we can win a dim or three.

Australian Open winners by world ranking (2001 – 2010 men’s draw)

With the exception of Johansson in 2002 (ranked 18), don’t pin your hopes on any outsiders when having a flutter on the Aus Open. History shows that you might as well donate your loose coin to charity or the crack down the back of the couch.

But if you want to really play the odds, then we better delve a little deeper…

Australian Open upsets as a percent by round (total data from men’s draw 2001 – 2010)

Sorry ladies and gents. No big dollars to be won here either. Expected results far outweigh upset victories in every round of the Australian Open when averaged out over the last 10 years.

What’s that? You’re still game (set and match)? Well, your best shot at the long odds comes in the Semi-finals, when hot favorites feel the pressure, and the underdog salutes the crowd with their racquet and collapses on the court in oh-so-dramatic celebration 40 percent of the time.

The average difference in world ranking points in upset Australian Open victories (total data from men’s draw 2001 – 2010)

However, the biggest upsets (biggest difference in world ranking) occurs at the beginning of the tournament. Wow. ‘Shocking ‘ I hear you remark. So, that may not come as a surprise – seeing all those wildcards and Federer-want-to-bes are still hanging around.

But, once again, Semi-finals time looms as the stumbling block for the favorites, with the biggest disparity in world rank in upset victories since the third round.

Upset number of games won by round per year at the Australian Open (men’s draw)

So far we’ve just been talking broad averages. Let’s take a look at round-by-round results per year.

At the start of the competition more games are won by the little guy. However, moving through the tournament, more games as a percentage of the total number played, are won by players with better world rank.  Although a few exceptions can be found in the Quarter and Semi-finals.


It turns out that gambling’s a pretty sure bet. Oh, and that Yellowfin makes data visualization easy.

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