a. Medical Time-Out (MTO)
In the event that a player sustains a medical condition during the match or warm-up, or she believes that medical diagnosis and treatment are required for a medical condition, the player may request, through the Chair Umpire only, to see the WTA Tour Primary Health Care Provider (PHCP). The PHCP may authorize a one-time three (3) minute MTO for that condition. The player may make this request at any time during the match or warm-up.
Should the player decline the MTO immediately following the evaluation, the MTO for this medical condition will be forfeited for the remainder of this match. However, the PHCP will be allowed to treat the player on two (2) additional changeovers, not necessarily consecutive, for this medical condition.
Medical evaluation and treatment of a player’s condition will be made only by the PHCP. At the request of the PHCP, the Tournament Physician may assist in the evaluation and treatment. The MTO begins after the completion of the evaluation and diagnosis of medical condition by the PHCP and, if required, the Tournament Physician.
Evaluations by the PHCP shall be of reasonable time (recommended not to exceed three (3) minutes). Should a further evaluation be required by the Tournament Physician, this shall be a separate evaluation, also of reasonable time.
The MTO will not exceed three (3) minutes and be timed from when the PHCP is ready to commence treatment. For reasons of privacy and modesty, evaluations and MTO’s may be taken offcourt in the most private location nearest the court. The Chair Umpire and/or Supervisor shall be responsible for notifying the PHCP of time remaining. At the conclusion of the three (3) minute off-court treatment, the player will immediately return to the court.
A player will be allowed a maximum of two (2) consecutive MTO’s if more than one injury is sustained at the same time.
The PHCP may treat heat related physical conditions if determined to be appropriate. However, a player will be allowed only one MTO per match for any and all cramping conditions.
When a player calls the PHCP to court due to illness, the PHCP will determine if a MTO is necessary. If after evaluation the PHCP determines that the MTO is not necessary, the PHCP will be allowed to provide WTA Tour-approved medication following the evaluation. If necessary, the PHCP may treat the player for this medical condition for a further two changeovers which need not be consecutive.
b. Medical Treatment
A player may receive on-court medical evaluation, treatment and supplies from the PHCP (who may request assistance from the Tournament Physician) within any ninety (90) second changeover or one hundred and twenty (120) second set break. On court medical evaluation, treatment or supplies shall include: adjustment of medical support or tape, providing sports drinks or Tour approved medication or supplies for contact lenses. All requests must be made through the Chair Umpire. This treatment should not exceed two changeovers, which need not be consecutive. During a warm-up if adjustment of medical equipment is necessary it must be done after “Time” is called.
A pre-existing condition (an injury/illness which occurs prior to the match or during the warm-up) may only be treated on a changeover or set break. Should a pre-existing condition be aggravated (not necessarily witnessed by the Chair Umpire) during the match, the player may request and receive a MTO for that condition.
Any non-medical equipment (i.e. Hair accessories, food, drinks etc) requested by a player while on court must be given to an oncourt official to be delivered to the player.
Diabetics with prior medical written certification obtained from a primary care physician or endocrinologist and submitted to the Anti-Doping Program Administrator, may be allowed to use devices off-court to check blood sugar during the reasonable time evaluation period, and administer subcutaneous injections of insulin (if needed) during the MTO.
c. Non-Treatable Medical Conditions
Players may not receive treatment at any time during the match (or warm-up) for the following conditions:
i. Any illness or medical condition, as determined by the PHCP, that cannot be appropriately treated or will not be improved by medical treatment available.
ii. Pre-existing conditions not aggravated during play.
iii. General player fatigue: or
iv. Any condition requiring injections, intravenous infusions or oxygen, except for diabetics as stated above.
d. Medical Time-Out Procedures
All requests for Medical Evaluation and/or Treatment must be made through the Chair Umpire. The Supervisor (or Referee) should go to the court for all PHCP requests. The PHCP will begin the evaluation when he/she arrives on court and commences communication with the player.
Once a player has requested to see the PHCP, the Chair Umpire may ask the player if she is able to continue playing, however the player is under no obligation to do so.
The player has the option to:
1. Continue play until the PHCP arrives on court
2. Stop play and wait until the PHCP arrives
3. Wait until the next changeover to see the PHCP
During the warm-up
If a player sustains a medical condition during the warm-up that prevents the player from starting the match as scheduled, the player can receive either a MTO or ninety (90) second treatment period at the end of the warm-up, prior to the start of the match. If it is clear that the player is not physically able to compete after receiving treatment, then the match should not begin. Any medical condition incurred during the warm-up shall be deemed to be preexisting once the match begins. If the MTO is taken during the warm-up, the 5-minute warm-up shall be suspended until the conclusion of the MTO.
During the match
- The Chair Umpire shall begin to time the evaluation once the PHCP commences communication with the player.
- If the evaluation takes less than three (3) minutes, the PHCP will inform the Chair Umpire when treatment is to begin.
- If evaluation takes place on a changeover, prior to “Time” being called, the Chair Umpire will ask the PHCP if they are continuing the evaluation. The PHCP will indicate:
(1) If yes, the PHCP will clearly state if they are continuing the evaluation, or if they are starting the MTO.
(2) If no, the Chair Umpire will call “Time” at 60 seconds (changeover) or 90 seconds (set break). Once “Time” is called, the player has 30 seconds in which to resume play.
- At the commencement of the MTO the Chair Umpire will announce publicly “Miss/Mrs.. will be taking a Medical Time-Out” and start timing.
- The Chair Umpire will announce to the players and PHCP the following:
“Two minutes remaining”
“One minute remaining”
“30 seconds remaining”
- Should the MTO take less than the permitted 3 minutes, the PHCP shall inform the Chair Umpire when treatment has finished and the Chair Umpire shall announce: “Treatment complete, Time”
- When treatment takes the full 3 minutes the Chair Umpire shall announce “Treatment Complete, Time”. After announcing “treatment complete”, if needed the player should be given the time necessary to put her socks and shoes on before “Time” is called.
- If a player is unable to play after 30 seconds, then the player will be subject to a Code Violation (in accordance with the Point Penalty Schedule).
- At the conclusion of the MTO, the PHCP shall leave the court. The player may receive further treatment on two changeovers, which need not be consecutive, for each MTO taken.
- When a PHCP is called to court at a changeover, the Chair Umpire shall notify the PHCP and Supervisor (or Referee) of a player’s request to see the PHCP and time the changeover (or set break) as the usual 90 (or 120) seconds.
- If the PHCP completes the evaluation before “Time” has been called on a changeover (or set break) the PHCP may begin the MTO with the remaining time of the changeover being added to the 3 minutes for the MTO.
- Should a player require 2 consecutive MTO’s, the PHCP shall advise the Chair Umpire who will count down the MTO’s separately, making appropriate announcements for the commencement of each MTO. (e.g. “Miss/Mrs…. is taking a second MTO).
If during an on-court evaluation or MTO the PHCP deems it medically-warranted for the player to change her shirt, the PHCP could include this during the MTO (performed off-court at closest/most private location) otherwise shirt change may only be taken at the end of a set.
In the event there are simultaneous court calls, the PHCP will go to the first request unless otherwise advised of a medical emergency.
If there are two court calls on the same court:
i. the PHCP will go to the first request or medical emergency, administer a complete evaluation and MTO, if indicated: then
ii. go to the second request and administer a complete evaluation and MTO, if indicated.
iii. PHCP will rotate treatments on the change of ends, if necessary, beginning with the player who had the first request until the process is complete.
The Chair Umpire will suspend play and call for the WTA Tour PHCP when there are Biohazardous Materials (blood or vomit) present on the court. Play is suspended until the court is cleaned by the appropriate Tournament Personnel, with proper disposal of Biohazardous Materials, and until bleeding is controlled. If within fifteen (15) minutes of the PHCP being called to court, the bleeding is not controlled; the PHCP may advise that continued play is detrimental to the player’s health. In that case, the Supervisor/Referee may retire the player from the match.
e. Physical Incapacity
The Chair Umpire may stop play and call for the PHCP and Supervisor, if it is determined that continuing play without medical treatment could be physically detrimental to the player’s health.
The Supervisor / Referee in consultation with the PHCP / Tournament Physician may retire a player from a match or determine that a match should not begin, if upon evaluation by the PHCP/Physician it is determined that starting or continuing a match would be unprofessional or would put the player’s health at extreme risk. If the Supervisor believes it is not in the best interest of professional tennis for the match to be continued or played, the Supervisor has the authority to rule a player ineligible to compete. The Supervisor shall use this power with great discretion and shall seek any other appropriate information in all such cases. Pursuant thereto, it is the responsibility of each Tournament to have a Tournament Physician available on-site at all times.
f. Consecutive Breaks
A Medical Time-Out, Extreme Weather Condition ten-minute break and/or Bathroom/Change of Attire break may not be taken consecutively.
(Thanks to Steveg )