September 10, 2020 8:30 pm

Friday, We Revolutionize Tennis with Nick Krygios and Artificial Intelligence

Sometimes a sport needs a spark. If things get too routine, it’s up to someone or something to shake things up. On this episode of StarTalk Sports Edition, Neil deGrasse Tyson and co-hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice are checking out the people and technology that are giving tennis that long overdue shake-up.

Rob Keating’s Image of Nick Kyrgios Swinging his Tennis Racquet.

Nick Kyrgios. Image Credit: Rob Keating from Canberra, Australia, Australia / CC BY-SA (

To start, you’ll hear co-hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly sit down with David Ramos, Coaching Education and Performance Manager for the United States Tennis Association (USTA). What exactly does that role entail, you ask? David’s here to break it down. You’ll learn how his role has changed to include work in performance analytics. David takes us behind-the-scenes on what he and his team are doing to bring next-level analytics to players and coaches.

Find out why helping players find their “core” game is the top priority. David explains why he focuses on providing data on how to start points in a match but leaves the rest up to the player. You’ll also find out how David and his team have used IBM’s Watson to help analyze data.

Next, we dive into the other side of how to shake things up. We sit down with professional tennis player Nick Kyrgios, currently ranked 40th in the world for men’s singles. Kyrgios tells us how he got into tennis and about his original, and still current, love for basketball. You’ll hear about his experience beating Rafael Nadal for the first time.

Then, Nick flips the script on our AI and analytics conversation. Discover more about Nick’s playing style and why analytics and data are not a big part of his game. He tells us about playing on instinct and what Chuck calls “in-game analytics.” We discuss why sanctioning bodies can’t applaud un-conventionalism on the court but secretly want players who will buck traditions. Nick expands on his relationship with John McEnroe. Neil makes the case that people underrecognize what AI can do. All that, plus, Nick tells us why, at the end of the day, tennis is not something to get worked up over.

Please join us tomorrow for Revolutionizing Tennis, with Nick Kyrgios at 7pm ET right here on our website, as well as on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re a StarTalk+ Patron you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free at 7pm, too.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
– Ian Mullen

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