Melbourne, Australia, 29 January 2023 |

The world’s most talented data scientists are set to face off to develop the best statistical and AI model to predict where the game’s best tennis players will hit their next serve as part of the 2023 AO Data Slam.

The landmark initiative follows on from the successful deployment of a new analytics platform to aid the debut of in-match coaching at Australian Open 2023.

In a concerted push to drive further data innovation, the AO Data Slam shapes as being one of the sport’s largest ever releases of ball tracking data. The Hackathon will be hosted by Silicon Valley-based data pioneer CrowdANALYTIX and will commence next week. The Data Slam’s winner will receive US $5000 prizemoney, with the successful model ideally deployed in broadcast or in the player boxes at Australian Open 2024.

Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley is excited about harnessing the power of the best minds in data and sport to help innovate the next generation of stats for the tennis world.

“Five years ago, we were at the forefront of launching the statistical revolution in tennis. We’ve continued to challenge the data status quo for coaches and players and used new insight to deepen connection with fans. The AO Data Slam just signals our next step on this journey,” Tiley explained.

Tennis Australia’s Head of Innovation Dr Machar Reid said that knowing where players are likely to serve next has captivated experts and tennis fans for years.

“It remains one of the most commonly asked and interesting questions in tennis. It’s something that players contemplate the answer to almost 50 times per set on return of serve and constantly captures the imagination of coaches, commentators and fans. New methods that consider serving patterns, along with relevant contextual factors, will get us closer to answering this age-old question,” Dr Reid explained.

The hackathon will see Tennis Australia release the biggest drop of Grand Slam tracking data (120,000 points) the week following the Australian Open, to attract the interest of scientists in the world’s machine learning community and get their help in solving a problem specific to tennis.

“It continues to be a successful method fuelling some amazing innovations in sport and business. The AO Data Slam is the perfect way for us to leverage data-savvy expertise from across the globe to tackle a perennial and really practical question for the sport,” Dr Reid explained.

With more than 26,000 data scientists registered to the site, CrowdANALYTIX is one of the world’s leading crowdsourcing platforms for finding solutions to complex problems.

Previous competitions hosted on the platform include making airplanes more fuel efficient and analysing telemetry data to understand what makes a champion racer. It has been used by leading companies like Honeywell, Dell-EMC along with McKinsey.

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