The WTA’s return to China is going to be uncomfortable

A grab-bag mailbag this week while marveling over Alycia Parks…


Hello, Mr. Wertheim,

With the increasing use of electronic line calling, do you think chair umpires still need to be sat upon a laddered perch? I understand they need a heightened vantage point to oversee all lines and corners of the court, but when courts are linespeople-free and calls are automated, is there still a reason the ump needs to climb to her seat? Also, umps literally have to “talk down” to the players from their perch, which may subconsciously agitate some players during disagreements. If the chair ump were court level, do you think Pliskova or Zverev, to name a pair of recent violators, would’ve smashed their racquets at the ump’s feet? If eye-to-eye with the grounded ump, do you reckon pugnacious players, like Shapovalov or Kyrgios, would be more or less inclined to berate, curse, belittle, etc.?

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