Australian Open reigning champion Novak Djokovic and world No.3 Dominic Thiem have both issued their support to the electronic line calling systems in use at this year’s Australian Open.
World No.1 Djokovic swiftly defeated France’s Jeremy Chardy 6-3 6-1 6-2 in just 91 minutes to advance into the second round of the grand slam.Embed from Getty Images
And after the match, the Serbian praised the Hawkeye Live systems in place at the tournament.
“I understand that there is a tradition and history and the way we kind of got used to the line umpires being there,” he said. “But I think when you draw a line that generally I actually am in favour of technology.”
“I think it’s proven to be very accurate in this particular instance. I don’t see a reason why we need the line umpires, to be honest if we have technology like this.”
This isn’t the first time the Serbian has voiced his support for Hawkeye, stating last season that “the technology is so advanced right now, that there is absolutely no reason why you should keep line umpires on the court.”
Australian Open organisers opted to remove line judges from this year’s tournament to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
And the grand slam isn’t the first tournament to do so, with last year’s US Open being the first grand slam to remove the majority of its line judges in favour of the new Hawkeye Live technology.
Hawkeye Live made approximately 225,000 calls during the first week at the US Open, with only 14 of those calls being errors. And so far at the Australian Open, we haven’t seen many issues with the system.Embed from Getty Images
World No.3 Dominic Thiem also got his Australian Open campaign off to a flying start, defeating Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6(2) 6-2 6-3. And after a close first set, Thiem found his rhythm breaking his opponent seven times to win the match in 3 sets.
The Austrian followed Djokovic’s lead, supporting the automated line calling system for its accuracy and elimination of human error.
“Honestly, I like it without lines-people,” the 2020 US Open champion stated after his match.
“No offence at all but there are just no mistakes happening, and that’s really good in my opinion because if the electronic calls it out, the ball is out, so there’s no room for mistakes at all.”
“I think it’s a step in the right direction.”
Hawkeye’s use has sparked many debates over tradition versus technology in tennis and which is best for the sport going forward.
But with many of this season’s tournaments set to follow in suit of the Australian Open, it’s likely we could see Hawkeye become a mainstay at tour level.
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