Wimbledon is considering replacing line judges with AI


Tournament director Jamie Baker hasn’t ruled out adopting the technology

AI could soon be the one calling game, set, match at Wimbledon.

The tennis tournament is considering using the tech to judge matches instead of on-court line officials, The Guardian reports. Jamie Baker, the tournament director of the championships, said Wimbledon hasn’t ruled out using AI as it tries to modernise while preserving the traditions that have made the competition highly respected in the sport.

“Line calling obviously is something that is accelerated in the rest of tennis, and we are not making any decisions at this point, but we are constantly looking at those things as to what the future might hold,” Baker said.

Should it turn to robots to judge competitions, Wimbledon wouldn’t be alone. The men’s ATP tour announced in April that by 2025, it would be replacing line judges with electronic calling systems that use a combination of cameras and AI technology. Meanwhile, the US Open and Australian Open both use cameras that track tennis ball movements, the paper reported.

One proponent of the swap is John McEnroe. “I think that tennis is one of the few sports where you don’t need umpires or linesmen,” the seven-time Grand Slam champion told the Radio Times in May. “If you have this equipment, and it’s accurate, isn’t it nice to know that the correct call’s being made? Had I had it from the very beginning, I would have been more boring, but I would have won more.”

McEnroe was disqualified at the 1990 Australian Open over misconduct after arguing with a line judge over a call. More recently, Australia’s Nick Kyrgios made headlines last year when he called another line judge a “snitch who has no fans.” While the swap may prevent these spats, Baker said he was also concerned about preserving the tournament’s legacy.

“I’m sure things are going to change over the next 10, 15, 20 years but our challenge as an executive team here is to make sure those changes don’t erode the heritage, because it’s really important to us,” Baker said.


This story was first published on Robb Report USA. Photo by Getty Images