Farewell to the well-dressed line judges! Wimbledon could switch to electronic line calls from 2025, as the ATP announce all their events will follow the lead of the Australian and US Open
- Line judges are used at Wimbledon despite other tournaments removing them
- The Australian and US Open have moved to electronic line calling recently
- The ATP has announced all events will rely on the electronic system from 2025
The days of nattily attired line judges at Wimbledon look to be numbered after it was announced that all main circuit ATP Tour events will have electronic line calling from 2025.
Different systems to make calls have been gradually introduced over recent years, and these will become compulsory – signalling an end to some of the more colourful episodes in the sport’s history, when players have blown up at what they see as injustices.
The ATP Tour does not govern the four Grand Slams but already the Australian and US Opens have done away with the human element in line judging entirely.
Wimbledon and Paris have retained the smartly dressed men and women for now, but in time will surely have to follow suit.
‘This is a landmark moment for our sport, and not one we’ve reached without careful consideration,’ said ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.
Line judges have continued to be used at Wimbledon despite other events removing them
All ATP tour events will rely exclusively on the electronic line calling system from 2025
‘Tradition is core to tennis and line judges have played an important part in the game over the years. That said, we have a responsibility to embrace innovation and new technologies.’
The measure will lead to greater consistency, and means there will be no repeat of such incidents as seen at the 2020 US Open, when Novak Djokovic was defaulted when a ball he angrily swiped away struck a line judge.
However, there will be downsides. With tennis battling to hold its place in an ever more competitive marketplace, the complete removal of a source of human drama will not add to the sport’s appeal at a time when modern audiences crave such things more than ever.
More subtly it is hardly likely to encourage recruitment of officials at a grassroots level, with the career path to working at high-profile professional events now largely choked off.