Australian Open officials have driven another spike into the honourable profession of linesperson, with the announcement that calls at next month’s delayed major will be made electronically.

The decision mimics that of the Cincinnati event and the US Open from last autumn, both played in a New York “bio-bubble without spectators and with computers calling the lines.

The February 8 start in Melbourne will see players lining up with just a chair umpire and a scattering of ballkids – who have been banned from getting anywhere near sweaty player towels.

The decision to erase the human element on court can only be good news to Novak Djokovic, who was sensationally DQ’d from the US Open fourth round in September after accidentally hitting a lineswoman in the throat with a ball fired in anger.

Eliminating extra bodies on court also lightens the load for tournament officials, who will have that many fewer people to test and monitor for any COVID-19 symptoms during play at the locked-down, near-crowdless Grand Slam.

Main photo:- Linesperson Laura Clark accidentally felled by Novak Djokovic at US Open 2020


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