Introduction Of Stop Clocks Draws Criticism From World No.1 Nadal

The timers are likly to be used in more tournament in the future despite criticism from the world No.1.

Rafael Nadal (zimbio.com)

10-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal has expressed his own doubts about the introduction of a shot clock in tennis matches.

Last week the USTA confirmed that this year’s US Open will use the clock in main draw matches for the first time. It will be used for players to monitor how long they take between points. Currently there are allowed a maximum pause of 25 seconds. Violators of the rule are vulnerable to being penalised by the umpire. Officials say that this will help speed up matches. The tournament is also implementing a stricter time limit at the start of matches. Players must now be ready to play their first point no later than seven minutes after walking onto the court.

Regaining US Open champion Nadal has described the motion as a ‘negative.’ Arguing that it will have an impact on the quality of the rallies played in matches.

“For me it’s not the ideal thing but if the sport is moving that way or they want to move that way, the only thing I can do is accept it and play,” The AFP quoted Nadal as saying.
“That’s why I am here, to play tennis and to accept all the rules.
“The positive thing is probably you will control the time between points but in the negative thing… In my experience, on the tennis court, the crowd gets more crazy, the crowd gets more emotional and enjoys the match with more passion when you play good points.”

In the past the world No.1 has been criticised for exceeding the 25-second rule. During last year’s French Open, he hit out at umpire Carlos Ramos for issuing him with two warnings during his fourth round match against Roberto Bautista Agut. Saying that umpires should be focused on analysing the match and not monitoring the time.

“It’s obvious that sometimes when you play a rally with 56 shots as I did with Novak (Djokovic) a couple of years ago in the final (US Open 2013), you cannot expect a good point if you have 25 seconds on the next point,” Nadal insisted.
“Maybe for the business it’s better but in my opinion for the good show and the show that the people get more involved, it’s probably more a negative thing.”

Others welcome the move

Despite the sharp criticism from Nadal, other players on the tour has welcomed the use of a clock. It was trialled last November at the Inaugural ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan. During that tournament, Alexander Zverev was one of the first to welcome the new rule. Although he didn’t play in the event.

“The shot clock is something not bad. There has to be a few adjustments maybe made to that but I think that has potential.” Zverev said last year.

More recently, Marin Cilic has given a cautious welcome to the initiative. Cilic’s only experience of a one-court timer was during the Indian Tennis Premier League (IPTL).

“I played only with the shot clock in IPTL and it was only 20 seconds. In some cases it was working well and some cases not,” he said.
“Some ball boys were ready for that, some were better, some were not. I think it needs to be slightly balanced but I think it can be good for tennis to have something like that.”

It appears as if the use of a clock will become a more prominent feature. Chris Kermode is the CEO of the ATP World Tour. He has publicly backed the new rule and hinted that it could be used at more events starting from 2019 onwards.

“To me, having a shot clock, people have been talking about it for years and it’s like can we just do it or not do it? This is clearly let’s just do it.” Kermode concluded.

There is currently no plans in place to use a shot clock in the main draw of the three other grand slam events.

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