The arrival of artificial intelligence at Wimbledon

The Tradition Championship par excellence did not hesitate to open up to the phenomenon of artificial intelligence, especially in the field of arbitration.

If AI comes into effect this year at Wimbledon Park, the line judges will not be replaced. At least for now. As the tournament approaches (July 3-16), the All England Club and tech giant IBM on Wednesday revealed the new technologies that will be used during the competition.

One of them, an artificial intelligence, will comment on match highlights on the official Wimbledon website and mobile app. The other will use artificial intelligence to determine – and update rounds – the difficulty of the course that awaits each player participating in singles until a possible final.

Every year the London Primary Meeting of World Tennis attracts many thousands of spectators, all lovers of the strawberries with cream that are served there, or the Pimm’s that are sipped there, or the all-white clothes worn by the players and players.

Wimbledon is the oldest Grand Slam tournament. Our tradition dates back to 1877, and this is one of the main reasons people keep coming.“, confirms Bill Jenks, Director of Technologies at the prestigious London tournament. “But without technological innovation, we could not have stayed at the top of tennis.He remembers.

While the Australian Open and US Open, among others, have already popularized the use of electronic refereeing since 2021, the men’s ATP circuit announced in April that the traditional line referees, who are deployed on the field, will also be replaced as of The year is 2025, in order. for “Improved accuracy and consistency (in judging, editor’s note) between sessions“.

He can’t replace McEnroe

This season, at Wimbledon, Bill Jenks promises that the latter will still be present, but he is unable to say whether this will always be the case in the future.

Linear judgment technology is developing. Since 2007, we’ve been using the Hawk’s Eye verification system (a video that players can request a limited number of times, editor’s note), and it works pretty well. Who knows what the future holds? He warns, however, ruling out the possibility of AI becoming the sole arbiter of the parties.

For Chris Clements, digital director at the All England Club, the advancement of technologies has changed the way society consumes sport, while today it is in full swing around AI since the release of tools such as ChatGPT or Midjourney.

When we were kids, Wimbledon was when the whole family gathered in front of the living room TVHe remembers. “Now it is less common. We need to find another way to attract those who will embody the next generation of Wimbledon fans.»

From now on, it is specifically about “Harvesting massive amounts of data and turning it into information that we can share with fans around the world through our digital platformssays Kevin Farrar, Director of Sports Partnerships for IBM UK and Ireland.

The goal, he continues, is to use this AI (which results in sports commentary) throughout the entirety of the match, for categories that would not normally benefit from it, such as veterans, juniors or wheelchair tennis. It defines without putting a complete end to human interference.

John McEnroe’s comments are impossible to replace!he says of the former world number one turned television commentator.A person should always be present, he adds, it is just a matter of complementing him. The challenge is to find the right balance between tradition and innovation.»

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