Now that the season is over, it’s time to talk about 2018, which will see some rules changes.
After the Next GenFinals in Milan, where some new innovations were experimented–such as short sets, the shot clock to ensure the 25 second rule between points, the elimination of line judges, and the introduction of the no-let rule–the ITF has decided to put some new rules in at Slams.
As the ATP stated some time ago, these rules could be implemented to other events if this experimentation had been successful. Of course there are different thoughts about this, even Borna Coric, who reached the semifinals in Milan, gave his opinion and said that the introduction of some of these new rules, especially the no-let one, would be well liked by players as they helped him through the whole tournaments.
During the ATP Finals, the Grand Slam Board had a meeting and decided to change some rules for the four Grand Slams, starting from the next Australian Open, the first Slam of the year.
Three are the most important decisions: the first is the introduction of the 25-second shot clock between points like in Milan, and of course if a player exceeds the limit of time, he’ll get a warning, differently from the Next Gen Finals, where no warning was given.
The second radical change (starting from 2019 though) is the halving of seeded players from 32 to 16. There’s also been a change in distribution of prize money. Now if a player withdraws after 12pm of the Thursday before the tournament starts, he or she gets only half of prize money, while the other half goes to the lucky loser. If a player decides not to withdraw but to compete in the first round and then doesn’t play at his best standards, he will be fined and could also be denied the entire amount of the prize money. These two rules are to help encourage players to withdraw before the tournament if they are not at their physical best.
Yesterday, the International Tennis Federation took another important decision for junior tournaments: the introduction of the no-let rule. The reason is that almost every match at those levels doesn’t have a chair umpire, and young players have arguments because it isn’t always easy to see if the ball touched the net or not.
At the end of the next season the ITF will discuss the application of this rule also at Pro level.