US Open Technology
The US Open was the very first Grand Slam event to use Hawk-Eye technology in an effort to eliminate the variable of human error in the competition. Too often line calls have proved to be erroneous, and when the stakes are a possible Grand Slam victory, then the organisers of all sports events are beholden to make the event as fair and equitable as possible.
Hawk-Eye is effectively a computer system used to track the path of the ball. It uses six or more TV cameras situated around the stadium, and the computer reads the video feed in real time and tracks the path of the ball on each camera. It is now the most sophisticated officiating tool used in any sport and a staple US Open technology.
In 2005 the Hawk-Eye tracking system was tested by the ITF (International Tennis Federation), and in 2006 the innovation was first used, with resounding success, at the two stadium courts at Flushing Meadows. Soon after, all international tournaments embraced the ground-breaking computer system, and it was finally introduced at the All England Club in 2007.
ITF Test Results
- Hawk-Eye made the correct call 100% in all tests
- The average error margin was a miniscule 3.6 mm
- The system recorded 100% of all rallies
Tests were also conducted outdoors to encompass all possible on-court conditions including wind, shadow, bright sunlight, overcast conditions and artificial floodlights, and the outcome was that Hawk-Eye can track reliably in any conditions and on all court surfaces.
When is Hawk-Eye Used?
The professional game is won and lost on the smallest of margins, and consequently the line calling has to be deadly accurate. Players are generally allowed two incorrect challenges per set, and an extra challenge, should the set reach a tiebreak. If they call correctly, their tally remains the same, but should they make an incorrect call, then they forfeit a challenge
This US Open technology system ensures that players do not make challenges on a whim and disturb the tempo of the game. Hawk-Eye is so efficient that it can display the results of the challenge within 2-3 seconds – far quicker than physically checking the mark on a clay court!
Point Tracker enables fans to understand how each match is contested, as it presents an animated 3D view of each shot played in a singles match. A menu appears on the right side of the application and displays all points played. Users can then select a point to view from each set.
Each point can be viewed from various pre-set angles, including default, from the view of the players, net, umpires and overhead.