With the advent of technology, tennis is doing its part to incorporate it. But this has a price. It seems likely that the linemen will be eliminated from the sports day in and day out as the falcon's eye is gaining prominence. The Australian Open 2021 has taken the step to implement the Hawk's Eye as the lead legal brand sponsor judge. But was the decision a preview of the future, or was it a precaution due to COVID-19?
Why were the strip men eliminated from the Australian Open 2021?
It was recently announced that the Australian Open 2021 would wear Hawk's eye in place of stadium officials. Hawkeye calls or the electronic line will be used throughout the tournament, but not in the qualifying event.
This decision can be seen in two ways. First, the COVID-19 model. With the emergence of the new strain of Coronavirus, Australia has taken vigorous measures to control it. There is a facility limit and players must be quarantined for a period of 14 days. So it stands to reason that there will be fewer people in the stadiums, and getting rid of the line guards is one way to do that.
Novak Djokovic sees no reason to have line judges
The second is the transition to technology. Over the years, Hawk-eye has become more accurate and faster. Hence, the call for the dismissal of line officials gained momentum. The main defender of this was world number one Novak Djokovic. The Serbian was firmly against the use of guards in tournaments. His statement coincided with an incident with the assistant referee at the 2020 US Open, but the player said his statement was not due to his exclusion.
“The technology is so advanced right now, there is absolutely no reason why you should keep line umpires on the Court. That’s my opinion” Djokovic said.
Rafael Nadal opposes the dismissal of the linesmen
But wearing a falcon's eye eliminates the human element in tennis. World number two Rafael Nadal opposed Djokovic's idea of a non-linear judge.
“Personally, I prefer the line umpires to what we have here… If you ask me what I would like to see in the future… Well, I believe we have room for evolution as a sport as tennis has not changed a lot in the last fifty years, compared to other sports, that is a reality, but at the same time I do not believe that this is the way to improve the “show.” Nadal said.
Why eliminating service lines causes problems in the Australian Open 2021?
Nadal can get it here. The sport will evolve over time, but eliminating the referees is not the way. The correct way is to merge both of them together. As in football, there are referees and technology working simultaneously so that all decisions are correct. Likewise, tennis can have a line and technique experts to oversee legal signs.
Excluding line, officials would mean the loss of livelihoods for thousands of people. Many people trust him, and that's hard and skillful work. Eliminating them will leave them without their main source of income.
How will we get the new referees' chair without assistants?
Moreover, the tennis match culture will change with the elimination of the umpires. Tennis hasn't changed much in years and has had a specific way of playing. Moreover, another interesting argument is that the rulers of the See are no longer rulers. So, tennis would need a way to find new referees if the linemen were removed.
“Another way to think about it is that tennis is an industry and [automation is] a significant change. How are we going to create a new generation of umpires? I started as a line judge; how will young umpires get their chance?” ATP umpire Ali Nili said.
Currently, electronic line calls have been used in the US Open Finals and the 2020 ATP Finals. The Australian Open 2021 is also on the train. It is meant to be a precaution, given COVID-19, but what could be an uncertainty could become a habit in the future.