Using Maps and Data Visualization to Understand Tennis


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... With the rise of optical tracking, biometric sensors, and big data analysis, a new wave of technology is transforming what we know about sports performance. Basketball follows every player with cameras mounted on the ceiling. Baseball tracks every pitch and the speed and trajectory of batted balls. Soccer can tell us where players move, and how far they've run during a match. The professional tennis tour, which is hosting the U.S. Open this month, has been slower to embrace tracking, despite close sponsorship relationships with technology companies like IBM and SAP.

Yet in 2006, tennis instituted an automated line-calling system called Hawk-Eye, which has opened a door to digital tennis analytics. Hawk-Eye data is available to broadcasters to illustrate plays during the match, and it will be increasingly available to players for on-court coaching in the women's tour. But while the data is not open to the public, the master cartographer and tennis data visualizer Damien Saunder didn't let that stop him. ...