The relative age effect in top 100 elite female tennis players in 2007–2016



Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source PLOS ONE
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Sports Studies

Keywords birthdate; handedness; racket sports; 10-year study; WTA single rankings
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Description The Relative Age Effect (RAE) has been the subject of many studies, but few have focused on professional athletes in individual sports. The aim of this study was to verify the existence of the RAE among elite senior female tennis players (top 100 players) in the WTA Rankings (n = 1000) in the years 2007–2016. The analysis was performed among top 100, resp. top 10 female tennis players, among players in 4 age subgroups and among left-handed (LH) and right-handed (RH) players. The existence of the RAE was assessed with the use of chisquare test (goodness of fit). More than half of top 100 players were born in first semester: both in individual years (53.0–63.0%) and in the whole observed period (58.4%). Significant RAE (ES medium) was observed in top 100 female players only in 2012 and 2016; significant RAE (ES small) was detected in the period of 2007–2016. Among the top 10 players, significant RAE (ES medium) was demonstrated during the whole period. No significant RAE (ES medium) was detected in the 17–18y subgroups, significant in 19–24y and 25–30y (ES small) as well as in 31–36y (ES medium). Although significant RAE was observed in the subgroups of LH and RH female players, ES was large only in the LH. The results contribute to the expansion of the knowledge about the reduction of the RAE existence in adulthood among coaches, athletes and tennis officials.
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