On-court coaching has been a hot topic in women’s tennis since its implementation in 2009. The ability to call a coach on court during a match has been embraced by many players as a concept that can help fulfill their potential. In 2015, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) permitted coaches to bring a WTA-authorized mobile device on court during a coaching break, but they may only have 90 seconds to use it. In a tennis match that can last for hours, this brief interaction is crucial, as it can change the tide of the match completely.
In the past, conversation between the coaches and their players was based on opinion. Coaches did not have any objective tools to support their observations. Time constraint combined with high pressure of the game makes it imperative that the brief communication between players and coaches be efficient and informed by accurate data.
SAP Tennis Analytics for Coaches is a tool that facilitates this communication between players and coaches. It is a tablet app that gathers data in real-time from ten on-court cameras and the umpire’s scoring of the match, translating them into strategic insights. Through insightful information and simple visualization, players and coaches are able to communicate objectively with a tool they mutually trust.
The app was launched in August 2015 at the Bank of the West Classic tennis tournament, where 70% of the player community used it during live matches and for player scouting. It was also used by Angelique Kerber, the tournament winner and world number 11 at the time. Today, you can see the app in action during televised WTA matches across the country and witness how it has transformed communication within the professional tennis community.