By Aki Mai. Tennis. Published at Thursday, March 15th, 2018 - 02:51:04 AM.
Last year the inaugural Laver Cup which pitted Team Europe against Team World generated plenty of buzz. The vast majority of it was positive and the event was deemed an immediate and overwhelming success. Not surprisingly many found it impossible not to compare it to the other team competition in men's tennis the Davis Cup and suffice it to say it was not a favorable comparison where the more historic competition was concerned. Whether or not that was the catalyst for change folks may never know but it was music to the ears when earlier this week International Tennis Federation President David Haggerty announced that the ITF was on the verge of making some much-needed adjustments to Davis Cup.
This new innovation created in collaboration with French tech outfit PIQ which is also working on bringing more sensor based analytics to other sports like golf and skiing is part of two big trends. The obvious trend is the data driven way to understand your game. As Genie Bouchard said at Friday’s product launch at the Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club “people can tell you when you’re hitting the ball but there’s nothing more accurate than technology.” The metrics she is most interested in are where in her stroke she typically makes contact with the ball and the speed of her arm on groundstrokes.
This playfully competitive angle is the second big trend that Babolat taps into. The app accompanying the POP has a social tie-in that allows users to post their scores and see how friends are doing. Speed of serves the length of rallies and the topspin on a forehand all become a part of the PIQ scores users and networks compete for. Normed across sports a tennis player will one day be able to challenge a golfer across the integrated platform. Supercomputers put together data from millions of strokes recorded over the course of two years to create the measures and calibrate the sensors that can now be used by pros and novices alike with any tennis racquet.
Installing Black Code 4S was actually a lot less trouble than expected. Typically geometric or textured polys can be a bear for the fingers but 4S wasn't terribly onerous even though the edges were definitely noticeable. Coil memory seemed typical for a polyester but with a little care tangles and kinks were easily avoided. As with most geometric or textured polys installing crosses comes with some risk of damage due to the sharp edges. I didn't have any issues but I'd still encourage other stringers to take their time installing crosses—especially if they're blending Black Code 4S with another softer string.
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