Bruce S. Old interviewed Nazi scientists using tennis data
Data analysts assisting the world’s best players were also hard at work as Wimbledon got underway on Monday.
Elite tennis players are now routinely using them. To get an advantage, some players pay hefty amounts of money to professional businesses.
This is rather late in comparisons to other major sports like baseball or football.
Despite the fact that the earliest recorded tennis data analysis dates back approximately 130 years.
Much of it is still a mystery, and very little is familiar about it.
At Wimbledon’s sixth event in 1883, JM Heathcote kept track of how many volleys and groundstrokes each player made.
According to the 1890 National Championship statistics, passing shots, aces, and double faults were all included.
It wasn’t until a certain Bruce S. Old took the time to dig deeper than all of this data was utilized to guide playing styles and coaching strategies.
Before becoming a pioneering author on tennis analysis in the 1950s.
American Bryan ‘Bitsy’ Grant worked with him as a tennis coach in the 1930s.
With the aid of Old’s data analysis, Grant managed to outplay the top players of his period, even though he was only 5 feet 4 inches tall.
After the third set, Old would meet Grant with his shot-by-shot data.
Grant’s height made it difficult for him to keep an eye on the net.
So Old advised him on how to approach the hoop and when to pass or lob.
Grant’s singles career was cut short by World War II, but twice he made it to the quarter-finals of Wimbledon and twice to the semi-finals of the US Open.
Atlanta, Georgia’s Tennis Hall of Fame has a center named after him.
Old went on to get his Ph.D. in metallurgy from MIT and enlisted in the US Navy as a result.
The US Department of Defense sent him to the Office of the Coordinator of Research and Development.
Where he collaborated with some of the world’s greatest military experts on secret projects.
In late 1943, the leader of the Manhattan Project, Lieutenant General Leslie Groves.
Dispatched a team of scientists to interview arrested Nazi experts in Europe.
To see whether they were near to building a nuclear weapon of their own.
One of them was old. The Nazis weren’t near by the time he returned home in March 1944.
The company he worked for and eventually became president of, Nuclear Metals Inc. in Concord, Massachusetts, was founded by him in the post-war years.
During this period, he rediscovered his love for tennis.
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