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Tournament News

ATP and WTA Unveil New Match Scheduling Rules and Strategic Tennis Ball Review for 2024.

by Giovanny Larnage

January 11, 2024

In a groundbreaking announcement, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) have introduced significant changes to the match scheduling format, alongside a comprehensive review of tennis ball standards. These changes, taking effect from January 2024, are aimed at enhancing the playing conditions for athletes and improving the overall experience for tennis enthusiasts worldwide.

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A Move Towards Efficiency and Well-being

Recognizing the challenges posed by late-night finishes in tennis matches, the ATP and WTA have come together to implement new rules aimed at reducing the frequency of matches concluding after midnight. This initiative is part of a broader effort to prioritize player well-being and fan engagement.

Here’s a breakdown of the key changes:

  • Each court will host a maximum of five matches per day, starting at 11 AM. The day session will include three matches, followed by two in the evening session.
  • Night sessions are now scheduled to commence no later than 7:30 PM, with a recommendation for a 6:30 PM start.
  • No matches will start later than 11 PM, except under special approval. Matches not on court by 10:30 PM will be moved to an alternative court by 11 PM.

These adjustments come with the provision for exceptions in extraordinary circumstances, such as local cultural practices or unforeseen weather conditions, subject to the approval of WTA/ATP supervisors.

Towards Uniformity in Tennis Balls

In another significant move, the WTA and ATP are jointly conducting a strategic review of the tennis balls used across tours. Historically, the choice of tennis balls varied from tournament to tournament, leading to inconsistencies that could impact players’ performance.

The new approach seeks to centralize and standardize ball selection, aiming for consistency within tournament swings. This move is expected to enhance the quality of play, ensuring players face similar conditions throughout the tour. The challenge will be to balance this standardization with the revenue considerations of individual tournaments.

Leadership Perspectives

WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon, highlighted the importance of alignment between the two tours, emphasizing that athlete and fan experiences are at the forefront of these initiatives.

ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi, echoed these sentiments, stressing the need to evolve with the modern game’s demands, particularly concerning player health and fan experiences.

Implications for Canadian Tennis

These changes are set to significantly impact tennis events in Canada, aligning with global standards to foster a more consistent and player-friendly environment. Canadian tournaments will adapt to these new regulations, ensuring that both players and fans enjoy an optimized tennis experience.

The changes will be in effect at the 2024 National Bank Open in both Toronto and Montreal.