IBM, which provides the IT services and technology backbone for Tennis Australia's Grand Slam tournament, has built a three dimensional facsimile of the Melbourne Tennis Centre complex inside a virtual world called Second Life.
On Monday they'll be flicking a switch that will pump real time centre court action from the Australian Tennis Open - ball-by-ball, point-by-point - into a parallel, virtual universe.
Over the duration of the two week tournament, data will be fed from games in the real Rod Laver Arena into the unreal one, nano seconds after happens.
The feed will come from game-tracking technologies such as the line-calling system HawkEye, PointTracker which plots shots and ball trajectories and Speed Serve which clocks the players' serves.
Computers then crunch the numbers to recreate the positioning of the ball inside the virtual stadium. And avatars, 3-D characters representing the players, can simulate strokes made by Roger Federer or Alicia Molik - or whoever is playing at the time.
And spectators inside this computerised world will have not only the pick of the seats (including the match umpire's), but they can choose to watch the action from a player's perspective.
Forget stump cam. In Second Life you can get inside the heads of the players on the court and see what they see … after a fashion.
The Australian Open is IBM's second crack at such a project. As an experimental exercise, the company built a more bare bones set-up for the Wimbledon tournament last June.
"This time we've used Second Life physics engine," said Mr Brad Kasell, Asia-Pacific Manager for IBM Software Group's Emerging Technologies. "So we're plotting the ball's trajectory in a much more refined manner so you can see the trace of the ball far more accurately."
IBM has poured many, many hours into this project to showcase what some at the giant US technology company believe could be a new way of doing business. It's no gimmick. Big Blue is serious about this.
Dr Irving Wladawsky-Berger, IBM's Vice President of Technical Strategy and Innovation, likes to call it v-business - virtual business, or business conducted in a virtual space.
"I believe that highly visual interfaces and virtual worlds will become increasingly important for interacting with applications, communicating with people and engaging in commerce," he wrote in a post on his blog at the start of the year.
He draws a parallel between e-business on the nascent internet in 1996 and v-buisness today, which he calls a "key trend" that will take off this year and become more widely accepted.
The tournament shop inside the Second Life complex has been set up to show how the v-business model works. On offer is a variety of virtual souvenirs.
As well, the shop links customers through to Tennis Australia's e-commerce internet site where products like t-shirts can be purchased for real money for use in the real world.
On a tour of the facility conducted by Mr Kasell and three of his IBM colleagues via their Second Life avatar - we saw a complex that was constructed with almost pedantic attention to detail.
"They've gone to a lot of trouble in terms of down to the nitty gritty little signs everywhere, the chairs, the plants, the park benches," said Mr Kasell, referring to his colleagues who had been slaving over their computers for the past month and more to get the complex up and running.
On the tour we saw and participated in a simulated game on centre court. Slowed down to half speed, the balls chugged rather than whizzed past.
To avoid identity ownership issues, IBM has chosen generic characters to represent the players, although it is possible to create avatars that look like their real counterparts.
The bad news is that tickets to the virtual centre court may be harder to come by than ones to the real thing. Mr Kasell says that, at least for the duration of the tournament, IBM is keeping this an invitation-only affair.
By Stephen Hutcheon