Novak Djokovic Not a Big Favorite, According to Wimbledon Website

Novak Djokovic in action at Wimbledon.

Wait, what? Novak Djokovic only has a 57% chance to win his 4th round match at Wimbledon against Cristian Garin, if the tournament’s website is to be believed.

It’s worth a double-take.

The reigning World #1, a 19-time Grand Slam winner and defending champion at Wimbledon faces the Chilean, a clay-court specialist ranked 20 in the world, who has never played on Centre Court. Yet the “Pre-Match Insights” section of the Wimbledon website, branded “Watson” by data provider IBM, gives Garin a whopping 43% chance to beat Djokovic.

Before you’re tempted to give the underdog Garin that kind of credence with your wallet, just know that the betting markets disagree with Watson. For example, one online oddsmaker gives Djokovic a 97% chance to win the match. That seems more like it.

Wimbledon’s Pre-Match Insights

How does IBM come up with the 57 percent? According to a press-release, these odds are intended to “enhance” the “fan experience” and are generated through AI (artificial intelligence). 

According to IBM, “The AI-generated content will surface player insights to better inform fans with current player performance detail ahead of each match. It will present the IBM Power Rankings and it will generate a likelihood to win prior to the match beginning, anticipating the outcome before the first serve is even struck.”

Compared to the close odds of the Djokovic-Garin match, IBM’s algorithm gives Andrey Rublev a greater chance of beating Marton Fucsovics (59% to 41%) and thinks Matteo Berrettini is a much safer bet against Ilya Ivashka (65% to 35%).

Supporters of Novak Djokovic have long said the man considered by many to be the greatest tennis player of all-time does not get enough respect. Now they can add Watson to their persona non grata list. If only he were a person.

Main Photo from Getty.


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