"I'm no actress," says Maria Sharapova, "but you feel like you're part of The Matrix in a way."
For those super-fans and boisterous upstarts alike, the opportunity to play against Sharapova at the U.S. Open this year is a reality. Virtual reality, that is, as American Express has harnessed the forthcoming HTC Vive device and Steam VR technology to bring exactly that experience to fans at three outposts on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during the season's final major event, per Adweek.
"I was so excited when American Express approached me about this virtual reality," says Sharapova, "because, as a tennis player, I know how emotional and physical the sport is. And virtual reality is all about the details of our movement, and the power, and the explosiveness. By doing all the things that we've done today, I think that will really show the fans how powerful we really are."
The virtual Sharapova encourages the user with sayings such as "Good try. Breaking serve is tough." Here's hoping Sharapova herself, who just pulled out of the WTA Tour's Cincinnati stop after doing the same in Toronto, gets fully healthy ahead of playing in the flesh in New York.
Follow Jon on Twitter @jonscott9. Tips gladly accepted. Just don't tell him how to serve.