Tennis Technology Changes the Future of the Game
Updated: May 26
Nowadays, everywhere you look you'll find evidence of technology changing the world. The tennis court is no exception.
For example, the standard tennis racquet. It's morphed into a magnificent instrument chockablock full of new-age components that add power, control, spin, and longevity to your game. But tennis equipment isn't the only thing changing on the court.
Technology is changing the score, in a manner of speaking. If you've watched professional tennis lately, chances are you've heard the automated line calling system screech, "Out". Last month the ATP took this forward-thinking machinery a step further and announced it will transition to an exclusive electronic line system by 2025.
This will apply to all tour tournaments starting with the majors, down to the 250 series events, which typically take place at smaller, more localized venues. Matches will still have a chair umpire to oversee play, however, line judges will no longer be present at the back of the court. A foreign concept to long-time fans of the game.
Some tournaments have already installed electronic line-calling. The U.S. Open has been using a sophisticated system, appropriately named "Hawk-Eye" for about 16 years. With an estimated cost of $75,000 per court, the computerized gadget is located on select courts.
Pros for electronic line calls:
Electronic line calls take the guesswork out of the equation. The score is called in real-time and the technology is unbias with a 100% accuracy rate.
Another plus is that it speeds up play. The electronic calls are indisputable, players can no longer use challenges to change the call made by the line-calling robots. Players can request to see a replay, however, it will be shown at the umpire's discretion.
Cons of electronic line calls:
The biggest loophole would be if the system gets tampered with or inadvertently goes down. This could create a delay in play as well as a variety of issues.
Another con is the absence of drama. Some commentators say they'll miss the tennis tiffs, mostly from an entertainment perspective. But John McEnroe, a former American pro and hall-of-Famer, thinks it will be a game changer.
McEnroe was notorious for creating commotions on the court. He believes that in the absence of arguing with line judges, and sometimes opponents, it will give players the opportunity to fine-tune their shots and really focus keep their head in the game.
Other Notable Changes:
During the past several years other addition were adopted to the rules of the court. Most recently a serve clock was added and on-court coaching was approved. Players are allowed to talk with their team, but only when they're on the same side of the court.
For about a decade, players have been able to challenge a line call. They get two challenges per set and an additional challenge in the event of a tiebreaker. If they win the call and it goes in their favor, they don't forfeit a challenge. But if they're wrong, they lose a challenge. Naturally, the challenge rule will not apply in 2025, when the electronic line-calling goes into effect.
Although it's unclear if the WTA and ITF will follow suit with the automated line calling system, there's a chance we'll see a more personalized line calling system for clubs and rec players in the near future.
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