Tim Henman on the future of line judges at Wimbledon
Tim Henman has confirmed he wants to see line judges in place at Wimbledon this summer, as he suggested he would prefer to avoid using technology to make line calls at The Championships.
Speaking to Tennis365 at a Eurosport event, the former British No.1 and Wimbledon committee member suggested the successful use of line calling technology does not mean the end of on-court officials making calls.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic is among those who has confirmed he would support the removal of line judges in favour of technology, but Henman believes a combination of the two is still preferable, as the four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist talked up the importance of keeping a community feel amongst umpires and judges.
“In an ideal world I would like to have the Hawkeye technology on the courts but with line judges,” confirmed Henman.
“I enjoy the human element, the interaction between players and line judges and players selecting when to challenge and sometimes if those challenges have been used up and they don’t have any more challenges left, I like that.
“I think that the line judges have been a part of the sport for a long time, I also think there is a community of line judges, umpires who are involved in the game of tennis at the highest level.
“If we were just to be using Hawkeye live, I think the interesting opportunity for people to be involved in that sphere declines and the incentive is not going to be there.
“If there is a scenario where we are trying to limit the number of people on site then I’m sure Hawkeye live will be an opportunity. In my personal opinion, I would like to have Hawkeye with the umpires and the line judges.”
Henman also looked forward to what may be a very different Wimbledon, with players already informed they will not be allowed to rent houses to stay in and will all be required to set up their base in designated hotels in a bid to control the spread of Covid-19.
The All England Club are hoping to welcome fans into the grounds for this year’s tournament, with 46-year-old Henman admitted the absence of fans for part of the Australian Open following a coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne highlighted how important they are to an event.
“It was fantastic to hear the roar of the crowd and the atmosphere that even the partially full stadiums made to the matches. It was brilliant to see and something that I think everyone is so keen to see at Wimbledon,” added Henman.
“Now that fans have gone out of the stadium again it’s really hard and I feel very sympathetic towards the Australian Open I think they have done an amazing job just to get this tournament to take place.
“They had so many hurdles and challenges to overcome so fingers crossed things can go as smoothly as possible at Wimbledon.”
By: Jack Ingleby
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