Novak Djokovic, Law of Probability and Predictions for US Open

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Novak Djokovic, Law of Probability and Predictions for US Open
MASON, OH - AUGUST 21: Novak Djokovic of Serbia is treated by ATP trainer Hugo Gravil during the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 21, 2011 in Mason, Ohio. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic lost at Cincinnati within days of my prediction that he was bound to lose again before the season was out.

Many scoffed. Just as they had done last year when I had predicted that Roger Federer would not win more than one grand slam title this year. But already that prediction has proved true as only one more slam is left and Federer hasn't won any so far.

Do I have a crystal ball? No.

All I have is my faith in the immutability of the laws of God otherwise known as probability.

You toss an unbiased coin a couple of times and you won't be able to predict how many heads or tails. But toss it a million times and you could predict with awesome accuracy that the heads will be as close to half a million times as makes no difference.

Since you can't argue with the laws of probability, I would say the chance of Mardy Fish winning the US Open is almost zero as he is over 29 years old and did not have any success when he was younger. He is clearly not in the same class as "greats" of the caliber of Sampras or Agassi.

We can give Roger Federer a greater chance because of his extraordinary talent but the probability is low. He could win if Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are all simultaneously off-form or injured. Not impossible but not probable. He is still good enough to beat the rest of the field though a trifle vulnerable against Tsonga or Berdych.

In all probability, the winner of the US Open will come from the trio of Djokovic, Nadal and Murray. If not, the winner is still likely to be aged below 29, and most probably below 27. Unless it is Federer.


The bolded letters "my prediction" in the first sentence, when clicked, would take you to the article referred to.

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