‘Feels Like You Have Been Robbed Off’: Former Wimbledon Champion Voices Novak Djokovic’s Opinion on Electronic Line Calling

Published 04/22/2021, 1:55 PM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 14, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his second round match against Italy’s Jannik Sinner REUTERS/Eric Gaillard


Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli recently disclosed her views on the plans to eradicate the line-umpire system and introduce electronic line-calling at every tournament in both the ATP and WTA tours. This new system has got approval from top players like Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka already.

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The line umpires, who are a traditional part of the sport, were replaced at the US Open last year by the electronic line calls. While the automatic line calls were permitted only to the outside courts, the main courts still had line umpires making decisions.

The Australian Open was the first grand slam tournament to introduce electronic line-calling this year on all the courts, including Rod-Laver Arena.

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“Players will love live Hawk-eye all the time”– Marion Bartoli

Speaking on the electronic line-call being the new trend in tennis, Bartoli commented, “From a player point of view, of course, you love the live Hawk-Eye all the time and constantly, and specially on clay as well, because we had so much debate.”

Marion Bartoli

From a player’s perspective, electronic line-calling will take a huge burden off their shoulders as they can only focus on their game and not worry about arguing with the chair umpire all the time.

Sharing her experience as a former player, Bartoli said how frustrating it is to play without technology, especially on clay courts.

And I’ve been on the court myself and the umpire coming down, and he’s trying to sort of draw the end of the mark and you don’t agree with him. You feel like you have been robbed or the point should be yours.”

Remembering the infamous incident involving Viktor Troicki at the Rome Masters, Bartoli stresses how badly players want the new technology to be implemented everywhere on the tennis circuit.

Honestly, we have seen it with Viktor Troicki, very famously in Rome, taking the camera out of the cameraman and going in into the mark and filming it himself.” 

Electronic line-calling is the new future

With the overwhelming support mostly from younger players towards the electronic line-calling, it looks like tennis will have to think beyond the traditional system and embrace the rapid rise in technology.

However, players like Gilles Simon feel that the electronic line-calling is not at all accurate and feels that it’s a big problem surrounding tennis right now, thanks to the covid-19 pandemic.

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SEPTEMBER 06: Novak Djokovic of Serbia tends to a line judge Laura Clark who was hit with the ball during his Men’s Singles fourth round match against Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain on Day Seven of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 6, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

From the fans’ perspective, players arguing with the line or chair umpire over faulty calls will create an engaging drama on-court for a brief period of time. Their interest lies with how a player deals with a line decision going against him and whether he lets one wrong call affect the outcome of the match or not.

While tournaments like the US Open and the Australian Open have openly embraced the new technology, it remains to be seen how tournaments like Wimbledon and the French Open will accept this change in the near future.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

77 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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