Tennis Australia has announced a 10% rise in prize money for next year’s Australian Open to bring the total amount above AUS$60 Million for the first time in history.
The grand slam will have a total prize money pool of AUD$60.5 million, which is a $5.5 million increase on this year. The rise coincides with a series of new changes being made to the grand slam event. From 2019, a 25-second clock will be used in all the matches. An initiative that has been implemented with the goal of speeding up matches. The Heat Stress Index, which asses hot environments and predict likely thermal strain on the body, will replace by the Extreme Heat Policy. Furthermore, the size of the women’s qualifying draw will be increased to 128 players to keep in line with the men’s tournament.
“We’ve always prided ourselves on listening to the players, and this year we’ve taken our consultation to a whole new level,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.
“Our team has spent a lot of time this year talking to players, coaches and their teams about what’s important to them, what they like and what changes they want to see.
“From these discussions, held at tournaments around the world, we’ve come up with some changes we know the players want, including the Serve Clock and Electronic Review on all match courts, making conditions more consistent across the precinct.”
One of the most debated subjects concerning grand slams is the use of coaching during matches. In recent weeks there has been a debate about whether the major tournaments should allow on-court coaching in a similar fashion to that of the WTA Tour. At the US Open, Serena Williams was accused of receiving coaching during her final clash with Naomi Osaka. Resulting in a major bust-up with umpire Carlos Ramos. Williams, who also received warnings for racket abuse and verbal abuse, received a game penalty and was later fined $17,000.
At present, the Australian Open has no plans to change their current policy. Although talks are ongoing about the subject with other governing bodies. Currently, coaching is only prohibited in qualifying and junior tournaments only.
“Coaching is an issue we’ve all spoken a lot about over the past couple of months, which is good. As a sport, tennis needs to decide the best way forward. We’ll continue the on-court coaching trial during qualifying – for both men and women – as we progress discussions with the many stakeholders involved. The sport needs to have a consistent approach to all issues around coaching.” Said Tiley.
Australian Open chief Tiley has also confirmed that they will make a final announcement about their position concerning coaching in the ‘coming weeks.’ There has been calls for more consistency on the tour. Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko has previously spoken in favor of getting rid of on-court coaching if it wasn’t implemented at all tournaments in the future.
“I think it’s really important that it’s consistent so fans and players don’t get confused on it so hopefully in the coming weeks we are able to make an announcement on our position.” Tiley outlined.
The Australian Open will take place between January 14-27 next year.
List of changes for the 2019 Australian Open
- Prize money increased to AUD $60.5 million
- 25 second Serve Clock for all main draw matches
- Electronic Review System on all 16 match courts
- Maintaining 32 seeds in the main draw and in qualifying for both men and women
- Heat Stress Index to replace Extreme Heat Policy
- Increased Australian Open qualifying draw for women, from 96 to 128 players
- Qualifying tournament to start a day earlier, on Tuesday 8 January
- Continued trial of on-court coaching in qualifying and juniors
- Tie Break Tens returns to MCA on Wednesday 9 January
- High-profile practice matches to be held at MCA on each day of qualifying.
Source – ausopen.com
Wimbledon To Introduce Final Set Tie-Breaks Following 2018 Fiasco
The grass-court major has announced a major change to their scoring rules.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) has made a historic change to their rules after announcing from 2019 a final set tie-break will be applied to all matches.
In a statement released on Friday morning, the governing body of the grand slam has confirmed that tie-breaks will now be used when the final set reaches 12-12. The winner will be the first to reach seven points in the tie-breaker with a winning advantage of at least two points. The rule change will apply to all qualifying, men’s, women’s, mixed and junior singles and doubles matches.
“In reaching this decision, the AELTC Committee sought the feedback of both players and officials, analysed two decades of match data, and considered other factors, including scheduling complexities and spectator experience.” Chairman Philip Brook said in a statement.
“Our view was that the time had come to introduce a tie-break method for matches that had not reached their natural conclusion at a reasonable point during the deciding set. While we know the instances of matches extending deep into the final set are rare, we feel that a tie-break at 12-12 strikes an equitable balance between allowing players ample opportunity to complete the match to advantage, while also providing certainty that the match will reach a conclusion in an acceptable time frame.”
The change in rules follows two marathon men’s semi-final matches that took place at Wimbledon earlier this year. Kevin Anderson defeated John Isner 26-24 in the final set during a encounter lasting more than six hours. Then Novak Djokovic’s win over Rafael Nadal lasted more than five hours. As a consequence of the two lengthy matches, play was delayed until the next day. Resulting in the Women’s final being controversially delayed. Wimbledon are prohibited to play matches after 11pm is accordance to an agreement they have with the local council.
Anderson, who lost to Djokovic in the final, has previously argued that few players would oppose the introduction of a final set tie-breaker. The South African is a member of the ATP Players Council.
“I think if I asked most players, they wouldn’t be opposed to incorporating a fifth-set breaker.” Anderson told reporters earlier this year.
“ I’m sure there’s a few people that embrace the history, that you do play long sets. It is a unique point. I definitely agree with that.
“But I think just as tennis continues to evolve and just sports in general, I think the incredibly long matches maybe has had its place and time.”
Wimbledon is the second grand slam to implement the rule in singles competition. The first was in Flushing Meadows at the US Open. It has been reported that the Australian Open are also contemplating introducing a similar rule to their tournament in the future.
The longest match to have ever taken place in grand slam history occurred at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships when Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the decider. The match was played over three days and lasted 11 hours and five minutes.
‘Persuade Us’ – Wimbledon Opens The Door To Possibility Of Allowing On-Court Coaching
The grass-court grand slam has indicated that they might be willing to change their rules following the controversial US Open women’s final.
The All England Club is keeping an open mind about the possibility of allowing on-court coaching in the future, according to its chairman.
Phillip Brook has told BBC Sport that the tournament is willing to look into the topic following the controversy which occurred during the US Open women’s final. Serena Williams engaged in a heated argument with umpire Carlos Ramos after she received a coaching violation. At the time the 37-year-old stated that she was not receiving any coaching. Although her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, told ESPN that he was after the match. Prompting Williams to later clarify the remarks by saying that she shared ‘no signals’ with Mouratoglou.
“What we would like to learn from those who have conducted trials is: ‘Persuade us why it is a good idea,” Brook told BBC Sport.
“The situation is very confusing for everybody.
“Wimbledon and others think the time has come for an adult conversation across the sport to see where it goes.”
On-court coaching has been used on the WTA Tour since 2009. However, it remains prohibited on the ATP Tour and in the main draws of all four grand slam events. The only exception is the US Open, which allows coaching from the stands during their qualifying tournament.
There is an ongoing debate over whether grand slams should be following suit to that of the WTA. Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko has said that there needs to be consistency. Calling for the rule to be applied at all tournaments or not at all.
“I don’t know if there is any point of using it on the WTA Tour if you can’t use it in grand slams because in grand slams you have to play on your own.” The Latvian recently told reporters at the Korean Open.
“I think they need to do same in all the tournaments. Either allow (on-court) coaching at all tournaments or no coaching at all.” She added.
The possibility of Wimbledon changing their rules is by no means a certainty. Instead, Brooks has called for other governing bodies in tennis to illustrate why such a move is required. Wimbledon has an extensive reputation of being traditional. Meaning that any potential change comes under heavy scrutiny. Earlier this year, the committee of The All England Club said they would look into using a fifth set tiebreaker for the first time.
“We [Wimbledon] are not necessarily the easiest of people to deal with,” Brook said.
“People might say, ‘Shall we all vote for coaching, it’s good for the sport’. We will say no, but if the rest of the sport say we want to do it and there are good reasons, then maybe Wimbledon should fit in.”
This year’s Wimbledon Championships was won by Angelique Kerber and Novak Djokovic.
Chair Umpire Suspended Without Pay For Giving Pep Talk At The US Open
The official has been issued with a punishment by the governing body of men’s tennis.
Veteran tennis umpire Mohamed Lahyani has been suspended for two weeks by the ATP over his controversial discussion with Nick Kyrgios at the US Open.
The Swedish official was accused of giving the Australian No.1 a pep talk during the second round of the New York major. Kyrgios was taking on France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert and trailed the match by a set and 3-0. During one of the change of ends, Lahyani went to speak with Kyrgios, giving him words of encouragement. Shortly after the talk, he went on to win the match in four sets.
“I want to help you. I want to help you,” Lahyani was heard saying on camera.
“I’ve seen your matches: you’re great for tennis.
“Nick, I know this is not you.”
Kyrgios won the second set after a pep talk from the chair umpire Mo Lahyani.
A USTA rep told me it is already looking into Lahyani’s conduct in this match.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) 30 August 2018
At the time the Swede was accused of breaking officiating rules which states that umpires must remain impartial at all times. Both Lahyani and Kyrgios denied any wrongdoing. The USTA, who oversees the running of the US Open, decided not to take action against the umpire. Although they said in a statement that Lahyani ‘went beyond protocol.’
The ATP has taken a stricter view regarding the incident, which occurred three weeks ago. On Tuesday the governing body of men’s tennis confirmed that Lahyani has been given a two-week ban without pay. Meaning that he will miss both the China Open and Shanghai Masters.
“Mohamed is a world-class and highly-respected official. However, his actions during the match crossed a line that compromised his own impartiality as a chair umpire,” Gayle David Bradshaw, the ATP’s Executive Vice President of Rules & Competition, said in a statement.
“Although well-intended, his actions were regrettable and cannot go without disciplinary action on our own Tour. We know that he will learn from this experience and we look forward to welcoming him back in October.”
In a statement sent to The New York Times, the ATP said their decision to take disciplinary action was because Lahyani is a full-time employee that had to abide by the ‘hide standards’ of the organisation. The ATP does not have any jurisdiction in relation to the US Open.
Lahyani is expected to return to the tour at the Swedish Open next month. The tournament will get underway on October 15th.
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