The US Open, set to begin in less than a month, will employ video review technology in a limited number of matches, the organizers announced Wednesday via the Associated Press. It will be the first time the US Open — or any Grand Slam tournament — has used this kind of technology.
Video review, which is different than electronic line-calling (which is used in all matches to determine whether balls are in or out), will be set up on five courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and capture information from around 50% of singles matches. Players will have three challenges per set to review things like double bounces, noise hindrance and whether a player’s body has touched the net or the ball. If a player challenges a call and wins, they retain their challenge, and they get an extra challenge during tiebreaks.
Double bounces can be especially frustrating for players and umpires alike. Not only can they happen at critical moments (like when a player is rushing to return a drop shot), but they can be hard for umpires to see while being completely clear to the opposing player.
Andy Murray’s first-round upset at the 2022 US Open almost didn’t happen when a ball returned by his opponent Francisco Cerundolo double bounced, but the chair umpire had ruled the point for Cerundolo. But Cerundolo admitted that the ball had double-bounced and surrendered the point, which ended up leading to his defeat. Cerundolo publicly called for video review after he almost got away with “stealing” that point from Murray.
Even chair umpires wish they had help from time to time, as Jake Garner, the new US Open tournament referee and former chair umpire, told the Associated Press.
“There were certain situations, of course, where you would see a video post-match and wish you had made a different decision,” Garner told the AP, “or wish you had assistance in making that decision.”
The US Open has been at the forefront of tennis technology at the Grand Slams in recent years. They allowed electronic line calling in 2006, before any other Grand Slam, and were the first to use a serve clock and allow in-match communication with coaches.