WIMBLEDON: The traditional bleep of Wimbledon’s Cyclops line-calling system will be silenced on the show courts this year as the All England Club adopts HawkEye technology for the first time.
The high-speed multi-camera technology which tracks the trajectory of a moving ball was first used at a grand slam in 2005 at Flushing Meadow and has also been successfully launched at the Australian Open.
At those tournaments players can challenge two line calls per set. An instant replay is shown on large screens, allowing both the players and the spectators to watch whether the ball was in or out.
While both the US Open and the Australian Open are contested on hard courts, Wimbledon is played on lush grass where fast, skidding serves, particularly in the men’s game, can dominate.
“We can confirm the introduction of HawkEye,” Ian Ritchie, the chief executive of the All England Club told reporters on 25 March. “We are going to have some final testing on grass courts in May to make sure we’ve got it absolutely right.
“We will use it on Centre and Number One court and we have put in place two large screens on both courts.
“We will not use Cyclops on those two courts because we feel to have conflicting technologies in use at the same time would be inappropriate. We will re-deploy Cyclops on other courts.”
Ritchie said they were still to decide how many challenges players would be allowed at the two-week championships which begin on 25 June, saying they could get more than they do elsewhere.
“There are slightly different circumstances on a grass court and there are things we are discussing before we decide the protocol we are going to adopt.
“It’s unlikely that they’ll be unlimited challenges, but maybe we are looking to extend the limit. We want to extend the continuity of what has worked well at the American and Australian Opens but we’re looking at alternatives as well.”
While HawkEye, which has been widely used in cricket, has been generally well received by players, there have been some dissenting voices.
World number two Rafael Nadal, runner-up at Wimbledon last year, blamed his defeat at this year’s Dubai Open by Mikhail Youzhny on the system after a crucial point was overturned in favour of his Russian opponent.
Roger Federer, the world number one and Wimbledon champion for the past four years, has also gone on record saying he is against the technology being used.
The French Open will not use HawkEye to determine line calls, although television viewers will be able to see replays.