Australian Open to premiere changes after Grand Slam Board meeting

Australian Open to feature shot clocks

Australian Open to feature shot clocks

Under the new rules, any player who competes in a first-round singles match and retires or performs below professional standards may be subject to a fine, which could be up to all of the player's first-round prize money.

The Grand Slam Board has also moved to stop issues with players withdrawing from or purposefully lacking effort in first-round matches and still getting their full prize money.

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

Grand Slams have previously allowed players 20 seconds between points but that was left up to the discretion of the chair umpire and in most cases, was grossly not followed.

Tennis chiefs have agreed to reduce the number of seeds in the four Grand Slam tournaments from 32 to 16 as part of a raft of rule changes aimed at widening the sport's appeal. But Grand Slam Board Director Bill Babcock said the clock will be used at the 2018 Australian Open on a trial basis the way it was at the U.S. Open, which tested it only for events such as qualifying and junior matches.

Following numerous withdrawals in the first round of Slams, the Board has chose to incentivise players who pull out from the tournament before the main draw is made.

The timing of the pre-match warm-up has also been modified. The more seeds, the less probability of top players facing off in the early rounds.

The 25-second serve clock gives players 5 more seconds than ATP rules now allow on the men's tour.

Violation of this timing may earn a player a fine of up to $20,000.

The remaining 50% shall be given to the lucky loser replacing the said injured player.

The rule, which will be used at the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the United States Open, is a variation of one introduced this year by the ATP Tour, which grants 100 percent of the first-round checks to a player who withdraws because of an injury.

At Wimbledon, there were total of eight retirements - seven in the men's draw and one in the women's - over the first two days of the Championships.

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