“I hate this rule. I’m not the sort of player who takes too much time between points or uses the towel often, but this is a ridiculously humid place. I’m happy that the Grand Slams are not supporting it because it’s stupid.”
Not surprisingly, World No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic is not the only player to voice his displeasure at the ATP’s decision to enforce a strict observation of the time allowed between points — 25 seconds — this season.
The rule change has troubled most competitors at the three tournaments (Doha, Brisbane and Chennai) this week and quite a few of them have publicly criticised the association. From the 2013 season, players will lose a serve for the second and subsequent time-violations, while the receiver continues to be docked a point. The penalty is preceded by a warning by the chair umpire.
Justifying the ATP’s decision in September last, the association’s Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett said, “There has been a lot of discussion about the amount of time taken between points. We believe this modification will give officials a useful tool and allow for more consistent enforcement of the current time violation rule.”
The strict ruling will not be applied in Grand Slams as the International Tennis Federation continues to maintain a 20-second guideline for those tournaments. However, the change is expected to cause serious problems to players like Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in ATP events, who take longer breaks between points.
After exiting the Chennai Open, tournament top seed Tomas Berdych also expressed his dissatisfaction at the rigid enforcement of this rule and said, “I’m struggling with this, and it’s difficult to adjust when you follow a routine for years and suddenly things change.”
Apart from Berdych and Tipsarevic, the Spanish duo of David Ferrer and Pablo Andujar has also expressed their discontent on Twitter.