Robo-players to rule at NextGen Finals
Robo-players will be kitted out with GPS trackers and sensor pads in an effort to bring more strategic information to their coaches at the ATP NextGen Finals.
The MIlan showpiece is being staged in northern Italy for the third year and features the eight highest-ranked players aged under 21,
The cutting edge wearable technology will be the latest innovative wrinkle at the November 5-9 tournament.
With data to hand, coaches and players will be able to quantify the demands of the competition through what could well be an overload of data.
The GPS receiver and inertial sensors attached to players during matches will measure velocity and direction, acceleration and force, rotation, body orientation, and will quantify internal load (through heart rate).
But unless hackers get there first, the collected information will only be available to the player his coaching team and anyone else he might authorise.
Of course, a tech from the device vendor will be stationed onsite throughout for the inevitable re-boots, damaged device replacement and anti-virus skirmishes that are almost certain to somehow develop.
But nothing can stop the ATP in the quest to make the young-gun event stand out.
“From the outset, the Next Gen ATP Finals have been at the cutting edge of innovation in our sport, and the use of wearable technology this year during matches will provide some invaluable insights to players, coaches and ATP medical services,” said outgoing ATP supremo Chris Kermode.
“This is a unique tournament that has always embraced new technologies, and this is the latest step as the event continues to pioneer innovation in the game.”
The tournament has served as a test bed for various ideas and rules to try and speed up the game enough to interest the fickle current generation of fans.
Among the changes: a best-of-five set format, shorter sets to 4 (tie-break at 3-All) and No-Ad scoring.
In addition there will be Electronic Line Calling through Hawk-Eye Live, a 25-second Shot Clock, In-Match player coaching via head-sets, Video Review and more.
But it’s not all full speed ahead for the marketeers.
The no-let rule used at the first two editions has been rescinded, with service lets now dealt with as they are in “regular” tennis.
Written by Bill Scott for Grandslamtennis.online. To read more visit grandslamtennis.online