Challenging a call is often a tough path to tackle. Good thing, there’s Hawk-Eye, the on-court computer replay system, to guide the umpire and linespeople to revert the call in their favour.
In an article published in the New York Times, a study suggests that tennis players should challenge “out” calls more than “in” calls because the probability of the officials erring an out than an in is high.
Nonetheless, this should not count as bad refereeing. Instead, it has to do with the inherent bias of human perception of moving objects like the tennis balls.
Power to the tennis players
Based on statistics also, the lower-ranked tennis players who challenged a call are more often right compared with top players.
This is empowering in the sense that the challenge rule gives the tennis players a voice and a chance to overturn the rule without resorting to violent reactions.
Before we proceed with the names of tennis players who challenged calls more, these are the things you need to know about challenging calls in tennis.
FAQs about the challenge system
What is a challenge in tennis?
Tennis has a challenge system wherein the player can disagree or question the call that the line judge made.
How many challenges can a tennis player make?
Tennis players can use one challenge for each set. However, they are allowed up to three challenges per set regardless of the tournament especially when the challenges are unsuccessful. If the set had a tie-break, another challenge is provided to the players.
What happens when a tennis player challenged a call?
The player retains the same number of challenges if he or she is right. If the player is wrong, he or she will lose one challenge.
Best and worst challengers in tennis
In a 2009 study of the US Open, here are some of the best and worst challengers in tennis.
1) James Blake, 6 out of 11 right (55%)
2) Rafael Nadal, 4 out of 11 right (36%)
3) Novak Djokovic, 3 out of 10 right (30%)
4) Andy Murray, 5 out of 21 right (24%)
5) Roger Federer, 5 out of 28 right (18%)
Blake is the best challenger among the men’s tennis players who go 55% of his challenges right.
Federer is the worst challenger with only 18% of his challenges right and overturned to his side. On the side note, Federer never liked the challenge system especially the Hawk-Eye who he called “a menace” once.
1) Caroline Wozniacki, 4 out of 7 right (60%)
2) Elena Dementieva, 3 out of 5 right (60%)
3) Serena Williams, 2 out of 7 right (29%)
4) Jelena Jankovic, 6 out of 22 right (27%)
5) Sybille Bammer, 3 out of 12 right (25%)
Wozniacki and Dementieva are the best challengers in women’s tennis, who got their 60% of their challenges right.
Bammer is the worst challenger with only 25%.
Williams is not a good challenger but not a bad one either, with 29% of the calls she challenged was right.