The World Tennis Association: Video Playback Technology

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Tennis, while being the one of the last sports to implement video replay, was surprisingly one of the first sports to recognize the need. Liz Clarke a reporter for The Washington Post, wrote in June of 2018 about the expansion of the technology in the sport as a whole. The World Tennis Association first recognized the need in 2004, when Serena Williams lost a set and the subsequent match because the line judge that called the ball inbounds, was overturned by the chair umpire. While they apologized after the fact, the damage was done and they started paying attention to the use of replay in tennis (Clarke).

It is not just the major American sports that have taken notice. Major League Soccer (MLS) has employed the use of replay as well. Video replay was added to the MLS in July of 2017 and it was tested in youth soccer games before the all-star break of that year, to prepare the referees for the implementation of the system.

Being the last American sports league to add replay review, afforded the MLS to have the opportunity to see the positives and the pitfalls of video replay. “If it’s used in the right way, this will be an absolutely wonderful addition to our sport,” said Howard Webb, a former Premier League official, who since March 1 has overseen the V.A.R. (Video Assistance Referee) training in MLS. “If it’s overused, it’s going to make our sport a mess (Shpigel).”

While Kang and Sharp think that video replay should be removed from sports entirely, in reality it has done much more good than bad. It takes the onus out of the referees hands; even though it adds more time, it assures that the right call is being called way more often. It not only has made a difference in the major sports, but has seen success in soccer and tennis as well.

With the expanded use of this technology, it is hoped that we won’t have to watch another Galarraga or Williams, lose out on a perfect game or a grand slam title due to human error. Just because our ancestors in the 1800’s made do without cars, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use them. The technology is available and we should use it.

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The World Tennis Association: Video Playback Technology. (2021, Sep 29). Retrieved from

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