Tennis manipulation: can we help serena williams win another tournament?

Or can we control a knockout tournament with reasonable complexity?
  • Lior AronshtamEmail author
  • Havazelet Cohen
  • Tammar ShrotEmail author


This article focuses on the question of whether a certain candidate’s (player’s) chance to advance further in a tennis tournament can be increased when the ordering of the tournament can be controlled (manipulated by the organizers) according to his own preferences. Is it possible to increase the number of ranking points a player will receive? And most importantly, can it be done in reasonable computational time? The answers to these questions differ for different settings. e.g., the information available on the outcome of each game, the significance of the number of points gained or of the number of games won. We analyzed five different variations of these tournament questions. First the complexity hardness of trying to control the tournaments is shown. Then, the tools of parametrized complexity are used to investigate the source of the problems’ hardness. Specifically, we check whether this hardness holds when the size of the problem is bounded. The findings of this analysis show that it is possible under certain circumstances to control the tournament in favor of a specific candidate in order to help him advance further in the tournament.


Manipulation in sport Knockout tournament Control manipulation Parameterized complexity Voting 

Mathematics Subject Classification (2010)

68Q25 68Q17 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sami Shamoon College of EngineeringAshdodIsrael

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