Babolat Set To Unveil Tennis' First "Connected Racquet," Recording Multiple Data Points
Babolat Chair & CEO Eric Babolat recently "introduced the first 'Connected Racquet' into the sport after a decade in development," according to Keith Perry of the London TELEGRAPH. Babolat "expects to see the first professional players using it at tournaments from mid-year" since the racquets were approved by the Int'l Tennis Federation on January 1. Designed for "professional players and amateurs alike, and tested by top players" including Babolat endorsers Rafael Nadal, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Li Na, the racquet "gathers data through sensors and chips in the handle." It will "collect data such as the power of their shots, the angle at which they strike the ball, along with the number of strokes, the level of spin, total play time, endurance, technique, consistency, energy and rallies." Amateur players can "from May 15 onwards in Europe" for US$545 (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 5/14). While Babolat did not say which pro tennis players would be the first to use the racquets, he said it is "a question of days, not months" before they debut. Babolat: "Quite simply, this is information like we have never been able to get before. ... It is information direct from the racquet, from the string bed, and it tells us exactly what is happening, not just a feeling from the player. For me it was incredible, that you can take the number one tennis player in the world (Rafa Nadal) and see that he doesn't really know anything about what is happening in his racquet, apart from his feel." Babolat added that the technology had been "developed over 10 years by more than 50 technicians, scientists and researchers." REUTERS' Ossian Shine noted Babolat is the "only manufacturer using the technology" (REUTERS, 5/13).