How Realistic Is Novak Djokovic’s Call For Tennis Line Judges To Be Replaced By Technology?

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Tennis player Novak Djokovic has suggested the sport dispense with human line judges and replace them with technology.

The current world number one men’s player made the comments at the French Open after his straight-set fourth-round victory over Karen Khachanov, during which he accidentally hit the ball into a line judge’s face when returning a serve.

Normally, this would be deemed an unfortunate but unremarkable tennis incident. However, it came just weeks after the Serb was ejected from the US Open for inadvertently hitting a ball at the throat of a line judge in New York.

Djokovic’s view on technology

There was no risk of similar action being taken against Djokovic in Paris – the ball was in play and it is just deemed as ‘one of those things’ – but he was inevitably asked about the event after the game. He expressed concern about the wellbeing of the judge before volunteering an idea that would prevent a repeat: get rid of line judges and replace them with technology.

Djokovic’s profile means he is a fixture on the show courts at major tournaments, but had he been on an outer court at the US Open, the chances of him hitting would have been sufficiently reduced as social distancing measures meant line calls were made using Hawk-Eye Live.

The same technology is used to power the now-familiar player challenge system, except in this case, all line calls are automated.

So, Djokovic asks, why can it not be used wherever

Roland Garros 2020 Puts AI At The Heart Of The Digital Experience As Tennis Fans Stay At Home

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The French Tennis Federation (FFT) has outlined its ambition to be a leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based fan and player experiences at this year’s French Open at Roland Garros, hoping more intelligent digital services will help compensate for the lack of spectators.

This year’s tournament was supposed to take place in early summer but was postponed until this week due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It had been hoped that up to 10,000 fans would be allowed through the gates, but tightened restrictions mean just 1,000 people will set foot on the ground.

Limited capacity means that even the most seasoned of tennis fans will have to watch the action unfold on television, online or on their mobile. In this year, of all years, there will be additional expectations on the digital Roland Garros experience.

Roland Garros 2020

Organizers, just like their counterparts at the other three Grand Slams, are at least prepared. There is a recognition that the fixed locations of tennis’s most important events combined with limited numbers of tickets mean most fans will never physically attend.

The ambition for each tournament’s digital experience is the next best thing to being there and there is increasingly a belief that having the best technology contributes to each Grand Slam’s claim to be the most prestigious in the sport.

Last year Roland Garros enlisted the support of technology firm Infosys to boost its digital efforts and fan engagement, introducing analytics-based features and Augmented