Tennis

Novak Djokovic wants line officials to be replaced by Hawk-Eye

Novak Djokovic's relationship with line officials has been difficult of late and the Serb risked their wrath again by suggesting they were unnecessary.

The world No. 1 was dramatically defaulted in the fourth round of last month's US Open after inadvertently hitting a female line judge in the throat with a loose ball.

Now he believes their job should be done by Hawk-Eye technology.

"With all my respect for the tradition and the culture we have in this sport, when it comes to people present on the court during a match, including line (judges), I really don't see a reason why every single tournament in this world, in this technological advanced era, would not have what we had during the Cincinnati/New York tournaments," said Djokovic, who reached the last 16 with a 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 win over Colombian Daniel Galan yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The Covid-19 pandemic meant the majority of courts at the US Open, apart from the main show courts, dispensed with line judges as a health precaution.

They are back at the French Open which, because it is on clay, does not use Hawk-Eye technology for close calls, relying instead on the umpire to examine a mark in the red dust.

"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," said top seed Djokovic, who added that he understands that technology could mean additional costs for some organisers.

However, women's 2016 French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, who lost 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 to American Danielle Collins in the third round, believes traditions should be respected.

"You can put a Hawk-Eye (in) and make it more modern, but I appreciate not being a machine on the court," she said.

"(It would be) even more lonely out there just with us. A speaker that says in or out." - REUTERS

Tennis