As football debates VAR, tennis celebrates 12 years of the challenge system
Video technology in sport is a hot topic, but tennis has been utilising the electronic line calling system and player challenges successfully for more than a decade.
Throughout the history of tennis, there have always been bad calls from line judges and poor overrules. It was considered part and parcel of the game and, in fact, many believed it “added” to the spectacle.
Think John McEnroe and his ‘You cannot be serious’ rant or other players going off at the umpire over a perceived bad call. It certainly did add a bit of excitement.
However, players and officials generally started to accept from the 90s onwards that it was time to embrace technology and television stations adopted Hawk-Eye in the early 2000s.
However, it took until the 2004 US Open for officials to finally see the light when Serena Williams was on the receiving end of some bad calls during her quarter-final clash against Jennifer Capriati.
Williams lost the match, but the calls were so poor that officials from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) telephoned her after the match to apologise.
But Serena’s tournament was over, as was the chair umpire’s as she didn’t feature in the rest of the campaign.
“It’s unfortunate, and as we’ve said to Serena, these aren’t the circumstances under which we like to see Serena bow out of the US Open,” Jim Curley, the tournament director, told the New York Times before adding with regards to video technology: “I think down the road we’re heading in that direction.”
After extensive testing, the International Tennis Federation gave its seal of approval at the back end of 2005 and tennis took a step into a brave new world.
On March 06, 2006, US Tennis Association and the ATP and WTA Tours ratified the system for use in North America, with the NASDAQ-100 Open becoming the first tournament to adopt it.
American Jamea Jackson was the first player to make use of Hawk-Eye technology when she challenged a line call against Ashley Harkleroad during the Florida event
Even though she lost her challenge as the initial call was correct, Jackson said afterwards: “I loved it, I thought it was great. It takes a lot of pressure off.”
However, someone like Roger Federer was not a fan of the system when it was introduced, saying: “What is happening is madness. A pure waste of money.”
Rafael Nadal also felt that “I think the Hawk-Eye has mistakes sometimes”.
A year or so later, Federer was again asked about it and said: “I still don’t trust it 100 per cent, I probably will never do.”
During the teething years, the Swiss player would often make ridiculous challenges, but he was far from the only one.
However, over the years the system has improved and players are now more at ease with it as it is simply part and parcel of the game.
The rules remain the same:
– Each player receives two challenges per set
– If the player is correct with a challenge, then he/she retains the challenge
– If the player is incorrect with a challenge, then he/she loses the challenges
– Players receive an additional challenge during a tie-breaker
– You cannot carry challenges over to a new set.
Andy Murray sends emotional message to his father after milestone victory
“I’m very proud of that… not many players that have done that.”
Andy Murray may have accidentally given a big hint when his career will end
Andy Murray’s retirement from tennis may be sooner than many have predicted.
‘Special’ Carlos Alcaraz labelled the French Open favourite by former world No 3
“It is a learning experience and Carlos is able to assume and accept where he can improve.”
Novak Djokovic resolves one of his big worries as he prepares for ATP Tour comeback
Novak Djokovic has resolved one of his biggest dilemmas with his travel plans for his trip to America.
Former world No 6 gives insight into how he is helping Daniil Medvedev in coaching role
“He gave me a list of 16 players he doesn’t like to play against, and I prepared 16 tactics!”
‘Rafael Nadal will without a doubt play next season if he avoids injuries’ – former world No 3
“If he doesn’t have any injuries he will be competitive and if he is competitive, he will continue for another year.”
Jannik Sinner lauded for avoiding Emma Raducanu, Matteo Berrettini ‘fault’ by refusing big invite
“It’s important to have people around you that are advising you to say what is your priority.”
2024 WTA Rankings: Iga Swiatek holds sway as big guns flop, Jasmine Paolini and Anna Kalinskaya cash in
This way for your post-2024 Dubai WTA Rankings.
2024 ATP Rankings: Novak Djokovic extends record, Jannik Sinner putting pressure on Carlos Alcaraz
Battle for world No 2 ranking between Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner set to intensify.
Andy Murray shares another ‘unpopular opinion’ – ‘Sometimes players are a little bit hypocritical’
Andy Murray wants “players to be a little bit more selective with how they talk about the Tour”.