Tennis: WTA, ATP announce new scheduling restrictions to limit late night matches

The night session at the 2023 Australian Open's John Cain Arena.
The night session at the 2023 Australian Open's John Cain Arena. Photo credit: Getty Images

The WTA and ATP have announced new scheduling regulations that restrict evening matches to two per court each day, with a recommended start time of 6:30pm, to curb matches from concluding in the early morning hours.

The Australian Open will switch to a Sunday start and play over 15 days, instead of 14, for the first time this year to avoid late finishes.

No more than five matches will be staged per day per court, with three matches during the day session and two matches during the evening session.

"No matches [will] go on court after 11 pm, unless approved by the WTA/ATP supervisor in consultation with WTA/ATP management," they said.

Matches that do not commence by 10:30pm local time will be moved to an alternative court by no later than 11pm local time, with night sessions to begin no later than 7:30pm local time.

WTA and ATP events will enforce new regulations from January, as part of a one-year trial, with further review to follow.

A strategic review of tennis balls used on the tours is also underway to deliver greater ball consistency within tournament swings for players.

"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," said WTA chairman and chief executive Steve Simon.

"The athletes' direct feedback, in cooperation with our event members, has been terrific in allowing us to continue modernising our sport."