ATP to trial electronic review system at clay court tournaments

A clay court at the Madrid Open (by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Men’s tennis organisation the ATP Tour will debut an electronic review system at clay court tournaments, with Spanish technology company FoxTenn appointed to conduct the first trial.

The ATP has announced that the trial will take place at a select number of clay court events, beginning with the Rio Open 500 event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on February 17-23.

The trial on clay was approved by the ATP board in November and will also take place at a 250 tournament and one of the Monaco, Madrid or Rome 1000 events in 2020. The Tour said the tournament application process for electronic review in the spring clay court season is on-going.

The electronic review challenge system was first introduced on the ATP Tour in 2006 in Miami. Subsequently, the challenge system has been successfully implemented 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 ATP said in a statement: “The use of Electronic Review on clay is designed to elevate the accuracy of officiating. 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 ATP said it has been working closely with suppliers to ensure the accurate and successful application of the technology on clay. A number of trials have taken place at Challenger Tour events in 2019 which have included accuracy testing prior to the tournament, shadow testing during qualifying and real play testing during the tournament.

The trial at the Rio Open will take place with technology from FoxTenn, which has been officially approved by ATP as an electronic review system for use on clay. FoxTenn has an established presence in the sport, with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) granting its approval to the company back in December 2016 for a new electronic line-calling system.

In January 2018, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced that a new electronic line-calling system developed by FoxTenn, Real Bounce Extreme Accuracy, had been approved for use on hard courts.