IBM Provides AI for US Open; Tennis legend Maria Sharapova on return to New York for the Grand Slam

The US Open 2023, like many other major tennis tournaments this year, will feature breakthrough artificial intelligence technologies.

The first serve for the US Open takes place Monday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York. Millions of fans are expected to once again follow the action through more traditional methods such as television, while others are likely to join the tournament via the app and other digital platforms.

This year's tournament will also have a very special guest: 2006 US Open champion Maria Sharapova.


Player serves ball at US Open

Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic serves the ball to Ryan Harrison of the U.S. during their 2017 US Open men's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 30, 2017. (Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images)

The tennis legend was there on Friday celebrating her return to a place where she has found tremendous success on the court.

“I'm really excited to be back in New York,” the five-time Grand Slam winner told Fox News Digital during a tournament preview on Friday.


Sharapova joined IBM to showcase some of the innovative technologies that fans and even players will experience during this year's Grand Slam tournament. IBM's consulting division has worked with the United States Tennis Association for years to develop a state-of-the-art digital experience for tennis fans.

“The digital experience of the US Open is extremely important to our global fans, and in turn, to us,” USTA chief commercial officer Kirsten Corio said in a statement to Fox News Digital.

“This means that we must constantly innovate to meet the modern demands of tennis fans, anticipating their needs but also surprising them with new and unexpected experiences.”

Sharapova is also aware of the importance of connectivity between fans and athletes on the tennis court.

“I feel like as an athlete you connect with people and fans,” Sharapova said recently.

Maria Sharapova at the US Open

Maria Sharapova prepares to serve during her women's singles first round match against Serena Williams at the US Open on August 26, 2019 in New York City. (Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

IBM's data center has significant space at Arthur Ashe Stadium on the grounds of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The facility will collect and analyze millions of data points for the US Open's digital platforms. This year's tournament will also use AI commentary. The technology uses a unique sports computer vision module that collects and analyzes data on a specific player's specific movements.

These movements are quickly converted into a narrative by a language model. Earlier this year, IBM introduced similar technology for Wimbledon. IBM's Watsonx AI platform created audio commentary and closed captioning for video highlight packages. is the company's enterprise AI and data platform and will be used for the US Open tournament. The generative AI models will help curate original content for both the US Open app and the tournament's official website.

The next-gen AI model is capable of generating popular features in the app, such as Match Insights and AI commentary for highlight reels.

“I believe this brand new AI-based technology will offer fans a whole new way to experience the sport. The US Open holds a special place in my career and I made a lot of memories here. I think we can get involved in any way.” “A new generation of fans is good for the game of tennis. I can't wait for everyone to experience the technology once the tournament starts,” said the retired tennis star, 36.

US Open fans are coming

Tennis fans are shown during the fourth round match of the US Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium on September 3, 2017 in New York City. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Tennis fans who can't attend the US Open in person can sometimes have trouble finding a specific game over the course of the two-week tournament. Hundreds of matches are played on 22 different courses each year during the tournament and not all of these matches are televised.

It's difficult to fill every game with commentators, but IBM's AI technology enables spoken commentary for all games played at the US Open. Sandstone trained to understand the unique language of tennis to provide fans with a more seamless experience.

“Foundation models are incredibly powerful and herald a new era of generative AI,” Shannon Miller, a partner at IBM Consulting, said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “But to get meaningful business outcomes, they need to have expertise. And that’s why a company’s proprietary data is the key differentiator when it comes to AI.”

Sharapova last played at the US Open in 2019, losing in the first round to fellow tennis legend Serena Williams.


Despite retiring three years ago, she still seems disciplined about her fitness. During her playing career, she became known for sticking to a strict diet to stay in top shape.

“Strength training doesn't come easily to me, but it's so important,” Sharapova wrote in one social media Post prior to their arrival in New York. Attached to the Instagram post was a photo of her after what appeared to be a training session.

The US Open 2023 begins on August 28th and ends on September 10th.

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