Switch to hi-tech rackets in time for Wimbledon?
Some of the world’s best tennis players will play at the major tournaments like the French Open and Wimbledon over the summer of 2014 with new high tech rackets.
A number of players are thought to be testing the ‘connected racquets’ which have data-collecting sensors in the handles feeding back information on various strokes. The information is transmitted via bluetooth to smartphones or tablets where players and coaches can legally analyse the data.
The Babolat company, sponsors of Rafa Nadal, Jo Wilfried Tsonga and Li Na is the only manufacturer using the technology. However the company’s chief says very soon all rackets will be smart rackets.
Eric Babolat said “We realized what we had developed would not be allowed in tournaments so we went to the ITF,”. “I was afraid the ITF would say, ‘no this is not in the spirit of tennis’, but I was surprised.”
“We were not pushed back at all on this. The only restriction is on the coaching rule. We are not allowed to have live information go to the player on court because we have to respect the no coaching rule.”
Mark Petchey says the new technology has “limitless potential”. “It has the potential to change the way we think about coaching,” he told Reuters.