The ongoing Volvo Car Open in Charleston, California, has become the first WTA clay event to use the electronic line calling system.
This comes in the wake of the WTA 1000 event in Miami also using the system.
Early in 2021, the ATP had announced that all hard court Masters events would use the electronic line system in an attempt to reduce the number of people needed on court. This was done to ensure there was some social distancing on court.
The system was also used at the relocated Cincinnati Masters last year, along with the US Open.
While the Hawk-Eye system has been widely used in tennis since 2006, clay events have shied away from using the expensive technology.
This is because the ball leaves an accurate mark on the red dirt, allowing chair umpires go down and check the mark in case there is a disputed call.
Despite the accuracy, there is scope for confusion as there may be multiple marks and there’s a chance the wrong one may be consulted.
Line-call problem at the French Open
At the French Open last year, replays suggested a shot by Roberto Carballes Baena was long, and should have given Denis Shapovalov a match-point. But the line-umpire called it ‘in.’ Since there was no review system, the Canadian could not contest it.
He went on to lose the second round match.
He later tweeted a replay with the caption: “When will we have Hawkeye on Clay?”
— Denis Shapovalov (@denis_shapo) October 1, 2020
That problem however will not surface at the Charleston event, where World No 1 Ashleigh Barty is the top seed.