How Tennis ComStat app helped Belarus at Fed Cup


How Tennis ComStat app helped Belarus at Fed Cup

Instat and WyScout have become an integral part of the work of football agents, scouts and sports directors. This is not the case in individual sports, such as tennis. Belarusians Mikhail Gavrilchik, Alexei Tyukhlov and Vitaly Klimuk decided to change the situation and created a tennis analytics service Tennis ComStat in the autumn of 2015.

One of the founders of the company, Mikhail Gavrilchik, said TennisComStat helps not only the Belarus women's team, but also other Belarusian tennis players. At the same time, the company has customers abroad, too.

How Tennis ComStat started

The idea of ​​creating such a service arose long ago. I had experience working with football statistics. We started to analyze the market - we realized that nothing like this exists in tennis. Perhaps this is because the tennis industry is not very financially capacious: only the top 100 representatives earn well. Of course, statistics in tennis is presented by the same IBM Slamtracker and SAP Sports. But they just create a beautiful picture for broadcasts.

The history of Tennis ComStat began in the fall of 2015. We collected an interesting statistics (in our opinion) of one of the matches and formalized it in the form of a report. We registered as a legal entity and offered cooperation of the Belarusian Tennis Federation. Of course, our initial ideas about tennis for two years have changed a lot. The more we communicated with people immersed in tennis, the better the product became.

By education, we are all economists, at one time we all graduated from BSEU. At the same time, we always took a great interest in tennis and even played it at the amateur level. Before that, we had experience working in one of the companies that deals with football analytics. From there we understood how qualitative sports statistics should look and work.

How it works

On the basis of we make some video cuts. Each game episode is added to a separate section. Thanks to this the client does not need to watch the 1.5-hour video. In a couple of clicks you can see all the points in which, for example, a particular tennis player uses certain types of shots.

We cooperate with the Belarusian tennis player Ilya Ivashka, for instance. In one of the matches he had a break-point, the opponent served in the second square. Ilya knew where the opponent directs the ball in such situations and played aggressively. In general, we helped him a lot.

In June, another Belarusian Yaraslau Shyla met with Hubert Hurkacz. This Pole has a very good backhand, and most players have forehand better than backhand. In the third set, the Pole began to actively use his strong side - backhand. But Yaraslau knew this and responded adequately and eventually won 6:0. After the game, the tennis player admitted that our advice played an important role in this outcome.

The service offers analysis only for singles games. Doubles matches are more about tactics and players’ position on the court. There are only about 10 stably playing doubles duos, while others change frequently. So you cannot earn much on the doubles. Moreover, it’s harder to find videos on doubles matches. The service cannot work without video sources.

With whom Tennis ComStat works

We have our own distributor in the USA, because we consider this market to be the most promising. Now we work with two local colleges.

Recently, we've got a client from Australia - we analyze the competitions of children aged 11-12.

In Switzerland, we are trying to work with one tennis adviser, who has his own statistics system. We try to adapt our system to his vision in order to improve our overall product.

We tried to work with Russia's federation of tennis, but it was difficult because of the various bureaucratic delays. Nevertheless, we also have clients there.

What Belarus Tennis Federation thinks about Tennis ComStat

It's good that there is a man like Vladimir Voltchkov in the Belarus team. He was the most interested in our product and initiated the in-depth study of statistics in the interests of the national team.

Voltchkov often constructively criticizes our product. It is important that he always seeks to get to the bottom. He sits with a calculator trying to make some additional in-depth conclusions. It is his recommendations that allow us to make the product better and better. "This chart is a complete nonsense, but with that one we could do something..." he says. Such kind of advice is very important.

Coach Eduard Dubrou is also positive about our product. But he is still a coach of the Soviet tennis school and a rather conservative person, and therefore he is not easy to pick up modern technologies. Working with numbers is quite complicated. Dubrou perceives it positively, but it's Voltchkov who mainly works with stats.

We don’t talk to players directly, we do this through their coaching staff.

How Tennis ComStat helped Belarus against Netherlands and Switzerland in Fed Cup 2017

Quite unexpectedly for everyone Michaëlla Krajicek played in the singles. She fell significantly in the WTA rating, and we did not count on her participation. And we could not do anything about it: there were simply no videos of her performances over the past two years. But, of course, we analyzed her match versus Sasnovich, coaches also learned the style of their rivals - so Sabalenka was already prepared.

But we did good work against Kiki Bertens. We watched her seven games and found weaknesses. It turned out that Bertens in the last matches did not strike backhand down the line at all. In addition, she was most active in the central part of the court and did not move well in the corners. Therefore, aggressive Sabalenka did not let her opponent play comfortably and could win that match in two sets. But the Dutch's experience and a lot of unforced errors from Aryna played their part.

I think with the analysis of the Bertens game we broke some stereotypes. Like the one saying that WTA top 20 players don't have weak sides. Such information, of course, gives psychological confidence.

In April, Swiss Timea Bacsinszky was on the decline. She was losing matches, she had an injury. So our girls themselves looked better against that background. Thimea often hits high above the net. Although she competently played in the first match against Sabalenka - she returned balls deep under the back line near the feet. This is what broke Aryna.

But the fact is that Bacsinszky usually does not play deep. Probably, the Swiss also analyzed the game of Belarus and tried to adapt to it. Thimea did everything right: deep strokes under the back line did not allow Sabalenka to play her favorite tennis.

By the way, another Swiss, Viktorija Golubic, was even more difficult to analyze. She played at almost the same level from any side. It was alarming that Golubic won against top tennis players like Pliskova in international matches. But everything went well for Belarus: Golubic lost to both Sabalenka and Sasnovich.