Another year, another french open that draws to its inevitable close. The clay grand slam that occurs between every May and June at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, France. The French Open is often considered to be the most physically demanding of the four Grand Slam tournaments on the tennis tour because of the sliding which makes it easy to do damage to the tendons, joints, and muscle groups in your legs. However, while Paris may be a popular destination for young love, its Grand Slam has fallen behind its other three counterparts (Wimbledon, US Open, Australian Open) as it refuses to advance past the stone age of tennis towards the modern age.

What's setting Roland-Garros back?

While Roland-Garros has sworn since 2013 that their redesign of Phillip Chartier court will include finally a retractable roof over their main arena (although according to reports by ESPN, this has been pushed back to 2020 at the earliest) which is itself a necessary item for a tournament that hands out over 32 million euros in total prize money throughout its championships. What really is setting Roland-Garros back even more that a lack of a roof over the main stadium is their blatant refusal to incorporate what has become a genuine strategy of the sport, in video replay/challenges. Relying on human eyesight/ball marks no matter how great of eyesight a chair ump might claim to have, seems almost archaic in a world where video review has seemingly become integrated into every major professional sport on the planet.

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The question is, why does the French Open, one of the tennis’ premier tournaments over the course of the year, refuse to integrate into the modern era of professional tennis?

Is 'mostly correct' really alright?

The instant-replay technology and its accompanying challenge system have been a part of grand slams since it made its debut back in the 2006 U.S. Open. In research done by The Atlantic, three out of every ten challenges are overturned. What that means is that at least thirty percent of all calls made by chair umpires and line judges in a Grand Slam watch, the highest level of tennis that can be possibly played, are called incorrectly. That number should be appalling whether you are yourself a player or just a fan of a game. A good analogy would be if you were taking a ten-question test and only got seven questions right. Sure, you got most of the answers right however, you ended up getting a seventy. That would be a C-. That would be barely passing for many collegiate classes. Sure, I suppose the people who run Roland-Garros are fine with that, but as a lover of the game, since I began playing it myself when I was eleven years old, I am not.

For such a high- level event, anything lower than as close to perfection as possible is not acceptable.

What Hawk-Eye technology is

One argument people might try to make is how can they really trust this technology? Hawk-Eye technology, as it is called, is comprised of ten different cameras on or around the tennis court that are comprised at several different strategic angles to project the trajectory of a tennis ball when it bounces off the court. Using the ten different camera images registered, the Hawk-Eye system compiles the images together to present to everyone watching on the video boards. It is flawless technology. As former professional tennis player James Blake told USA Today during an interview several years ago, ‘the ball’s moving so fast these days that sometimes it’s impossible for anyone to see, even a trained official. With instant replay, we can take advantage of technology and eliminate human error. Since it was then incorporated at the final Grand Slam event of the year, the Australian Open and Wimbledon have both incorporated it into their tournament matches as well. The only one who has not? Roland Garros.

Conclusion

Tennis is not the only sport who has adopted instant replay/challenge system technology. FIFA, incorporated it during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Major League Baseball incorporated it into all their games in 2016. The National Football League made instant replay a permanent fixture back in 2007. The National Hockey league incorporated a challenge system beginning in 2015. Almost all major sporting events/sports leagues have embraced instant replay and/or challenging into their fabric and being since the mid 2000’s and let’s face it: it is just embarrassing for a sport as historic and magical as tennis to have pompous chair umpires fishing around clay during a Grand Slam for a ball mark. Tennis is a growing sport that continues to improve its sphere of influence and marketing world round year after year just as the other major world sports such as football, American football, and baseball are. Yet, not enforcing challenging/instant replay at one of their most major events of the year is a sore eye for the sport and needs to be fixed, ASAP.