Thursday, July 5

Keeping control

A line judge calls a ball good.
© Neil Tingle_AELTC
A couple of days ago, Dr Joe posted on this blog about the ground staff at Wimbledon; and yesterday it was the ballboys and ballgirls. So it seems only fair that the other, often unsung, heroes of the Championships get a mention too - the umpires and court officials.

There are 335 officials at The Championships working as chair umpires, line umpires or off-court staff. These officials cover more than 650 matches played during the Fortnight.

There are 240 British officials, all members of the Association of British Tennis Officials (ABTO) and approximately 70 overseas officials from all over the world, including the team of six ITF/Grand Slam Chair Umpires that officiate at all four Grand Slams and two ATP Full Time Officials.

Around 42 chair umpires are assigned each day, with the other officials working as Line Umpires. Chair Umpires normally umpire two matches a day, although not necessarily on the same court. Line Umpires work in teams and there are two line teams per court. These line teams work on a timed rotation (75 minutes on, 75 minutes off), with nine Line Umpires per team on court officiating on Centre Court, No. 1 Court, No. 2 Court, No.3 Court and Court 18, and seven line umpires on the other courts.

The Chief Umpire, Jenny Higgs, is responsible for the organisation of umpires for The Championships. Her role is to assign and supervise all of the officials each day. A custom-made computer system and a team of assistants help this process.

Chair Umpires use computers to score the match, with each point scored being displayed automatically on the website. Net cord machines are used by the Chair Umpire on all courts, and the Hawk-Eye electronic system is used on Centre, No.1, No.2 and No.3 Courts to allow line calls to be reviewed.

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