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Game, set, data: ATP ushers in wearable tech era for professional tennis

The ATP has announced the approval of in-competition wearable devices for players across the ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour, starting July 15th. This groundbreaking initiative comes at an intriguing time, with Wimbledon set to begin on July 1st. While the new technology won’t be in play during the prestigious grass court tournament, it sets the stage for an exciting second half of the tennis season. 

I am someone who has closely followed the intersection of tennis and technology. Over the years, I have reviewed everything from the first connected tennis racket, to an automatic line calling machine for amateurs, to Slinger (the portable and affordable automatic ball launcher). It is now good to be seeing that professional tennis is embracing wearable tech in official matches. While players have undoubtedly been using such devices in training, this move brings data-driven insights directly into the competitive arena.

ATP approvals in-competition wearables: What this means

The ATP’s decision to approve devices from STATSports and Catapult will generate cutting-edge insights for players. These devices dish out metrics like heart rate and high-intensity load data. This information will be centralized in a new dashboard called ATP Tennis IQ – Wearables, building upon the ATP Tennis IQ analytics platform launched in September 2023.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

One of the most exciting aspects of this development is its potential to level the playing field. Players lower in the rankings, who may not have access to extensive coaching resources, will now have data-driven insights at their fingertips. This democratization of performance analytics could lead to more competitive matches and potentially unearth new talents who can leverage the data to improve their game.

Moreover, if some of this data is made public, it could improve how we watch and understand tennis. Imagine real-time heart rate data during a crucial tiebreak or seeing a player’s exertion levels throughout a five-set marathon. This additional layer of information could deepen fan engagement and provide commentators with fascinating new angles to explore during broadcasts.

The big picture

The introduction of wearables is part of a broader push by the ATP to enhance the sport through technology, data, and innovation. The Tennis IQ platform, launched last year, already provides players with advanced match analytics, interactive court graphics, and detailed scouting information on opponents. The addition of wearable data to this ecosystem promises to create an even more comprehensive toolkit for players and their teams.

As Ross Hutchins, ATP Chief Sporting Officer, stated, “The introduction of wearables on Tour is a big step forward in our push to optimise player performance and prevent injury. Ultimately, empowering players to get the very best out of their careers.”

While the immediate focus is on player performance and injury prevention, the potential applications of this technology are vast. Future iterations could incorporate this data into coaching strategies, especially given the recent introduction of off-court coaching during matches.

As we look ahead to Wimbledon and beyond, it’s clear that professional tennis is entering a new era. The marriage of cutting-edge technology with the grace and skill of top athletes promises to enhance both player performance and fan experience. It’s an exciting time for tennis, and I, for one, can’t wait to see how this technology develops and influences the sport we love.

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Dusan Johnson

Dusan is our dedicated sports editor which means he gets to indulge his two passions: writing and gadgets. He never leaves his house without a minimum of two wearable devices to monitor his every move.

One thought on “Game, set, data: ATP ushers in wearable tech era for professional tennis

  • The ATP will then own this data which is a huge privacy concern for the players. The ATP could sell this player performance data to betting websites for example. Andy Roddick, former world #1 is all over this. Will the players be compensated when the ATP sells the data? Must players who want wearables be forced to wear the ATP wearable in which their private health data could be shared or can they wear other brands with guarantee of privacy over their health data?


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