WTA Linz: Hawk-Eye-Live In The “City of Innovation”

STARNBERG/LINZ, November 10, 2020

The Upper Austria Ladies Linz, held from November 7 to 15, is proud of its tradition but also stands for innovation. The tournament is the first WTA-only event to use “Hawk-Eye live” instead of lines judges allowing for less people on site during the times of the coronavirus pandemic.

The tracking technology was introduced at the Western & Southern Open combined event in New York in August followed by the US Open. “The ‘Hawk-Eye Live’ has been one of the hot topics in the tennis world, and I am proud that we can now also present this innovation in Linz, the ‘City of Innovation’. I’m very excited,” tournament director Sandra Reichel said.

Austria’s number one female player Barbara Haas has already had very good experiences with the new system: “I played with it at the US Open and I thought it was very cool. This will make everything easier. I hope it will be introduced in more tournaments,” she said.

Hawk-Eye as leading product

Hawk-Eye is a computer vision system used in numerous sports such as cricket, badminton, rugby, football and volleyball to visually track the trajectory of the ball and display a profile of its statistically most likely path as a moving image. The onscreen representation of the trajectory results is called Shot Spot.

The Sony-owned Hawk-Eye system was developed in the United Kingdom by Paul Hawkins. The system was originally implemented in 2001 for television purposes in cricket. The system works via high-performance cameras, normally positioned on the underside of the stadium roof, which track the ball from different angles. The video from the cameras is then triangulated and combined to create a three-dimensional representation of the ball’s trajectory.

It has been an integral part of tennis since 2002 and continues to deliver innovative solutions for federations, tournaments, broadcasters, and academies that truly enhance the game for players and fans.. Hawk-Eye’s ITF-approved Electronic Line Calling service takes the doubt out of close line calls by using the most sophisticated millimetre accurate ball tracking cameras to identify whether a ball has bounced in our out.

This Hawk-Eye had already celebrated its Austrian debut in Linz in 2010. Linz tournament ambassador Barbara Schett once said about the Hawk-Eye: “It’s great for the player that there is immediate clarity. There is no shouting and no discussion with the umpire.”

Hawk-Eye’s next generation system even spots foot faults

The “Hawk-Eye Live System” was built on the same Electronic Line Calling system that has been used for over 15 years on the tennis tour. The big difference with “Hawk-Eye Live” is that line judges will be replaced. There are 12 tracking cameras on court as well as six foot-fault cameras, three looking at each end.. Review officials monitor them in real time and can press a button if they believe it is a foot fault. Now they admit a foot-fault sound out to the PA-System in real time and players will stop.

“In unprecedented times and the challenges around international travel, this system can help to reduce head count on site to get these events going,” Oliver Clough, Hawk-Eye General Manager of Tennis, explained during the tournaments in New York.

Stacey Allaster, tournament director of the US Open summed up after the use of the “Hawk-Eye Live” in Flushing Meadows on all side courts: “It was an outstanding success! There is no discussion! We couldn’t be happier with the way it worked!”