WIMBLEDON: Bethanie Mattek-Sands could become the first professional athlete to compete while wearing Google Glass when she starts her Wimbledon singles campaign on Monday. Google has confirmed that the 28-year-old American, currently ranked number 58 in the world, will be wearing its futuristic opinion-polarizing smart headset at the world's oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament, Wimbledon, which officially starts on June 24 in South West London. And while the Daily Mail has already seized on the story and suggested that Mattek-Sands is showing a lack of respect for the tournament, neither Google nor Mattek-Sands have confirmed that the headset will be worn during matches, only during practice sessions. Wimbledon is steeped in history and is famously the only grand slam event that does not permit players to deviate from its strict all-white dress code. The story feels a bit like a publicity stunt -- currently no one outside of the US actually owns the gadget and the device, which as of yet has no avowed purpose, has been attracting accusations of invasion of privacy from members of the public and members of state. However, Google claims that both the player and her fans are already benefiting from the fact that Mattek-Sands is wearing Google Glass: "Glass's potential in the sports realm is huge, and it can connect athletes, coaches, and fans in new ways. For Bethanie, it's allowed her to capture her strokes from her point of view during practice and share those with her coaches. It also helps her search recipes and perfect her cooking, something that's important to a professional athlete with dietary allergies and restrictions. Bethanie's fans can also see the world through her eyes as she embarks upon the road to Wimbledon, where she'll play her first match next week," the company said in an official statement. There is already an incredible range of lightweight "action cam" video cameras available for capturing first person videos and unlike Glass, the Go Pro Hero 3 is pretty much indestructible and can shoot full HD video at 40 frames a minute and can even film in 4K.
Two years ago, Mattek-Sands was the world’s 30th-ranked female player, but her down-the-line shots were eclipsed by her eyeliner. Her look, if not always her play, was so memorable that a chair umpire asked her this week if she was missing the football-style eye black she used to wear.
On Thursday, though, wearing a relatively muted outfit of grays and blacks that evoked the leaden sky, Mattek-Sands reminded the French Open that she, as she put it, was always all about the tennis, crafting the biggest victory of her career with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 stunner over Li Na, the 2011 champion.