Beat the Clock

Some of us are old enough to remember the 1950’s game show “Beat the Clock” … but how are today’s tennis pros doing in beating the new shot clock?

A Good Idea

For the record, I am in favor of the tournaments adding the serving shot clock to the game to speed up the play of guys like “touch myself all over” Nadal or “bounce the ball 18 times” Djokovic.  Even though it has had somewhat uneven enforcement (because the chair umpire uses their discretion as to when to start and stop the clock), I believe it has served its purpose.

How To Beat the Clock

The 25-second clock starts when the umpire calls the score and ends when the “server starts their motion.”  So what can a player do to “game the system”?

If the server is not ready to serve – and the clock is running down – all they have to do is toss the ball in the air and the clock with stop; and then they can continue to go into their “real” service motion.

I haven’t seen anyone do this intentionally; but time will tell.

Are YOU in favor of the shot clock?

P.S. A trivia challenge: (without looking it up) who was the MC on the original Beat the Clock TV show?

US Open TV Coverage

Thanks to pro Alan Anastos, here is the link to the TV coverage for the upcoming final major of the year …

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

My Book: if you’d like to get a copy of “Senior Tennis”, just click on the link on the upper right of this web page to go to, look at the list of places under “My Book” on the bar above, or ask me what clubs are carrying it!

8 thoughts on “Beat the Clock

  1. When I see Djokovic on when I turn on the tv, I simply just turn off the tv. Why would he put millions of people through that? Its rude. Essentially the bouncing of the ball is to calm the player down but he’s a big boy . He could do it in 4 or 6 if he cared but the worst part is that he doesn’t care.

    Dave, i agree, but he rarely gets called for a time violation! thanks, george

  2. Bud Collins was the host of Beat the Clock (and, no, I did not look it up). Did you know he was he original voice of Superman/Clark Kent on radio. If you knew that you are really old.

    Mike, CLOSE to right … i will wait a little longer to see if anyone gets it totally right. george

  3. I think the first host of Beat the Clock was Bud Collyer.
    So many of the top tennis players have become prima donnas and feel the earth revolves around them. They are like rock stars and don’t really care how much time they waste.

    Michael, not only are you right, but you even spelled his last name correctly!!! Thanks, george.

  4. The shot clock is doing a good job of keeping the pros to a reasonable time period between points.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if there were such a time clock for senior players? I have encountered a few players sectionally and nationally who routinely go way beyond 25 or 30 seconds between points. In my opinion they are intentionally doing so as a form of gamesmanship, stalling in order to upset their opponent, and they get away with it because officials at all levels are reluctant to enforce time limits between points and on changeovers.

    Also, most players do not realize that they should play to the server’s pace (as long as that pace is realistic). According to the rules, if I am the server and ready to serve, the receiver should be ready (ITF Rules of Tennis, #21, When to Serve and Receive).

    Players who take too much time between points and who are not ready to receive when the server is ready are not observing the rules of the game – they are cheating!!!

    Sean, and those same slow players will take more than allotted time on changeovers and, in doubles, “chat” a lot between points. thanks, george

  5. I’m in favor of the shot clock. But why not take the subjectivity out of it so players can’t debate whether they’ve started their motions? The rule should be: A player’s racquet must make contact with the ball within 25 seconds.

    Alan, ok by me! george

Comments are closed.