Top Indian paddler G. Sathiyan has welcomed the introduction of the Table Tennis Review (TTR) system, which was used for the first time at the recently concluded ITTF Grand World Tour Finals in China.
“It’s a good concept, good for the spectators, stakeholders and players. It will give us players a fair idea of what is going wrong. It should be encouraged,” Sathiyan told Sportstar on Wednesday.
The review system involves a ball-tracking technology that uses a multi-camera setup to check for ball-toss angle, edge balls and service net balls. The slow motion technology is used to judge whether the player’s palm was open while serving, apart from checking the striking point.
The first-ever review was taken during the men’s doubles match between Lin Gaoyuan-Liang Jingkun of China and Chen Chien-An-Chuang Chih-Yuan of Chinese Taipei. Gaoyuan’s serve was deemed as a fault by the umpire, and when he reviewed it, the replay showed he had tossed the ball more than the allowed 30 degrees.
The review system received its first criticism in the same tournament when Ma Long’s serve was called a fault, for hiding the ball behind his body at the point of contact, and his review was unsuccessful without any conclusive evidence.
Sathiyan, the world No. 30, said the technology needs to be given time and drawing conclusions this soon isn’t fair. “It’s a newborn baby, so complaining so early on won’t be fair. It has some issues, but the important thing is to get started. All the other sports (tennis, badminton, football and cricket) have it, so why not table tennis?”
Each player and team, in case of doubles, will be given two challenges per match. Just like cricket, the successful ones will be retained.
The table tennis review system was unofficially used behind the scenes at the 2019 Men’s World Cup on a trial basis, where Sathiyan made the round of 16.
The Chennai-born paddler believes that the technology is also good for the spectators. “People get to know more about the sport. It allows them to watch more closely, with slomo and different camera angles.”
Sathiyan believes it will be ‘fantastic’ to use the technology in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
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