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French tennis star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is preparing to play against a robot. Surprisingly, it's not Roger Federer, renowned for his robotically stiff commercial acting and machine-like winning ways (including those 17 Grand Slam singles titles). Today at 11 a.m. ET, at a practice session for the French Open, Tsonga will take on an actual automaton, which will try to hit shots past the world's eighth-ranked player based on tweets supplied by fans as part of a promotion for banking giant BNP Paribas (and agency We Are Social).
Fans visiting the Tweet & Shoot site can log in with Twitter and drag and drop tennis-ball icons to set up virtual shots, which are then encoded as hashtagged tweets which the on-court bionic Borg will decipher—and then spit out a real ball for Tsonga to hit.