Grand Slam first: No line judges at Australian Open

Sep 6, 2020; Flushing Meadows, New York, USA; Novak Djokovic of Serbia checks on a line judge after he unintentionally hit her with a tennis ball after losing a game to Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain (not pictured) on day seven of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Next week’s Australian Open will be the first Grand Slam in history to not have line judges, a move made in the name of safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Electronic line calling will be done in real time, thanks to remote tracking cameras around the court.

“The Australian Open will be the first Grand Slam tournament to introduce live electronic line calling on all courts, including the major stadiums,” Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said.

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The electronic calls will feature pre-recorded voices of Australia’s front-line workers in the country’s pandemic response — firefighters and other emergency response personnel.

“I’m delighted this initiative will also help to shine a light on those who work tirelessly, and so often without recognition, to keep our community safe and healthy,” Tiley said.

The tournament, which begins Monday and runs through Feb. 21, will allow up to 30,000 spectators per day, around 50 percent of usual capacity.

Read More: Portugal’s Joao Sousa pulls out of Australian Open

–Field Level Media