Hawk-Eye line-calling system
Hawk-eye is the name of a line-calling system which traces a ball's trajectory and sends it to a virtual-reality machine.
Hawk-Eye uses six or more computer-linked television cameras situated around the court. The computer reads in the video in real time, and tracks the path of the tennis ball on each camera. These six separate views are then combined together to produce an accurate 3D representation of the path of the ball.
The Hawkeye system was invented by a young British computer expert Paul Hawkins, and was launched in 2001. It was first used in television coverage of sporting events such as Test cricket, and has now reached the stage of being used by officials in tennis to assist in adjudicating close line calls.
The Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami was the first tour event to officially use the technology. The 2006 US Open was the first Grand Slam event to feature the system, followed by the 2007 Australian Open. At the Australian Open, only center court matches utilize the technology.
The current rules under which Hawk-Eye is used:
- Each player receives two challenges per set to review line calls.
- If the player is correct with a challenge, then the player retains the same number of challenges. Effectively they have an unlimited number of correct challenges to make.
- If the player is incorrect with a challenge, then one of the challenges is lost.
- During a tie-break, each player will receive an additional challenge.
- Challenges may not be carried over from one set to another.
Although prior to the use of Hawkeye, players have maintained that they instinctively know when a ball is in or out, the evidence so far has not been conclusive. Of the player challenges that have been made, subsequent rulings by Hawkeye have shown that they are only correct about 46% of the time.
Officials of the French Open has so far refused to take up the technology, saying that the unique characteristics of the clay court do not warrant it. As the ball makes a mark on the clay surface, it is possible for the chair umpire to get out and have a look at the mark to determine if the ball was in or out, thus avoiding the need of hawke-eye.
Anyone who has watched a match on TV where they have used this system may have noticed that the ball seems to be elongated when projected on the court surface. This may be explained by imagining the ball hitting the ground with a lot of topspin, that it actually spun forward on the ground and deformed so much as to flatten on the ground. The mark doesn't have to have the exact surface area of the cross-section of the ball to accurately represent the impact point of the ball.