The eclectic mix of tradition and technology is what makes Wimbledon so special, claims a tech fan.
AD: Hi there, feeling sad that Wimbledon’s over?
BC: I was looking forward to another Federer-Nadal final, but...
AD: Well, it doesn’t matter who plays, but as far as I’m concerned, technology seems to be winning hands down these days.
BC: Why can’t you just watch the game for the game’s sake? Besides, Wimbledon has always been the domain of traditionalists — don’t tell me the geeks have taken over.
BC: So which aspect of technology are you referring to? The one used for the line call?
AD: It's called Hawkeye.
BC: The same system used in cricket?
AD: Yes, isn’t it unbelievable? Ball tracking, simulation and graphics all come together in a fraction of a second.
BC: And what happened to that one-eyed giant who was monitoring the lines and the net?
AD: Cyclops? That technology has been retired, in favour of a more visual aid.
BC: I’m sure some former players would be sore that they had to put up with the loud beeps that would shatter the silence and make people jump out of their skins.
AD: Well, there’s silence only if the likes of Serena Williams or Sharapova are not playing — their grunts have broken several decibel records. But the former players have several other things to feel jealous about.
BC: Like what?
AD: IBM has been closely associated with Wimbledon and has created programmes for player stats, match analysis and performance analysis, all of which are helping both players and coaches, big time. In fact, they launched a service called Player Report back in 1994, which analysed the strengths and weaknesses of players.
BC: So players can not only better their own game, but also study their opponents.
AD: Absolutely, and in 1999, they installed displays for the speed guns, which made spectators gasp with disbelief when the likes of Kafelnikov and Greg Rusedski boomed at over 200 kmph.
BC: I still remember Sampras’ comprehensive victory over Agassi in that final.
AD: What about the 2008 epic final when Nadal beat Federer? That was the year when Wimbledon scores could be tracked online.
BC: That was a heck of a match, but I thought the Wimbledon website had come up before 2008.
AD: I was referring to SlamTracker, a system that used player patterns and past records to enable fans to play a more active role while watching matches. As for the website, the official Wimbledon site came up in 1995.
BC: I still remember watching McEnroe versus Borg on my black and white TV in the early 80s.
AD: We’ve come a long way from there. Today, you can follow all the action on your mobile. 2009 saw the first iPhone app for Wimbledon and this year, the iPad app has been launched — reports have it that it has some really exciting video content and camera angles.
BC: That's good news for the fans.
AD: Well, even the umpires benefited from technology — computerised score pads were introduced in 1999.
BC: But technology being used to update scores is not new.
AD: In that case, how would you react to technology that measures players' energy levels and stamina, their movement across the court, their speed and many other aspects of their performance? It’s called SecondSight.
BC: Talking of stamina, I must confess that it’s getting increasingly exhausting.
AD: You’re referring to the five setters, aren’t you, like the one between Djokovic and del Potro?
BC: No, I was talking about keeping pace with technology, for fans like me. By the time we set up all these gadgets, tune in to the match, study the stats available, analyse the data and arrive at our conclusions, we will be more tired than these magnificent men in their epic five-setters.