The WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) has announced two new trials that will take place over the 2020 season as the organization continues to demonstrate its commitment to innovating the sport.
Electronic line calling on clay
Electronic line calling will be tested on the clay court surface for the first time at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, South Carolina, utilizing FoxTenn technology. The FoxTenn system, which was officially approved for hardcourt use by the WTA in 2018, will debut on clay at Charleston’s Billie Jean King Stadium Court and the Althea Gibson Club Court in April. The same challenge protocols will be used as those on hard and grass courts, that of three challenges per set and no ball mark inspections.
Following the introduction of on-court coaching in 2008 and the use of WTA-authorized tablets in 2015 (with SAP), coaching from the stands will begin a trial allowing for coaching from the player box at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and the Hungarian Ladies Open (Debrecen). The coaching trial will continue through the season at all WTA Premier and International events.
As coaching is currently not allowed from the player box and is difficult to regulate, the trial will allow coaches to coach and provide input to their player through verbal encouragements, hand signals or quick coaching tips consistent with the manner they currently engage with a player, from the box and now without penalty. Any type of coaching conversation must take place through the WTA’s existing on-court coaching protocol, whereby a player can request their coach to come to their bench once a set. “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,” said WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon. “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.”