In what year was the Hawk-Eye electronic line-calling system first introduced in professional tennis?

The Hawk-Eye electronic line-calling system made its debut in professional tennis back in 2006, specifically at the US Open. Created by Paul Hawkins, a notable British computer scientist, this revolutionary system utilised high-speed cameras to meticulously track the trajectory of the ball, effectively determining whether it had landed within the boundaries or outside.

Its introduction brought about a significant change in the sport, as players were granted the ability to challenge calls made by line judges. With the assistance of Hawk-Eye, approximately 25% of these challenged calls were ultimately overturned, showcasing the system’s impact on the game’s fairness.

Since its inception, Hawk-Eye has gained widespread recognition and is now an integral part of the majority of prominent professional tennis tournaments. This groundbreaking innovation has effectively reduced the occurrence of disputed line calls, ensuring a more equitable playing field for all participants.

Notably, the year 2020 witnessed another milestone for the Hawk-Eye system at the US Open. This Grand Slam event became the first to implement Hawk-Eye Live, an advanced version that enables automated line calls in real time. Praised for its exceptional precision and efficiency, Hawk-Eye Live has further enhanced the accuracy and reliability of line calls during matches, solidifying its status as a game-changing technology within the world of professional tennis.

There is no denying that tennis does need this kind of technology. Calls have to be made that can be the difference between success and failure. Therefore, this technology has made the game easier for the umpire while giving players complete confidence in each call.

How are shuttlecocks made?

Of course, a shuttlecock is a lightweight, conical projectile used in badminton and its forerunner, battledore, in the same way as a ball is used in other racquet sports, such as squash or tennis. Also known as a ‘bird’ or ‘birdie’, a shuttlecock consists of two parts, a base, or head, and a skirt. Natural cork, shaped into a hemisphere measuring between 25 and 28mm in diameter, is the material of choice for the base, although inferior versions featuring composite, or agglomerated, cork – that is, cork granules joined together with a binding agent – are also available.

Likewise, the skirt of a superior shuttlecock consists of a maximum of 16 natural goose or duck feathers. To achieve the required flight characteristics in the finished shuttlecock, the feathers are often taken just from the left wing and, much to the constenation of animal activists, plucked from live birds to avoid degradation. The feathers are inserted into corresponding holes punched in the base, overlapped to create the required aerodynamics and glued and sewn in place. At the widest end, the skirt typically measures between 58 and 68mm in diameter and, overall, the shuttlecock is between 85 and 95 mm in length and weighs in at between 4.75 and 5.5g.

Alternatively, for the sake of durability in shuttlecocks used by beginners and recreational players, the individual feathers can be replaced with a single, continuous piece of plastic material, usually nylon, to create the skirt. Aside from longevity, synthetic shuttlecocks are more bird and environment friendly, because feathers are no longer required, so neither is their washing, sterilisation and bleaching. They are permitted by the Badminton World Federation, by fly faster and offer less control than their feathered counterparts.

Which tennis player has the most career ATP Tour titles?

In the vast world of ATP Tour, one towering figure has emerged, casting an awe-inspiring shadow over the game of tennis. That figure is none other than the incomparable Novak Djokovic, a maestro of the sport whose prowess knows no bounds.

Djokovic’s reign is an enigma wrapped in a tapestry of triumphs, boasting an astonishing 95 ATP Tour titles that stand as a testament to his indomitable spirit and unyielding pursuit of greatness. With a resounding thud, he shattered the longstanding record held by the illustrious Roger Federer in November 2022, etching his name in the pantheon of legends.

But Djokovic’s domain extends far beyond the ATP Tour alone. His stranglehold on the grandest stages of tennis is a spectacle to behold, with an awe-inspiring tally of 23 Grand Slam singles titles that positions him among the gods of the game. Each conquest, a symphony of skill and resilience, serves as a vivid testament to his sheer desire to leave an indelible mark on the sport he cherishes.

Yet, Djokovic’s voracious appetite for victory does not cease there. A staggering 38 ATP Masters 1000 titles bear witness to his unrivalled command of the court, an intricate dance of power and finesse that leaves opponents mesmerised and spectators breathless. With every powerful serve and lightning-quick volley, he defies the limits of human capability, propelling the sport into uncharted territories of possibility.

This is an achievement that really does set the standard. While Nadal and Federer seem to have taken most of the plaudits, Djokovic cuts through the crowd and proves that he is simply one of the best.

Which squash player achieved the longest unbeaten run?

In the history of men’s squash, the player who achieved the longest unbeaten run was Pakistani Jahangir Khan who, according to Guinness World Records, won 555 consecutive games betweem November 1981 and November 1986. Of course, a five-year unbeaten run is a magnificent accomplishment but, when it comes to persistent achievement, even the six-time World Open winner cannot lay a racket on Australian Heather McKay.

Born Heather Blundell, in Queanbeyan, near Canberra in New South Wales on July 31, 1941, McKay took up squash at the age of 18, alongside fellow members of Evergreens Hockey Club who, like her, were ‘in search of an extracurricular activity to advance our fitness level on the hockey field’. In the quarter-finals of the 1960 New South Wales State Championships – just her second tournament – she lost to compatriot Yvonne West and, in the final of the 1962 Scottish Open she lost, in five games, to Kenyan-born Englishwoman Fran Marshall. Thereafter, though, McKay became the force majeure in women’s squash throughout the sixties and seventies and never lost another match.

She avenged her defeat by Marshall by beating the same opponent in straight games in the final of the 1962 British Open and went on to win what was, at the time, the de facto world championship, every year up to, and including, 1977. During her 19-year unbeaten run, having turned professional, McKay also won the unofficial Women’s World Squash Championship in Brisbane in 1976 and the inaugural official World Open in London in 1979. She retired from the sport at the age of 38 and, in the 2018 Australia Day Honours was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for ‘distinguished service to squash’.

Which player holds the record for the most consecutive weeks ranked as the world number one in women’s tennis?

Steffi Graf, the renowned tennis player, holds the record for the most consecutive weeks ranked as the world number one in women’s tennis. Her exceptional reign at the top of the WTA rankings lasted an astonishing 377 weeks, stretching from August 17, 1987 to March 10, 1991. Notably, Graf also holds the record for the most total weeks ranked as the world number one, which again stands at an impressive 377 weeks. There is no denying that she was a revelation in the game of tennis, changing the face of the sport forever.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Graf’s prowess on the tennis court was unmatched. She showcased her extraordinary skills by clinching an impressive 22 Grand Slam singles titles, including the coveted Golden Slam in 1988. Additionally, Graf claimed two Olympic gold medals in singles, solidifying her status as one of the all-time greats in women’s tennis.

Graf’s remarkable record of the most consecutive weeks ranked as the world number one is unlikely to be surpassed in the foreseeable future. Breaking her record would necessitate a player maintaining an unrivalled level of dominance for over three years, an extraordinary feat that requires sustained excellence and consistency.

Steffi Graf’s legacy in the sport of tennis is enduring. Her remarkable achievements, including the record for the most consecutive weeks as the world number one, serve as a clear indication of where she wanted to go in the game and what she wanted to achieve. Graf’s influence on women’s tennis remains an inspiration to aspiring players worldwide, and her records continue to be a benchmark of greatness in the sport.