WIMBLEDON, England — On Friday morning tennis fans were on Henman Hill, a grassy knoll at the edge of the All England Tennis Club, prepping for a fight.
The area, also nicknamed Murray Mound, has long been the place where spectators congregate to watch matches on a large outdoor video screen. They sprawl out on the grass, have picnics, even do the wave.
This year, for the first time at the tournament, fans on the hill could also use the Wimbledon app to vote on which matches they wanted shown on the screen.
“We’ve been making decisions without really knowing who is watching on the hill,” said Alexandra Willis, the head of communications, content, and digital for the All England Tennis Club. “We may think they want to watch the world No. 1, but really they want to watch a lesser known British player.”
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The matches shown on the big screen used to be chosen by the club, which tended to favor Centre Court matches and highly seeded players.
The idea to use voting on Henman Hill came during the renovation of the No. 1 Court, which was finished this year.
In past years the screen at Henman Hill was smaller —- 20 feet by 30 feet — and free-standing. Now the screen is attached to the outer wall of the stadium and is 20 feet by 60 feet. The upgrade means the club can show more than one match at a time, and more people can see the screen from different parts of the hill. Wi-Fi was also added to Henman Hill this year to make voting easier, though it didn’t always work during the early days of the tournament.
At the start of last weekend, many visitors felt passionate about exercising their new right.
On Friday British fans organized to get Jamie Murray on the screen for his doubles match later in the day. “I’m not a passive participant at these types of events,” said Thomas Harding, a 27-year-old banker in London. “I will also suggest to others that they participate in the survey.”
Ellie Andrew, who works in academic publishing in London, celebrated her 31st birthday at Henman Hill on Friday. She was biding her time until she could select to see Nick Kyrgios playing in doubles. “I want to see him because he’s hilarious,” she said. “He has tantrums, and he’s interesting to watch You want to watch the game you came here for. I mean it’s Wimbledon and everyone is talented, but you want to see the stars you like.”
Kelsey O’Neal, 30, who works in media and advertising, said she believed the voting could lead to her discovering new players. “If it was a match you didn’t want to see, but everyone else did it would be fun to be like, ‘Who is that person?’” she said.
Toby Rosas, 28, who runs an online merchandising company out of Dallas, was not interested in discovering anyone new.
“I want to watch Djokovic, so I’m planning to vote,” he said. “I will take my shirt off and paint Djokovic on it so others will vote for him.”
On Monday, the new system will face its biggest test yet, when all 16 fourth-round singles matches will be played on the same day. Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams will be playing at the same time, so might Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Those worried about how the vote will turn out can find solace in the fact that this new democracy has its limits.
Mr. Rosas did get his wish on Friday. Djokovic ended up being shown on screen, but not because he won the vote. The match between Daniil Medvedev and David Goffin on No. 2 Court received 38 percent of the vote, Djokovic’s match against Hubert Hurkacz got 19 percent, and 13 percent wanted to see Simona Halep play Victoria Azarenka on Centre Court.
“Regardless of who votes for what, ultimately the matches chosen to be shown on the screen are at the producer’s discretion,” Ms. Willis said, adding that showing the No. 1 seed and defending champion was “entirely reasonable.”
The producer’s discretion also ensures the video screen will accurately reflect the gender balance of tennis, Ms. Willis said.
And maybe the result of the vote could lead fans to actually go watch some tennis in person.
“If they put on a random doubles match, I would probably go walk and see another match,” Mr. Rosas said Friday. “But I think we are planning on doing that anyway. We got our fill of watching tennis on a television.”