Maria Sharapova withdrew from the U.S. Open on Sunday night, but not without making her presence in New York known, virtually and in person.

ThePostGame already showed you how to play tennis against Sharapova in virtual reality. Sharapova also made a stop in Flushing Meadows in the form of a hologram.

Maria Sharapova Hologram

Sharapova did her best Tupac impression at American Express's "Rally on the River" last Wednesday. The event featured top-ranked American John Isner, Puerto Rican youngster Monica Puig and comedian/actor Kevin James playing tennis, a DJ set from Chromeo, hydro-interactive tennis and the chance for fans to throw and hit tennis balls into the Hudson River (there was a net).

There was also a hologram of Sharapova over the river, along with images of her tennis idols.

The 28-year-old Russian made an appearance, although she did not play. She was in New York hoping to play in the U.S. Open, which she won in 2006, but has been sidelined with a leg injury since Wimbledon.

In the meantime, Isner ran James around the court. The King of Queens is no king of the tennis court.

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Maria Sharapova

On Sunday, Maria Sharapova withdrew from the U.S. Open. Her fellow WTA players will not see her on the court for the next two weeks.

Fans will.

At this year's U.S. Open, the American Express Fan Experience will feature a "You vs. Sharapova" virtual reality. Fans rally with Sharapova and attempt to return her 100 mph serve.

HTC Vive technology created this interactive feature with a mobile virtual reality rather than just sitting or standing. The virtual world moves with the person.

HTC Vive is the first consumer-oriented VR device scheduled to go on the market, as highlighted in a recent Time cover story. The American Express Fan Experience version includes full body scanning and CGI (computer generated imagery) to create the reality with Sharapova.

The "You vs. Sharapova" project was shot by Reel FX's VR division. Reel FX used both a green screen and a 3D Full Body "Light-State Scan" to convert Sharapova's personal mannerisms and swing motion.

ThePostGame got a chance to test out the product and embarrass ourselves with it:

You Vs Sharapova

The virtual reality's setting is a U.S. Open practice court, and it is available for use at the American Express Fan Experience in Flushing Meadows.

Here is an inside look at the making of "You vs. Sharapova" and Sharapova's perspective on the project:

Call it a dummy at your own risk: Dartmouth's new toy is the one of the smartest new toys in college football.

As reported by the AP and featured on USA Today, the college's football team is practicing its form tackling with a new device called the MVP: Mobile Virtual Player.

Designed by students at the university, the tackling dummy does more than just move across the field, forcing players to chase down a moving target. It also improves practice safety by reducing player-on-player contact.

Tackling drills can be notoriously dangerous in football practices, bringing players head-to-head on collision courses directly toward one another. The repetitive impacts can wreck havoc on players' heads and necks.

Dartmouth's MVP has room for improvement -- coaches can't currently control its movements, which limits how realistic the dummy can imitate player movements -- but it remains a much better alternative to stationary dummies, and since it's padded, it's placing less wear and tear on players.

Leave it to the school that doesn't even have an official sports mascot to be the one breaking new ground on the college football landscape. Already, the MVP looks like a must-add tool for practices across the country. If its engineers can make it a smarter, more lifelike tackling target, all the better.

BattleBots had a brief run of fame around the year 2000. In 2015, a more modern form of robot warfare is coming to rise -- and the young sport is currently dominated by a teenager.

Kyle Ettinger is 15. In other words, he was being born around the time when BattleBots came to the television. Now, he's considered a prodigy of drone fighting -- a sport that's almost sure to enjoy some measure of popularity.

Ettinger competes in drone-fighting competitions through an organization called Game of Drones, which organizes contests in California. The company has had success drawing both participants and spectators for drone-fighting tournaments.

And if Ettinger's in attendance, the smart money is on him to win. According to a video from Re/Code, Ettinger won more than 20 straight matches and went undefeated in a recent tournament.

Check out this drone-fighting wunderkind.

Ettinger tells Re/Code that his interest was sparked when he bought a drone as a toy. He had fun with it -- and wanted to do more with this new technology.

"I was like, 'What's the next thing?" Ettinger said.

In April 2014, he found out about an organization that put together drone fights. Ettinger, who is from Cupertino, California (home of Apple), brought his store-bought drone, competed and did well.

From there, his interest took off. With the help of his father, Ettinger started building his own drone -- an impressive construction that uses a wire exterior to function as a forcefield against opposing drones.

The design gives Ettinger versatility in a fight -- he can try winning a match through smart maneuvering or choose to get aggressive and prevail a more violent contest.

Between the design of his drone and the skill of his handling, Ettinger has become the superstar of this grassroots sport. If the sport does gain in popularity, his own name and reputation will grow with it.

How specific is NBA 2K16 going to be? Stephen Curry is happy to give us a preview.

On Friday, the reigning MVP and one of three NBA 2K16 cover boys, posted the first video gameplay clip of the new game on his Instagram page:


Forget the accurate depictions of Curry's facial structure, hairstyle and wrist tattoos. The video game series has nailed those for a long time.

Now it locks in on his accessories and demeanor. Curry walks up to the free throw line and goes through his normal routine, including his mouth-guard chew. He does all that while wearing his Stephen Curry One Under Armour sneakers.

The video comes two days after 2K Sports released two screenshots of Curry and Anthony Davis. James Harden is the third cover athlete. Michael Jordan will also be on the cover of the special edition version.



Not every player will get the same level of detailed treatment as Curry.

Here's an earlier video previously of Curry giving his authentic moves to 2K Sports:

2K Sports also released a trailer for its new "Pro-Am" feature last week:

NBA 2K16 is expected to be released Sept. 29.

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