Saturday, 27 November 2010
Hawk-eye for all?
The best should be yet to come. If Indian Wells, a Masters 1000 tournament, can implement Hawkeye across the board, surely the Grand Slams can. Hopefully, this bit of news hastens the process. The technology exists, players agree with it, and let's be honest: The Grand Slams are doing quite well for themselves financially. The most important events of the year should be decided by the players' shots, not an official's mishap.
In time, expect to see this feat replicated in Melbourne, London and New York. But in the meantime, there is something regarding replay that tennis should work on. When an "out" call is reversed, it's up to the chair umpire to determine whether the point should be replayed. Unfortunately, these decisions aren't as consistent as Hawkeye. Players often contend that they could have (or their opponent couldn't have) gotten a racket on the ball when the umpire says otherwise. The on-court arguments are now shifting here—not about the actual call, but the call after the call. These decisions will always be judgment calls, but firmer guidelines should be set by the ruling bodies.
After Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the best thing that's happened to tennis over the last decade has been replay. At some point, a Grand Slam title celebration will be awkwardly delayed until Hawkeye confirms championship point, but that uncomfortable moment is a small price to pay for so many avoided tirades and correct calls. Indian Wells met the challenge; it's time for other major events to do the same.