Tennis is one of the most popular recreational and professional sports around the world. The global game has men’s and women’s tours played in every continent.
Like all sports in the 21st century, the professional game has had to make some adaptions to ensure it makes full use of the digital technology available to them.
Here is a look at three ways in which tennis has moved into the digital era over the last couple of decades.
Given the popularity of tennis around the world, the digital scoring system which is used today ensures fans can have access to live scoring from matches on all the major tours. Once a point is scored, the umpire enters it into a small keypad and this updates the feed instantly to those following the scoring play on their digital device.
Without this digital scoring system, score updates and results would be slow to circulate. Fans would be reliant on reporters being on court to relay all the information.
Arguably the biggest change to tennis since the rules were established in the early 19th century is the addition of Hawk-Eye. This digital review system allows a player to challenge the umpire or the court judge’s decision if they disagree.
On the tennis court, a digital camera tracks the path of the ball to determine where exactly it landed. It is used at the majority of the major events, including the Australian Open where the men’s singles championship was won by Novak Djokovic. The Serbian is currently the second favourite in the tennis betting behind Rafael Nadal is who aiming for a 13th title at the event and a fourth consecutive title in a row.
Players tend to have three reviews each per set. Once those have been used, they cannot challenge any decision on court. Unlike other sports such as soccer, the review system has been a big success in tennis as it helps eliminate any errors from those officiating.
The world’s leading tennis players have been able to get even closer to their fans thanks to the advent of social media. The various platforms allow players to post training sessions, updates on their personal life and confirm which competitions they have entered.
Fans can also send messages to their favorite players. Often players hold a Q&A on their channels which are always popular, particular on Twitter. Although players do interviews prior and after their games, social media has given them a chance to show their personalities. They are often in the zone on court but that is obviously not the case when they are not playing tennis.
Many of the younger players on the tour even have their own YouTube channels, where they enjoy posting regular vlogs.
Like all sports, tennis will continue to evolve and who knows how it will look in the future where there is sure to be further advanced digital technology available.