Novak Djokovic remains upright in his boots. By evoking the possibility of removing linesmen in the future on the circuit, the world number 1 had created some controversy. As he prepares for the end of the indoor season with the ATP 500 in Vienna and the Masters in London in his sights, he held a conference in Belgrade on Thursday after shared training with his compatriot Filip Krajinovic and under the leadership by Goran Ivanisevic. He notably reiterated his position on the subject, taking care to dissociate it from his misadventures in Flushing Meadows.
Remember, because of the coronavirus pandemic, it was decided to do without the linesmen during the American tour behind closed doors in New York (Masters 1000 at Cincinnati and US Open). All disputed balls were then judged electronically by the hawk-eye, thereby eliminating the usual recourse to the system of 3 “challenges” authorized per player and per set. And the experience rather conquered the “Djoker”. “We experienced this technology for the first time in New York and it went well. There was no room for human error“, he considered.
It’s been my opinion on the subject for several years and it has nothing to do with my disqualification from the US Open.
Djokovic did not stop there. He was careful to dismiss the idea of possible opportunism on his part, following his elimination in the round of 16 of the American Major after sending a ball in frustration but unintentionally at a linesman. “I have had this opinion on the subject for several years and it has nothing to do with my disqualification from the US Open. (…) I don’t love technology out of principle and I’m not a person who can’t live without it. In some ways, I think modern technocratic society has gone too far elsewhere. But if we can be more efficient and precise in tennis, why not?“, he explained.
As for the issue of the dehumanization of sport, the Serb has also addressed it in more vague terms. “For volunteers who officiate as line judges, we would find other roles related to the organization of tournaments“, he thus pleaded without further details. The debate had also been revived after several controversies during Roland Garros on disputed balls. On clay, it is the traces left by the balls which allow the referees to But sometimes, the notion of space between the trace and the line gives rise to heated debates.
Victim of an obvious error during his defeat in the second round, Denis Shapovalov had notably called for the implementation of the hawk-eye on ocher, as for the other tournaments on the circuit. The Canadian, however, had not commented on the possible removal of linesmen. It is difficult at the moment to know whether Djokovic’s position on the circuit is in the majority, but it has the merit of being argued. Not sure, however, that the supporters of tennis attached to its history and tradition are more convinced.