Instant Replay Comes To Tennis
US Open and North American ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Events to Utilize Line Calling Technology - With Player Challenges
Sport Takes Steps to Improve Officiating for Players, While Adding TV and Fan Enhancement
Players Receive Two Challenges Per Set Plus One Additional Challenge for Tie-Breaks
Three Governing Bodies Come Together to Ensure Consistency
The USTA, the ATP and the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour announced Monday that electronic line calling technology, along with a player challenge system, will become part of professional tennis in North America. This breakthrough for the sport has been developed to improve officiating for players, while increasing the interest and excitement for in-stadium fans and television viewers.
The 2006 US Open will be the first Grand Slam to introduce instant replay technology and player challenges. The NASDAQ-100 Open will be the first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and ATP event to utilize the technology and on-court challenges. The NASDAQ-100 Open begins on March 22.
The on-court player challenge system for review of line calls will be as follows:
* Each player will receive two challenges per set to review line calls.
* If the player is correct with a challenge, then the player retains the same number of challenges.
* If the player is incorrect with a challenge, then one of the challenges is lost.
* During a tie-break game in any set, each player will receive one additional challenge.
* Challenges may not be carried over from one set to another.
Once a player challenges, the official replay will be provided to the chair umpire. In addition, the official replay will be provided simultaneously to the television broadcast and in-stadium video boards, allowing on-site fans and television viewers the opportunity to see the live results of a player challenge.
Hawk-Eye Officiating has been approved for use in professional tennis, and will be implemented at the NASDAQ-100 Open. In addition, tennis' governing bodies are continuing to explore other line calling technologies. The specific technology to be used at the 2006 US Open and US Open Series will be announced at a later date.
"With the speed and power of today's game, the time has come for tennis to benefit from new technology - while adding to the fan experience," said Arlen Kantarian, Chief Executive, Professional Tennis, USTA. "This new breakthrough - perhaps the most significant change to the game since the tie-breaker - will improve line calls for players, while adding excitement and intrigue for fans and TV viewers. This new protocol was developed in partnership with our friends at the ATP and the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, and we look forward to a consistent system that will benefit the entire sport."
"Introducing this technology will make our sport more TV and fan friendly," said Sony Ericsson WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott. "Given the stakes in professional tennis, the ability to have more accurate line calls that can change a match is great news for players."
"The electronic line calling system and protocol will enhance the officiating for players and tournaments but more importantly offer an exciting and interactive element for the fans," said ATP Executive Chairman & President Etienne de Villiers. "The ATP Board approved the protocol with a rule that all tournaments using it must employ in-stadium video boards as a way to upgrade the entertainment experience for fans. We're very pleased to work with our friends at the USTA and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour on this initiative, the first of what we plan to be many such joint activities in the years ahead."
"Instant replay is a compelling addition to the televised coverage of tennis," said Tony Petitti, Executive Vice President and Executive Producer, CBS Sports. "Television viewers have enjoyed witnessing the decision making process surrounding rules and scoring in other major sports, including the NFL."
"This is another example of bringing 21st-century technology to a great game to serve the fans and competitors," said Len DeLuca, Senior Vice President, Programming and Acquisitions, ESPN and ABC Sports. "We look forward to settling the arguments on ESPN2."
"Electronic line calling is a revolutionary development for the game of tennis," said Butch Buchholz NASDAQ-100 Open Chairman and Co-Founder. "As good as the line judges are, having the ability to back them up with state-of-the-art technology is great for the game and for the players."
Players/Former Players on Instant Replay Technology Coming to Tennis
"In my 20 years in professional tennis, this is one of the most exciting things to happen for players, fans and television viewers. This new technology will add a whole new dimension to the game."
"The ball's moving so fast these days that sometimes it's impossible for anyone to see, even a trained official. With instant replay we can take advantage of technology and eliminate human error. Having just a few challenges will make it both fun and dramatic for fans at the same time."
"Yet another terrific step forward for tennis, something that will benefit players and spectators and bring more intrigue into the game. Based on my experience in the booth with this technology, we'll all be surprised at how good the linesmen's eyes are compared to the players."
"This would add another dimension for the viewer and the spectator at a tournament. Tennis is singular in the number of close calls you have in a match. Every time the ball hits the ground there is a question, with so many balls landing close to the lines."
"For players out there giving it our all, it's great to know that we now have the ability to use technology that will make the game more accurate and better than ever, and more exciting for the fans."
"If anyone's been listening to my commentary the past year then they know I'm in favor of using replay. I think it will make tennis more interesting."
"On top of just getting the calls right time after time, which will be nice, it'll add another aspect for TV viewers. If a player has two challenges per set, it will add drama and excitement. This will add to tennis and take out a lot of human error."
"As a player, I want to know that line calls are as accurate as technology will allow. In that sense, today's announcement is great news for all players."
"As a player, and now as a TV commentator, I always dreamed of the day when technology would take the accuracy of line calling to the next level. That day has now arrived."