Virtual reality training is currently being used across several professional sports leagues including the NFL, NBA, WNBA and NHL.
And now, it's coming to tennis via the US Open tournament, which takes places Aug. 31 through Sept. 13 in Flushing, N.Y., at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. But this just isn't any virtual reality experience.
Crafted by American Express, the "You vs. Sharapova" virtual reality experience will allow fans to swing a racket against a CGI version of one of the better women's singles' players over the past decade and former U.S. Open champion, Maria Sharapova.
Adweek previewed the experience against the virtual Sharapova on Aug.17, calling it engrossing and enthralling, especially when trying to make contact against her 100-mph serve. Yeah, even on a virtual reality platform ... good luck with that.
The experience runs four minutes, using the HTC Vive, a device that streams virtual reality and is set to hit the market soon.
"Over the last several years, we've been immersing fans through technology in the game," Deborah Curtis, vice president of global sponsorships and experiential marketing at American Express, told Adweek. "For us, virtual reality is sort of the next evolution of what we have been doing, which is put the fan at the center of the experience. And in this case, we're allowing the fan to join this virtual world of being on the court with one of tennis' greats, Maria Sharapova."
There will be three stations at the US Open for tennis fans to try out and see if they can stand toe-to-toe at the net with Sharapova.