University of Sussex - Taking the tantrums out of tennis

April 24, 2008

New research could help to take the tantrums out of Centre Court clashes at Wimbledon this summer. Players who challenge decisions by line judges are often accused of resorting to gamesmanship: officials who are challenged are also seen as inept. But analysis of line-call challenges by psychologist George Mather of the University of Sussex shows that both players and line judges are remarkably accurate in their decisions - up to a point. Professor Mather, who studies motion perception in laboratory-based experiments, said: "I could find no evidence in the line-call data of the kind of constant error reported. In fact, performance was remarkably good. Line judges and players can locate the bounce position of a ball moving at up to 50 metres per second to within just a few centimetres. The analysis did show, however, that some errors are inevitable, due to limitations in perceptual processing in the brain."

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