Jun 5, 2024 - Axios Events

Tennis star Maria Sharapova: AI helps make a better informed player

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova at Axios' AI+ Summit in New York on June 5.

If Maria Sharapova was still competing in professional tennis, AI would make preparing for a match easier, she said at Axios' AI+ Summit in New York on Wednesday.

The big picture: IBM has been using generative AI with their watsonx technology to make predications and collect millions of data points during professional tennis matches.

  • "It's all about taking the data and providing a new way to look at it and get better insights from it," Jonathan Adashek, IBM senior vice president of marketing and communications, said at the event. IBM was a sponsor of the AI+ Summit.

What she's saying: In conversation with Axios' Nicholas Johnston, Sharapova said all that data that can now be drawn up within seconds is beneficial to players looking to step up their own games or zoom in on their opponents.

  • But it's also changing the fan experience at events like the US Open, she said.
  • "As a fan, when you show up and you know everything about the player, you know everything about their matchup, you even know who's the favorite, how come and why, it makes that experience so much better," Sharapova said, adding that it allows people to be immersed.

Context: IBM's AI and data platform, watsonx, brings together traditional machine learning and generative AI.

  • The US Open has used the generative AI capabilities of watsonx to deliver
    play-by-play audio commentary and text captions on video highlight reels of singles match.
  • The US Open also uses watsonx to provide match insights and collect millions of data points throughout the matches.

The bottom line: The technology is making it possible to provide a better experience to those participating in such sporting events and also for those watching from afar.

  • "It's about the experience of the 15,000 fans who are in the stadium, but it's also about the experience of the millions of fans that are watching online," Adashek said.
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