AI and data the future for Struff after teaming up with O’Shannessy

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World number 34 Jan-Lennard Struff spoke to Stats Perform about artificial intelligence in tennis.

German star Jan-Lennard Struff believes artificial intelligence and data is the future of tennis after joining forces with analyst Craig O’Shannessy.

World number 34 Struff has teamed up with Australian pioneer O’Shannessy – Novak Djokovic’s former chief strategist, who has continued to transform the sport.

O’Shannessy – using numbers, patterns and data – helped Djokovic rise back to the top of the ATP Tour with four grand slams in three years before separating at the start of 2020.

With O’Shannessy in his corner, Struff almost defeated Djokovic at the Australian Open in January before the Serb superstar went on to claim a record-extending eighth title in Melbourne.

“Craig is an extremely good analyst,” Struff told Stats Perform about O’Shannessy, who also works with 2019 US Open semi-finalist Matteo Berrettini, Alexei Popyrin and Tennis Canada.

“He has been working with a lot of the top players over the past years, like Novak Djokovic for example.

“I had the idea, that I could improve myself while working with him, I want to be professional and try to reach everything that is possible within my career.

“Therefore I think you have to try things like that. I really appreciate him and I think, that he can push me forward even more.”

Stats Perform harnesses the true power of sports data by leveraging advancements in AI to generate the industry’s richest insights, though it is relatively untapped in tennis.

Asked if AI and numbers will become more important in tennis, Struff added: “Yes of course.

“I don’t know exactly, what the other players are doing on that area. You are always trying to hide these things. Nobody wants to talk about what he is doing, how his fitness training looks like and such things.

“Everybody is trying to hide himself, so the opponents don’t see, if certain things are working out or not. This is to prevent the other guys from copying certain things and actually catching up. But this is definitely going to come.”

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