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Technology

ATP to roll out universal electronic line calling in ‘landmark’ move

Featured image credit: Mario Gogh on Unsplash

Featured image credit: Mario Gogh on Unsplash

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) has announced that electronic line calling will be introduced across all ATP Tour events from 2025, with the technology to be used in place of on-court line judges.

It is hoped the service, known as Electronic Line Calling Live (ELC Live), will optimise accuracy and consistency across ATP events, match courts and surfaces for players competing in main draw and qualifying events.

For several seasons, a combination of ELC Live, ELC Review and on-court line judges has been used at ATP Tour events. The decision to roll out ELC Live across all events has been supported by extensive research conducted by the ATP across tennis stakeholders, including fans, which identified accuracy and consistency as the most important factors in assessing different line-calling systems.

The all-court ELC Live coverage will also deliver comprehensive player and ball tracking across the whole Tour, leading to new levels of data for player-performance analysis and the development of new statistics in the game in collaboration with Tennis Data Innovations, as well as future commercialisation opportunities.

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said: “This is a landmark moment for our sport, and not one we’ve reached without careful consideration. Tradition is core to tennis and line judges have played an important part in the game over the years. That said, we have a responsibility to embrace innovation and new technologies. Our sport deserves the most accurate form of officiating and we’re delighted to be able to deliver this across our whole Tour from 2025.”

ELC Live was first trialled at the Next Gen ATP Finals in 2017 in Milan as part of a raft of technological innovations, several of which have since been implemented on the main Tour.

The technology has been available for tournaments on a voluntary basis and has become widely adopted since the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple suppliers are approved to provide ELC Live technology on hard court and on grass, with final testing underway for clay.

The ATP expects multiple different suppliers to be approved across various court surfaces from 2025. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has not announced plans to adopt ELC Live but it told the Associated Press that it is something it has been reviewing and is “very interested” in.

The ATP decision does not cover the four grand slam tournaments, but the US Open and Australian Open both moved to fully electronic line calling in 2021.