Sunday, 1 July 2012

Golden Bagel, Golden Wimbledon, Golden June

The first week at SW19 comes to a close and in every way possible, it's been a golden tournament. Firstly, the tennis itself has been fantastic, with plenty of upsets, closely fought battles and exciting drama. The pick of the matches was of course, Rafa Nadal's defeat to world number 100 Lukas Rosol. People who don't watch tennis that much will often show disbelief when a player ranked that low beats a well-known name but my approach to tennis, sport in general and trading, is that anything can happen and you should never discount anyone in any match up. Anyone who plays the game professionally can always put in a display like we saw from Rosol, where he went for everything and just didn't miss. The quick conditions aided his big-hitting style of play and Nadal (although he had an off day) didn't play all that badly, there just wasn't much he could do against the power and accuracy coming at him.

The main difference between a player like Rosol and a top star like Nadal, is consistency. Nadal plays closer to the top of his game far more often than Rosol and when he does have an off day, he is still able to win matches. With Rosol, he is not able to sustain that level of performance for more than one or two games on the spin.  And that is why I confidently predicted he would lose his next match, which he duly did very easily to Phillip Kohlschreiber. There were some people on Twitter who were proclaiming that a 'new star is born' and that Rosol could go on to win Wimbledon, which did make me laugh. At 26, he is not young in tennis terms, so if he was that gifted, he would've ranked far higher than he had done so far in his career (high of 65). The truth is, Rosol is a 50-150 player, no better and will almost certainly continue to flit in and out of the top 100.

I can't deny though, that once he'd lost the first set, I never expected a come-back and was genuinely shocked to see Nadal out. Not as shocked as I was to see the level of brown-nosed, arse-licking that Nadal received when interviewed by the BBC afterwards! He was labelled a 'true gentleman' and a 'class act' for giving up his precious time after a defeat - truly puke-inducing, especially as it is obligatory for players to speak to the press after matches. He wasn't so classy on-court, as he acted like a small child, complaining about Rosol time-wasting - the most hyprocritical piece of irony I have ever heard in my life, seeing as it came from the tour's biggest time-waster!

With Nadal out, things are looking a lot rosier for Andy Murray, who has a 'clear' path to the final now. I wouldn't rule out Jo Wilfried Tsonga from dumping him out before then though! Federer was given a real scare from Julien Benneteau of all people. Benneteau has beaten him before and was just two points away from doing it again (and netting me a huge green!) but the Swiss Maestro remains on course for a showdown with Djokovic in the semi final.

You have to feel it's Novak's crown again but Murray is looking very strong and will be battle-hardened if he does reach the final, as his draw is far tougher than the Serb's. Could this be the tournament he finally gets his Slam? Don't bet against it! The drama in his match against Baghdatis was very unusual, as he fought against the clock to get the match finished! Officials were ready to stop the match at 11pm dead-on. Murray still needed another set to win at 10.35, so it was a race to prevent the game being re-started on Sunday. Murray blazed through the fourth set and managed to start the final game a fraction before 11, winning the match at 11.02 - just in the nick of time!

Further drama evolved at the same time, as Marin Cilic beat Sam Querrey in the second longest Wimbledon match of all time - five and a half hours! Cilic is one of 4 players I picked as outsiders who might run deep through Wimbledon, that are still in the draw going into week 2 (Malisse, Youzhny and Kohlschreiber are the others) - not bad going!

The women's draw has had a few upsets but no Rosol-esque shocks. Bartoli lost to Mirjana Lucic but she is strong on grass and was a Wimbledon semi finalist many years ago. Li Na went out to Sorana Cirstea but I don't think that surprised too many traders. Cirstea is always a danger and Li has been very up and down all year. Stosur's exit to Arantxa Rus shocked many but not me. I predicted in my last post that she would go out early to a lower ranked player and that's exactly what happened. She traded at 1.04 in that match too, a price I snapped up greedily for my best trade of the tournament so far. Sharapova and Serena were both given tough rides, dropping sets to Zheng and Pironkova but they still remain the two to beat, in my opinion. Clijsters and Kvitova are both looking very good though and Kerber is still a dangerous dark-horse. Tamira Paszek also continues into week 2 and is the only female left in the draw from my 'outsider' picks. Her match against Wozniacki was a belter and my fave of the week.

The two biggest stories have included the rise of the teenage Italian ranked 145, Camila Giorgi, who came through qualifying and has knocked out Pennetta and Petrova (who was in stunning form) to reach round 4. She looks a real talent, watch out for her next week.  Then there was the incredible Golden Bagel! Wild card Yaroslava Shvedova won her first set against Roland Garros finalist Sara Errani without dropping a single point! 24-0! I have never seen or heard of that happening before, so I assumed the stats were wrong when I first saw them! Shvedova went on to dump out the Italian in straight sets. Not really a shock as she is a good grass court player but it's not every day you witness a perfect set.

Wimbledon has also been a golden week for me personally. The first two weeks of the grass season had been a bit disappointing. With all the rain delays and windy conditions, my trading was largely spoilt and I lost focus and traded poorly at times. This week though, has turned my month around and showed that grass makes no difference whatsoever to the effectiveness of my strategy. The opportunities have come thick and fast and it is rapidly turning into my best ever tournament. My focus and confidence have never been better and I have decided to wait no longer - I am going to begin increasing stakes for the first time in 2 years. Now things are about to get very interesting..............

Camila Giorgi:


  1. Well done Sultan, your excellent year continues! I recall your stakes being set at £50, but what was your bank size? Good luck with the increase, what stakes and size bank will you be using now?

  2. Cheers Jack! My max liability is always 2.5% of bank and I will increase that exposure in line with my bank as it grows but always sticking to 2.5% max risk.

  3. Hey Sultan,

    im sooo happy to see you are doing well finally! After all you've been trough, you finally got the consistency you need to enter the club of the 2-5% of longterm-betfair-winners.

    I like your blog the most! You draw a lot of analogies from traiding to tennis. You wrote about the fact that, if you want to achive something, if you want to become novak djokovic, you have to do more then the rest of the betfair-users. The people dont want to see, the amount of work you have to put in, before reaching the top of the mountain. They only see the result of the hard work, and want to do the same, WITHOUT the work. And this is not a betfair-specific issue!

    A lot of people want to play tennis like rafa or nole, but im sure the dont know what it means to pe a professional tennis-play 24h a day. Eating the right things, preparing right, sleep enough, travel around the world, sleeping in hotels the most part of the year, dont see your family that much, be focused in the matches and give 100% . every single match ... and on top of this .. having no guarante, if they ever make it in the top 100 - top 50 or even higher. I think this is exactly the same in Betfair-Trading. EXACTLY! Okay we dont have to sleep in hotels, but all of the preparation-aspect, focusing of what you can influence, beeing consistend, analysing your errors in a match for not repeating them in the next match and simply improve your skills from your experience in the matches - there really is no difference to a professional tennisplayer from my point of view.

    As I read somwhere, there was told that Leonardo DaVinci worked in front of 200 people - to create another piece of art - in this case a picture. He finished his work in less than one hour. After that the picture was sold for an incredible amount of money. After most people left the room, one man asked Da Vinci, if he was not feeling like that he got sooo much money for working only one hour. And Da Vinci smiled and said: "Look, this is my payment. Not for working one hour, but for working a whole life!"

    So that was a long comment. In the end, im very happy to see, that you become so consistent. You made a lot of Points in ATP-Betfair-Ranking. :-) Keep it going, defend your position and climb the ladder!

    Have a nice day and keep your fingers crossed for Angelique Kerber. As beeing from germany Im so happy about what our girls are doing at the moment. Not to forget about the outstanding win of Haas against Roger Federer. A real miracle. Really Fun at the moment! :-)


    1. Hi Daniel, thanks for your comment, it's much appreciated. People are often around to point things out when you are having a bad time but not many will congratulate you when you are doing well, so it's nice to hear :)

      I agree with everything you've said, although I have not acheived anything yet. It's been 6 months of consistency but there is still a long way to go before I can be considered long term profitable. Things are certainly less of a struggle now though.

      Anyway, good luck with your own trading, hope it's going well. I like all the German girls, I think they will make me a lot of money in the next few years ;) I'm routing for Agnieszka Radwanska at Wimbledon though - unfortunately, she is playing Kerber in the semi!


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