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Lindsay Davenport, Honorary Freakonomist

Lindsay Davenport, former number 1 ranked female tennis player, talking about the new tournament format being introduced in professional tennis, via Reuters:

The ATP, as part of sweeping changes aimed at making tournaments more attractive to fans, television, players and tournament directors, plans to play early rounds of tour events as round-robins to ensure that marquee players remain throughout the week.

Davenport said the idea, due to start next year, could lead to tactical play.

“There’s [the potential for] a lot of fixing if your friend needs you to win or lose or whatever. A lot of things could happen. There are some kinks to be worked out for sure,” the American said on Monday.

Players might also not compete so strongly if they knew they would not be eliminated with one defeat, Davenport said.

“That could happen, although in women’s tennis I don’t see it happening because everyone’s so neurotic about always winning.”

(Hat tip to my former student Pericles Abbasi.)

So, are women tennis players more neurotic than sumo wrestlers? Probably.