Next innovation in tennis!
After the linesmen will be abolished in 2025, there will now also be a VAR, a video referee, for the first time. Just like in football. But he’s not in the basement in Cologne, he’s with them US Open at the New York facility.
But what is he supposed to check when there is already an electronic system that shows in fractions of a second whether a ball was in or out? The makers came up with a lot. Four points in particular were important here.
First, did a ball hit the net on serve?
Since the abolition of the line judge, this cannot always be said with 100 percent for the men at service speeds of well over 200 km/h.
Second, did the ball bounce twice?
Especially when the player is still running a ball, in case of doubt even playing it, it is difficult to see with the naked eye and at the speed of the game whether a ball has not already touched the ground a second time before the racket touches it touched.
Third, did the ball touch any part of a player’s body?
Again and again there have been protests in the past that a ball did not fly directly out, but the opponent was still on. It can also be checked whether a ball hit another person, whether it was a ball child or, where this still exists, a linesman, or even a spectator. Then there’s the amount of penalties.
Fourth: Was a player disturbed by loud shouts or something similar from his opponent?
So you don’t have to look, you have to listen carefully.
The chair referee receives the video with the decision of the video referee on his screen. Visitors can also see the scene on the video walls, unlike in football. For now, however, the system will only be used on five pitches: Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, the Grandstand, and outdoor pitches 5 and 17.
What is funny is that the players were probably not informed about it. Even top stars like Alexander Zverev (26) or the world number one Iga Swiatek (22) know nothing about it. The Pole says: “What? Like in football? I haven’t heard anything about it.”
The Olympic champion to BILD: “I’m just hearing about it for the first time. That would be like a challenge for everything. I think that’s a good thing, you should do that immediately. I’m all for it.”
Three challenges like the Hawk Eye in tournaments without an electronic lines system are allowed per set and player. Will they also be used if hardly anyone knows anything about it?