The 2021 Australian Open is honouring Australians who save and protect lives by featuring the voices of eight community heroes for the tournament’s live electronic line calling.
The high-precision machine, dubbed Hawkeye, uses pre-recorded voices to call out the terms ‘Out’, ‘Fault’ and ‘Foot Fault’.
It is the first grand slam to replace all linespeople with technology.
Among the eight is Greek Australian paramedic Steven Gelagotis.
“It definitely wasn’t something I expected, but I see it as an honour to be able to represent Ambulance Victoria and have my voice featured in the line calling,” Gelagotis said.
Implemented as part of the tournament’s COVID safe protocols, the electronic line calling has reduced the number of people required onsite at Melbourne Park.
“The Australian Open is an iconic sporting event and I remember as a little kid, in front of Mum and Dad, I would sit in front of the TV and yell out the line calls in different accents to pretend I was a linesman. It is an extreme privilege to be part of the Australian Open this year,” he added.
The technology also means players can no longer challenge calls – which would then use the Hawkeye system to review a human linesperson’s decision.
The voices behind the Australian Open’s live electronic line calling:
- Ambulance Victoria paramedic Steve Gelagotis
- SES NSW Hunter Central Cluster Commander Simon Merrick
- Kyal Thornton from Tallebudgera Life Saving Club
- Dana Mitchell from Kangaroo Island in South Australia, which suffered the devastating impact of the 2020 bushfires
- Northern Territory volunteer Reanna Sanders, who cooks and serves 100 free meals to people in need
- Swimming instructor Jackie Rousseau
- Fremantle Sea Rescue from Western Australia is represented by skipper David Hadlow
- Kate Gilham representing Tasmania’s Fire Brigade Campania branch