Andy Murray was also a victim.
So did Bianca Andreescu.
Jiri Reheka played the fifth set, effectively needing to win two third-round matches.
Hawkeye Live, an electronic line calling system, could have saved the set and even the match for the players, but Wimbledon didn’t make the most of it, preferring a more traditional approach. I’m listening. For the rest of the Pro Tour, many tournaments relied solely on this technology, with the computer making constant calls so players could almost certainly know if their ball was going to land or not.
But when players come to the All England Club to compete in what is widely regarded as the most important tournament of the year, their fates are decided largely by line judges who rely on their eyesight. What’s even more frustrating is that Wimbledon and its television partners have access to this technology so players can use it to challenge a limited number of calls per match, so anyone watching the broadcast can see where the ball is. You can check in real time whether it is in or out. The people for whom information is most important, the players and the referee who supervises the match, must rely on the linesman.
When the human eye judges a serve around 190 mph or a forehand rally over 80 mph, mistakes are bound to happen.
“Obviously as a player you don’t want it when you make a mistake in an important moment,” Murray said. Had the computer won, he could have beaten Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round in the fourth set. call. Despite replays showing the ball was in, Murray’s backhand return was called and he ended up losing in five sets.
No tennis tournament clings to tradition more than Wimbledon. grass court tennis. The match on Center Court starts later than anywhere else, after the players in the royal box have had lunch. Outdoor tennis has no lighting. Hours of waiting in line for last minute tickets.
These traditions do not affect the outcome of a match from one point in time to the next. But after the technology became more reliable, keeping linesmen on the court affected, and perhaps even changed course, important matches on an almost daily basis.
To understand why this is happening, it is important to understand how tennis came to adopt different judging rules across tournaments.
According to John McEnroe (and just about every other tennis player), until the early 2000s tennis, like baseball, basketball, hockey and other sports, had a call to human actors. Many of them were wrong. McEnroe’s most infamous meltdown occurred at Wimbledon in 1981 due to a false phone call.
“I wanted to get Hawkeye,” said Mats Vilander, seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and star of the 1980s.
But then Tennis began experimenting with the Hawkeye Live Judging System. A camera captures every ball bounce from multiple angles, and a computer analyzes the images to depict the ball’s trajectory and point of impact within a narrow margin of error. Line judges remained as backups, but players were given three opportunities to challenge line calls in each set, with additional challenges if the set went to a tiebreak.
As such, players had to decide when to take risks and use challenges that might be required at more important points later in the set.
“That’s too much,” said Vilander. “I can’t imagine standing there and making those calculations, wondering if my shots felt good, how much work I had left to do, how long it was in the second half of the set, and so on.”
Even Roger Federer, who excelled in nearly every aspect of tennis, was famously bad at completing challenges.
Eventually, the tennis community began to consider a fully electronic circuit calling system. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, tournaments were looking for ways to limit the number of people on tennis courts.
Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley said the adoption of electronic calling in 2021 is also part of the Australian Open’s “culture of innovation”. The players loved it. Tyree said the match went more quickly, and so did his fans.
Last year, the US Open switched entirely to electronic calls. There is still debate as to whether the raised lines on clay courts will prevent the technology from offering the same precision as grass or hard courts. At the French Open and other clay-court tournaments, the balls leave marks and are frequently inspected by referees.
The 2022 Men’s ATP Tour featured 21 tournaments with full electronic call, including one in Indian Wells, California. Miami Gardens, Florida. Canada; all of these venues also host women’s WTA tournaments. Used in all ATP tournaments from 2025.
“The question is not whether it’s 100 percent correct, but whether it’s better than humans, and it’s definitely better than humans,” said Marc Ain, owner of the City Open in Washington, D.C. .
An All England Club spokesperson said on Sunday there were no plans to sack linesmen at Wimbledon.
“Once the tournament is over, we’ll look at everything we have to do, but we have no plans to change the system at this time,” said Dominic Foster.
On Saturday, Andreescu was the victim of human error. Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion from Canada, is deepening his Grand Slam appearances after years of injury.
With the end of the match against Tunisia’s Ons Jabur nearing its close, Andreescu resisted a call for electronic intervention on a decisive shot ruled by a linesman. Jabour, who was nearby when the ball dropped, said from across the net that the ball was definitely out and advised Andreescu not to waste one of his three challenges for the set. The match continued, but TV viewers were shown a computerized replay of the ball landing on the line.
“I have faith in Onz,” said Andreescu after Jabur came back beating her in three sets 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Andreescu said he was thinking about the three-set marathon that was decided in the final-set tiebreak in his last match, in which he “wastes” some of his challenges.
To Javert, she thought, “I’m going to keep it just in case.”
bad idea. Jabur won the match, the set, and the match.
On Court 12, the appeals system caused a different kind of confusion. Reheca had a match point with Tommy Paul after he returned Paul’s shot on the line and Tommy Paul raised his hand to contest the call. His call for a challenge came just as Paul smashed his next shot into the net.
The point has been reproduced. Paul won and took the set shortly after, forcing a deciding set. Rehekka won, but had to run around for another half hour. Venus Williams lost match point in the first round in another complicated sequence with a challenge.
Two-time Grand Slam finalist Layla Fernandez from Canada said she likes Wimbledon’s tradition of line judges at a time when the world is increasingly dependent on technology.
Still, he added, “I probably would have answered differently if I had sacrificed the game.”
Murray, the two-time Wimbledon champion, was where he found himself after losing Friday afternoon. By the time he arrived at his press conference, he knew that the slow, sharp backhand return of a serve that fell just a few yards from the umpire had hurt the line.
This point would have given him two chances to break Tsitsipas’ serve and put the game out. He opened his eyes in surprise and fell to the floor when told that a bullet had been fired.
Murray now knew what everyone else had seen.
Murray said the ball landed under the umpire’s nose, who confirmed the call. He couldn’t imagine how anyone could have missed it. He actually likes having a linesman, he added. Perhaps it was his fault for not using the challenge.
“In the end, the referee made a bad call in front of her,” he said.