For the first time that I have seen, a big tournament has started using an on-court clock to control the time the server (or returner?) takes between points. Is this a good idea?
Remember how disruptive it was when players like John McEnroe would take several minutes disputing line calls (that were never changed)? But now, the players accept the decision of the electronic line calling system and play moves along smoothly.
The clock was used at the D.C. Citi Open and will also be used at the U.S. Open during main-draw matches, which begin Aug. 27. Last year the clocks were tested during qualifying matches at the U.S. Open.
The Serve Clock Rules
The serve clock rule, originally implemented during the Next Gen Finals in Milan in 2017, will make a clock visible to enforce a previously existing but largely unenforced rule which allows players 25 seconds to serve. The clock begins when the chair umpire announces the score and turns off when the server lifts the racket to signify the serving motion. After even-numbered games, the clock will start when the balls are in place on the server’s side of the court.
If the clock runs out before the player begins the serve (which does not include bouncing the tennis ball) the player will receive a warning for the first violation and will lose a serve on subsequent violations.
“We’d like the pace of play to speed up,” said Gayle Bradshaw, the ATP’s executive vice president of rules and competition. “The other thing is the enforcement. … But it’s the inconsistency from one court to another, from one chair to the other, that frustrates the players. So this is the way that kind of brings us some consistency, and it seems like it’s just a natural next step.”
What do you think of this innovation?
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