Sporting Life

Humans fall in line in tennis as machines take over

A camera used in place of line judges at the Singapore Tennis Open.
A camera used in place of line judges at the Singapore Tennis Open.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Ghosts are calling the shots at the Singapore Tennis Open. On a court stripped of linespeople comes the shout of "fault" from a speaker. Seconds later a voice barks "out". Tennis players listen to these mechanical commands and obediently move to the next point. Let's be grateful John McEnroe has retired. What would he do with a machine that is deaf to tantrums?

Linespeople may be gradually vanishing from the tennis tour and it's worth a farewell grumble. Human fallibility has fallen prey to the all-knowing Hawk-Eye, whose 18 cameras (12 to track the ball, six for foot faults) offer more than an accurate alternative.

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