Tennis trading has always required an agile body clock. Just over the next couple of months traders will likely use the majority of PT(-8), ET(-5), MSK(+3), CST(+8), JST(+9) and CET(+1) as the time zones to groggily set their alarms by.
It certainly used to be the case that this chosen career/hobby path results in little choice but to live by erratic waking hours. This has been down to ATP and WTA main tour events generally containing the only matches with sufficient coverage and liquidity. In recent times however, the amount of WTA, ATP, Challenger and ITF action offered by markets and bookmakers has been gradually increasing, as has tennis-televisation.
So, inspired by ill-fitting blackout blinds, ready meals and relationship strife we ask could a professional tennis trader now theoretically live by regular ‘daylight’ hours throughout the year? Let’s find that Andy Murray calendar we were given last Christmas and see. Assume our trader hero has an address in the UK or Central Europe and an unwavering determination to work a 9am-5pm day.
The calendar year begins with the gnarliest of them all – the Aussie swing. For us at JAbet that usually means 11pm starts and a spaced-out late-morning tube journey home. But for our innovator the tail end of each day’s line-up would go nicely with their morning coffee and cereal. Then what better way to spend the afternoons than cleaning up in the Challengers? Koblenz & Rennes took place during the Aus Open this year; the likes of Blaz Kavcic and Kenny De Schepper just don’t get the concept of a rest week. There is also a lot to be said for investing time in scoping out the pre-match markets. With so many markets offered across the board for Grand Slams there will be value and arbs to be made – it’s just a case of finding them.
February is non-stop. First round of Fed Cup and Davis Cup will without doubt be office-hour-tradable as several ties will be based in European locations. Furthermore, you’d be able to get stuck into the majority of St Petersburg, Montpellier, Rotterdam and Budapest main tour events and could even supplement these with a choice of Challenger tournaments such as Cherbourg and Bergamo if the lower tiers tickle your fancy. The Brazilian swing of Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo run 2 or 3 hours behind us so it’d likely be a case of trading a handful of the opening matches in each of these tournaments before you head home (or downstairs) for dinner.
March is the first tricky time for Ms/Mr Nine-to-Five Tennis Trader. As Indian Wells and Miami Masters are such big events there is a real lack of other action during these weeks. South American Challengers provide the only side shows and as they’re 3 hours behind and partial to evening-heavy schedules there really won’t be much on before 5pm hits. With Indian Wells located in the Californian desert, the 8-hour time difference means play doesn’t start until after we’ve clocked off. Miami generally begins at 3/4pm so a quick 1 or 2-hour shift to trade the opening matches here would be possible. Missing the lion’s share of these juicy events would certainly feel a tad counterproductive. To add to the disappointment, a ‘working-holiday’ to California/Florida won’t cut the mustard due to US laws prohibiting in-play betting. Verdict: time to pick up a new hobby – Spring has sprung, fancy yourself as a budding Monty Don?
You’ll be pleased to have had such a casual March as a 4-month block from early April sees an abundance of European tournaments take place including the Slams of Roland Garros and Wimbledon. The main problem here is one of FOMO; we don’t care how intriguing any evening match-ups look, no overtime! Them’s the rules.
The USTA takes centre stage in August, but not for you! Whilst the night owls are trading in and out of positions in Stanford, Toronto and Montreal you’ll once again be busy with Challenger action, this time Segovia and Portoroz no other.
Prepare to be in your offspring’s teachers’ bad books in September. We recommend waiting till then to jet off on your family summer holiday. Not purely so you can bag a bargain getaway, but due to the void created by the Asia-focus of the main tours. You’ll not get in on any of the action from Tokyo, Seoul, Wuhan, Beijing or Shanghai amongst others.
Fresh from a relaxing break in Benidorm… you’ll be chomping at the bit and a 6-week stint of ‘Eurotennis’ starting from WTA Linz in early October will be just the tonic. From here an average of two established top tier tournaments feature each week within our working hours culminating in the ATP World Tour Finals giving ample opportunity to end the year with a flurry.
So, all in all yes it (kind of) can be done. If you’re willing to accept catching up with epic Shockpovalov overnight wins during the Soeda vs Lu warm-up and the disappointment of your failing vegetable patch then this 9-5 trading lark is a goer.