The ITF announced several major changes in rules for the upcoming Grand Slam season and for 2019.
The Grand Slam Board approved the Australian Open’s request to use a 25-second serve shot clock for the 2018 event, similar to what the US Open trialed during qualifying in August. The current rule is 20 seconds to serve at Slams.
Also, seedings at Grand Slams will revert back to 16 starting in 2019. There have been 32 seeds at Grand Slam events since 2001 Wimbledon. This should create more compelling early round matches.
With a rash of first round retirements, Grand Slams will now give the injured who pull out on site before their opening match 50% of the first round prize money with the other 50% going to the “lucky loser”.
And players who do perform but are unable to finish their first round match will be scrutinized and potentially fined up to the amount of their first round prize money.
Warm-up will also follow a strict time schedule. One minute for walk-on. Five minutes for warm-up and another one minute to ready for the start of the match.
On-court coaching is still not permitted.
These changes apply to the 4 Grand Slam events only and not to ATP or WTA tournaments.
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