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Thursday, February 18, 2016

ITF Junior Rule Changes for 2016


The updates to the ITF Junior rules have been finalized and the 2016 version is now available.  Below are what I consider the notable changes for 2016, but please be aware that these are not all the changes. There is an entire new section in Appendix C about eligibility to represent a nation in ITF team or Junior Olympic competition, which I am not including here, but can be found at the ITF Junior website. (I've been told by the ITF that the final regulations, particularly regarding Appendix C, are different from what appeared when I first read the regulations. The FINAL version can be found here. The time frame for appeals of Code of Conduct - Major Offenses has also changed.

I'll begin with an important change in age eligibility and restrictions for those 12 and under.

RULE: COMPETITION FOR PLAYERS WHO ARE 12 AND UNDER:-
The following rules set forth eligibility rules and restrictions for competitions and other events (including Games) for players who are 12 and under:
a) There shall be no 11 and under, no 10 and under and no 9 and under (or younger) age category international or regional individual or team competitions or Games.
b) In any calendar year players may only compete in a maximum of ten tournaments for 12 and under events sanctioned by the ITF, or by a Regional Association or by the *USTA and Tennis Canada.
c) Players under the age of 10 shall not be eligible for entry into any international individual tournament, team competition, or games sanctioned by a Regional Association, a National Association and/or any other national or international organisation. In accordance with the ITF Junior Age Eligibility Rule, the player’s age as of the first day of the tournament Main Draw shall be used.

Players are allowed to play in a 12 and under event from the year they turn 10 years of age, and have reached their 10th birthday on or before the start of the Singles Main Draw, until [sic] SHOULD BE THROUGH the year the player turns 12 years of age.

d) Players eligible to compete in 12 and under Competitions may also compete in tournaments for players age 14 and under sanctioned by the ITF, or by a Regional Association or by the *USTA and Tennis Canada, but participation in such tournaments will count towards the maximum of ten events permitted.
e) Competition for players 12 and under organised by a Regional Association must be a team competition.
f) Players aged 12 and under shall not compete in 16 and under international or regional individual or team competitions.
g) There shall be no international or regional rankings for players aged 12 and under.
h) The title ‘World Champion’(or any similar title) shall not be awarded to a player winning an event restricted to players who are 12 and under.

*Note: For the purpose of this Rule only National Championships in the USA and in Canada count as tournaments covered.

My comments: I’m not sure how this will affect the Little Mo tournaments, who do have age divisions 9, 10, and 11. But because those tournaments are not sanctioned by the USTA, there may be no impact.

For the Eddie Herr and Junior Orange Bowl, as well as all the USTA 12s Nationals, however, these rules will apply. This includes a maximum of ten tournaments per year and no entry for those not yet 10 years of age.

RULE: A player who played in the Qualifying of ITF Pro Circuit tournament is allowed to accept a Wild card into Main Draw of ITF Junior Circuit tournament during the same week provided he lost in the tournament prior being offered the Wild Card. In all other circumstances, a player may not compete in an ITF Junior Circuit tournament if he/she has competed in another tennis tournament in the same tournament week.

My comments: Playing in a Pro Circuit qualifying event the same week as a junior tournament is now allowed (previously it was prohibited under the one-tournament-per-week rule) but only if the player is given a wild card into the junior tournament after he/she is out of Pro Circuit qualifying. In other words, signing up for both is not allowed.

RULE: Once a player has competed in an ITF Junior Circuit tournament he/she may compete in an “Other” tennis tournament (not ITF sanctioned) during the same week, provided that he/she:
a) notifies the ITF Referee of his/her intention to do so before his/her first match;
b) has played and been eliminated from the ITF Junior Circuit tournament; and
c) is released by the ITF Referee after his/her last match in the ITF Junior Circuit tournament to play in the other tournament. A player who withdraws or retires from either singles or doubles main draw in any round may not participate in any other tournament during the same week.
My comments: This sets out the procedure for competing in ITF and, for example, USTA tournaments in the same week.


RULE: 
a) Grade B1/1 Tournaments
The ITF Referee shall be a minimum White Badge Referee standard (except with the written approval of the ITF). If other age category events will also take place on-site during the tournament week, it is strongly recommended that the ITF Referee officiates only the U18 ITF Junior Circuit event for the duration of the tournament week.

There shall be a Chair Umpire for every match in the main draw.

There shall be at least two Line Umpires for each match from the semifinals.

For qualifying draw matches, a suitable number of off-court umpires must be provided.

b) Grade B2/2 & B3/3 Tournaments
The ITF Referee shall be a minimum White Badge Referee standard (except with the written approval of the ITF). If other age category events will also take place on-site during the tournament week, it is strongly recommended that the ITF Referee officiates only the U18 ITF Junior Circuit event for the duration of the tournament week.

There shall be a Chair Umpire for each match from the quarterfinals.

There shall be at least two Line Umpires for each match from the semifinals.

My comments: This is clarification of the 2015 rules requiring chair umpires for all Grade 1 matches, and for quarterfinals on in Grades 2 and 3 specifically adding grade B1s B2s and B3s, meaning the Easter Bowl will now need to chair matches from the first round on.  The following language was added to all grades: a suitable number of off-court umpires must be provided. (Off-court meaning roving umpires of course).

RULE: It is the player’s responsibility to ascertain whether they are eligible to accept a particular Wild Card. Players and tournaments should retain written confirmation of the offer and acceptance of a Wild Card. Acceptance of the offer of a Wild Card constitutes a player’s commitment to the tournament.

My comments: An acceptance of a wild card is now specifically said to be a commitment to the tournament, so accepting one and not showing up will probably result in the usual suspension points for being a no-show.

Other rules changes include:
If the singles or doubles event of a tournament is cancelled, e.g. due to poor weather, before the tournament is concluded, loser points for the round achieved will be awarded to players. If a tournament is officially terminated and the final(s) have not been completed, the finalists will each receive runner-up points.

If a Qualifying is not held, On-Site Alternates may fill any available spaces in the Main Draw.

If a player is forced to retire from the final round of Qualifying due to illness or injury, he/she will retain his/her Lucky Loser status provided he/she has received clearance from the Tournament Doctor or Sports Medicine Trainer.

There will be no sign-in requirement for players accepted directly into the Main Draw at Grade A or Grade 1 or B1 tournaments.

If at the Freeze deadline the total number of entered players on the Main Draw and Qualifying acceptance lists is less than or equal to the main draw size (all positions including DA, SE, Q but not WC), there shall be no Qualifying event. All Qualifying acceptances shall be moved to the Main Draw acceptance list as Direct Acceptances. There shall be no Qualifying sign-in. For those tournaments which have Main Draw sign-in, on-site Alternates may sign in on or before the time announced for the Main Draw sign-in in order to take any vacant positions at this time.

Practice facilities shall be provided free of charge for players still in the main draw.

If a player is involved in the singles and doubles finals, he/she shall be allowed a rest period of one half hour. A player may play before the end of the rest period if all participants are in agreement.

a) Grade B1/1 tournaments:
Main Draw/Qualifying
In Main Draw and Qualifying there shall be a minimum of four (4) new balls for each match; another four (4) new balls shall be provided for any third set in singles only.
b) Grade B2/2 - 5 tournaments:
Main Draw/Qualifying
In Main Draw and Qualifying there shall be a minimum of three (3) new balls for each match; another three (3) new balls shall be provided for any third set in singles only.

Non Permitted Commercial Identifications
No identification shall be permitted on players’ clothing that promotes/displays betting companies, tobacco products, alcohol products, political activity or other category deemed to be detrimental to the sport of tennis.

Again, the rule changes I've highlighted and the comments I've made are not meant to be a complete or definitive review. The ITF underlines all changes from the previous year in the current rule book, so please look through that pdf document for a comprehensive look at the changes for 2016.

2 comments:

embitteredtf said...

This text is in the TE regulations at http://www.tenniseurope.org/file_download.aspx?id=28132

"Players are allowed to play in a 12&Under event from the year they turn 10 years of age*, and have reached their 10th birthday on or before the start of the Singles Main Draw, until the year the players turns 12 years of age."

It looks to me that it's been in the TE regs longer and has been lifted more or less verbatim by the ITF, except that a grammatical error has been, if not corrected, ameliorated.

Anyhow, that's not why I'm posting; it's your own comment on English usage. Of course, I'm no authority, but the use of "until" seems natural to me whereas "through" would be an Americanism, unidiomatic in British English. I'm not sure why "until" is incorrect for you. Does it exclude the end of the range? Would "until the end of" work for both of us?

I'm going to, in fact I already do, regret posting this sort of thing this late at night.

Colette Lewis said...

"the end of" would fix it for this American-English speaker.