Hawk-Eye lined up to replace officials

World No. 1 and reigning US Open champion Rafael Nadal believes a shot clock in tennis would ruin the sport as a spectacle.
World No. 1 and reigning US Open champion Rafael Nadal believes a shot clock in tennis would ruin the sport as a spectacle.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • A new "Hawk-Eye Live" technology will replace line judges at the Next Gen ATP Finals, according to PA Sport.

Following the Association of Tennis Professionals' (ATP) announcement in May that a new scoring system, no lets, limited medical time-outs and shot clocks will be trialled at the season-ending tournament, the electronic line-calling system will also be tested in Milan.

This means that the chair umpire will be the only match official on court and the line-calling technology will be used on all the lines throughout the November competition, which features the best eight male players of the year aged 21 or under.

Once a ball is out - according to the system - an "out" call will be triggered. Hawk-Eye is currently used as a review system in the sport but employing the technology in this manner would eliminate the challenge system.

Gayle David Bradshaw, the ATP's executive vice-president, rules and competition, said on the Next Gen website: "This could be a landmark moment for officiating in our sport. Our athletes work incredibly hard and they deserve the most accurate officiating we can offer.

"The technology is now in a place where we feel comfortable trialling this new system in a real tournament environment."

Most of the changes are designed to speed up the flow of play.

The US Open tested a 25-second countdown clock between points. The changes were used in the junior, wheelchair and American Collegiate Invitational events at the Open, and during qualifying.

But not all players were in favour of such alterations.

Rafael Nadal, the US Open champion, said in New York: "If the fans want short points and players playing without thinking, the matches, only going for the shots, maybe is good. If you want to have matches like I played here with Novak (Djokovic), probably the three finals that I played here with Novak, probably that kind of match that the crowd is more involved because the points are so long, well, you cannot expect play (a 50-shot) rally and in 25 seconds be ready to play the next tennis point.

"I think that's not possible for a great show. But if you don't want a great show, of course it's a great improvement."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2017, with the headline 'Hawk-Eye lined up to replace officials'. Subscribe