Tata Open Maharashtra: Fox vs Hawk, all eyes on tennis' technology war

Pranav Shahaney

In the battle for tennis supremacy between the Fox and the Hawk, the former made its debut in Pune.

With slow motion replays and accurate bounce calculation, the FoxTenn system in tennis, currently being used at the ATP Tata Open, has been earning rave reviews from players and tournament officials alike.

FoxTenn uses ultra-calculation and third generation advanced intelligence which propels it to deliver, in real time, all the data about the particular game to the players which is extremely useful to them during the break between games and sets. With this technology coming to India for the first time at the Tata Open Maharashtra in Balewadi, Hindustan Times got in touch with the brains behind the technology Javier Simon, who also serves as the CEO of the company.Speaking about the meteoric rise of his product in comparison to his competitors, Simon said, “FoxTenn is booming because it is a revolutionary technology that offers accuracy and transparency like never before. It is a new wave of unprecedented data for incredible sports application for players, fans and broadcasters. However, this is only just the tip of the iceberg.”

Prior to FoxTenn, Hawk-Eye has been prevalent in the sport of tennis since 2005, where calls were based on projections of where the estimated bounce is likely to happen, which had a high rate of accuracy.

A close-up of FoxTenn system in use at Balewadi. The technology is booming because it is a revolutionary technology that offers accuracy and transparency like never before. (Milind Saurkar/HT Photo)

Another difference between the two is the number of cameras used. While Hawk-Eye required only 10 cameras to carry out its operations, FoxTenn needs to use of at least 12 cameras, all of which are on court, that seem to appear like bulky black boxes. A 13th camera is present just outside the technical room to give the operators a view from a considerable height, making it easier to come up with the right decision.

This revolutionary technology made its breakthrough in the sport in 2017 at low-level tournament in one of Spain’s suburbs. Relying exclusively on cameras to track balls, it instantly caught the attention of the various tennis federations and proved to be a cheaper alternative to the Sony-owned line calling technology.


FoxTenn tech is based on real images and real bounce- no estimations considered. (Milind Saurkar/HT Photo)


When quizzed about the route to get approval from the ATP and the other associations, Simon answered, “It wasn’t easy at all, but the professionalism of the ATP and the evidence of good technology saw us receive the final certification. The same happened with the WTA, ITF and the Grand Slam Commission as well. After three years of testing we finally got it approved and we want to thank the ATP and Gayle Bradshaw for trusting in us.”

FoxTenn has certainly changed the dynamics of tennis for the better and is likely to be implemented on a larger scale in the new year. However, it is far from the finished article, and Simon believes that it also could be used in different sports in the near future.

“We are always looking to improve our technology. We’re certain that some day FoxTenn will be approved for clay courts as well as it is perfect for the surface and will solve many of the problems faced by the current players and umpires. With our success on the ATP and WTA tour, I’m certain we will soon achieve it in other sports as well.”

THEY SAY

Prashant Sutar, tournament director (Milind Saurkar/HT Photo)

FoxTenn has been proven to be better than HawkEye, both commercially as well as from a technological standpoint. Purpose of it is not to ease the work of the umpires and linesmen, but just to serve as an assistant to them, says Prashant Sutar

Arjun Kadhe, player (Ravindra Joshi/HT Photo)

I used one challenge and found it to be pretty accurate. But, to be honest I like the Hawk-Eye better as they show the trajectory of the ball, said Arjun Kadhe

Steve Darcis, player (Milind Saurkar/HT Photo)

I think it’s working pretty good. It’s the first time I’m using this here and I think they’re doing a very good job with the accuracy of the calls, said Steve Darcis

Kevin Anderson, world number 6 (AFP FILE)

The direction we’re going in, we’re providing more for the fans and the players. Players will now have access to see their stats and I think those are some positive changes to the game. FoxTenn coming in has also helped. As a player it gives you the comfort of mind that calls are going to be accurate in crucial stages, said Kevin Anderson