Nitto ATP Finals To Feature Electronic Line-Calling & Video Review For First Time
This month’s Nitto ATP Finals will feature Electronic Line-Calling and Video Review for the first time in tournament history, when the world’s best players compete at The O2 in London from 15-22 November.
The lines will be called electronically by Hawkeye Live — there won’t be line judges this year — and a chair umpire will oversee the action. Players will be able to request Video Review for suspected not-ups, foul shots, touches and other reviewable calls.
“Innovation and technology have always played a central part in the success of Nitto ATP Finals, and we’re pleased to be incorporating Electronic Line Calling and Video Review in our 12th and final year in London. And for different reasons, this year also provided the right opportunity for us to use it due to the challenges we’re facing with COVID-19,” ATP Chief Tour Officer Ross Hutchins said. “We believe it’s the right time to use and because of the restrictions that are in place in London, and specifically to tennis with interaction between players and officials."
“We’re proud of how this event has set the benchmark in recent years in terms of the presentation of the sport, particularly in a dynamic indoor environment, and that continues to be our goal as we make enhancements year on year.”
The inclusion of Electronic Line-Calling and Video Review at the season finale does not necessarily mean that the future of tennis officiating will go down a more technological route, but, to date, Electronic Line-Calling and Video Review have proven effective and been well-received by the players and fans alike.
“I think that when you look at what it actually does bring, it’s able to give a fairer outcome and enhance the integrity of the game. It’s also dynamic and keeps up the pace of play,” Hutchins said. “Why would we not look at embracing new technology, which can bring that value to the sport and ultimately ensures optimal accuracy of officiating for the players?”
There is one difference between Video Review at the Nitto ATP Finals and the ATP Cup, where it was used in January. Since there will be no line judges at The O2 due to COVID-19 protocols and Electronic Line-Calling will be in use, Video Review cannot challenge whether a ball is in or out.
“We’ve seen the technology works. We’ve used it successfully at the ATP Cup in 2020, as well as at the Next Gen ATP Finals for the past couple of years, and we look forward to seeing it integrated into our crown jewel event in London,” Hutchins said.
There have also been off-court advances in the data and analytics fields to support coaching products, and new reports to help players and their teams improve their performance. These include detailed match analysis for coaches as well as platforms like the Infosys Second Screen.
“We worked with Infosys last year off the court with the coaches’ platform. I think it’s good to show that it’s not just all about on-court innovation; we also do a lot of things off court,” Hutchins said.