Tennis and technology was a taboo topic several years ago, and the bleep of the net was probably the most advanced thing that you would come across. Now, ahead of the 2014 event, this has all changed. The game has become full of gizmos and gadgets that are aimed at both improving player performance, and also the spectator experience.
Here, we’ll take a look at four types of technology that you might see at Wimbledon this year…
This is technology that is used to determine line calls, and it is now a well known feature of Wimbledon (and has been for many a years). Players are able to “challenge" the umpire’s initial decision, and if Hawk Eye proves that their challenge was merited, they either win or replay the point depending on the circumstances.
Not only has it improved the accuracy of the officiating at Wimbledon, but it’s also enhanced the spectator experience. Whether you are watching from the venue or your television set, nothing quite beats the suspense of the bouncing Hawk Eye ball as it mulls over the decision.
Prior to last year’s event there was speculation that the outlandish Bethanie Mattek-Sands was going to take to Centre Court armed with Google Glass. Bethanie primarily uses Glass as a training tool to record training sessions (which she later analyses on the computer), however what was unknown was whether she would bring this technology with her on court. The question is, is Wimbledon ready for Google Glass? From a spectators perspective yes, however for players we just can’t see it. Glass could add a completely new dimension to the game for spectators, so hopefully we’ll see it being used by fans in stands pretty soon.
High-tech tennis rackets may make an appearance at this years Wimbledon competition thanks to Babolat. Sensors within the racket record a range of measurements including the impact location and strength, all sent in real time to a smart phone or tablet app. Julia Görges used one such racket at the French Open in May and although it might not have helped her to win the tournament, she now certainly has the data to trawl through to find out where she went wrong.
The aggressiveness gauge is new piece of technology that has been created to quantify how “aggressive" a players shot is. This “aggressiveness" score is calculated based on a range of metrics including the shot speed (mph), the angle of impact and the distance the opponent has to travel to reach the ball. This technology has been created in an attempt to accurately analyse the match and provide key statistics to the fans watching at home. In some way this could be compared to the statistics we receive during football matches, such as the team possession and shots on target. It may therefore go someway to explaining what makes a winning performance and what doesn't.