Some players on ATP Tour want to speed it up

Some players at the BNP Paribas Open say chair umpires need to

be more diligent about enforcing rules about time allowed between

points.

The length of the recent Australian Open final between Novak

Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, which took 5 hours, 53 minutes to

complete, had some wondering what was taking so long. Turns out

both players often took as much as 30 seconds in between

points.

Rules state players are allowed 20 seconds between points in the

four Grand Slam tournaments and 25 seconds in ATP Tour events. But

like the slow-play rules in golf, they are enforced

inconsistently.

Roger Federer, who plays fairly quickly, says he thinks

officials ”are being too loose,” about policing the time limit

and admits to having wondered ”how you can go through a 4-hour

match with Rafa (Nadal) and him never getting a time

violation.”

Americans Andy Roddick, Robby Ginepri and Michael Russell told

USA Today that they would be in favor of an electronic shot-clock

like those used in basketball. But Roddick also said that, like

children stretching their parents’ tolerance, the players are

getting away with taking too much time because the officials are

allowing it.

Enric Molina Mur, the head of officiating for the International

Tennis Federation, which governs the Grand Slams, said there

obviously are instances when the rule is not being properly

enforced. But Gayle Bradshaw, who oversees rules and competition

for the ATP Tour, told the newspaper that consistency is a problem

”because sometimes 20 seconds is more than adequate and sometimes

25 seconds is clearly not long enough.”

That’s Nadal’s position, too.

He said Thursday that he has ”had a lot of warnings in my time

and I’ve accepted it, almost every one, because sometimes they are

right. That’s part of the game.

”If they say it’s 15 seconds it’s 15 seconds. In normal

conditions, yes. But you have to understand how the match goes”

and whether or not the energy expended during a point merits

additional recovery time, ”and that’s the work of the umpire, in

my opinion.”