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Thursday, February 8, 2024

2024 Changes to ITF Junior Rules and Regulations Include New Deadlines for Draws and OOP, No Main Draw Sign In, Exclusive Sponsorship for Dwight Global Online School, Toilet Break Before Match Tiebreaker

The 2024 changes to the ITF Junior World Tennis Tour rules and regulations have been out since December, with the final update dated January 12 2024, so it's time for my annual post discussing the notable changes. A conspicuous lack of change is the continued prohibition of coaching, which remains, despite, as I mentioned in my Eight Intriguing Questions last month, the junior slams allowing it and the ITF experimenting with it on the men's and women's Pro Circuit last fall.

As usual this caveat applies: the short document highlighting the changes is not a substitute for the actual Rules and Regulations, which run to over 100 pages, and can be found here.

Many of the changes will affect a small minority of those competing on the ITF Junior Circuit, but several will have an impact on everyone.

~There is now no main draw sign-in with the tournament's ITF supervisor required for any level; previously that sign-in requirement had been eliminated for J300 level tournaments and above but now, if you are in the main draw acceptances, you just show up to play. This also appears to be the case for qualifying, but I do not have access to IPIN and therefore don't know what is done within that system, so I may be misconstruing how much has actually changed. Alternates are required to sign in with the tournament's ITF Supervisor.

~In addition to the change in sign-in, there are many new instructions on filling the vacancies in the draws, both main and qualifying, depending on the timing of the vacancies: from withdrawal deadline to freeze; at the qualifying sign-in deadline; between the qualifying sign-in deadline and the start of qualifying play; after qualifying is done and after qualifying is completed.

~New this year is a time deadline for making the draws and for the release of the first day's order of play; the delays in both these procedures have been a source of frustration for many players, coaches, families and media members over the years. Previously the rules did not mention any deadlines. The only order of play time deadline is the first one, after the draw is made.

Time of Draw:
i) Qualifying (Singles) – As soon as possible after the Qualifying Sign-In Deadline
ii) Main Draw (Singles) – No later than 19:00 hours local time on the day before the Main Draw starts and the Order of Play must be posted no later than one hour after the draw has been made. i
ii) Doubles – As soon as possible after the Doubles Sign-In

~There is no longer a requirement that lucky losers sign in to be eligible for a main draw position; the default is changing to expectation that you will play if a place becomes available; you must notify the supervisor if you don't wish to be considered for a lucky loser spot.

~All juniors who wish to compete in ITF events are required to complete mandatory ITF Academy courses

~There is clarification on the levels that have  geographical restrictions for special exempt spots: The two tournaments must be within the same region (or bordering countries not in the same region) for J30, J60, J100, J200 and J300 tournaments. There is no geographical restriction to special exempt positions at J500 and Junior Grand Slams.

~Handling an adminstration error, which basically is too many players admitted to, or mistakenly omitted from, acceptances, is clarified. This is, fortunately, extremely rare, but I have seen it happen in my years covering the ITF Junior Circuit; this is how rules and regulations end up at more than 100 pages, to cover rectifying any mistake ever made.

~Players are not allowed to play in more than one region's closed competitions. For example, Maya Joint, who played (and won) the Pan American Closed in Houston in September, after she had changed her representation to Australia, was not eligible to compete in the Asia Oceania Regional Championships the following month. Had she done so, any points from that tournament would be removed. Players are allowed to play two of these closed events in their own region, but not in another region.

~Toilet breaks are now allowed between the second set and a match tiebreaker, whether it be singles or doubles. The rules did not allow this previously, but in my experience, that was not consistently enforced.

~Local ITF tournaments are no longer allowed to have sponsors who provide online schooling, with Dwight Global the ITF's exclusive international sponsor for that category. This could impact US tournaments, some of which have been sponsored by Laurel Springs School.

~There are have been some upgrades to the Accelerator Program for junior girls, which I have already posted about here.