Australian Open to premiere changes after Grand Slam Board meeting

Australian Open to premiere changes after Grand Slam Board meeting”

Players will have an additional five seconds between points at the Australian Open but time-wasters will have nowhere to hide, thanks to the introduction of shot-clocks.

Meanwhile, the GSB confirmed that all the grand slam tournaments will revert to 16 men's and women's seeds from the 2019 competitions onwards.

There were 16 seeds at Grand Slams until after Wimbledon in 2001, when the US Open, motivated by demands from television networks, asked for 32 in the hope that stars would still be in contention in the closing rounds.

Rather than being left to the discretion of the umpire, however, an electronic shot clock will tick down in the corner of the court, as was the case at this month's Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.

It is one of a number of changes decided by the Grand Slam Board (GSB).

The Grand Slam Board meeting in London also approved the Australian Open's request to implement a 25-second "serve/shot clock" system in line with the scheme trialled at the 2017 US Open to speed up play.

The timing of the pre-match warm-up has also been modified.

Among the other reforms, the timing of pre-match warm-ups is to be more strictly enforced, with players subject to a fine up to £15,000 if they over-run. One minute for walk-on.

The men's tour, the ATP, introduced a rule at the start of 2017 that means a player can retire before a first-round match and retain their prize money.

Another change will see players who withdraw from a grand slam on the Thursday before the main draw receive 50 per cent of the money they would have received for playing in the first round.

This year at Wimbledon there were seven first round retirements, all the players who retired from their matches earned £35,000.

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. If the lucky loser advances in the draw, in addition to the 50% of the prize money, the lucky loser will also receive the prize money as eligible for the progressing round.

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