The Engineering of Sport 7

pp 649-657

Development of a New System for Measuring Tennis Court Pace (P126)

  • Simon GoodwillAffiliated withCentre for Sport and Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University
  • , Steve HaakeAffiliated withCentre for Sport and Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University
  • , James SpurrAffiliated withInternational Tennis Federation
  • , Jamie Capel-DaviesAffiliated withInternational Tennis Federation

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Tennis can be played on a variety of surfaces including clay, grass and acrylic. The performance of each surface is currently classified using the surface pace rating (SPR). This measurement is meant to quantify the speed of a tennis court. The current method of measuring SPR involves the use of an air cannon to propel the ball onto the surface at a nominal velocity and angle of 30 ms-1 and 16° respectively. A Sestée device is used to measure the inbound and rebound velocities and angles of the ball. From these measurements, the SPR value can be determined. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) are the governing body of tennis, and one of their roles is to protect the nature of the game. To fulfil part of this role, they need to monitor the surface pace rating for tennis surfaces all over the world. This is difficult to achieve using only the Sestée as this device is (1) relatively expensive, (2) requires a skilled operator to use and (3) difficult to transport. The aim of this current study is to develop a low cost, portable system that can be shipped to various locations around the world. A study was conducted to compare SPR values measured using the Sestée (inbound velocity of 30 ms-1) with a new system (inbound velocity of 13 ms-1).It was found that the SPR values were in good agreement, for the two methods. The new system requires no external power and uses a minimal number of sensors.


tennis court speed ball surface