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WTA to trial electronic line calling

A member of the ground staff sweeps clay dust from the court lines before the first match of the Fed Cup World Group Play off (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has detailed plans to trial the use of an electronic line-calling system following a similar announcement from the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) earlier this week.

The initiative will be tested on the clay-court surface at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, South Carolina, with FoxTenn technology to be implemented. The FoxTenn system was approved for hard-court use by the WTA in 2018.

During the Volvo Car Open, which runs from April 6-12, the same challenge protocols will be used as on hard and grass courts, with three challenges per set and no ball mark inspections.

Earlier this week it was announced that the men’s ATP Tour would debut an electronic review system at its clay-court tournaments. The ATP Tour also appointed FoxTenn to conduct the first trial, which begins with the Rio Open 500 event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from February 17-23.

The WTA has also announced that it will trial coaching from the stands at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai and the Hungarian Ladies Open in Debrecen, which both get underway on February 17. The trial will continue throughout the season at all WTA Premier and International events.

Coaching is not currently allowed from the player box. While the WTA noted that it is “difficult to regulate”, it said the trial would allow coaches to provide input through verbal encouragements, hand signals or tips consistent with the manner in which they currently engage with their players.

WTA chairman and chief executive Steve Simon said: “The WTA has always embraced the opportunity to introduce new technology and innovations to enhance women’s tennis, and we’re excited to see where these trials take the sport.

“We’re hopeful these provisional changes will have a positive impact in improving the overall playing environment and upgrading the way fans can enjoy the WTA Tour.”

The WTA introduced on-court coaching in 2008, before allowing the use of WTA-authorised tablets in 2015.