Tempe, AZ (August 26, 2019) – Today, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is excited to announce that it has officially approved PlaySight’s PlayFair video challenge replay system heading into the 2019-2020 season after a successful three-year pilot. PlayFair enables multi-angle video review for line call challenges, with the mission to improve sportsmanship throughout college tennis and increase participation in and viewership of the sport.
The ITA, the governing body of men’s and women’s college tennis, first piloted PlaySight’s PlayFair technology at the 2016 SoCal Intercollegiate Championships. Since then, there have been over 100 PlayFair-sanctioned college tennis matches. PlayFair video replay is a feature of PlaySight’s Smart AI and connected camera sports technology platform, giving tennis players the ability to challenge line calls made by their opponents or an official’s overrule. This is a concept widely used in other sports, including football (challenge flags and official reviews), basketball (NBA Replay Center) and soccer (VAR technology).
The ITA has established itself as a technology leader, and this announcement further solidifies the forward-looking focus that the organization is bringing to college tennis. Dr. Timothy Russell, CEO of the ITA, reflected on the importance of PlaySight’s work in saying, “The foundation of the long history of the game of tennis is built on integrity. In the fast-paced world of the 21st century, our Association is committed to reclaiming the honor and future of our sport. Hopefully the ITA’s thought leadership as coupled with PlaySight’s high impact cutting-edge technology will inspire a resurgence of improved sportsmanship in the ranks of junior and grassroots tennis as well as at the collegiate level, setting a new standard for how the sport of tennis should be played.”
Josh Graves, PlaySight’s Head of Tennis, has seen PlayFair develop firsthand. “In professional tennis matches, there are numerous line judges, an umpire and most of the time a challenge system. In college tennis matches, players are expected to make accurate and unbiased calls for themselves while operating under an environment similar to the most intense Davis Cup matches.” As a former standout tennis player at Northwestern University, Graves understands the importance of replay technology. “PlayFair takes some of this pressure off of the student-athletes, increasing the level of play and sportsmanship. We even see the occasional slow clap from the crowd leading up to the challenge ruling, creating the kind of atmosphere you’d see in Arthur Ashe Stadium.”
Paul Annacone, Tennis Channel Commentator and former coach to both Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, believes that PlayFair can have the same impact on tennis that line call challenge technology has had on the pro tours. “It is terrific news to hear that college tennis is officially adopting and implementing PlayFair. This technology relieves players of the responsibility of very challenging decisions, allowing them to focus more on playing. The review system in professional tennis has been well received and I’m sure the same will happen with PlayFair at the college and junior levels.”
Darren Cahill, a Tennis Analyst for ESPN and former coach to Simona Halep, Andre Agassi and Lleyton Hewitt, believes that video replay has the potential to transform more than just college tennis. “Replay technology has had a positive impact on professional tennis, and it is great for the sport to see PlaySight and the ITA leading the way with it at the collegiate level. I look forward to soon seeing PlayFair throughout junior tennis as well, increasing sportsmanship in competitive matches for the next generation of tennis players.”
Click here to read the full press release.