How long until line calls are automated for ordinary league play?

time_fly

Hall of Fame
I have to believe that in less than 10 years, there will be automated line calling systems that are affordable and robust enough to be routinely used on every court at most tennis clubs, and that in 10-15 years they will be strongly encouraged for USTA matches and required for tournaments and college-level play instead of manual line calls by players. What do you think?
 

BeyondTheTape

Semi-Pro
I have to believe that in less than 10 years, there will be automated line calling systems that are affordable and robust enough to be routinely used on every court at most tennis clubs, and that in 10-15 years they will be strongly encouraged for USTA matches and required for tournaments and college-level play instead of manual line calls by players. What do you think?
Automated line call systems already out bro. link.

Affordability? Starting at $230 for one device. Up to $500 for multiple devices. For as much as the Apple phone cost in your hand, seems affordable to me.

Pretty sure players would ante up to split that costs in leagues.
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
Automated line call systems already out bro. link.

Affordability? Starting at $230 for one device. Up to $500 for multiple devices. For as much as the Apple phone cost in your hand, seems affordable to me.

Pretty sure players would ante up to split that costs in leagues.
Are you talking about the In/Out device? I've heard of it but it still seems early-stage. For example, doubles line calls are still "coming soon." I doubt clubs will invest in a system until it's stable and supported / serviced by a major vendor.
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
I have to believe that in less than 10 years, there will be automated line calling systems that are affordable and robust enough to be routinely used on every court at most tennis clubs, and that in 10-15 years they will be strongly encouraged for USTA matches and required for tournaments and college-level play instead of manual line calls by players. What do you think?
Maybe. But whenever I've played on a "Play Sight" court, we always turn off the line calling. It's just awkward to look to the machine to decide if the point is (still) "live" or not while you are playing.

For it to work, it would basically have to scream "out" like a linesperson would do (not just flash a red / green light or beep). But if it does that, you'll have to be playing on an island by yourself, or the neighboring courts will all confuse each other.
 

BeyondTheTape

Semi-Pro
Are you talking about the In/Out device? I've heard of it but it still seems early-stage. For example, doubles line calls are still "coming soon." I doubt clubs will invest in a system until it's stable and supported / serviced by a major vendor.
They have had more updates. Curious to the performance/accuracy of some installed in Chicago.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
I see the trade off as potentially greater satisfaction for the established customer base against higher costs attracting and retaining new participants.

Electronic scoring has recently become widespread in some shooting sports (NRA High Power rifle). Costs of events with electronic scoring range from 50-100% HIGHER. Combined with high error rates and bad customer service in the first few events our family attended with electronic scoring, we've tended to avoid competitive events with electronic scoring. However, it is a very appealing feature for PRACTICE.

Most tennis courts we play on are public, and their utilization rates and local politics suggest automated line calling is unlikely. Event organizers are not making much money in the first place, and since I don't think they can pass on the costs to local participants, I really don't see anyone making the investment. The few private courts we play on seem like afterthoughts to the golf courses and pool areas. Tennis is a second or third class sport at these venues. It is easier to see some big spending here than on public courts, but I still don't see an installed base of greater than 50% of the private courts.

The bigger chance I see for adoption in the next decade is more the public high schools and colleges. School choice has created huge competition among local schools, and they are spending millions to attract students through their sports facilities and programs rather than improved education. Students vote with their feet, and the funding flows from the taxpayer based on headcounts. By high school, most parents are letting their teens pick based on whatever criteria is appealing to the teens, which has driven spending on facilities rather than education. Improved education invariably requires more student effort, and it is easier to pacify this generation than to educate them.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
One of my daydreams is to someday play a match with ball kids, an official and linespeople. If there is a device that can call the lines, great, I still want the ball kids though.

@MathGeek Not all schools revolve around sports. My daughter is at a public magnet school that is so sought after that if you get through the admissions tests and your transcript passes muster, you then have interviews and finally have to survive a lottery to get in. The school is an utter dump. Built in the '60s never renovated. Very little actually works in the school (like bathrooms or drinking fountains). The lockers fell into disrepair (and there are too few of them for the number of students) that no kid gets a locker. The athletic facilities are less modern than what I had in school 25 years ago.

It is all about the academics. School has 2200 total kids. Class of 2018 had 8 national merit FINALISTS, 18 semi-finalists and 27 kids accepted into Ivy League schools. Class of '19 looks like it is going to beat those stats.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
@MathGeek Not all schools revolve around sports. My daughter is at a public magnet school that is so sought after that if you get through the admissions tests and your transcript passes muster, you then have interviews and finally have to survive a lottery to get in. The school is an utter dump. Built in the '60s never renovated. Very little actually works in the school (like bathrooms or drinking fountains). The lockers fell into disrepair (and there are too few of them for the number of students) that no kid gets a locker. The athletic facilities are less modern than what I had in school 25 years ago.

It is all about the academics. School has 2200 total kids. Class of 2018 had 8 national merit FINALISTS, 18 semi-finalists and 27 kids accepted into Ivy League schools. Class of '19 looks like it is going to beat those stats.
Yes, I know of a few schools like that. But in a given state, what percentage of students graduate from schools like that and what percentage of students graduate from schools where sports and other recreation are higher priorities than academics?
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Yes, I know of a few schools like that. But in a given state, what percentage of students graduate from schools like that and what percentage of students graduate from schools where sports and other recreation are higher priorities than academics?
Well, just to be a twit and twist your meaning .... schools that place their priorities on academics have a higher graduation percentage than schools with a focus on sports .... ;)
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
Well, just to be a twit and twist your meaning .... schools that place their priorities on academics have a higher graduation percentage than schools with a focus on sports .... ;)
This assumes schools that focus on sports don't just lower their standards.
 

penpal

Semi-Pro
Maybe. But whenever I've played on a "Play Sight" court, we always turn off the line calling. It's just awkward to look to the machine to decide if the point is (still) "live" or not while you are playing.

For it to work, it would basically have to scream "out" like a linesperson would do (not just flash a red / green light or beep). But if it does that, you'll have to be playing on an island by yourself, or the neighboring courts will all confuse each other.
Interesting points/perspective. Maybe the In/Out guy could develop an app that can be loaded onto smart watches/fit bits - generating a vibration when the ball is out. I would like that much better than a light or a beep. Of course, it would require players to buy and wear wearables, but a lot are already doing so. And you'd really only need one player on the court wearing one, assuming everyone is honorable.
 

BGod

G.O.A.T.
Probably 10 years away.

The problem as some have noted is for it to be effective it needs to be loud enough and on a 2, 3 or 4 shared courts layout you'd have too many complaints. I can certainly see it for tournament play for semifinal or final at club level though as the distraction would be limited. The best way to combat this would be a bluetooth ear-in bud. example linked to that specific court.
 

ShaunS

Semi-Pro
For it to work, it would basically have to scream "out" like a linesperson would do (not just flash a red / green light or beep).
Well, the problem with this discussion is that we're talking about a theoretical solution. I could envision a system with red/green LEDs on both sides that wouldn't need audio cues, and that would mitigate the concerns about sounds. Even if you wouldn't immediately notice it (and it seems unlikely with even a reasonable sized display), it wouldn't have to "stop" the call so the point would end when noticed.

Beyond that there is some pretty impressive technology around "directional" speakers (ex. parametric speakers), but they can be quite a bit more costly. They could be quite effective in only presenting out calls to the court. That said, I'm not sure the confusion around what system is calling balls out would be as prolific as you guys believe regardless.

In the most basic sense, the technology exists for all of this, but it remains prohibitive in terms of cost. It's difficult to predict when that will change because it's not so much about improvements to processing power, more refinement of software and imaging costs. 10 years is a reasonable guess, but I'd expect that most D1 college programs to implement a solution with 5 years.
 

Max G.

Legend
If everyone was honorable there wouldn't be a need for a machine to make line calls.
No, that's not true. It's hard to see lines accurately - even if everyone does their best there's still going to be bad calls (though the purpose of the code, and if everyone is honorable, the bad calls are always supposed to be in the opponents' favor)
 

penpal

Semi-Pro
Maybe the In/Out developer could create his own wearable wrist device that provides a vibration when the ball lands out. Include two with each package - one for a player on each side of the court. This could be in addition to offering an app that can be downloaded to existing wearables.

The main point being, if players had the ability to be notified silently when a ball lands out, I think that would solve the issue of people being distracted by calls on nearby courts.

One thing I just thought of though with respect to the In/Out device ... I wonder how it identifies out of bounds bounces after the first bounce. For example, a ball that lands out, then bounces again before being scooped up by a player. Or pre-service motion ball bounces. I wouldn't want constant notifications of out-of-bounds bounces.
 

speedysteve

Legend
Found this ancient thread.
About club play..

It's taken more than the 10 years predicted to get it in to the pro game, let alone amateur..

I've watched all three next gen year end tournaments and now the Diriyah tournament in Saudi Arabia is using, by the sound of it, the same system.
I love it!
Never a doubt, play the ball until it's called out.. no wasting time challenging poor line calls..
Tis' the future of the pro game.

Apart from the top of net system (In/Out), that's been discussed here (that seems very hit and miss), we are miles away from auto calls at club level.
 
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sovertennis

Professional
If everyone was honorable, all close balls would have to be called in, and that is not fun either.
This seems to be a common reply from you for all line-calling related posts, and I cannot make sense of it, ie if the ball is close then it should be played; as well, for most players it's far more "fun" to hit the ball/ play the point then it is to call a close-to-the-line ball out.

Regardless, my point is off-topic and I don't wish to hijack the post. No need to respond.
 
One thing I've learned about computer technology is, if we think it's ten years away, it's probably five, starting with the high-end clubs. I for one would welcome it. And based on my wife's experiences, it'll fundamentally change womens' league tennis.
 

speedysteve

Legend
The technology on line calls is a lot closer to being a reality than we think.

Looks really good.
Can't see it coming to a club near me anytime soon esp on all courts but it would be great.
Needs to be water and gale force storm proof too!
That would mean substantial fixings or it would blue about and not be accurate I would think.

Wonder how much?
 

5sets

Professional
I have to believe that in less than 10 years, there will be automated line calling systems that are affordable and robust enough to be routinely used on every court at most tennis clubs, and that in 10-15 years they will be strongly encouraged for USTA matches and required for tournaments and college-level play instead of manual line calls by players. What do you think?
Lol, in addition to the physical therapists you mandated to give us massages? It’s Rec tennis man (woman?), c’mon!
 

V-Werks

New User
I have to believe that in less than 10 years, there will be automated line calling systems that are affordable and robust enough to be routinely used on every court at most tennis clubs, and that in 10-15 years they will be strongly encouraged for USTA matches and required for tournaments and college-level play instead of manual line calls by players. What do you think?
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
Lol, in addition to the physical therapists you mandated to give us massages? It’s Rec tennis man (woman?), c’mon!
Actually, I lean the other way. I don’t think pros should be given “medical timeouts” to get sports massages on the court unless there is some sort of visible injury. I’m not sure what the threshold should be, but some guys do it almost every match. Makes them look like a bunch of babies.
 

Robert F

Professional
I think Accutennis is using a leasing model. The podcast Essential Tennis had with it said, $500 a month per court. So clubs would add a premium to use Accutennis courts. Seems very cool, but seems like an expensive way for clubs.

After the NextGen finals, I'm amazed the tour hasn't adopted electronic line calling yet.
 
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