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Instant Replay Comes to WTT!
World TeamTennis Pro League teams to challenge calls using instant replay in 2005

WTT Coaches Challenge a first for tennis competition

Instant replay becomes part of pro tennis competition this summer when World TeamTennis introduces the WTT Coaches Challenge during the WTT Pro League season, July 4-24.

Similar to the instant replay system used in the NFL, the WTT Coaches Challenge allows teams to challenge calls during a match utilizing instant replay technology. Although instant replay has been tested in tennis and used in exhibitions, this will be the first time a challenge can be issued from the court in professional tennis competition.

“It’s time for tennis to utilize the technology that is available,” said WTT CEO Ilana Kloss. “The WTT Coaches Challenge allows us to take instant replay a step further by introducing the challenge option and making that part of the match strategy. It will also add another entertaining and exciting element for the fans.”

The WTT Coaches Challenge is another first for WTT, which has been at the forefront of innovation since the League started in 1974. Other WTT firsts include names on the back of players’ shirts, roaming linespersons, no-ad scoring, on-court coaching, co-ed professional teams, playing let serves, player substitutions and the addition of Overtime and Supertiebreakers.

“It’s about time we had another way to argue calls,” said WTT Co-founder Billie Jean King. “I would have loved to have had this option while I was playing. There will be mistakes in any match and this gives players and coaches the opportunity to make sure a mistake doesn’t decide a match.”

The WTT Coaches Challenge will allow each team to have three challenges per match. Only the team coach may call for a challenge. If the challenge results in the call being overturned, the point will be awarded to the challenging team. However, if the call on the court stands, the challenging team will be penalized by the loss of one challenge. The Coaches Challenge will be introduced in select markets throughout the League and incorporated into the League’s television broadcasts during the upcoming season.

The box umpire will conduct all replay reviews on a court-level monitor after consultation with the other on-court officials on the point. Play reviews will be limited to 90 seconds per challenge timed from when the umpire puts on headphones to the replay/TV booth. Teams can challenge up to and including the final point of the match. Overtime and Supertiebreakers count as part of the match so no new challenges will be awarded for those periods. A decision will be reversed only when the umpire has indisputable visual evidence that the call should be changed. However, the umpire cannot initiate a replay.

Kloss said the League is in the final stages of reviewing two instant replay system options and will select a system in a few weeks.