The United States Tennis Association today announced a series of in-game innovations that will be implemented across a variety of events at the 2017 US Open.
The US Open events affected include: Qualifying Tournament, Junior Tournament, Wheelchair Invitational, American Collegiate Invitational, Champions Invitational. The new enhancements will not be instituted in the main draws of singles, doubles or mixed doubles. The introduction of these measures will create a consistent standard in areas that have traditionally been undefined or difficult to enforce, as well as open the discussion for further changes at all levels.
The following will be introduced:
►Serve Clock* – Players will be given 25 seconds to serve following the completion of a point. This is a five-second increase from the stated rules of tennis, as published by the ITF. The clock will begin after the chair umpire announces the score. Time violation penalties will be assessed on infractions
►Warm-Up Clock* – A five-minute clock will be placed on all players during warm-ups prior to the start of matches. At the completion of the five minutes, the umpire will announce the end of the warmup period. After making this announcement, players will have 60-seconds to begin play. A fine will be assessed on all infractions.
►Change of Attire – Players will be given five minutes to complete an attire change, during set breaks only. As not all courts have the same proximity to changing areas, the clock will not begin until a player enters the changing area, and will end when a player leaves the changing area. Time violation penalties will be assessed on infractions.
*a countdown display will be visible by players and fans for these innovations
►In-Match Coaching – Coaching will be allowed between coaches and players between points. Coaching will be limited to only those in the designated player box. Verbal coaching will be allowed while the player is on the same end of the court as the player box, while signal coaching will be permitted when the player box is on the opposite end of the court.
“The US Open has always been at the forefront of tennis innovation, from blue courts to electronic line calling, and beyond,” said Gordon Smith, Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer, USTA. “Throughout the years we have consistently looked for ways to enhance the experience of both our players and our fans, and we think these changes will continue to move the sport in an exciting direction.”
“These innovations were reviewed by the Grand Slam Board for use in the designated tournaments at the 2017 US Open. In addition, the decision to implement these standards was made in consensus with the two tours and was approved by the ITF Rules of Tennis Committee,” said Stacey Allaster, Chief Executive, Professional Tennis, USTA. “Both throughout the event and following its completion, we will gather and analyze data and reaction, and determine the next steps for future usage, as well as the potential for further innovation in other areas of the game.”