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Hawk-Eye system hits the mark at Wimbledon

Hawk-Eye system hits the mark at Wimbledon
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First Published: Tue, Jul 10 2007. 03 30 PM IST
Updated: Tue, Jul 10 2007. 03 30 PM IST
London: Hawk-Eye looks like it is here to stay at Wimbledon despite champion Roger Federer’s rage against the ball-tracking machine during Sunday’s final against Rafael Nadal.
Hawk-Eye is the only ball-tracking system to have passed the stringent ITF testing measures: it is accurate, reliable and practical.
Tournament organisers hailed the introduction of the system as a huge success on 9 July, saying it had proved both a highly effective tool and popular with the fans.
“We feel it has worked very well and matched our expectations,” a spokesman for the All England Club said on 9 July.
“From what we can see it was welcomed warmly by spectators as part of the entertainment ... with very few exceptions it was also welcomed by the players.
“It’s been an overwhelming success and it will be here to stay,” added the spokesman who emphasised that if anything, Hawk-Eye demonstrated the high level of accuracy of the linesmen and women because most of the challengers went against the player.
Federer, who claimed a fifth consecutive Wimbledon title in a magnificent contest, lost his trademark cool at 0-2 in the fifth set when a Nadal forehand was called out by the umpire.
After the Spaniard challenged it, the Hawk-Eye screens revealed that the spinning ball had clipped the baseline.
The Swiss said he had been “shocked” by the decision and said even the umpire thought Nadal’s challenge would be futile.
“The umpire told me, too, he saw the ball out,” Federer said. “He couldn’t believe it was in. For me it was kind of a shock.”
Hawk-Eye, which tracks the trajectory of a ball in flight, has been introduced in other sports like cricket and is being used in trials in soccer.
The only one of the four grand slams that has not yet adopted it is the French Open.
Wimbledon statistics showed that on only four of the first 12 days on Centre Court did the challenge success rate reach 50% or more.
Fears that players, who were allowed three unsuccessful challenges per set, would abuse the system to disrupt their opponents were also unfounded with an average of just 1.16 challenges per set played.
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First Published: Tue, Jul 10 2007. 03 30 PM IST