Two Middlesex Master’s students have been working within the LTA's Performance Analysis function since October in roles that use statistical intelligence to underpin evidence-based coaching and enable more effective decision making.
Jani is working with female tennis players after receiving a BAME Scholarship to study MSc Sport Performance Analysis, which he says was an “incredible boost” to his analyst career.
“We have visited GB Boxing and GB Hockey to see how analysts are involved which means more exposure to different sports,” he added.
“You also get a mentor which is a massive help. I have been getting advice on what to put on my CV going forward and helped me to see how I can level up and stand out in terms of interviewing.”
Jani says his highlight to date has been working at the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup, a major women’s team tournament held in Glasgow.
“This is one of rare opportunities you get to represent your country in tennis,” he said, “it’s an experience that will stay with me.”
Jani explained that a tight turnaround between matches often meant late nights, but he found the high pressure and problem-solving “motivating.”
“Knowing my work was being used by top coaches and players and that I was making a difference to outcomes was amazing,” he added.
Jani is looking forward to working at Wimbledon, the world’s oldest tennis tournament which has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London, since 1877.
He said: “I can’t wait to be court-side. Tennis has become a bit more open in terms of players getting feedback from coaches so if we as analysts are there live we can get data and observations to them quickly which means being able to give tips and tricks during the match.
“That makes our jobs more impactful which is good.”
Having studied an undergraduate Sports Science degree at St Mary’s University, Jani said MDX was the perfect place for progression in performance analysis while being in an elite sport setting.
“The links that Middlesex has are brilliant,” he said.
“Another big perk is that other students are doing work in big sport organisations so I really enjoy having a place where I can go and talk to other people about something that I am really passionate about and I can find out about what people are doing in other sports at a high level.”
Despite not having a tennis background, Jani enjoyed the learning curve of getting his tennis knowledge up to scratch.
“It is a bit overwhelming at first because you are giving advice based on stats and numbers to top players. You have to realise that you are going to make small mistakes every now and then and that’s okay.”
The first month of the placement involved watching tennis, tagging games and analysing data, making mental notes, picking up things that players often do and recognising their strengths and weaknesses.
“It was about getting as much exposure to tennis as I could, I was nervous and excited.
“I felt like I was slow at collecting data on the software but after two or three weeks of practice something just clicked and it all fell into place.”
Jani’s dream is to work in sport.
“My passion is basketball so that would be amazing,” he said, “A lot of the skills we learn are really transferrable to other environments but I love the results you see in sport and you get to work with high-profile athletes.”
Matthew, who describes tennis as his “main passion,” works on the men’s side for the LTA, with players including Andy Murray and Jack Draper.
“Even seeing the players around the tennis courts and be in that world is brilliant,” he said.
“It is exciting to be part of British tennis and have even a small impact on these players, whether it is to help them perform better or assist in climbing the ladder.”
Matthew, who also works on the successful doubles programme, described the studentship as “a great opportunity.”
“There are not many of these positions available ,” he added, “I have always wanted to go into the performance analysis side of things and to stay in tennis would be the long-term goal.”
Dr Nimai Parmar, MDX Associate Professor in Sport Performance Analysis said the university’s long-standing partnership with the LTA is “an excellent showcase of our students learning in an elite environment from top analysts who are committed to helping them develop their skills and become highly employable.”
“By offering studentships the LTA is providing lots of interesting and varied opportunities for students to develop as a performance analyst whilst supporting top British tennis players.”
Chris White, Performance Intelligence and Analysis Lead at the LTA, said: “These placements, in dovetail with the excellent Middlesex MSc, have been a fantastic opportunity for us to engage the next generation of analysts, providing them with an immersive experience to contribute, learn, deliver and guide their development as analysts."
There are ten Diversifying Sport Performance Analysis scholarships available at MDX.
To find out more about sports course at MDX click here.