In line with its previous investments in technology, the Rio Open 2019 will be the first ATP event in the 500 Series club to introduce the shot clock rule. It is also the first South American tournament to do so.
As per the rule, the players are supposed to resume the game within 25 seconds of the last point. In other words, the server has 25 seconds to make his serve. Failure to do so may result in warnings and subsequently, point penalties.
The shot clock was originally introduced in the qualifications of 2017 US Open and soon found its way in the Next Gen ATP Finals. In 2019, it will be implemented across all the ATP 1000 Masters events and in 2020; it is expected to be introduced across the entire Tour.
By introducing this rule at the ATP Rio Open 2019, the organizers hope that it will increase the player interaction with the crowd and reduce the time between points. The 25-second clock is set the second the chair umpire announces the score.
This isn’t the first time that the tournament has taken a step towards innovation. Earlier in 2018, it introduced the hawk-eye technology across the main draw and the qualifying matches.
The Rio Open 2019 will start on February 16, with the final set to be played on February 24. The tickets are already out for sale and can be purchased from the official site of the tournament – rioopen.com. Being a 500 Series event, it is going to be quite popular, to say the least.
Leading the draw is the World No. 8 and the Austrian No. 1 Dominic Thiem, who will be playing in Rio de Janeiro for the fourth consecutive year. He won the tournament back in 2017 and last year, he made it as far as the quarterfinals.
Similarly, the defending champion Diego Schwartzman has also confirmed his participation for the tournament. It was his second singles title on the tour – a feat he achieved after defeating Fernando Verdasco in the final.
Additionally, the World No. 13 Fabio Fognini is also set to feature in the competition, quite possibly as the second seed. The Italian had a landmark year after winning three singles titles in 2018 – ATP Los Cabos, ATP Bastad, and ATP Sao Paolo.