There’s no luck in professional sport, but there might be a little help from high-tech. That’s what the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is betting on this week, during the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, as they bring special iPads filled with stats right to the courtside. Coaches will now be able to customize an Apple iPad Air and use the software to show players how they’re doing and what needs to be improved. Stats include first and second serve percentages, positioning on court and other trends. Could this change the course of a game? Is it just the beginning for women’s tennis? 

WTA CEO Stacey Allaster hopes so.

“In 2013 we started to establish a new vision: to be the most inspirational and exciting entertaining sport on earth,” she said, during the official kickoff of the technology. It’s called SAP Tennis Analytics and is exclusively available on 30 iPads prepared by the German software giant, which partnered with WTA in 2013. Jenni Lewis, SAP’s tennis technology lead, spent the last two years meeting with players and coaches to understand exactly what they needed – and what they would like to see in such an app. 

“We want to make sure we become part of the sport, and do it slowly so that the community gets used to it,” she shared, aware of how resistant both players and fans can be to innovation in this sport. 

Former number one Lindsay Davenport acknowledged it. “One of my first coaches still doesn't have a cellphone.

Top Videos of the Day

Everybody has to learn,” she said, revealing that she already programmed one of the iPads for Madison Keys. “We're geeked out that we can show her and give visual proof of exactly what's been going on. It will make it easier for the player.” As in, if she is resistant to the coach’s advice, some stats in yellow and pink might do the trick. Angelique Kerber, who is currently No.14 and reached the quarter-finals, is one of the players already using the software. "It's easier if you see it. Just trust the technology and your coach," she stated.

Because iPads heat in the sun and might be hard to hold with sweaty palms, SAP designed a special case and produced it with a 3D printer. After the Bank of the West Classic is over, coaches will have to return the tablets, which will then travel around the world to be used in other tournaments. The next step? Make it available to all the coaches. Then, give access to the media and fans, over time. Stacey Allaster believes it will improve engagement and contribute to the success of the sport. She wants WTA to go from a service governing body to “truly being a media marketing driven enterprise.” So more is sure to come.