‘Hawkeye’ to be used at SA Tennis Open

2009-01-14 00:00

A SYSTEM that has proved increasingly popular with tennis fans around the world, “Hawkeye”, will be used on centre court during the R5-million SA Tennis Open at Montecasino in Johannesburg from February 2 to 8.

Hawkeye was introduced to world tennis to assist the officials and give players peace of mind regarding line calls.

It has also added further interest for the crowds at top matches, as they are now able to participate in the review process on the big screen.

Each player will be allowed three incorrect challenges per set, with an additional challenge in any tiebreaker.

The decision to use Hawkeye on centre court has resulted in the need for a review official, and Blaze Trifunovski of New Zealand will occupy that position at Montecasino.

Meanwhile, South African Iain Smith will get his first opportunity to be tournament referee in an ATP World Tour event at Montecasino.

Smith was notified in December that his silver badge had been upgraded to gold by the ITF and ATP World Tour and he is the first “Gold” referee on the African continent.

“It’s a major privilege to be awarded the promotion,” said Smith.

“It’s also every official’s dream to be able to work on an event in his own country and now that we have an official ATP World Tour event in South Africa, I have been given that opportunity.”

Smith has for many years headed the officiating programme in South Africa, which has recruited aspiring court officials from all corners of the country and trained them into becoming competent and recognised chair umpires and line officials.

“Hopefully my appointment will inspire all the SA officials to further their qualifications.

“Already we have seen talent such as Ephraim Motsiane from Katlehong work his way up the ladder and being invited to officiate at next week’s Australian Open in Melbourne,” said Smith.

Two new official supplier sponsors for the event are KeyHealth Medical Scheme and Avis Rent a Car.

SA Tennis Open officials — ATP supervisor: Gerry Armstrong (Great Britain); ATP referee: Iain Smith (South Africa); ATP chief of officials: Joan Vormbaum (U.S.); ATP chair umpires: Lars Graff (Sweden), Cedric Mourier (France), Roland Herfel (Germany) and Magdi Somat (Egypt); ATP review official: Blaze Trifunovski (New Zealand).

• John Cook will be covering the SA Open for The Witness from Montecasino

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