2019 U.S. Open gets new 'coach' with IBM's A.I. technology

Julia La Roche

IBM (IBM) is serving up artificial intelligence at the 2019 U.S. Open to help tennis players get to the next level.

At the Grand Slam tournament, long-time sponsorship partner IBM debuted its Coach Advisor, a new technology that employs artificial intelligence and analytics to develop and train tennis players.

The tech measures things, like physical exertion and endurance, and correlates that data with video from the tennis match to produce insights for coaches.

"The great thing about this project is it really gives us a new metric to look at to mine video and find out what data correlates with performance," Martin Blackman, the U.S. Tennis Association’s general manager of player development told Yahoo Finance in an interview.

It's revolutionary because typically, coaches rely on feedback from players and their own instincts.

"This is a game-changer because it allows a coach to bring their intuition and their knowledge develop a hypothesis but really validate it with data-driven metrics," Blackman said.

Coach Advisor also presents the opportunity to shape the next generation of great tennis players. Two of those current phenoms, 21-year old Francis Tiafoe, 21, and 26-year old Sloane Stephens, were part of the pilot for IBM's Coach Advisor.

"One of the really cool things about this project is that coaches are going to be able to identify a great result that a player has, like a Francis or a Sloane, and then work backwards and look at all the correlating factors that led to that great result," Blackman added.

Mark your calendar.

Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on

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