Man do economists love raining on people’s parades. Apparently tennis players (like John McEnroe) believe that getting new balls (which apparently happens every nine games) is an advantage. After running the data, the results aren’t exactly in line with players’ thinking:
According to Wimbledon data analyzed by a pair of economists with a fondness for tennis arcana, first serve points are no more likely with new tennis balls than old ones. If anything, double-faults are more likely, implying it may be better to serve using older balls than newer ones. Take that Big Mac.