Instant Replay Comes To Tennis

March 6, 2006 01:29 PM

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 in North America

March 6, 2006 - - The USTA, the ATP and the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour ATP today announced 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 begin in Miami will be the first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and ATP event to utilize the technology and on-court challenges.

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, 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.

Read what Andy Roddick, James Blake, John McEnroe and other titans of the tennis court had to say about the announcement.

Hawk-Eye Officiating has been approved for use in professional tennis, and will be implemented d 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 NASDAQ-100 Open Chairman and Co-Founder Butch Bucholz. "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. As a player, all I ever wanted was perfect conditions so I would have a chance to beat the other guy straight up. To know that the call will be correct every time will put players' minds at ease."

Click here to read the entire instant replay interview transcript.