High Tech Tennis Shirt debuts at the US Open
Ball boys working at this year’s US Open were handed an exciting boost as it was announced that Ralph Lauren would be handing their new biometric smart shirt to a select few for the competition, which was concluded on Monday at Flushing Meadows.
The shirt uses both biometric sensors and mobile technology, to collect data from the wearer’s movements. Those statistics are then emitted to the cloud, where it’s then sent into a variety of algorithms that will map out a complete set of performance-oriented biometrics.
This is then transmitted back to the user through a mobile app is then used by the wearer so they are able to see performance stats and facts based on the data they submitted.
While the technology is very useful in tracking stats and data, it is likely more of a necessity to the actual athletes and tennis stars who are competing in the tournament, rather than the ball boys who are there to help with match officiating. Although, given the importance of the US Open as one of tennis’ four ‘major’ championships, it is likely that few participants would have been open to wearing the prototype gear.
In regards to the tennis, well, there were certainly a few shocks in regards to the outcome of the Men’s singles competition, as none of the ‘Big Four’ (Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal – who withdrew pre-tournament injured – and Roger Federer) progressed past the semi-finals, seemingly ending a six-year reign of dominance across men’s tennis. Instead, it was Japan’s Kei Nishikori and Croat Marin Cilic’s turn to contest a Grand Slam final, with the latter emerging victorious in straight sets.
Cilic’s victory meant that none of the ‘Big Four’ lifted the US Open trophy for only the second time in ten years at Flushing Meadows, although bookmakers don’t believe the outcome is enough to rule any of the four giants out of the favourite positions as we now look ahead to the next Grand Slam – the Australian Open in 2015. Betfair price world number-one Novak Djokovic as the immediate favourite at 13/8, while Nadal (10/3), Murray (5/1) and Federer (10/1) all follow the Serb in the betting, with Stanislas Wawrinka priced as joint fourth favourite at 10/1, as he looks to retain his crown.
Regardless of who won this year’s US Open – or is in line to triumph at the next Grand Slam – it seems that wearable smart tech is set to take off in a big way soon, with Google and Samsung set to invest in various different smart-watch accessories for users. It could be that next time you visit Flushing Meadows in 2015, every single competitor is wearing a piece of smart gear to enhance their performance.