With Wimbledon in full swing we thought we would take a look at tech in tennis.
Tech in Tennis? – There is more than you think!
It’s no surprise that there is more chatter and column inches spent discussing VAR in football. Yet tennis was an early adopter of their own version of goal line technology in the form of Hawk-Eye.
Hawk-Eye uses 6 or 7 camera’s around venues to track the trajectory of a ball. It is accurate to within 3.6mm, and is widely used for a second opinion. Players now have the opportunity to challenge the line judges or umpires call. It has been accepted by governing bodies in tennis, cricket and football as a means of adjudication.
One of the downsides of Hawk-Eye’s implementation is we no longer see John McEnroe tantrums, smashing rackets and screaming at the umpire “you cannot be serious”.
Smart rackets are now banned in competition but many pro players like Rafa Nadal, are still using them on the practice courts. There are products that act like the tennis equivalent of “Strava”, which you attach inside the handle of your racket. These are known as a 6 axis sensor, an accelerometer or a gyroscope which measures power, endurance and technique, giving you feedback on your game. Even providing you details about where on the racket you are hitting the ball, which is then connected to an app on your smart phone.
There are other rackets from a firm called BOLT that literally make every shot feel like its hit the spot, using a new stringing design called ZipString. A BOLT racket is unique in this way. BOLT rackets provide great control with any level of power. The Zipstrips flex instead of the racket, so every shot feels solid as a rock while the Zipstrips control ball rebound speed. One of these might even make me a good tennis player!
Technology embedded in the court surface has been developed by a swiss company. It provides feedback to the players about ball and player placement and weight distribution between the feet. Along side that it displays surface impacts, analyses your game and offers interactive challenges to you and your opponent. Such as foot impact and faults, it also brings augmented reality to the court. Players can choose goals or challenges, such as hitting virtual targets on the court with the ball.
Greenfield IT have a team dedicated to recruiting tech and digital skills for the sports industry. We support a number of major UK sports clubs and governing bodies, but we also work with a number of sports tech firms who’s products and services are focused on the sector.