In line with its commitment to technology and innovation, the Mutua Madrid Open announced on Tuesday that it will include Electronic Line Calling at its 2021 event, which is to be held at the Caja Mágica from 27 April to 9 May. The news means it will be the first ATP Masters 1000 and WTA 1000 to include the option of requesting Electronic Line Calling.
Use of the technology on clay, developed by FOXTENN, was officially approved in November 2019 and it is currently in a testing phase at a few tournaments selected by ATP and WTA. Initially planned for inclusion at the 2020 Mutua Madrid Open, the first use of Electronic Line Calling had to be delayed when the tournament was cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We’re excited about the inclusion of electronic line calling”, said Feliciano López, director of the Mutua Madrid Open. “On the one hand, it will be helpful for the players to have the technology; on the other, its implementation at the tournament is a reaffirmation of the Mutua Madrid Open’s innovative and pioneering DNA”.
Clay surfaces change constantly throughout a match due to, among other things, players sliding, footprints and the weather.
“Traditional systems make an estimate of the ball’s bounce, therefore they do not take into account the changes undergone by the court”, explained Javier Simón, CEO of FOXTENN. “By contrast, the FOXTENN technology visualises the actual image of the bounce and is not affected by the constant micro-variations of the clay”, concluded Simón.
“As a player, I’ve experienced many situations where the ball mark was not clear and this created uncertainty”, offered Félix Mantilla (director of sales at FOXTENN and ex-world number 10). “If we’d had the FOXTENN technology we would have avoided many errors and controversies. It’s great news for tennis”, emphasised Mantilla.
The use of Electronic Line Calling on clay is aimed at improving the accuracy of the umpiring. Although it was introduced for the first time on hard court in Miami in 2006 and gradually introduced on the other surfaces, the protocol on clay of players asking the umpire to check the ball mark during matches had remained in place.
Electronic Line Calling, which will be available in the Manolo Santana Stadium, will be used in singles and doubles matches, as well as in the qualifying rounds in both the men’s ATP and women’s WTA competitions.