That's a great commercial, and a cool question. I love pondering on the future, and really want to read more responses. (I'm still learning about tennis, so my own insights aren't that valuable.)
- There will be more realistic virtual tennis games for us fans. Games that aren't just visual, but also virtually tactile, like supplying the weight and feel of hitting an actual tennis ball. And I'm sure that the ATP et.al. will come up with gimmicks to draw our attention, like having top tennis players face off virtually in separate countries.
- Some of that commercial's implied technology will also be applied to real-life tennis, such as "smart" tennis balls that can read information speed, altitude, and I don't know what else; it's very likely to happen, because everyone seems to be obsessed with serve speed and stuff like that. And "smart" suits that stabilize body temperature, act as sunscreen etc. Smart, inanimate objects in general
- As the sports industry becomes increasingly competitive, because of new entertainment niches (ex. highly advanced gaming) and wider coverage of extreme and/or "alternative" sports (ex. parkour), businessmen will focus on making tennis coverage more exciting. The technology for broadcasting tennis on tv will change and become more personalized (ex. being able to select what angle and distance you want to watch the game from). To draw in people who attend tournaments, new ultra-modern courts will be built, courts that will seem like an experience in and of themselves (like that elevated court in Dubai). And tennis players will be marketed as sex symbols even more than they are now - tennis on tv may even come with a parental warning
- *Unless* the ATP and WTA adjusts a number of things such as ranking rules, schedules, and tournament conditions (courts, weather etc.), future generations of tennis players will almost always be extremely tall and built like bodybuilders. The requirements of the game will be such that height, strength, and to a certain degree stamina will be the most determining factors of a tennis player's success. And this means we'll hear about a lot more doping cases amongst tennis players.
- On another sad note, several by-then retired tennis players will be diagnosed with skin cancer in the future. I'm sorry to be such a downer, but it's stupid to ask them to play in such extreme weather conditions. (And I've never seen anyone reapply sunscreen while playing a four-hour match.) And this leads me to what I *wish* would be the future of tennis: exclusively indoor or at least roofed courts.
Doing any prolonged activity under sun exposure and/or polluted environments nowadays is just bad news, all the more so when you're doing something physically daunting. Tennis in extremely hot and/or smog-riddled places should be more strictly regulated. I can somewhat understand outdoor courts at Wimbledon, but Beijing in the middle of August???
This is all I could think of now. If I don't get flamed, I may come up with more.
This is a really cool post.
I would love to have all sorts of nerdy technology that calculates stats. That sounds really exciting to me. I like the idea of the smart balls. Other stats like being able to see what distance each player has to cover during a match, in kilometres and percentages without the commentator revealing it only once a while, would also be cool.
Currently there are some other sports that can be seen from different camera angles, like the AFL over here, so it would be interesting if they did it for tennis - one lower angle, higher angle, then close-ups of the players so that you can watch their technique and movement close up. I admit that wouldn't actually be that appealing after a while, but more of a novelty. How about being able to decide whether you want to listen to commentary or turn it off though (on your TV)?
At the Australian Open, they've got this kind of roof-cam thing where they show the tennis, like it's an old game boy game, from the top view. It's very cool, for a brief period of time because it focuses on the geometry on the sport. Having interactive coverage of every single court is probably the best thing they could introduce. It's already possible technology-wise, for a large amount of courts at the moment, but there are other issues with it.
Some good tennis games would also be great, but I think this is too hard. It's one thing to put a lot of attention-to-detail to the technique side of things, but then to get them to emulate that player's style of play is a combination that hasn't even been close to happening.
Funny that they're going in the direction of getting rid of more and more indoor courts, rather than the other way around. The sport is also becoming more global and players are having to travel from some places to others, like everyone will have to make a stop at Asia now before going to Valencia.
The heat rule will now be in place at the Australian Open so that incomplete matches can be stopped as well. I wonder why they don't put something similar in, at Cincinnati where the weather can also get hot.
Naturally because tennis has become more and more of a physically demanding sport, I guess you'd be seeing more and more injuries. Then throw in the additional mandatory tournaments that players must play starting from this year, in the Open 500 events. Do you think at some stage male tennis players will get as many injuries, as say the women currently do?
I don't like the idea of having tall body-builders, but there seems to be a trend of coming up with those lanky, tall guys like Djokovic, Del Potro and Cilic that move really well. I think aside from the stature, we're going to be getting more of the well-rounded power baseliners that just have great accuracy and power combined, but what about more players sliding around on hardcourts Djokovic or Monfils style? There will be less and less traditional ways of doing things, and players will be able to generate their power or use their athleticism however they want. I'd also like to see more jumping forehands (Nishikori?) and backhands (Simon?) and diving around. I've also noticed these days that more and more guys are doing their defensive work by bending all the way down to hit the ball on the dead run, like Nadal and Murray do sometimes, rather than scooping up the ball. There will always be room for the more natural, efficient and more classic styles of players though.
This is totally hypothetically speaking, because in the end, a player's overall game is far, far more important.