Publication detail

Tejkalova, A.N. & Kristoufek, L.: Anything Can Happen in Women’s Tennis, or Can It? An Empirical Investigation into Bias in Sports Journalism

Author(s): prof. PhDr. Ladislav Krištoufek Ph.D., Němcová Tejkalová, Alice
Type: Articles in journals with impact factor
Year: 2019
Number: 0
Published in: (forthcoming) Communication and Sport PDF
Publishing place:
Keywords: tennis, gender bias, sports journalism, empirical analysis, logistic regression
JEL codes:
Suggested Citation:
Abstract: The claim that “anything is possible in women’s sports” frequently employed by both sports journalists and general audiences highlights the widespread perception of a seemingly uncontested truth about female athletes and their (in)ability to perform consistently at peak levels in comparison to male athletes. We focus on this treatment of female athletes in the world of women’s tennis and contest the “common sense” and “experience” justifications of the unpredictability in women’s sports with actual data to reveal clear media bias. Utilising a database of the ATP and WTA tournaments dating back to the late 1960s and covering approximately 225,000 fully described matches, we examine the “anything can happen in women’s tennis” assumption through logistic regression, focusing on the effect of rank differential on the winning probability in the match while controlling for other factors (tournament type and stage, court surface, age differential, and elite players). The results are rather shocking. The women’s matches do not show higher instability or lower predictability at all, but rather the contrary – the men’s matches show lower dependence on the rank difference. The results are robust as checked for datasets of the year 2000 onwards and those including only special events such as Grand Slams.
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