The linespeople at the Australian Open have been replaced by a robot, Hawk-Eye Live, this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whenever a ball drifts long or wide, the real-time, 12-camera set-up inside each court will trigger a “fault” or “out” call which will be played over the sound system.
But in an interesting turn of events, eight everyday heroes, including paramedics, police officers and surf lifesavers, will provide the soundtrack for the robot.
Among the eight is Steven Gelagotis, a Greek Australian paramedic for Ambulance Victoria who contracted COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic last year and is now dedicated to spreading the message that youth can contract the deadly virus as well.
Mr Gelagotis told The Sydney Morning Herald that being selected to voice part of the Australian Open is an honour, as he would always sit in front of the television when he was younger and call ‘out’ and ‘fault’ as he watched the tennis tournament.
“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,” Mr Gelagotis told the Australian media outlet.
“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.”
Mr Gelagotis joins NSW SAS volunteer Simon Merrick, Queensland lifesaver Kyal Thornton, and others in the prestigious role.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald.