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The Slater index $i(T)$ of a tournament $T$ is the minimum number of arcs that must be reversed to make $T$ transitive. In this paper, we define a parameter $\Lambda(T)$ from the spectrum of the skew-adjacency matrix of $T$, called the spectral Slater index. This parameter is a measure of remoteness between the spectrum of $T$ and that of a transitive tournament. We show that $\Lambda(T)\leq8\, i(T)$ and we characterize the tournaments with maximal spectral Slater index. As an application, an improved lower bound on the Slater index of doubly regular tournaments is given.