LONDON, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Next year’s Australian Open will feature shot clocks for the first time, the Grand Slam Board announced on Tuesday.
Grand Slams have previously allowed players 20 seconds between points but the time permitted will be increased to 25 seconds, bringing them into line with the ATP Tour.
Rather than being left to the discretion of the chair umpire, however, an electronic shot clock will tick down in the corner of the court, as was the case at this month’s Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.
The decision to tweak the timing rule was made during a two-day meeting of the Grand Slam Board in London after a request from the Australian Open organisers.
“It was unanimously agreed to support 2018 Australian Open’s application to the ITF (International Tennis Federation) 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 U.S. Open,” a statement said.
The length of the pre-match warm-ups will also be strictly controlled at the Jan. 15-28 Australian Open, limiting them to five minutes. Those not ready to play in the permitted time could face fines of $20,000. (Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Clare Fallon)