Calls for video evidence as Serena caught in horror show

THE fall-out from Jennifer Capriati’s controversial US Open victory over Serena Williams has re-opened the debate over the use of video replays to assist umpires at major tennis tournaments.

Many top players, including defending men’s champion Andy Roddick, want technology to help umpires rule on tight line calls, especially as broadcasters here are using Hawk-Eye and Mac-Cam systems to show where the ball has landed.

Capriati beat fellow American Williams 2-6 6-4 6-4 in a classic quarter-final confrontation but the match will be remembered more for several controversial line calls that went against Williams in the final set.

Replays showed umpire Mariana Alves made a huge mistake at deuce in the first game of the decider when a Williams winner landed inside the sideline and was correctly signalled good by the line judge but the umpire announced “advantage Capriati”.

Whether or not she overruled or just got the score wrong is still unclear but Williams was the victim again when Capriati was serving for the match at 5-4, once on a Capriati second serve that the video replay showed was out and again on a winner that was called out after catching the line.

Number eight seed Capriati may have been the beneficiary against her third-seeded opponent on Tuesday but she has no doubt the time has come to bring in instant replays for umpires.

“I really think they should look into having Hawk-Eye on the umpire’s chair,” Capriati said after her third round match against Vera Douchevina last week.

“At this level of the game, when it’s so close, one or two shots can make a real difference. I would like to know what we’re waiting for, they should at least start trying it.”

Roddick, who played immediately after the Williams-Capriati match says a situation similar to that in the NFL should be used, allowing players two challenges per match.

“I don’t see a whole lot of downside in that,” said the defending US Open champion. “You’re only going to do

it if you’re 100% sure. It would be pretty easy to have a monitor right at the side of the court. I wouldn’t like to see it every time because it would get ridiculous, it would become a circus.

“But if you have two challenges during a match I don’t see a whole lot of contention in that.”

US Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe, who also works as a commentator, agrees with Roddick.

“We should work towards it,” he said. “Different people have different opinions about whether or not this particular system is 100% accurate. I don’t know but I think it’s pretty close.

“A couple of challenges, I think that would be fun for the fans, it would be good for the game. Last night wasn’t the first time this has happened.

“If the chair umpire’s got a replay right there, even if it’s proven to be 99% accurate, it’s probably still more accurate than some of the line calls we’re seeing,” he said.

The WTA said this week that the technology would not be used until it was proven to be totally reliable.

However, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) said the use of video replays is something they are considering.

In a statement, US Open tournament referee Brian Earley said: “The USTA continues to explore video technology as a future aid to officials, with tests conducted as recently as this year’s US Open qualifying tournament.”

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