A series of innovations will be introduced to increase the pace of play
WTA Staff
July 11, 2018

The USTA, ATP and WTA today announced that a series of in-game innovations will be implemented at a number of events taking place within the United States and Canada throughout the summer, including at the 2018 US Open.

These rule changes were a result of collaboration and consultation between all three organizations, and are aimed at increasing pace of play and ensuring a consistent set of enforcement standards.

The following innovations will be instituted:

• Warm-Up Clock

A one-minute clock will begin when the second player/team entering the court arrives at their chair(s). If at the end of that one minute, a player is not at the net, they will be notified by the Chair Umpire and subject to a post-match fine. This will not be a time violation.

A five-minute time clock will begin following the coin-toss and begin the warm-up period. During this time, the Chair Umpire will make announcements informing the players of the 3-minute, 2-minute, 1-minute, 30-seconds, and end-of-warm-up marks. Following the conclusion on the five-minute warm-up period, a one-minute countdown will commence. At the end of this one-minute countdown, a player must be ready to play. If a player is not ready at this juncture, the Chair Umpire will announce a “Start of Match Violation” and the player will be subject to a post-match fine. This will not be a time violation.

• Serve Clock

The server will be given up to 25 seconds to serve. This will be enforced in the following ways:

During a game: Following the point, the score will be entered, the Chair Umpire will announce the score, and then start the 25 second-clock. If the player has not started the service motion at the completion of the 25-second countdown, the Chair Umpire will issue a time violation.

After even-numbered games: The Chair Umpire will start the clock when the balls are all in place on
the server’s end of the court. If the player has not started the service motion at the completion of the 25-second countdown, the Chair Umpire will issue a time violation.

The receiver is responsible for playing to the server’s reasonable pace.

The Chair Umpire will have the ability and discretion to pause the clock. The Chair Umpire will
have the ability to resume the clock from the same time or reset the clock to 25-seconds.

Although the exact location has yet to be determined, a “clock” will be placed in a position visible to players, fans and the Chair Umpire.

Along with the US Open, the following events will incorporate the innovations: Citi Open (Washington, D.C.), Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, (San Jose, Calif.), Rogers Cup (Montreal and Toronto, Canada), Western and Southern Open (Cincinnati, Ohio), Connecticut Open (New Haven, Conn.), and Winston-Salem Open (Winston Salem, N.C.). 

The Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic is the first Premier tournament that will implement these innovations.

"We are really looking forward to implementing the serve clock at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic this summer," said Tournament Director Vickie Gunnarsson. "I think it will certainly improve the fan experience at the event. Not only will it speed up the pace of play, it will bring even more excitement and drama to the matches."

In 2017, the US Open utilized both a Serve Clock and a Warm-Up Clock in the Men’s and Women’s Qualifying Tournaments, as well as the Junior Tournament, Wheelchair Competition, American  College Invitational, and Champions Invitational. The ATP also featured a Shot Clock at the inaugural Next Gen Finals in Milan in 2017.