Grand Slam Events Take Steps to Curb Mid-Match Retirements

The Gen ATP Finals featured the shot clock

- A 25-second serve clock will be tried out at the Australian Open in January, but like at this year's U.S. Open, not during main-draw matches.

With 32 seeds, none was forced to play someone ranked higher than No. 33 before the third round.

The Grand Slam Board meeting in London also chose to pay 50 percent of the first-round prize money to the injured who pulls out on site before their opening match.

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. 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.

It is one of a number of changes decided by the Grand Slam Board (GSB). Players will have to be ready for the pre-match warming-up session one minute after they walk in on the court.

Players may also be fine for withdrawing before the first round or falling "below professional standards" in their play, organisers have said.

With regard to the reduction of seeded players, from 32 to 16 (as it used to be until 2001), in 2018 all the four Grand Slam tournaments will continue with 32 seeds in singles.

The three other slams will also allow 25 seconds, bringing them into line with regular Tour events, but are not now scheduled to have shot-clocks. They will receive five minutes to warm-up and an additional one minute after their warm-up to start the match.

The Grand Slam Board (GSB) 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 and Next Gen ATP Finals to speed up play - violation of the new ruling could earn a player a fine of up to $20,000. 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.

Two other men also stopped mid-match that day, bringing the first-round retirement total to seven and sparking discussion about whether spectators were being shortchanged.



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