ATP change time violation rules

The ATP World Tour has changed its time violation rules in a bid to bring "consistent enforcement" into the game.

Tennis News: Tomas Berdych

Fans have long complained about the time taken between points - ATP events currently allow for 25 seconds between each one - and now officials have acted, changing the rules with an amendment which they hope will see umpires act more often when players take too long.

To do this, they have actually relaxed the penalties on the server. Starting in 2013, the first offence will be penalised with a warning. The second, and all subsequent violations, will see a fault called against the server. The current rule is a warning followed by the loss of a point - something umpires have often seemed reluctant to do in the past.

If the offender is the receiver, they will still be penalised by a warning followed by the loss of a point.

Announcing the change, ATP executive chairman Brad Drewett said: "There's been a lot of discussion about the amount of time taken between points.

"We believe this modification will give officials a useful tool and allow for more consistent enforcement of the current time violation rule."

The ATP also announced a trial of eliminating the service let which will take place in the first three months of the Challenger Tour in 2013 - another idea long suggested by fans and media to speed up play.

If a serve now clips the net cord and lands in, the players will have to continue to play the point.

"Although this change will not materially reduce the length of a match, we believe it should have a positive impact on the flow of the match," added Drewett.

"We're certainly not ready yet to eliminate the service let, but believe a trial at the ATP Challenger level will be a good way to test this initiative in a competitive environment and get feedback from players and the public before deciding if it could be adapted more broadly."



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