29 Jul 2013

ITF AGM changes Rules to permit ‘smart’ equipment

News Article

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) today announced that the Rules of Tennis had been amended to permit the use of ‘Player Analysis Technology’ during play. The new rule was approved at the recent ITF AGM in Paris on Friday 12 July, and will be included in the 2014 edition of the Rules of Tennis as Rule No. 31.

Player Analysis Technology includes any equipment that collects, stores, transmits, analyses or communicates information on player performance, and may be a stand-alone device or incorporated within existing equipment.

The ITF will approve all Player Analysis Technology that may be used during play, a function that it already fulfils for tennis balls.   The data collected by Player Analysis Technology constitutes coaching under the Rules of Tennis, and therefore the use of such technology during play is restricted in accordance with the existing Coaching rule. This means that a player may not have access to data collected by Player Analysis Technology during play.

Stuart Miller, ITF Executive Director of Science & Technical, said “When the Rules of Tennis relating to equipment were written, no one foresaw the advent of Player Analysis Technology.  This new rule is necessary to ensure that all types of Player Analysis Technology are covered.”

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “The ITF has always carried out its responsibility to control the nature of the game through an understanding of equipment, while at the same time embracing technological developments and supporting innovation. This new rule will allow players to benefit from new analysis techniques in developing their games while, at the same time, maintaining the integrity of our sport.”

The ITF is the world governing body of tennis, responsible for the Rules of Tennis and maintaining the integrity of the sport. The ITF Rules of Tennis Committee continually monitors the game and its rules, and makes recommendations for changes to the ITF Board of Directors, with the ITF Annual General Meeting ultimately approving any changes.

The changes to the 2014 Rules of Tennis are presented in the PDF below.