ATP Tour to switch to automated line calling by 2025

·3-min read
Monte Carlo Master ATP Tour Credit: Alamy
Monte Carlo Master ATP Tour Credit: Alamy

In accordance with ATP announcements, the tour will begin employing fully Electronic Line Calling permanently in 2025.

Line-umpire attendance was prohibited during the epidemic to cut down on staffing levels, and the technology was used to keep the action going with less on-court staff.

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The trial was widely regarded as a success and has since recurred frequently on the tour.

In order to maintain a human element in the events and avoid eliminating jobs, several tournaments insisted on continuing to utilize the conventional method of a line-calling.

However, in the modern era, the ATP has recognized Electronic Line Calling as the future, and it is now definite that it will remain.

A statement from the ATP Tour read: “The ATP has announced Tour-wide adoption of Electronic Line Calling Live (ELC Live) from 2025. The advanced officiating technology covers all court lines for ‘out’ calls throughout matches, a role traditionally carried out by on-court line judges.

“This significant officiating update follows several seasons during which a combination of ELC Live, ELC Review and on-court line judges has been used at ATP Tour events.

“The move is set to optimise accuracy and consistency across tournaments, match courts and surfaces, for players competing in both main draw and qualifying events. The decision was supported by extensive research conducted by ATP across tennis stakeholders, including fans, which identified accuracy and consistency as the most important factors in assessing different line-calling systems.

“All-court ELC Live coverage will also deliver comprehensive player and ball tracking across the whole Tour, leading to an unprecedented level of data for player-performance analysis and the development of new statistics in the game in collaboration with Tennis Data Innovations (TDI), in addition to future commercialisation opportunities.

“ELC Live was first trialled at the Next Gen ATP Finals in 2017 in Milan as part of a raft of ambitious technological innovations, several of which have gone on to be implemented on the main Tour. In recent years, the system has been available for tournaments on a voluntary basis, becoming widely adopted since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Multiple suppliers are currently approved to provide ELC Live technology on hard court and on grass, while final testing is underway for clay. It is anticipated that multiple different suppliers will be approved across the various court surfaces from 2025.”

ATP Chief Andrea Gaudenzi heralded the decision as a landmark for the tour.

“This is a landmark moment for our sport, and not one we’ve reached without careful consideration,” Gaudenzi said.

“Tradition is core to tennis and line judges have played an important part in the game over the years. That said, we have a responsibility to embrace innovation and new technologies. Our sport deserves the most accurate form of officiating and we’re delighted to be able to deliver this across our whole Tour from 2025.”

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