Finance and Fitness: Australian Men’s Tennis and the Australian Stock Market, Predictions for 2015

Predictions for tonight (one Aussie will win!); Predictions for the S&P/ASX 50 (modest growth; under 2%)

The Men’s Third round tonight offers the first all Aussie contest of the men’s draw, when world number 63 Bernard Tomic faces world number 82 Sam Groth. The match will not start before 1AM EST; 5PM, Melbourne Time, and this critic will likely be asleep. Sponsored by Nike and residing in the tax haven of Monte Carlo, Tomic is the clear favorite to win this one and advance to the fourth round, where he’ll likely face 7th seed Tomas Berdych. Bell Coin Index has two predictions for this late evening of tennis: Tomic wins in four sets; Berdych wins in four sets; and in the fourth round, Berdych ousts Tomic. The lasting standing Aussie man will then be sensational upstart Nick Kyrgios — who just signed a sponsorship with Malaysia Airlines, itself coming of one of the worst years in Modern aviation history. While Kyrgios may make it past Malek Jaziri, he won’t make it past his 4th round opponent, Roger Federer. At that point, no Aussies will be left in the men’s draw.

(ANZ, one of Austalia’s leading lackluster banks and major AO sponsor)

Australian men’s tennis is not the only sagging index down under. The S&P/ASX 50, an index of the fifty largest publically traded companies in Australia, including the Open’s Associate Sponsor ANZ, has itself had a lackluster year. Representing 63% of Australian capitalization, the S&P/ASX 50 posted a 1.7% annual return last year. When we think of Australia’s economy, we naturally think of its commodities markets. But what the below chart tells us is, first, finance outweighs natural resources in more than 3 to 1 ratio. Of course commodities themselves are financialized, and their price is dependent on the Australian dollar, which has taken quite a dive in the past year.

(Australia’s S&P/ASX Index)

In fact, the outlook for Australian men’s tennis is better than the economic forecast for 2015, with some economists predicting a recession. So, perhaps it is time, literally and metaphorically speaking, for Australia’s tennis and economic sectors to confront each other, as will happen tonight in the Tomic v. Groth match and to decide about what kind of player and what kind of economy can position Australia for growth in a post-crisis, post-mineral boom, and post-Hewitt (he went out yesterday; in five sets) era.

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