Technology Comes to Tennis

Many of you may be aware that tennis now has the line “challenge”.  It allows a player to “incorrectly” challenge 2 calls per set (similar to football, it doesn’t take away one of the calls if the challenge is correct).  It’s actually added a little suspense to the routine tennis match.

The line call challenge is enabled by the Hawk-Eye system, which is based on image processing that combines the output of a series of cameras around the stadium. The Hawk-Eye technology (ESPN has dubbed the system “ShotSpot”) comes from a British company called The Television Corporation.  According to their web site, “Hawk-eye uses dedicated cameras to track the players and the balls with great accuracy… can achieve accuracies of up to 2-3mm.”  It’s interesting to note that Hawk-Eye tracks the players as well as the ball, and it also tracks the velocity of the ball.     

While I was at the Cincinnati tennis tournament, I captured a photo of one of the Hawk-Eye cameras that are mounted around the tennis courts (see photo below).


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