Changes Rules to permit ‘smart’ equipment

London, July 29, 2013: 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 listed overleaf.


(Changes and additions are underlined)


Coaching is considered to be communication, advice or instruction of any kind and by any means to a player.

In team events where there is a team captain sitting on-court, the team captain may coach the player(s) during a set break and when the players change ends at the end of a game, but not when the players change ends after the first game of each set and not during a tie-break game. In all other matches, coaching is not allowed.

Case 1: Is a player allowed to be coached, if the coaching is given by signals in a discreet way?

Decision: No.

Case 2: Is a player allowed to receive coaching when play is suspended?

Decision: Yes.

Case 3: Is a player allowed to receive on-court coaching during a match?

Decision: sanctioning bodies may apply to the ITF to have on-court coaching allowed. In events where on-court coaching is allowed, designated coaches may enter the court and coach their players under procedures decided by the sanctioning body.


Player analysis technology, that is approved for play under the Rules of Tennis, must comply with the specifications in Appendix III.

The International Tennis Federation shall rule on the question of whether any such equipment is approved, or not approved. Such ruling may be taken on its own initiative, or upon application by any party with a bona fide interest therein, including any player, equipment manufacturer or National Association or members thereof. Such rulings and applications shall be made in accordance with the applicable Review and Hearing Procedures of the International Tennis Federation (see Appendix IX).



Player analysis technology is equipment that may perform any of the following functions with respect to player performance information:

A. Recording

B. Storing

C. Transmission

D. Analysis

E. Communication to player by any kind or means

Player analysis technology may record and/or store information during a match. Such information may only be accessed by a player in accordance with Rule 30.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Leave a Reply