FILE PHOTO: A rainbow is visible as a groundsman sprays water over the clay court surface before the second round match at the Swiss Open ATP tennis tournament between Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic and Romania’s Victor Hanescu in Gstaad July 10, 2008. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
(Reuters) – An electronic review system will be in place on clay courts for the first time on the ATP Tour as part of a trial that will be in place at select events this season, the governing body for men’s tennis said on Friday.
Players are already able to challenge line calls on hard and grass courts but their inability to do so on clay, where chair umpires are left to rely on ball marks in the dirt, have caused a number of controversies.
The review system will be in place at next month’s Rio Open as well as a yet-to-be named ATP 250 event and a Masters 1000 event in either Monaco, Madrid or Rome.
“The use of electronic review on clay is designed to elevate the accuracy of officiating,” the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) said in a statement.
“During the trial, there will be no limit to the number of challenges players are able to make during matches, ensuring consistency within the tournament for players competing on show courts with the review technology as well as on outside courts where standard ball mark inspection protocols will apply.”
The review challenge system was first introduced on the ATP Tour in 2006 in Miami and is now used on all surfaces except for clay, where the protocol of allowing players to ask chair umpires to check ball marks during matches has been maintained.
The Rio Open runs Feb. 17-23.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar