‘I respect Novak’s opinion, but I prefer line judges,’ says Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal says he is against the use of Hawk Eye over line judges in tennis as he wants to retain a ‘human element’ to the sport. 

Last month Novak Djokovic said he believed it was time for tennis to move away from line-judges, with some tournaments already using a live Hawk Eye system during the coronavirus crisis.

Nadal, though, does not see it that way at all, and he wants to keep line-judges instead.

“I don’t want to create controversy, but I think the traditional court with line judges looks much nicer,” Nadal told Reuters.

“Novak said line judges were not needed. All opinions are respected. There are different visions of the sport, but for me I like it less without line judges.

“It’s welcome here so we can adapt to the circumstances but if you ask me towards the future I prefer line judges. It’s true the sport has not changed many things in the last 50 years, compared with the majority of sports, but I don’t think this is a way to improve the spectacle of our sport.”

“The technology is there, it could be just the two of us in the court if we want,” he said. “But I think the human side gives some more value somehow to the sport.”

Nadal’s opinion also seems to be coloured by a small distrust of Hawk Eye, which he believed was not entirely accurate in his ATP Finals defeat to Dominic Thiem.

“I don’t like this technology,” he said. “I prefer to have lines (judges) out there. But that’s how it is today and I have no complaint about that.

“I felt a couple of balls (called by Hawk Eye Live) was not the exact mark, but no problem.”

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