Press Releases

ATP & WTA announce new match schedule regulations to minimise late finishes; Strategic review on tennis balls underway

The initiatives are a direct result of player input
January 09, 2024
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
By Press Release

The ATP and WTA have collaborated on new scheduling rules to reduce the number of late match finishes on the Tours. A strategic review on tennis balls is also underway, with the aim of increasing quality and consistency of balls during tournament swings from 2025 onward. The initiatives are a direct result of player input and aim to boost the tournament experience for both players and fans.

The number of late match finishes (defined as matches finishing after midnight) has risen considerably in recent years, negatively impacting players and fans. This is tied to an increase in average match length on Tour.

New rules related to Match Scheduling will be implemented at ATP and WTA events and will be in effect from January 2024 as follows:

  • No more than five matches per day per court (with an 11 a.m. start), with three matches during the day session and two matches during the evening session.
  • No matches to go on court after 11 p.m., unless approved by the ATP/WTA Supervisor in consultation with ATP/WTA management.
  • Matches not on court by 10:30 p.m. to be moved to an alternative court – by no later than 11 p.m.
  • Night sessions to begin no later than 7:30 p.m., with a recommendation for 6:30 p.m.

In exceptional circumstances, a tournament may request waivers based on local cultural traditions, weather conditions, or other extenuating situations, to be considered by ATP/WTA.

The new scheduling rules are being implemented as part of a one-year trial in 2024, with further review to follow.

A strategic review of tennis balls used on the Tours is underway. Historically, each individual tournament has had the ability to determine its own ball supplier or sponsor, leading to potential inconsistencies of balls used week-on-week.

The intention is to now move towards a more consistent and centralised approach by ATP and WTA. The goal is to deliver greater ball consistency within tournament swings for players, and tighter certification and specification requirements for an enhanced end-product, while not adversely affecting revenue streams for tournaments.

Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, said: “Match scheduling and tennis balls are both priority topics on our agenda, together with the WTA. It’s imperative that we evolve and adapt to the demands of the modern game, particularly where player health and fan experience are concerned. We’re optimistic about the impact we can make on both these fronts, now and in the longer term.”

Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO, said: “We feel it is important that these initiatives are fully aligned between the two Tours and will allow for athletes to perform at their highest levels, providing for an improved athlete and fan experience. The athlete’s direct feedback in cooperation with our event members has been terrific in allowing us to continue modernizing our sport.”

Read More News View All News

View Related Videos View All Videos


Get it on Google Play Download on the App Store

Premier Partner

Platinum Partners

Gold Partners

Official Ball, Racquet and Tennis Accessory

Official Partners & Suppliers