Technology is Pervasive on Today’s Tennis Courts
Most people do not usually associate technology with tennis, but actually it has become quite entwined with the sport. Tennis has embraced technology more readily than many other sports. Technology has made inroads into every aspect of tennis, from equipment and wearables to applications, and of course on the courts. From recreational clubs, college and universities to major facilities, such as the USTA National Campus, technology is making a positive impact on the game.
Video is Key
The use of video has become especially evident in tennis today. With hard court surfaces it is often difficult to determine if a ball in or out of bounds because it does not readily leave a mark as on clay courts. However, with the use of video technology it is now much easier to make that call. With solutions such as Hawk-Eye’s Smart Technology and PlaySight’s SmartCourt camera-and-kiosk system, high-definition cameras are strategically placed around a court to digitally record and analyze many aspects of a tennis match. The PlaySight solution even announces out loud if a ball is “in” or “out”. Another electronic system designed just for line-calling is from FOXTENN. This system takes it to the next level with 40 ultra-high-speed cameras that each generate more than 2,500 images per second, and are synchronized with high-speed lasers that produce more than 150,000 images per second. With this system, there should be no question about whether a ball is in or out.
The solutions from Hawk-Eye and PlaySight are not only great for line calling, but they also are beneficial for training purposes. Many different aspects of player and ball movement, from speed to direction and distance, are captured and translated into real-time statistics and analytics. At the recently opened USTA facility, this information can be viewed in real-time on a PlaySight’s kiosk. Every shot is documented and can be viewed a few minutes afterwards with video analysis.
Popularity of Technology and Tennis
Technology is impacting many parts of our lives, including sports such as tennis. These advances in the use of tennis technology may be one of the reasons why the number of tennis players continues to grow. According to the TIA (Tennis Industry Association) there were 2.07 million new tennis players in 2015, which is a 3.8 percent increase over 2014. Even TIA’s Executive Director Jolyn de Boer acknowledges that user-friendly feedback from technology takes the tennis experience to a new and different level. This new level is very attractive to Generation Z and millennials, who grew up with technology and embrace it readily. Next time you participate in a game of tennis be sure to interact with any new technology on the court. You may be surprised by how much it helps you to improve your game and just how much you enjoy it!