Hawkeye Challenges

kokkThe Hawkeye replay system has dramatically improved watching pro tennis on TV. Gone are the days of John McEnroe throwing long-lasting temper tantrums, yelling “You cannot be serious!” over and over to the chair umpire. But the system is not yet perfected, as illustrated at Indian Wells this week.

Match Point Error

Yesterday, Australian teenager Thanasi Kokkinakis was serving for the match vs Argentinian veteran Juan Monaco and was robbed on match point.

The game before, Juan Monaco was serving to stay in the match at 3-5 and was out of Hawkeye challenges. After a rally, his baseline groundstroke was called OUT.

He questioned the call, but had no challenges left; so he looked to the chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani (my favorite umpire), who said “I am not 100% sure, so I cannot help you.”

The TV replay showed that he would have won the point. As it turned out, he held serve in spite of the bad call; and forced the Australian to serve for the match at 5-4 in the third set.

During that game, Kokkinakis wrongly challenged a call and lost HIS last challenge; so both players had no challenges left.

The young Aussie is now serving at ad-in, match point … Monaco hits a ball near the sideline… it was out but was called in. Kokkinakis looks up at the umpire; but with no challenge available, he loses that point and eventually that game.

Fortunately for him, the match goes to a tie breaker, which he wins.

How to change the system?

• To this problem, I would suggest that if the chair umpire IS 100% sure the call is correct, he stays with it. But if he is NOT 100% sure, he calls for a replay on his own.

• With that same situation in mind, even if the players DO have challenges available, the umpire should not be passive if he THINKS a bad callmohamed2 has been made, but is not sure.

• Another challenge thing that irks me is when they allow the player to casually stroll forward to lean over the net and look for a mark on the other side of the hard court. Three second limit on calling for a challenge.

• Also, a player should not be allowed to wait till their shot lands out to THEN challenge a shot that was on their side of the court.

• And at 6-5 in that third set, Mohamed (pictured here) wrongly called “not up” (that the ball had bounced twice). That call should also be challengeable by the player, using one of their three challenges.

What do you think about the challenge system?

If you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at George@seniortennisandfitness.com

My Book: and if you’d like to get a copy of “Senior Tennis”, just click on the link on the upper right of this web page.

6 thoughts on “Hawkeye Challenges

  1. What agreat effort from Kokkinakis at 18 yrs old. I think he will be the best now that he gets directly into the GSlam .Umpire Mohamed,I believe umpired the Isner/Mahut marathon and still likes to get involved,made some bad decisions yesterday but did give them some leeway in the TB
    Best Fred

    Fred – i agree that he has the best mental side of the “three young Aussies” and should do well. Thanks. george

  2. According to TV commentator Mary Carillo, “there should not be a challenge system! Every close call should automatically be reviewed, so that you get it right!”

    I disagree… You would then have Johnny Mac kind of players “demanding ” review after review.

  3. You ain’t gonna footnote me on that idea of the chair umpire calling for a review on his own on point ending close calls?? 🙂

    Kevin. Are you saying you already commented on that? If so, good idea! George

  4. Realized I could check em, myself. 🙂

    December 10, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    I’ve wondered why there’s no provision for the the chair ump, on point ending shots that are obviously very close calls, to call for the review, himself.

    I agree with the other comments, too. I also find that when I circle close marks, it’s more difficult for the opponent to claim that mark for another shot. 🙂 The lack of good marks is *another* reason not to play on hard courts – nor to live out west. 🙂

    Kevin, I like the idea of the umpire taking the option to call for a review. Thanks, george

  5. Surely the important thing is to get the call right…. not screw a player because he has run out of challenges!
    At a tournament recently, I noticed that the chair umpires had two screens; one to keep the score, timings etc and the other was an instant picture of whether the ball was ‘in’ or ‘out’ on a point ending shot.
    There is now no need for a challenge system… or line officials.. although I like to hear a call of ‘out’ which is reassuring!
    The Hawkeye video replay on TV is good for TV – but all the chair umpire needs is to know whether the ball is ‘in’ or ‘out’ and that can be almost instantaneous.

    Allan – that has to been in the cards for the future! thanks, george

Comments are closed.