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The technology behind the tennis: MailOnline reveals the systems powering Wimbledon Championships

The moment tennis fans have been waiting for is finally almost here, with the Wimbledon Championships kicking off on June 27.

Hundreds of thousands of tennis fans flock to London’s SW19 to watch the world’s best tennis players battle it out to become Wimbledon champions.

While most fans head to Wimbledon to watch Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Emma Raducanu go to court, many are probably unaware of the impressive technologies that make the tournament possible.

Prior to the tournament, MailOnline’s Shivali Best visited Wimbledon to hear about these technologies – including AI match insights, suggestions on underdogs to watch out for, and Hawk-Eye line conversations.

The moment tennis fans have been waiting for is finally almost here, with the Wimbledon Championships kicking off on June 27

The moment tennis fans have been waiting for is finally almost here, with the Wimbledon Championships kicking off on June 27

What is Hawk Eye?

Since 2021, the electronic system Hawk-Eye has been used on all Wimbledon courts to challenge line calls by the players.

The system uses multiple cameras placed around the court to track the ball.

A 3D image is then processed frame by frame to show the trajectory of the ball and determine if it was in our out.

According to Hawk-Eye, the result is accurate to within 5mm and can also be used to detect foot defects.

AI match insights

IBM has been the official technology partner of The Championships for the past 33 years and has launched several new features within the Wimbledon app this year.

“Using technology to help fans become better informed, engaged and engaged during the Wimbledon Fortnight is at the heart of our strategy to ensure we use innovation to keep Wimbledon relevant and deliver outstanding digital experiences for fans, wherever they are located,” said Alexandra. Willis, Director of Communications and Marketing, The All England Club.

“In partnership with IBM, we are excited to bring fans around the world an even more dynamic and interactive digital experience this year as Wimbledon returns to full capacity.”

The Wimbledon app’s Match Insights tool has been enhanced this year with new ‘Win Factors’ that will give fans a better understanding of the elements that affect player performance.

This includes the IBM Power Index, which is powered by IBM’s AI system, Watson.

“The IBM Power Index with Watson is an AI-powered daily ranking of player momentum before and during Wimbledon,” IBM explains.

The Wimbledon app's Match Insights tool has been enhanced this year with new 'Win Factors', which will give fans a better understanding of the elements that affect player performance

The Wimbledon app’s Match Insights tool has been enhanced this year with new ‘Win Factors’, which will give fans a better understanding of the elements that affect player performance

“Using advanced analytics and natural language processing, IBM Watson analyzes player performance, media commentary and other factors to quantify momentum.”

Other winning factors include field size, ATP/WTA rankings, head-to-head ratios, ratio of games won, net of sets won, recent performance, annual success and media expertise.

IBM hopes this new tool will help fans find underdogs to support in addition to the most well-known high-ranking players.

‘Our ambition’ [is] to help fans get closer to Wimbledon by understanding which players to track and analyse, and invite them to participate in new match predictions and insights,” added Ms Willis.

Interactive fan predictions

Also new to the Wimbledon app this year is a feature called ‘Have Your Say’ where fans can make their own interactive predictions.

The app allows users to record their pre-match predictions before being compared against other fans, as well as the AI-powered Likelihood to Win predictions generated by IBM.

Kevin Farrar, Sports Partnership Leader, IBM UK & Ireland, said: ‘Sports fans love debating and we are excited to introduce a new tool this year that allows people to record their own match predictions and compare them to generated predictions. by Match Insights with Watson and those of other fans.”

Also new to the Wimbledon app this year is a feature called 'Have Your Say' where fans can make their own interactive predictions

Also new to the Wimbledon app this year is a feature called ‘Have Your Say’ where fans can make their own interactive predictions

Personalized Recommendations and Highlights Reels

Once a fan has decided who to follow based on the IBM Power Index, they can stay informed through a series of personalized recommendations and highlights.

“This allows fans to discover new players by making suggestions based on their current favorite players, the IBM Power Rankings, top players, country and age,” IBM explains.

†[It] contains links to other features, such as the IBM Power Index Leaderboard and Match Insights with Watson.

“If you are registered with myWimbledon, you will receive personalized highlights based on the players you follow.”

Since 2021, the Hawk-Eye electronic system has been used on all Wimbledon courts to challenge line calls by the players

Since 2021, the Hawk-Eye electronic system has been used on all Wimbledon courts to challenge line calls by the players

hawk eye

Since 2021, the electronic system Hawk-Eye has been used on all Wimbledon courts to challenge line calls by the players.

The system uses multiple cameras placed around the court to track the ball.

A 3D image is then processed frame by frame to show the trajectory of the ball and determine if it was in our out.

According to Hawk-Eye, the result is accurate to within 5mm and can also be used to detect foot defects.

Players are currently only allowed three incorrect challenges per set, but amid the pandemic, organizers have considered completely replacing Wimbledon’s 300 linesmen with the automated system.

Although the organizers decided not to replace the linesmen, some players have said they prefer to play with Hawk-Eye alone.

Speaking to The Times, British tennis star Heather Watson said: ‘For me personally, I love the HawkEye system because I know there is no discussion about the technology.

‘I have personal confidence in it. I love it and if they have it it should be on every court so it’s fair to all players.”

Hawk-Eye is currently not disclosing how much the system will cost, although Dr. Yu-Po Wong of Stanford University estimates the cost of a “professional system” in the region of $60-$70,000.

HOW DOES THE TENNIS SCORING SYSTEM WORK?

In tennis, players must win enough games to win a set, and then a certain number of sets to win the match.

This unique layout ensures that in many games the eventual winner of a game actually wins fewer points.

The key to a tennis win is to ‘break’ the other person’s serve – winning a game when the opponent serves the ball into play.

This can be done by winning just four consecutive points and offers a huge advantage.

Winning a point makes it 15-0. This is read as ‘fifteen love’, where love means zero.

Another run makes it 30-0.

The next run would make it 40-0.

The next point, should it be won by the same person, would win the game.

If the game is tied at 40-40, it is called deuce.

If the game is on deuce, the next point does not win the game.

In this case, the winner of the enxt pint gets ‘advantage’.

At this point if they win again they win the game, if they lose the score reverts to deuce and the process reverses until a saucer wins two consecutive points.

This will win the ‘game’ and then the next one begins, with the other person serving.

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