(Reuters) - Ballpersons at the U.S. Open will now roll the ball from point-to-point, rather than throw between positions, the United States Tennis Association said on Thursday in a bid to grow the number of applicants.
The USTA said rolling the ball between positions, a style that has traditionally been utilized at the other grand slam events, puts less emphasis on a single skill-set -- in this case throwing -- and more focus on speed, dexterity and agility.
"In the past, potential applicants may have decided not to try out because of the daunting nature of the throw," Stacey Allaster, the USTA's chief executive for professional tennis, said in a statement.
"We hope that those same individuals will now come out for the try-out this year, as well as those that may have not made the cut in the past, solely due to their throwing prowess."
The changes take effect beginning with this year's U.S. Open, which will be held from Aug. 27-Sept. 9 in New York City.
More than 100 U.S. Open ballperson positions will be up for grabs when public tryouts are held on June 26 at the USTA Billy Jean King Center.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Christian Radnedge)