Monotonous, dehumanized, less warm … In tennis, the replacement of line judges by machines divides

Is this the tennis of tomorrow ? The Covid-19 epidemic is causing changes in tournaments. On the management of the public of course, but also at the level of the people present on the courts : Until the end of the season, ATP allows all tournaments to use electronic arbitration instead of linesmen.

The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam to experience it. The line judges are replaced by electronic cameras, equipped with sensors. It is a metallic voice, recorded, announcing the foul ball. Revolution, evolution, innovation or aberration? Opinions are divided. Novak Djokovic is in favor, as is Adrian Mannarino: “I prefer not to have a linesman, and to have machines on the edge of the court, because that prevents the players from complaining. If the machine says fault, there is fault, you cannot rail against that.”

But other players denounce a robotic tennis, without soul or emotion, deprived of human warmth. Alizé Cornet initially found the experience interesting, before changing his mind: “At first, I thought it was great. I told myself that it was less energy spent. You can’t fight with the machine, so there’s no real doubt, you can move on. to the next point much more quickly. But as the matches progressed, I found that it really dehumanizes tennis. I have spoken with linesmen. They are there, they are a bit our colleagues from job.”

“There is a small part of history that is going to go away with this robotization of things. In fact, we feel a bit lonely!”

Alizé Cornet

to franceinfo

The chair umpires themselves are relieved of their responsibility, believes Pierre Hugues Herbert: “This is one of the measures that make life on the circuit a little less warm. It is true that being refereed by a machine does not necessarily please me, there is no longer any questioning, one side a little less show. Even for the referee, in itself, one has the feeling that he is hardly doing more than counting the points. I am not necessarily in favor of there being no more linesmen, this are fewer jobs, they were passionate people, who did their job thoroughly. “

One of the direct consequences of this electronic arbitration is that players no longer use video arbitration, which was part of the show. “The people and the players liked it, I think, says Gilles Simon. It was a good mix to have video use three times, something was going on. There it is sure that nothing happens. “

“I think that makes it a bit monotonous. On the automatic side, you feel like nothing can happen.”

Gilles Simon

to franceinfo

With tennis now refereed by robots, players are also becoming a bit like machines: “It’s not really pleasant, you feel like you’re in a rush all the time”, regrets Gilles Simon.

Excessive drifts, and because in sport there is always a mercantile aspect, some already imagine that the metallic voices responsible for announcing the foul ball be replaced by voices which, instead of saying “fault”shout the mark of a sponsor. The players are dismayed, like Alizé Cornet, who can hardly believe this project: “No, I can’t believe it! God, I would be finished my career by then, because frankly, I don’t know if I would be able to live it well. They’re going to make a lot of money with this. . Here we are on business levels … We must keep the soul of sport, all the same. “

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