Now WTA to trial electronic line calls on clay
The Women’s Tennis Association, organiser of the top women’s tennis tour, has announced it will trial electronic line calling for the first time on clay, starting with a US tournament in April.
Unlike on grass and hard courts, players have previously been unable to challenge line calls on clay. Umpires have instead checked the marks the ball makes on the dirt, but there have been controversies when officials have identified the wrong mark.
The players will have three challenges per set, using the same protocols as other surfaces, with no ball mark inspections.
The trial will debut at the WTA’s Volvo Car Open in Charleston in South Carolina on 4 to 12 April, using technology from Foxtenn, which received official approval from the WTA for use on hard courts in 2018.
Steve Simon, WTA chief executive, said: “The WTA has always embraced the opportunity to introduce new technology and innovations to enhance women’s tennis and we’re excited to see where these trials take the sport. We’re hopeful these provisional changes will have a positive impact in improving the overall playing environment and upgrading the way fans can enjoy the WTA Tour.”
The decision comes days after the men's ATP announced a similar plan.
The ATP said it would use the system at next month’s ATP 500 event in Rio, at an ATP 250 event to be confirmed and at a Masters 1000 tournament in either Monaco, Madrid or Rome.
Meanwhile, the WTA has said it will conduct a trial allowing for coaching from the player box, starting at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and the Hungarian Ladies Open in Debrecen next month.
Under the new rules, any type of conversation must take place through the WTA’s existing on-court coaching protocol, with a player requesting their coach to come to their bench once a set.
The coaching trial will continue through the season at all WTA Premier and International events.