Thanks to new hologram technology powered by Vodafone’s 5G network, 20-year-old tennis superstar Emma Raducanu has surprised two talented young grassroots tennis players with the first-ever 5G holographic coaching session – despite them being 4,370 miles apart.
The once-in-a-lifetime lesson came as a complete surprise to Sam Clague, 14, from Wiltshire and T’nae Diamond Paisley, 12, from Birmingham. Emma appeared as a live 3D hologram in London and led an unforgettable training session with the talented youngsters all the way from her training camp in Abu Dhabi.
The lesson was delivered live and in real time over Vodafone’s 5G network. Superfast 5G and innovative 3D holographic technology meant that despite the huge distance there was no delay between Emma delivering the lesson in Abu Dhabi and her 5G hologram on court at the All England Club’s Community Tennis Centre in London.
Emma gave advice and top tips on technique, whilst Sam and T’nae both had the chance to ask their tennis idol questions and capture a once in a lifetime hologram selfie with her.
The lesson showcases how 5G connectivity and technology has the potential to change coaching in tennis by connecting promising young players to the very best coaches wherever they are in the world.
Vodafone has commissioned a new piece of research exploring the future of technology in tennis and found that almost half of Brits (47%) believe future advances in the game could improve the way children learn to play, and 43% think it could change the way they are introduced to the sport. Almost seven in 10 (66%) tennis fans believe remote coaching using holographic technology could help inspire the next generation of tennis players.
Emma Raducanu, Vodafone’s Play Your Way to Wimbledon Ambassador, said: “The next generation of tennis starts with the future generation of players. Coaching Sam and T’nae in the first ever 5G hologram lesson only scratches the surface with this type of technology and hopefully means coaches will be able to train the next Wimbledon champion wherever they are in the world.”
As the future of tennis continues to evolve, the study has predicted the sport could advance to include smart balls (19%), nets (18%) and sweatbands (17%) that provide in-depth data on the game, as well as the addition of hologram coaches who are able to go on court during matches (16%).
The research also revealed self-controllable drone cameras (15%) and smart sensors on players (17%) are other tech modifications fans would like to see in the future.
Futurologist, Dr Ian Pearson, has shared his own predictions for how 5G technology that powered the holographic coaching session could blur the boundaries between real life and virtual reality, allowing tennis matches and coaching to take place with anyone, anywhere…even in space! Dr Pearson’s full predictions in NTE.
Dr Ian Pearson also commented: “Vodafone’s 5G technology opens up endless possibilities for tennis in the future. Seeing the tech in action with Emma Raducanu coaching the next generation of British players is just the first of so many real-life applications of this tech in sports across the world.”
According to the data, the public are already calling out for technological changes in the sport, with 63% wanting a more interactive experience and 62% wanting to feel more immersed in the action – whether watching on TV or in person. Almost a fifth (17%) of tennis fans would love to see this interaction through body cameras on the players.
Max Taylor, Vodafone’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Our 5G hologram coaching session with Emma Raducanu showcases the power of our 5G network. We are committed to using our connectivity to create opportunities for the next generation of talent.”
Sam and T’nae are both competing in Play Your Way to Wimbledon, powered by Vodafone, the UK’s largest individual mass participation tennis competition which provides players with the opportunity to compete on the world-famous grass courts at Wimbledon. 2023 sees the competition open-up to more players, with nine regional disability events split between Visual Impairment, Learning Disability and Wheelchair tennis categories acting as qualifying tournaments.
Vodafone is the Official Connectivity Partner to Wimbledon and The All England Lawn Tennis Club.