‘Hawk-Eye is not accurate and it’s a big problem for tennis,’ says Gilles Simon

Gilles Simon says Hawk-Eye is ‘not at all accurate’ and that is causing a ‘big big problem’ for tennis, especially in the standard of umpiring. 

Simon crashed out of the Australian Open on Tuesday as he was comprehensively beaten by Stefanos Tsitsipas on Rod Laver Arena.

However, he used his post-match press conference to express his frustrations at the electronic line calling that has replaced line-judges in recent months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The main problem is that it’s not at all accurate, that’s the big, big problem,” Simon said.

“Surprisingly the players prefer a machine error to a chair umpire error, otherwise we always have the idea that it’s personal – we’re paranoid and we always have the idea that the umpire is blaming us personally, and that’s why he’s making a mistake.

“But with the machine, you can’t push your paranoia quite that far. It’s a problem because there are big differences – especially here where you can see the marks really, really well.

“You can see that the call that’s been made is not where the mark is. So it’s a problem.

“In Cologne there were big officiating errors – it is impartial, it’s neutral, but there are times when we’d like the calls to be correct.

“And surprisingly, I think we miss the challenges. I think people and the players actually like the challenges – it was a nice mix to be able to resort to the video three times – something happened.

“Obviously now you can’t challenge a ball that’s been called out by the machine.”

Simon also says he is seeing a serious decline in umpiring standards in tennis, and he can’t help but wonder whether it is connected to an over-reliance on the Hawk-Eye system.

“And mainly what I least like with Hawk-Eye Live is – and I don’t know if there’s a connection, and for a while I’ve thought it’s getting worse – the level of umpiring has gone a way down.

“The umpires are maybe a little less connected during points. And there are a lot of ‘let’ calls – and if it’s not the machine they don’t see it.

“Now I think they are just obsessed about the time [between points]. I think I already talked about this at Roland Garros.

“I have the impression they only have one mission – to give you a warning the second you get to the 25th second.

“That’s all there is. That’s what you feel when you go for your towel – this kind of permanent stress.

“I don’t know if it’s because umpires are making fewer announcements, are they more vigilant with what’s happening on the court or what’s happening off it?

“That’s all that’s left for them to do and they do it with a zeal and, unfortunately, that’s not a good thing.

“Basically, there’s something that’s not working well on court these days.”

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