Wimbledon 2014: Hawk-Eye says umpireless tournaments are on their way

 

Senior Reporter

Entire tennis tournaments could soon be played without umpires, a member of the team behind Wimbledon’s Hawk-Eye line calling system has said.

Luke Aggas, director of operations at Hawk-Eye Innovations, has revealed that several events are already considering replacing umpires and line judges in favour of an entirely computerised system. John McEnroe said recently that such a move would be “unbelievable for tennis” and would make the game “30 per cent more interesting”.

Mr Aggas told the Live@Wimbledon radio station: “There are a few events, not necessarily main draw events, maybe the exhibition-type events, that are thinking about utilising the system without lines judges and seeing whether that does increase the entertainment value to the match.”

He added that this could lead to a situation where the players end up “calling their own lines and challenging each other, which would be quite an interesting dynamic”. In an interview ahead of this year’s Championships, McEnroe said that such a system would make tennis “edgier” as players could be perceived as dishonest by the crowd.

“If you thought the other guy was blatantly cheating you could challenge it,” he said. “Then the fans would boo him and people would get way more into it. People would say: ‘See this guy? This guy is such a cheater’.”

Video: Preview of Wimbledon's day eight

Mr Aggas said it was “technically possible” for Hawk-Eye to monitor every line on the court and sound a loud beep whenever a ball was out – but that viewers and players might find this irritating. “It goes back to the entertainment value to the viewers at home,” he said. “Does a beep or similar actually bring that much to the game, or is the current protocol actually well placed?”

Last week, Wimbledon officials were criticised for allowing a match between Tomas Berdych and Marin Cilic to continue despite failing light, meaning that Hawk-Eye was no longer available to either player. The game eventually finished at 9.38pm on Friday, with Berdych defeated in straight sets.

Mr Aggas said the system should soon work in low light conditions. “It is an area that we’re looking into. As your digital camera, your smartphone, whatever you use, increases in resolution, features and functions on a year-by-year basis, that’s an area that we’re certainly trying to improve on,” he said.

Hawk-Eye is also trialling robotic cameras that track players’ every move on Wimbledon’s outer courts this year, which Mr Aggas said could help the athletes better understand the faults in their game. The data can tell them things such as how far they ran and where they spent the most time around the court.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links