Monday, March 19, 2007

Hawk-eye Technology and Grass Tennis Courts

This blog entry builds upon two previous Hawk-eye postings I made, those being 'Technology in Tennis: Hawk-eye ' and 'Hawk-eye use at the Australian Open'. One of my questions about about the feasibility of Hawk-Eye on grass courts has been answered.

The Queen's Club in London, the host of the Artois Championships, will be the first grass court tournament to use Hawk-eye technology later this year (June 11-17). Complementing this technology, two large screens will be erected on the Centre Court to allow spectators to see line calls being questioned. Now, understanding that the Artois Championships is not on the same level as Wimbledon, the Tennis Grand Slam tournament that is also held on grass courts, it remains to be seen if Wimbledon will use Hawk-eye. I doubt it will happen in the immediate future (i.e. this year), but who knows, if they are willing to accept a retractable roof over Centre Court, Hawk-eye could very well be incorporated into the upcoming stadium upgrades, including the inclusion of video screens. Of course, traditionalists may balk at this!

I now wonder if any of the clay court tournaments will decide to use Hawk-eye. One commenter to one of my previous Hawk-eye postings correctly points out that the chair ump can inspect the ball mark on the clay court. Arguably there's more payoff for the audience, both in the stands and on television, to see the results through Hawk-Eye to be shown on a big screen. Ultimately that choice to use Hawk-eye will be up to each of the clay court tournaments.

Also, in response to some questions about Hawk-Eye and ball skid/compression that were asked on previous blog entries, the Hawk-eye manufacturer makes the claim that 'Hawk-Eye takes the skid and compression of the ball into account'. You can confirm by viewing the flash file on Hawk-Eye's manufacturer's website by going to the Tennis link (as an aside, this is one reason why relying on flash to present content isn't necessary a good idea, people can't always link to the content directly). If there are more questions on this topic, the best source of information would be through info@hawkeyeinnovations.co.uk.


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