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2014 Rule Changes

rulesAbout 10 days ago, I emailed Donna Bailey who is on the committee to write Friend At Court (click here for the current version) to ask her where someone might find out about any changes made to the tennis rule book at the start of a new calendar year. She advised me that changes are listed at the beginning of the print version handed out each year (yes, I emailed her a follow-up question to find out exactly where we can pick up our copy and will let y’all know as soon as I hear back from her*) as well as on the USTA Officials webpage.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for you and your child to have a working knowledge of these rules. We have faced several situations over the years where my son has been called upon to quote Friend At Court to an on-court official when a conflict has arisen. Please be sure to show these changes to your junior player and make sure he/she understands how to apply them in a match situation. Share this information with your junior tennis contacts so everyone walks onto the court playing by the same rules.

To save y’all the frustration of trying to locate the information on the USTA site, here is what’s posted for 2014:

Summary of Important Changes for 2014 Edition of Friend at Court

  • ITF Rules of Tennis
[p. 4] New USTA Comment 1.2 explains the proper positioning for singles sticks on a court.

[p. 11] USTA Comment 15.1 addresses the question of whether both members of the receiving team may position themselves in the deuce court on the first point of a set. Since players may stand anywhere on the court, the answer was changed from “no” to “yes.” The underlying rationale of the answer remains the same—the spirit of Rule 15 gives the server the right to know which member of the receiving team will receive serve the first point of a set or 10-Point Match Tiebreak.

[p. 20] New USTA Comment 26.7 explains that a player may not claim a hindrance when the player leaves the Playing Area to return a ball and someone or something on the adjacent court (such as a player or ball) interferes with the player.

[p. 24] New USTA Comment 27.12 explains what to do when players were supposed to play a 7-Point Set Tiebreak and they mistakenly started playing a 10-Point Match Tiebreak.

[p. 24] USTA Comment 27.13 deals with the situation when the players are supposed to play a Coman Tiebreak but instead start playing a conventional tiebreak. The answer was changed to conform with Rule 27b, which requires the mistake to be corrected immediately.

[p. 27] New USTA Comment 30.3 provides officials a sensitive way to address situations involving suspected coaching in a language that the official does not understand.

[p. 27] The ITF added new Rule 31 to provide a framework to players to use “player analysis technology.” The term, which is defined in new Appendix III.[p. 31], applies to “smart” equipment such as rackets and clothing that are capable of collecting, storing, analyzing, and transmitting data. Such equipment must be approved for play by the ITF in accordance with its Review and Hearing Procedures described in Appendix X. The prohibition on coaching during the match circumscribes the use of the information during the match.

[p. 38] Appendix VII, which describes 10 and under Competition, now includes a provision that allows Timed Matches.

  • xiThe Code
[p. 51] A sentence was added to Code 32 that states that when players cannot agree on the side from which a disputed point started, the players should toss a coin to select the side. A corresponding revision was added to FAC Comment VII.A-1 [p. 143] and FAC Comment VII.D-1 [p. 156].

  • USTA Regulations
[p. 61] Examples on how to properly record scores of a match using a short set format were added to USTA Regulation I.E.3.

[pp. 71, 74] USTA Regulation II.A.1. contains a revised list of tournaments and events that the Director of USTA Junior Competition or his designee seeds pursuant to USTA Regulation IX.A.4. The list reflects the new USTA Junior National Tournament structure.

[p. 98] Revised FAC Comment II.D-3 includes a reference to consolation match formats and how their formats affect minimum rest periods as an additional factor for a Referee to consider in scheduling matches in Junior tournaments.

[p. 122] New USTA Regulation IV.D.15. provides that an off-court official has a reasonable amount of time to reach the court to impose a penalty under the Point Penalty System even if one or more intervening points have been played by the time the official arrives. Any intervening points played stand as played.

[p. 142] New USTA Regulation VI.G.provides a framework for the use of Red, Orange, and Green Ball Tennis in Adult and Senior Division events.

[pp. 171 et seq.] USTA Regulation IX was updated to reflect significant changes to the USTA Junior National Tournament structure and schedule. The following new Tables were added in USTA Regulation IX: [p. 182] Table 19 (Sectional Associations’ Minimum Quota and Total Quota for USTA National Championships); [p. 184] Table 20 (Singles Draw Format for USTA National Championships); [p. 187] Table 22 (Selection Process for USTA National Masters); [p. 188] Table 23 (Selection Process for National Sweet Sixteen); [p. 191] Table 24(Selection Process for USTA National Selection Tournaments); [p. 192] Table 25 (Regions for Closed USTA Regional Tournaments);[p. 194] Table 26 (Draw Formats for Closed USTA Regional Tournaments); [p. 195] Table 27 (Selection Process for Open USTA Regional Tournaments); [p. 196] Table 28 (Draw Formats for Open USTA Regional Tournaments); [p. 197] Table 29 (Selection Process for USTA National Spring Team Championships); and [p. 202] Table 33 (Ranking Levels or Sectional Ranking Tournaments).

xii[p. 206] USTA Regulation X.A.1.b.ii and FAC Comment X.A-1 were amended to double the potential number of Category I USTA National Championships in the Mixed divisions by adding 25s, 45s, 55s, 65s, and 75s.

[pp. 211-212] USTA Regulation X.E was revised to add several new categories of National Ranking Tournaments in the Adult, Senior, and Family Divisions, including:
• ITF tournaments held in the United States;
• Category III USTA Tournaments; and
• Adult/Senior Team Events.

[p. 216] New USTA Regulation X.J. and FAC Comment X.J-1were added to provide greater transparency and clarity as to the eligibility criteria and selection process for representing the USTA at ITF international team competitions in the Adult and Senior Divisions.

[p. 235] USTA Regulation XVII.D.3 was amended to update the sanction fees for USTA National Tournaments.

[pp. 244-245] Amended USTA Regulation XIX shortens the process and procedure by which the Association considers proposed changes to USTA Regulations. The change returns the Association to the one-step process it followed before 2012.

*Per Donna Bailey: All certified officials for 2014 will receive through the mail a Friend At Court, at no charge to them, by the end of January each year. Anyone else can contact Net Knack Tennis Awards and Gifts (I don’t know the price) and they will sell them a book. People can copy the book off the USTA website under Officials (it takes a lot of paper if you copy the whole book).

Note from Lisa: the 2014 Friend At Court is not yet available from but the 2013 version costs $6.75



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