LONDON — For the first time in men’s professional tennis, Video Review will be used by officials at the Next Gen ATP Finals, the ATP’s ground-breaking season-ending event for the world’s best 21-and-under players, set to take place in Milan, Italy, from 6-10 November.
The Video Review, delivered using advanced Hawk-Eye technology, will provide opportunities for players to challenge any judgement calls from the Chair Umpire such as Not-Ups, Foul Shots, Touches, or Invasion*. The incorporation of Video Review in Milan represents the latest innovation by the ATP at its bold and ambitious season-ending event for the best 21-and-under players in men’s professional tennis.
Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President, said: “Innovation is at the heart of everything we do at the Next Gen ATP Finals, and we’re looking towards the future in all aspects of this tournament. Adding Video Review will give players a new tool that will further enhance the officiating in our sport. The Next Gen ATP Finals continue to position the ATP at the forefront of innovation in tennis as we also look to deliver on our mission to provide a global stage for the future stars of the ATP World Tour.”
Gayle David Bradshaw, Executive Vice President, ATP Rules & Competition, said: “Controversy with these types of decisions are rare but when they do occur they can be particularly unsettling for players. We do not expect a lot of challenges, but should any instances arise, this technology will ensure the correct decision is reached.”
The Hawk-Eye technology behind the Video Review will use video feeds from all television cameras so that the Video Review operator can quickly search footage to find the correct angle for the decision to be made. The relevant footage will be sent to the Chair Umpire’s tablet who will review the video and decide whether to uphold or overturn the original call. All relevant footage will be played out to the in-house spectators on large video boards in real time, as well as on broadcast, to take the audience even closer to the action. There will be no limit to the number of Video Review challenges a player is able to make.
Future use of Video Review could include decisions on whether to award the point or replay the point in the case of a corrected out to good call by an official. In Milan, however, such instances will not arise as all calls made by Hawk-Eye Live are final.
Peter Irwin, Hawk-Eye Innovations Solutions Director, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the ATP on this ground-breaking introduction of Video Review into professional tennis. Having had years of experience providing our SMART Replay technology for officiating purposes in many other sports, we firmly believe it can bring huge benefits to tennis. Tennis fans are used to Hawk-Eye’s ball tracking technology being used to decide if a ball is in or out, but Video Review will work alongside this to assist officials make the correct decision on other judgement calls. With Hawk-Eye Live again being used in Milan to call the lines live, the use of Video Review to help adjudicate on all other decisions means the players at this year’s Next Gen ATP Finals will get the highest level of officiating they’ve ever had.”
The 2018 tournament will continue with many of the innovations trialed at the inaugural event, with the addition of the Video Review, a further reduced warm-up (4 minutes), as well as the incorporation a towel rack at the back of the court which will remove the onus on all ball kids to handle player towels.
The 2017 edition of the Next Gen ATP Finals, held in partnership with the Italian Tennis Federation and the Italian National Olympic Committee, was one of the boldest integrated presentations of innovation in sport to date. The tournament, which is set to stay in Milan through to 2021, comes at a key time when innovation is being widely considered across the highest levels of the sport. The success of the inaugural tournament was recognized at the Yahoo Sports Technology Awards in London, where ATP & ATP Media won the Most Innovative Governing Body or Rights Holder Award, as well as at the Leaders Sports Awards, where the tournament was recognized with the award for Best Innovation.