No reason to keep line umpires: Djokovic

No reason to keep line umpires: Djokovic

PARIS • Novak Djokovic, who was famously defaulted at the US Open after he accidentally hit a ball which felled a line judge, has demanded that the officials be replaced by machines.

The world No. 1 was disqualified at Flushing Meadows after his stray ball smashed into the throat of a lineswoman standing behind him.

The incident happened at Arthur Ashe Stadium, one of just two courts at the US Open which still maintains the tradition of using linesmen and women.

Electronic line calling was used on the other courts as part of plans to reduce the number of people on-site during the coronavirus pandemic.

There have been growing calls for a similar system to be introduced at Roland Garros, which still relies on officials making rulings with the naked eye.

Djokovic believes it is time for a rethink. “With all respect for the tradition and the culture we have in this sport, when it comes to people present on the court during a match, including line umpires, I really don’t see a reason why every single tournament in this world, in this technological advanced era, would not have what we had during Cincinnati/New York,” he said on Saturday.

He has earlier demolished Colombian lucky loser Daniel Galan 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the last 16, where he will face Russian 15th seed Karen Khachanov.

“The technology is so advanced right now, there is absolutely no reason why you should keep line umpires on the court.

“Of course, I understand technology is expensive, so it’s an economical issue and a question mark.

“But I feel like we are all moving towards that, and sooner or later, there is no reason to keep line umpires.

“Maybe you can tell me if there is any significant reason why we should keep other than tradition that we had and have in this sport. Then I would also probably then have less chances to do what I did in New York.”

    11 Years in a row Novak Djokovic has reached the last 16 at Roland Garros.

Top players such as US Open champion Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas have also called for a rethink of officiating in Paris this week.