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Technology is gaining more and more weight in tennis refereeing

Technology is gaining more and more weight in tennis refereeing

Several refereeing errors, some of them with important consequences, dotted the Monte Carlo tournament last week and reinforced interest in the technology applied to arbitration in the tennis, whose use will be widespread in 2025 on the ATP circuit.

Although still to be polished, these advances have the acceptance of all tennis players.

Still visibly upset, the Russian Daniil Medvedev summed up his opinion bluntly: the referees “They no longer know how to do their job.”launched after their defeat in the round of 16.

In the final part of his match against Karen Khachanov, a dubious ball from his rival was ruled good by the referees and Medvedev continued the exchange, which he lost, before showing the incriminating fingerprint.

A day later it was Jannik Sinner who possibly lost his semi-final against future champion Stefanos Tsitsipas when the Greek tennis player committed a double fault that would have meant a double break for the Italian in the third set… which was not called. The mark could have been hidden from the judge’s eyes by a small mound of clay.

Appreciation of the tennis players

To avoid human errors and the famous anger of players, the ATP has resorted since 2017 (the first tests took place that year at the Next Gen Masters) to technological arbitration.

Surprisingly, all players accept digital decisions blindly, which, however, are not infallible either.

Often, the electronic system has been deployed as a complement to the linesmen and players could resort to it in case of disagreement with human refereeing. This recourse to the so-called ‘challenge’ also delighted the public.

If back then it was on a hard surface, the system ‘Hawkeye’ [Ojo de Halcón] It has become widespread especially after the years of covid-19.

On clay, a softer surface, the digital systems were too random, except for the ‘Foxtenn’, which uses real cameras and not a digital reconstitution, but which costs more.

The ATP, in the words of its president Andrea Gaudenzi, maintains that tennis “deserved the most precise form of arbitration”and decided in February 2023 that line Thursdays would disappear from all tournaments on the circuit (the Grand Slam tournaments are independent, and so far only Roland Garros has refused) and that from 2025 only technological arbitration will govern.

End of human arbitration?

After the controversies in Monte Carlo, the ATP refused to let the AFP interview a referee about it. But a spokesperson for the body that manages men’s professional tennis confirmed to the AFP on Sunday that “The Hawkeye and Foxtenn systems had been approved for use on clay starting in 2025” and that could also be used “other technological solutions”.

“We have not yet decided which system will be used in each tournament” on clay, he added. Monte Carlo tournament director David Massey acknowledged about the incident in the Sinner-Tsitsipas match that it had been “hard”.

But he gave his support to the referees and linesmen: “I think the linesmen here are globally of the highest quality. The selection is strict and they come from all over the world.”

In any case, Massey confirmed that his tournament will pass “to the electronic system” to from 2025“unless the ATP changes its mind”. “Today is the last time we have linesmen in the tournament,” Tsitsipas-Ruud had stated a few hours before the start of the final.

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Source: Gestion

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