Influence Of Technology In Tennis – Good Or Bad?

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Roger Federer, Australian Open 2017

The established tennis aces, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and a few others are redefined the sport in many dimensions. Their game does not just revolve around a racquet and a ball, there are numerous other factors which impacts their game on the court. The quality of the sport is ameliorating from time to time with an abundance of effort from these professional players’ end. Excellence in sports is hugely bolstered by scientific research. Considering the level of tennis amongst the professionals over the past ten years, there has been a tremendous evolution in their game.

Players Meeting Technology:

The cutting-edge racquets in the present time have been developed from the wooden ones. Be it, Babolat Pure Aero or the Wilson Pro Staff, they have immensely contributed towards an upgraded performance of the players. The recent Wilson Clash racquet has revolutionised the game of tennis to the next level. These racquets have definitely bolstered the game of the top ATP and WTA players, but however, the other budding players on the circuit, cannot really spare the price of these cutting-edge racquets, which eventually leads to their poor performance against the aces of tennis.  

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Roger Federer signs Wilson Pro Staff tennis racquets

Dwelling in the era of technology, these days the innovative coaching facilities are quite viable to players, even in the absence of a coach they can receive coaching. Technology has connected the players with sophisticated coaching information. This has led to the amendments in the tennis rules by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), which implies only approved devices can be utilised by the players during the course of the match. Abiding with the coaching rule in tennis, during a match the players cannot access any equipment which generates coaching information.

The Hawk-Eye:

The recent innovation, the electronic line-calling system in tennis, which is popularly known as the Hawk-Eye, has reduced the pressure on the officials who are officiating the match. The technology precisely records the placement of the ball on the tennis court. Moreover, it vanishes the quarrel of ‘in or out’ between the player and the umpire and averts the inaccurate calls during the match.

Biomechanics of the Athletes: 

The science behind the movement of a player’s body, which is termed as the biomechanics has aided the coaches to understand the mechanical aspects of the tennis stroke. Examination of the mechanics can be determined by the performance of the player and can also keep the player away from injuries. Its mechanism can also help the player to develop power and precision. It has led to discoveries such as the stretch-shortening cycle, which is an advanced forehand drill and the kinetic chain, which is a key to produce great tennis strokes. Also, it has helped the players to vary their strokes from time to time. All this has provoked the coaches to understand their player and develop the necessary techniques in them. In the long run, the study of biomechanics helps the players to become better professionals. Consequently, the coaches are making an optimum use the motion pictures provided by the video analysis companies. 

Evolution of the Tennis Balls:

The gas pressurised tennis balls covered with felt which is presently in use today have evolved from leather and wool balls and air-filled rubber balls. When kids are introduced to play tennis, they are exposed to low-compression tennis balls which are light in weight. It aids the beginners to get acquainted with the basic strokes of tennis. Later they are made to use, low-pressure tennis balls which have a lower bounce and slower flight, it assists the budding players to play long rallies. Moreover, they clear their technical proficiency of the game in a player at a very young age. Despite helping the juniors, the evolution of the balls has significantly increased the physical effort of professional players on the court and which is, in turn, escalating the risk of injuries in a player. 

Dealing With One’s Emotions on the Court:

The field of sports psychology is gaining a huge amount of importance in the sporting world. While coaching the upcoming tennis players the coaches emphasise more on the motivational aspects of the game. The adroit tennis players employ diverse methods to control their emotions which ultimately produces fruitful results on the court. Nowadays, the parent education programmes have also been initiated, since, on the junior circuit, the support from the parents is indispensable to the player.

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Analysis To Avoid Injuries in the Sport: 

Injuries in tennis have exponentially increased over the years. The methodology for recording injuries and illnesses during tennis activities is an enormous field of study and it is leading to greater stability in the future research of tennis. A 25-year analysis of injury data from the US Open was published in 2012 which was used to standardised the definitions and methodology of injuries in tennis. The exploration in the player track systems is been investigated. The risk of injuries and the injury prevention measures in tennis are useful topics to study and research upon, inevitably it will bestow solutions to avoid injuries in a professional player’s career

Player’s Diet: 

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Roger’s Barilla Pasta

Nutrition is of utmost importance in an athlete’s life. During and post their training sessions or matches the players make sure that they have an intake of a substantial amount of fluids. Players adapt to a disciplined habit of eating and consume the right proportion of carbohydrates, proteins and fibre. They incorporate numerous fruits and vegetables into their diet. For muscle recovery, they take a considerable amount of lean protein such as chicken or fish. They opt to have whole wheat pasta and brown rice for the complex carbohydrate nutrition. Following a to healthy diet creates miracles on the court.

Hot Ambient Conditions, Resulting in Heat Stress: 

The environmental conditions while playing indeed account for the player’s performance. The core body temperature (CBT) has to be maintained for a player during the match, it is determined by the intensity of the exercise, the resulting metabolic rate and the ambient conditions. The discomfort due to the hot ambient conditions leads to heat stress amongst the players. It prompts them to lose their control on the game and consequently underperform. However, additional measures like ventilators, fans, parasols, ice vests, ice towels and cold water are provided to keep their body temperatures maintained. Despite that, there are certain athletes who cannot cope up with the rising temperatures, in such circumstances, the players need to be carefully monitored in order to prevent them from life-threatening heat illness.

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Djokovic using ice-soaked towels in Melbourne

To evade such situations of biological risks of the player, the match could be suspended. It’s up to the tournament referee who can decide when to stop the play and there isn’t any fixed threshold to it. However, the warm temperatures in Australia have pushed the need to decide upon the upper-bound of the temperatures. If the air temperature reached around 41–43°C the play would be suspended even for fit athletes.

Research Centre of Tennis:

The Society for Tennis Medicine and Science disseminates their scientific research in tennis-related information to the players and coaches in order to improvise their performance and their health conditions. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has come up with a portal which incorporates the translated scientific work in a comprehensible format which allows the professionals to work on their technical, tactical, physical, mental and medical aspects for the game. The International Tennis Performance Association provides a platform for learning the research-based tennis-specific performance education.

In spite of reaching the pinnacle in the sport, the players reinventing the game day by day and the professionals touching the skies, technology has certainly amended numerous practices of the sport. The prolonged matches on the circuit are almost on the brink of their extinction. They might as well be no longer in existence due to the introduction of fifth set tiebreakers during the major tournaments. The tennis officials have put an end to the marathon matches. As change is the only constant in this world the age-old traditions of the lawn tennis are also evolving with the world.