Hawk-Eye replay makes Queens Club debut

By Kevin Hilton

The use of technology to allow players to question official decision
continues to grow and the hallowed grass of two leading English tennis
venues are the latest to succumb. The Artois Championship, currently
underway at the Queens Club, is using Hawk-Eye to allow competitors to
challenge umpiring decisions on line calls. Wimbledon gets underway at
the end of this month and will also use the multi-camera tracking
system for appeals.

Referrals based on video replays are being used on a trial basis
during the 2007 Friends Provident Trophy cricket tournament. Appeals
using Hawk-Eye in tennis were introduced during the ATP tournament held
in Miami in March 2006. Hawk-Eye was developed from military targeting
technology by Paul Hawkins, who holds a PhD in artificial intelligence,
and has been used for TV analysis of tennis since 2003. It is also used
in cricket and snooker.

A number of controversial decisions led the tennis event organizers
to bring in the technology for questioning umpiring decisions, with the
results shown on video screens in the arena. The Artois and Wimbledon
Championships are the first grass tournaments to use Hawk-Eye and
players will be allowed three incorrect challenges per set, compared to
two at the US and Australian Opens.

This is due to the perceived importance of the serve on grass. Paul
Hawkins commented that setting up the system is more critical and
complicated than on clay and other hard surfaces. “It’s about
planning,” he said. “There is a lot more things to set in place.”

Lleyton Hewitt, the defending Artois Men’s Champion who was beaten
today (Wednesday) by French qualifier Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, has said the
use of Hawk-Eye “adds another dimension to the game.”

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