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By Ishbel Macleod | PR and social media consultant

May 16, 2013 | 2 min read

BNP Paribas is celebrating 40 years of partnership with the French Open with a social media-controlled robot that launches tennis balls at Jo-Wilfred Tsonga live on a tennis court.

The ‘Tweet and Shoot’ event on 23 May, created by We Are Social, will see social media users able to drag-and-drop a tennis ball on a virtual on-screen tennis court to adjust the positioning of their shot to challenge Tsonga.

The user’s shot is then encoded as a hashtag and placed into a Tweet from them, to which they can add a personal message to Tsonga before it is sent.

The on-court robot, connected to the internet and Twitter via 3G, will then select users’ Tweets at random and fire tennis balls at Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, with each shot mapped precisely to the positioning of each user’s choosing.

Tsonga said: "I've always loved a challenge and when BNP Paribas asked me to take part in a world first experience to mark its 40-year partnership with Roland-Garros, I was immediately intrigued. Being trained by fans on Twitter a few days ahead of the French Open – what a daring challenge.

"I'm looking forward to taking on the technical prowess of Twitter users. Hopefully, sharing this experience with all these tennis fans will bring me luck for the tournament."

The French Open begins on 26 May.

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