Smart technology is prevalent everywhere and often adds to the convenience of everyday life. I benefit from it every time I park my car in a narrow space and smart sensors show me the distance to other objects. What used to be a balancing act has become virtually risk-free now.
I have also come to appreciate smart technology in other spheres of life, for instance when watching tennis on TV.
The likelihood of making faulty line calls was especially high in the past, when decisions were made based on human eyesight alone. Now, the use of “hawk-eye” camera technology minimizes human error, and video data analysis now gives viewers valuable insights and data (such as that professional players can hit the ball at upwards of 200 km/h).
Personally, this kind of information often left me wondering about the speed of my strokes as a tournament player. Consequently, I was quite intrigued last summer when I learned the Saxony Tennis Association (STV) had a digitized, smart tennis location in Leipzig-Schönefeld known as a Wingfield court. I immediately decided to contact the STV office in Leipzig to see what it was all about.
Smart technology in Leipzig-Schönefeld
When I arrived for a visit, I was surprised to find out that it only takes a couple of cameras attached to the net post and back fence to ensure a digitalized experience. “You can get a full-length video replay right after your match, along with a thorough analysis of your strokes,” Peter Janosi, an STV staff member, told me.
“And using your bar code scanner with the screen here at the net post will take care of the registration,” he added. The prospect of getting this kind of immediate feedback on my tennis match fascinated me and I wasted no time in signing up for the Wingfield summer league.
Though losing my first match on the Wingfield court, I received a tremendous benefit when accessing the video replay on the app. I was also overwhelmed by the statistical input I received on my strokes and those of my opponent.
With detailed information about the speed and placement of each of my strokes, I immediately used this knowledge to reassess my technique and decided to use a different stance and arm motion. (It paid off, as my service speed increased by about 10 km/h!)
My opponent Alexander Hodeck, a club player in Saxony, summed up his first experience with Wingfield in a similar tone: “Now I finally know for sure that I get more speed off my two-handed backhand than with my one-handed backhand.”
Alexander also pointed out that this new knowledge can be valuable for him in future matches. “But pace is not everything! Through the video analysis, I learned that the accuracy and placement of my strokes improve when hitting the ball with less speed. This of course shows up in the outcome of a match.”
Easier match scheduling
Another positive consequence I took away from playing on a Wingfield court is that a player is credited with performance-level points after winning a match.
Improving your performance level to move up in the ranking ladder invariably involves playing in tournaments, which often means sacrificing weekends and playing more than one match a day. I always found that playing two matches in one day with a short period in between can be quite taxing on my bones, especially with advancing age. Wingfield eliminates this drawback by allowing its registered players to schedule a match whenever it suits them without the obligation to play more than one match on a single day.
With all those positive vibes about Wingfield, I walked away with the realization after my last match that playing on a “smart” court has its advantages for an ambitious club player. Competing at convenient hours without giving up whole weekends and with court reservation fees that are quite reasonable is an opportunity that should not be ignored.
Marco Cormann, another club player from Leipzig, summed it up this way: “It is great to play under such relaxing conditions and still be able to improve your performance level ranking in tennis! Getting instant video replays on my matches is also a great perk for me.”
How to play
- Register for the free Wingfield app
- “Just for fun” matches can be arranged on a Wingfield court with a full-length video replay at no cost; performance-level (LK) matches among tournament players require a €12.99 court reservation fee