Taking Too Much Time

How much time should a player (pro or senior tournament) take in between points and games? One annoyed reader asks the question…

Blog reader Jim Lavoie writes, “Watching a lot of US Open tennis. Does it annoy anyone else how the modern players have to call over their ‘towel person’ after every point? No other sport allows this. Isn’t sweat part of playing a sport?”

Like Baseball

Major league baseball saw how their game was slowing down and taking longer and longer to play; so they had to legislate against batters stepping out after each pitch to readjust their batting gloves, tug at their baps and generally stall the pitcher and the game.

Senior Gamesmanship

And there are a few senior tournament players who will try to “take you out of your rhythm” – especially on your service games – by walking very slowly and picking up every stray ball (even if you have two in hand and are ready to serve). And the same players will sit for a couple of extra minutes on changeovers.

Time for a Clock?

The rule is players are allowed 25 seconds in between points; and while Rafa Nadal constantly pushes the upper limits, players like the young Australian Nick Krygios (whose on-court demeanor I do not care for) will speed along with just 9 or 10 seconds between service points.

Is it time to have a clock on the court to visibly show the seconds going by? Basketball has the shot clock and football has the play clock; so should tennis have one too? Waddyathink?

By the way, the USTA says: Players have 90 seconds on the changeover that is timed from the end of the last point before the changeover to the beginning of the first point after the changeover. At set breaks players have 120 seconds. Between points the standard rule is that play must be continuous.

Know someone who should read this? Send them a link and if you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at George@seniortennisandfitness.com

My Book: and if you’d like to get a copy of “Senior Tennis”, just click on the link on the upper right of this web page.

2 thoughts on “Taking Too Much Time

  1. I don’t think you can necessarily enforce the rules in an amateur tournament — even one sanctioned by the USTA — the same as the pros do on TV (and even then the Chair Umpires are not consistent in enforcing the 25 second rule at all).

    For example, take a large Category 1 or other national tournament with a full draw. Are you really going to put chess match style timing devices on dozens of courts that may be playing early round matches at the same time? How practical is that? And how many (otherwise volunteer) USTA certified officials are you going to need to sit there, either with a stop watch or by resetting these dozens of chess match style timing devices between points, for EACH point, in dozens of matches, many of which could go on for 2 or 3 hours each? It is just not realistic to expect this to happen.

    So, I think the best that a player can do is the same as what is supposed to happen when any rule infraction seems to be occurring during an amateur sanctioned tournament or match: Ask for a referee on a case by case basis if you think your opponent is delaying the match.

  2. If we let foot faults slip as well as talking during a point then this matter of timing between points is a bridge too far. Enforce all of the rules or none. Do not forget the player receiving serve is to play at the pace of the server not at the returners whim?

    Bill, and speaking of “rules not enforced,” how about coaching from the stands? thanks, george

Comments are closed.