Crowds and line-judges: Tim Henman outlines his hopes for Wimbledon this summer

Tim Henman says Wimbledon hopes to welcome fans to the Championships this summer, and he hopes line-judges can return too. 

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a four stage plan to remove all social restrictions by June 21 on Monday, meaning Wimbledon may be free to go ahead as usual after being forced to cancel altogether last summer.

And, after watching the Australian Open played out in front of crowds for much of the tournament, Henman has renewed hope for Wimbledon.

“It was fantastic to hear the roar of the crowd and the atmosphere that even the partially full stadiums made to the matches,” Henman said.

“It was brilliant to see and something everyone is so keen to see at Wimbledon.”

Henman, though, is less keen on the use of Hawk-Eye Live in tennis, despite many top players saying they prefer it, and he is hoping that Wimbledon is able to go back to the old system.

“With regards to Hawk-Eye live, in an ideal world I would like to have the Hawk-Eye technology on the court but with line judges,” Henman, who sits on the Wimbledon committee, added.

“I enjoy still the human element, the interaction between players and line judges and players selecting when to challenge.

“I think the line judges have been a part of our sport for a very long time and there’s a community of line judges and umpires who are involved in tennis.

“If we are only using Hawk-Eye live at the highest level, then I think the interest and opportunity for people to be involved in that sphere, the incentive is not going to be there.

“At the 2021 championships we don’t know yet what the restrictions will be, but if there’s a scenario when we are trying to limit the number of people on site then I’m sure Hawk-Eye live will be an opportunity.

“But if you’re asking my personal opinion then I would like to have Hawk-Eye with the umpires and the line judges.”

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