ITF Announces New Changes To Grand Slam Tournaments
The International Tennis Federation has announced a number of new changes to grand slam tournaments that will have an impact on the 2018 and 2019 events.
The ITF announced the following changes that will be made to grand slams events in 2018 and 2019, starting with the Australian Open this season:
- ‘It was Unanimously agreed to support 2018 Australian Open’s application to the ITF for a waiver of the 20 seconds between points required by the Rules of Tennis, in order to allow for enforcement of a strict 25 seconds utilizing a “serve/shot clock” system in line with that trialed at the 2017 US Open.’
- ‘The timing of the pre-match warm-up will be strictly enforced (1 minute after walk-on to be ready for the pre-match meeting, followed by 5 minute warm-up, then 1 minute to be ready to start the match). Violation of this timing may subject a player to a fine up to $20,000.’
- ‘Any main draw singles player who is unfit to play and who withdraws on-site after 12:00 noon on Thursday before the start of the Main Draw will now receive 50% of the First Round Prize Money in 2018. The replacement Lucky Loser will receive the remaining 50% plus any additional Prize Money earned thereafter.’
- ‘Any player who competes in the first round main draw singles and retires or performs below professional standards, may now be subject to a fine up to first round Prize Money in 2018.’
- ‘The 2018 Grand Slam tournaments will continue with 32 seeds in Singles and intend to revert to 16 seeds in 2019.’
The new ruling from the ITF comes after the ATP experimented new rules at their recent ‘Next Gen Finals’ event in Milan a few weeks ago. This included a shot clock as well as strict pre-match timing.
However this announcement has sent shockwaves through tennis as nobody thought that these rules would be implemented at Grand Slam level so quickly.
The question now is How will these rules be welcomed by the players as the ITF has a history of making rule proposals without player permission.
Some of these new rules will be implemented at the Australian Open, which starts on the 15th of January.