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Queen’s 2018: Would technology temper the tennis outbursts?


Fingers jabbing towards umpires, angry words and racquet smashing are familiar sights on the tennis court.

On Sunday, Britain’s Johanna Konta was the latest player to vent her fury over a line call, shouting at an umpire while playing in the final of the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham: “It’s an absolute joke. You’re making decisions that affect our lives. Do you fully understand that?”

The computer technology exists to coolly, calmly and robotically decide whether a ball was in or out on every line call – removing the need for human line judges on court – but then, where would be the fun in introducing that?

“I prefer to have them there so I can yell at them,” joked Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza when asked if it was time to scrap line judges in favour of electronic line calls with an automated voice.

“Nah, I don’t yell but for sure it would be awkward, you’d miss the people that have the eyes to see it. It would be scary, I’m not a technology person, I don’t have a computer, I don’t like all these things.”

Line judges were replaced by Hawk-Eye technology at the Next Gen Finals in Milan last November, meaning that for the first time at an ATP event the umpire was the only official on court.

Each computer line call was called out by the technology and was final. Players were not able to challenge calls as they do at most tournaments, because the need to do so via Hawk-Eye video replays – where they are allowed three unsuccessful challenges in a set – was deemed redundant.

 


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