Players have a big beef with electronic line call

June 26, 1993|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

WIMBLEDON, England -- Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe wouldn't want to be at the U.S. Open this summer.

The United States Tennis Association has determined it will introduce an electronic line-call system that, officials believe, will eliminate human error.

Who are the players going to scream at? Who are they going to second-guess?

The news was greeted less than enthusiastically here yesterday.

"I'm pretty much against the electronic line-calling system," said Pete Sampras, the world's No. 1 men's player. "I think it takes a lot of the personality out of the game. That's why people come to watch tennis -- the way people react to different situations, with line calls and the outbursts. I think that's good for the game. It shows a little personality."

Andre Agassi said: "I can't believe they're going to do this at the U.S. Open before trying it out anywhere else. I wish they wouldn't."

Installation of the system is expected to cost approximately $30,000 for each of the Open's four main courts. Three linesmen will be needed instead of 10 -- a net cord judge and one foot-fault judge at either end. The ATP player council is considering a protest.

Serving up the shots

When Goran Ivanisevic was fined a thousand pounds -- that's $1,500 -- he got off easy. The fine was for shouting obscenities at a linesman during his match with Jonathan Stark.

But according to witnesses, the obscenities were minor compared with the personal attack: "You are quite the ugliest line judge I have ever seen," said Ivanisevic, after being called for a foot fault.

After repeating the statement, he asked him to be moved and he was, to a position at the back of the court.

When Stark excused himself briefly from the court, Ivanisevic entertained himself by hitting a handful of serves. He aimed them at his green-jacketed enemy, but -- to the delight of the crowd -- his aim was terrible, and the linesman never even had to duck.

Stich surprised to see Korda

German player Michael Stich, the 1991 Wimbledon champ, made quick work of Christo van Rensburg, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, and will meet Petr Korda in the round of 16. "I am surprised Petr made it," Stich said. "I didn't think he was playing so well on grass, but obviously he is serving well and returning well."

Finally, the secret of winning

If you want insight, don't ask Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. After her victory yesterday, she was asked what you have to do well to win at Wimbledon: "I think it is important that you keep winning your serve," she said. "And if you break her serve, I think the other one is the one who has the pressure."

History on side of Agassi

Defending champion Agassi advanced to the round of 16, defeating Patrick Rafter, 6-1, 6-7, 6-0, 6-3. History says Agassi should make the quarterfinals. Once in it, Agassi has never lost a fourth-round match.

The round of England

For the second year in a row, an English player has advanced to the Round of 16. Andrew Foster did it yesterday by beating Andrei Olhovskiy, who retired from the match while losing, 6-3, 6-5.

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