The End Of The Line Umpire

The End Of The Line Umpire

Michael Morrison literally sees it all – from first serves to the longest drive. Having worked all the major tennis and golf tournaments and events such as the Olympics, Michael has a finger on the pulse of the ATP and WTA Tour like no other person. He monitors each golf and tennis major from the first tee off and first serve to the final putt or winning championship point. Serving the broadcast and sporting industries for over a dozen years, Michael has found a niche combining software development, stats and video production. And now he let’s us in on some of the industry trade secrets.

Michael, himself an avid tennis player, believes the advent of computerized line-calling will change the face of junior tennis and recreational umpiring across the globe. “These line umpires work the juniors and more minor events so they get the call up to majors,” says Morrison. “It’s sad, but that is just not going to be the case in a matter of a year or two.”

With three companies now vying for the line calling business across the ITF, ATP, WTA and the rest of tennis across the globe, Morrison believes that it will bring to an end the era of the linesperson not only at the majors and tour events, but it could affect the umpires at local events. Without the enticing possibility of heading to a major championship, umpires are most likely not going to serve nearly as often across local tournaments.

The Biggest Changes On The Men’s And Women’s Tennis Tour

Morrison, who works as an independent contractor reporting to ESPN and CBS Sports, is at every major tennis tournament from The US Open and Wimbledon to The Australian and Indian Wells. He believes that the athleticism of today’s male professionals sets them apart from the players of the 80s and the 90s. On the women’s side, he notes that the power game is now essential.

computerize image of ball and tennis line
The End Of The Line Umpire

With technology taking over the line calling, Morrison also believes that the serve clock will become further entrenched and standardized across the majors and the tours. With television viewers asking for quicker matches, the serve clock is here to stay.

What Will The Golf and Tennis Tours Be Like Post Covid?

More dramatic! Without the crowds at Augusta this past month, Morrison says that Amen Corner was hushed and anti-climatic. The crowds will return and with them so will the crowd noise and the true fans of both tennis and golf. What might never return are the ball kids fetching Rafa Nadal’s towel!

Have a listen to our chat with one of the most-travelled sports producers in the world and find out why the line umpire will be only seen by the next generation of players and tennis lovers through photography and art and how that might make Novak Djokovic’s 2021 a little easier.

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