Line Calls Even Out in the Long Run, the Really, Really Long Run
You've heard tennis players and announcers say "The calls even out in the long run." But do they?
If you assume that missed calls are random events (not a conspiracy or result of bias), then they are independent events. The classic example is a coin toss. If the coin is balanced, the odds of heads or tails coming up is 50% on each toss.
Flip a coin 99 times resulting in 99 heads but no tails and the odds of getting a head or a tail on the 100th flip is the same as on all the rest: 50%. There is no cumulative counter somewhere in the ether directing a magic hand to even things out.
So, if you're in the club's 4.0 doubles final, or the Wimbledon finalist, and a questionable call goes against you -- tough luck, nothing has been added to your Karma bucket. Sorry.
But, if you don't escalate to a verbal attack on the linespeople, you're a better person. That counts for something.
This post is part of the series, "A Skeptic's Guide to what 'Everyone Knows' About Tennis", click to read more.