Mens Tennis

Courtside Calculation! Tennis IQ Powering Rune’s Charge At Nitto ATP Finals

A well thought-out gameplan is key to regularly win matches on the ATP Tour.

Pre-match scouting reports and post-match debriefs with coaches have long been part of the routine for top stars as they look to outthink their on-court rivals. Now, thanks to the ATP and Tennis Data Innovations (TDI), it is the mid-match strategic battle that could become even more decisive to give a player the best possible chance of victory.

Tennis IQ, ATP and TDI’s performance analytics platform, gives all ATP singles players access to advanced match analytics within one simple and intuitive platform. This week at the Nitto ATP Finals, tennis analyst Mike James, a member of Holger Rune’s team, is using the system on a tablet in the Dane’s player box to offer a live data-driven perspective to coach Boris Becker.

“Boris has his own view and he’s got a very good coaching eye, but what I see using the data in the match is confirmed learning,” James told in Turin. “[Boris] might feel something is happening, he just wants confirmation of it — around the court position, around the serve speeds and serve accuracy. [These are things] that we can see live.

“I think traditionally how we’ve used analysis is obviously pretty much scouting, post-match in the game development and starting to work on things. Now doing it live, I think it has massive value.”

Mike James

Mike James is part of Holger Rune’s team this week at the Nitto ATP Finals. Photo Credit: ATP Tour

James began working with Rune after he joined the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in France in January 2022, when the Dane was No. 104 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. He was immediately impressed with the appetite for analysis of the then-18-year-old and his coach, Lars Christensen.

“Lars at the time was super into video analysis and data analytics, as was Patrick Mouratoglou, and Holger is obsessed with the game,” said James. “He’s eating the tennis ball for lunch, dinner, and evening meal, and he’s always watching video and diving into it anyway. So it was a really nice fit.”

Fast-forward nearly three years and Rune is this week making his Nitto ATP Finals debut as one of the top eight performing players across the 2023 season. So what are the key areas James is currently focused on to help Rune, who holds a 1-1 record in Green Group this week in Turin, compete against his elite rivals?

“For me, a big one is court position, because we know that for every metre you go further back, you have to hit the ball 18…

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