The Zepp tennis tracking sensor and app—also known as the ‘smart racquet’—has been making headlines because at the US Open, pro player Milos Raonic hoped that it will help increase his game play. Can this smart racquet technology really help make him a champion?
It didn’t—at least not this time. Raonic started off strong and kicked off the US Open with a straight-sets win, but was knocked out (quite shockingly) in the second round of the tournament. A lot of people are wondering if he will continue training with the tracker and if it will ultimately improve his performance in upcoming grand slams.
During an interview, Canadian tennis star Raonic revealed that the first thing he does when he gets up in the morning is to check his heart rate and note it down, to use it later as a recovery barometer and baseline for what the day’s training should look like. He then uses Zepp's sensor and the associated app in order to get an amazingly data-rich and in-depth analysis of his swing.
The tennis tracking sensor is a super lightweight, 0.27-ounce that mounts to the butt of the tennis racket and starts tracking metrics such as power, impact location, spin, and stroke type. It uses three gyroscopes and a dual accelerometer to capture over 1,000 data points per second, but it’s amazingly so light that Raonic claims he doesn't notice it. The device’s algorithm then converts whatever data was gathered into real-time metrics, providing the player with numbers that allow the formation of an objective frame of reference for improving performance. This can attract beginners to choose the best tennis racquet easily.
For Raonic, this tiny little gadget is most helpful when he has taken a break or when he couldn’t seem to get the ball to behave as he wishes. The data allows him to go beyond instinctual feel, providing him something more concrete to work on.
Raonic also revealed that his coach often stands just a few feet away from him with a phone in hand to gather data after a few shots and provide him instant feedback. They also use the app together to get an overview of the day’s practice.
For a long time, tennis has had an “old school” reputation; this sport hasn't always been enthusiastic to use newer high-tech tools. But according to Raonic, this is changing. More players—especially those in the younger generation—might appreciate getting information and making their training more scientific.
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