David Ferrer: Rafa Doesn’t Have Pain In His Knees Anymore
by Tom Gainey | January 1st, 2013, 10:47 am

Speaking in Doha yesterday, top seed David Ferrer commented on the status of good friend and countryman Rafael Nadal confirming that his knees were in good health but it was in fact a stomach virus that has curtailed his return.

“I spoke with him few days ago,” Ferrer said. “He was sick with virus, and he prefer to stop. And he will come back in South America. But the good news is because him, he doesn’t have pain in the knees. So that’s the most important.

“Rafa is a very good friend for me and very important for the tennis tour. Of course all the tennis players, we miss him because he’s very important.”

The 30-year-old also said that despite his recent setbacks, Ferrer thinks Nadal can return to No. 1.

“He can do it because he’s a very good player. He’s a special player,” Ferrer said. “Rafael, he’s very competitive, he’s a winner, and he’s young also. I have confidence with him that when he’s coming back he will play good. Maybe not in the first tournaments because they had a lot of times tough, but he’s coming. I am sure he coming back No. 2 or No. 1 in the world.”

After one his best seasons, Ferrer is still seeking a first Grand Slam, but he acknowledges it will be very tough.

“I know it’s very difficult in these moments, because they are top 4, they are very good players and Nadal is coming back soon,” he said. “So every year is more difficult because I am older.

“Maybe my goal is to be top 10. That’s my goal.”

Also Check Out:
Rafael Nadal Explains How He Got His Knees Better, But Still Critical Of Hardcourts
Rafael Nadal: Just Because Roger Lost Doesn’t Mean We Can’t Play At The US Open In The Future
Now Removed From The Top 10, Nikolay Davydenko Doesn’t Feel The Same Pressure, So He Just Feeds The Media B.S.
Rafael Nadal’s Knees Are Still Sore, He Hopes They Will Hold Up For South America [Video]
The Curious Case of Nadal’s Ailing Knees

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121 Comments for David Ferrer: Rafa Doesn’t Have Pain In His Knees Anymore

skeezer Says:

Ferrer should consult with Davy

Brando Says:

Ferru is a class act. A true friend of rafa too. Hope ferru has a great AO!

Brando Says:

Anyhow, here to wish a happy new year to all folks here at tennis-x. Hopefully the tennis shall be entertaining as ever!

subo Says:

alex you are believing what nadal is saying i do not he is banned from tennis for doping the vermin in the press know it nadal is a fraud liar and cheat

The Great Davy Says:

Dear Ferru,

Nobody agree with you, go back to playing little fiddle. You are second banana not even Nadal would eat this. I hope we get to meet Doha, I’ll show you how much I miss Nadal.

Humble Rafa Says:

Your Humble Highness is so proud to have the Unkempt One as a compatriot. Plus, whenever we play, he flips over for me like a true Spaniard.

dari Says:

I read this headline from my phone and I read ” Rafa does not Have Knees Anymore”
Too soon to be on the internet after new years eve.

alison Says:

Very nice words from Daveed,who has said its not Rafas knees but a virus thats stopping him playing the AO,wonder if people will believe Rafa now or doubt Daveeds words too,i must admit ive had my doubts,not about the actuall virus,but the severity of it been enough to make him pull out of a GS.

Esrelle Says:

It’s odd that Almagro said it was not the virus but the knees. Again no one can make up the same story.

Humble Rafa Says:

Dear Spanish amigos,

Let’s get one story out. All of us. OK.

My knees are fine. I am fighting a virus. I will be back stronger than ever.

Got it, don’t screw it up like the Davis Cup final. Almagro, you know who I am talking about. When under pressure, shut up.

Alok Says:

It seems as though some of the other Spanish players are not sure what’s wrong with Nadal. They also seem to have very little information to gon and come up with a guess not fact. How could almagro and ferrer have two different opinions?

Alok Says:

@alison, I see you didn’t take that sabbatical after all and decided to remain and fight for Nadal, more than ever?

al Says:

David missed him, Davy don’t…

Michael Says:

It is his Nadal’s decision not to play due to illness and we must respect it. It would be futile to speculate on the exact nature of ailment and attribute ulterior motives for his decision. He knows best what to do. However, considering all the factors and specially after his long lay off, it would be prudent on his part to start afresh his career on his favourite Clay courts. It is where Nadal is most comfortable and confident. Not that he is a one dimensional player or a one court wonder. He has proved his mettle on all the Courts and he has all the shots in his arsenal and especially very deft and adept in handling vollies, but Clay has been his forte where he is seemingly invincible. A start with a big bag on clay courts will boost his overall confidence and it will slowly creep over to other courts as well. This is what Nadal exactly fabricated in his early part of his career which scaled him to greater heights due to his willingness to adapt to all surface and conditions. More so ever, he has a chance to win the Monte Carlo Masters for a record 9th consecutive time. That will be a unique feat unparalleled in the history of this sport not that 8 was insignificant, but No. 9 would be too special. Nadal knows this and he may go the distance to claim that ultimate glory.

Giles Says:

Michael. Great post. I think you have summarised Rafa’s situation very well.

alison Says:

Alok@10.48pm 1st January 2013,i still might yet take that sabatical,however my reasons were not purely tennis related,but rather personal ones,and i thought the comments were about to start getting too much again,had a change of heart though where and when common sense thankfully prevailed,lets just say though from this moment on,if things start to become too much this year ie personal attacks on posters then i will probably be a bit more choosy about when i blog.

the DA Says:

Wow, Tomic just beat Novak 6-4 6-4. He played out of his mind, great serve and FH doing the damage – the best I’ve seen from him since 2011. He’ll be a force again this year if he continues to play like this.

BT Says:

Anyone watching Hopman Cup right now? Tomic just defeated Djokovic!!! Good quality match. Congrats to Tomic on a great performance.

Michael Says:

Giles – Thanks

Michael Says:

Tomic beating Novak in straight sets. I cannot believe it. This is belying all expectations.

Sienna Says:

Djoker’s supreme court coverage and his so called dominance has been put to rest.

This is gonna make TMF the big favorite for AU Open title.

Dan Martin Says:

I’m glad to hear that he is pain free. I hope to see him on the court as soon as possible (Mexico it appears).

jamie Says:

Nole… Wassup? Hmmmm… We will see the real Nole at the AO.

jamie Says:

Nadal can only win titles on clay these days(for TWO years now). He knows he has no chance to win on HC or on grass anymore. He won’t be back until he can play on clay, the only surfacem where he can win.

jamie Says:

Nadal can only win titles on clay these days(for TWO years now). He knows he has no chance to win on HC or on grass anymore. He won’t be back until he can play on clay, the only surface where he can win. He won’t show up at tournaments played off clay to avoid being Rosoled.

jane Says:

Tomic is a great player when he sets his mind to it; he should be able to get wins off the top guys once and a while. Nole and Ana won in doubles, though, and Ana won her match, so they still got the tie. I think Nole plays Haas next. That will be a tough one; he and Tommy always play close matches.

Wog boy Says:

Nice win for Tomic, it is hard to beat anybody who serves 75%, good to see that he hired coach and new team. His father wasn’t there. BTW, he already beat Nole at Kooyong 2010, another exho. Nole was just to slow, there is a thing called jet-lag. Hopman cup is team effort. At the end Ana saved the day, Serbia 2 Australia 1. Serbia is almost certain to play saturday final.
Perth Arena is just beautiful, 14,000 people stayed until last mix double point, they don’t have chance to seee the best of the best playing often in Perth;)

Ben Pronin Says:


They show the stats at the end. Tomic had 13 break points! But Djokovic made a lot more errors than winners, not like him. It’s just an exho so I’m not putting any stock into the result but it’s good to see Tomic taking his tennis seriously. But if they meet in Australia, does anyone really think Tomic will win?

Wog boy Says:


You again:)

the DA Says:

I tell what I think will be an interesting issue to look out for at the AO: the new enforcement of the 25 second rule. They’ve started enforcing it (20 secs) at Doha much to the chagrin of Lopez yesterday and Monfils today. When Monfils was warned he looked rattled and lost his serve and ultimately the 2nd set.

It will be interesting to see who it affects most…IF..they stick to their guns and enforce it.

alison Says:

In the grand scheme of things its a good result for Tomic who has the talent no doubt,but to put in perspective i hardly think Nole will be losing much sleep over an exho,beating Nole in a best of 3 is one thing,to do it in a GS in the best of 5 is completely different animal,he will still be the man to beat at the AO.

Ben Pronin Says:

Monfils scoring a win over Kohlschreiber in his comeback debut? Very impressive.

jane Says:

I don’t know if the rule will make much difference, but it will indeed be interesting to see. Does it apply at slams if it’s an ATP rule or not? I guess the punishment is lowered a bit now in fact. After a warning players used to lose a point, but now the server just gets a fault after a warning, which isn’t necessarily a point if it’s a first serve. The returner however still loses a point after one warning. I actually hope the umpires use discretion with things like lengthy rallies and don’t punish the players if they’ve just hit a 20-something rally, if something is influencing them, like wind, or if people are moving in the stands. But that’s just my personal opinion.

alison Says:

Jane great post completely agree,nothing wrong with the rule it will speed things up for sure,but as you say a little common sense and a little compromise here and there makes perfect sense.

The Great Davy Says:

I have destroy Youzhny today. Once again, Russian order is restore.

skeezer Says:

“After a warning players used to lose a point”

When has that ever happened with Rafa or Nole?

There was a purpose to change the rule so as to not slow the match to a crawl(ATP said so in there quote along with the change of rule), so I for one are looking forward to see SOMETHING happen that was different than the last couple of years…..ugh.

Change something else( if they need more time to recover ), like 2 out of 3, or no add, more time in between switching sides, ANYTHING but allowing them to wipe down, clean up, spit, walk around, pick, tic, tac, bounce, etc.. Fans want to watch Tennis players play Tennis, not to stand around 35-50 sec in between every point.

jane Says:

^ Or Delpo, or Isner, or la Monf, or Tsonga, or… I suspect a number of players take more that 25 seconds once and a while. It never bothered me too much really. 35 seconds versus 25? meh. I’d take the 10 extra seconds for an amazing point anyhow, but of course it’s not needed for EVERY point, and that’s where, hopefully, the umpires crack down. Not when the players warrant a little extra time to catch their breath. That just my opinion. But we’ll see how the umpires deal with it going forward.

alison Says:

Skeezer yep completely agree,too long ive managed to boil the kettle and make a cuppa in the time these two take between points,and im not joking either,even as a fan of Rafa im left thinking just play for gods sake.

alison Says:

Jane yeah plenty of players have a problem on that score,and not just the men Sharapovas terrible walk to the back of the court, turn her back on her opponent, fiddle with her hair.

skeezer Says:


These 2 guys are the most accountable imo, why? They are in more big time matches and goo farther than most. Sure other guys do it. When you DVR the AO and minus the in between time how much time do you really think the match was?

Tz Says:

I think the new rule is not going to affect Roger. He generally takes 17-21 seconds in between points :) :)
how about 5th AO, Rog?? ;)

skeezer Says:

Btw have seen plenty of amazing points in the last 20 years, extra time imo has nothing to do with it. Stamina, fitness and Talent do. The guy who is better fit is prepared to make the better shot.

jane Says:

^ Eh, heard it all before skeezer. There was an ESPN writer who calculated it. Like I say, it doesn’t bother me personally. Generally I like the way both Rafa and Nole play and if it means an extra 10 seconds after a stellar rally occasionally, it doesn’t bother me.

However, I would like to see Nole step in more and take the opportunity to shorten points when he has it. I don’t want to watch TOO many gruelling rallies.

And, I don’t think towelling off is needed after EVERY point, or between first and second serves, nor is bouncing a lot, or whatever. I think Nole has maybe lessened time between points overall; I thought I noticed that throughout the WTFs anyhow.

Anyhow, I agree that there is definitely the potential to crack down, and just as there are plenty of players who take extra time – all of whom are accountable.

But if it’s an ATP rule, does it apply at slams or not? Slams are under the ITF; are the rules the same?

alison Says:

^Id like them both to step in and shorten the points,not so many long rallies,less stress on the body,and hopefully less injuries also with any luck,not so much ball bouncing,personal ticks,and less faffing about and more tennis^.

Ben Pronin Says:

Jane, I don’t know, some players really need to towel off between every point. A guy like Federer, who never really sweats, probably doesn’t. But someone like Roddick, who begins sweating almost instantaneously, probably does. The players wipe their arms and face. Do you want someone to lose a point because they get sweat in their eyes? Or because they lose their grip on their racket? Seems pretty anticlimactic.

But I agree in regards to hoping that the umps use their discretion. In last year’s AO final, Djokovic and Nadal played a point that was, I think, 41 shots towards the end of the 5th set. Novak fell to the ground as he lost the point and you could see how hard he was breathing while lying there. I know people will say he was being over dramatic but when you’ve been playing for over 5 hours and have even a 20+ shot rally, maybe an extra 10 or 15 seconds can be allowed.

The problem is that the time is abused. I don’t want to pick on Nadal (especially now) but he is one of the biggest culprit’s. By the time he steps up to serve, bounces the ball, glares across the net, tucks his hair, it takes forever. And it’s very meticulous. Cut the glare out and that’s probably 5 seconds shaved. But at the same time, when it’s a big point, it’s understandable. Are you going to penalize a guy facing set point on his serve to go down 2 sets to 1 in the final of the Australian Open for taking some extra time to gather himself? Or is it more fair to rush him so that the viewers don’t complain and his opponent’s momentum isn’t interrupted?

That’s sort of another thing. A player should definitely be penalized if he’s deliberately delaying his opponent from serving. But when you’re serving, it’s different. You’re supposed to be the one setting the tempo.

jane Says:

True Ben, poor Roddick used to have sweat dripping off his hat by game two sometimes!

jane Says:

“But at the same time, when it’s a big point, it’s understandable.”


“And it’s very meticulous.”

I think it’s a personality thing with Rafa; his sort of “OCD” aspect. I don’t know if it’s calculated or gamesmanship. It seems like ritual more so.

I have always noticed that Nole bounces more on big points; i think he’s thinking, gathering himself. But I do understand he needs to cut back and think he has overall, as mentioned.

Alok Says:

When I watched the recorded replay of the AO212 final, at least an hour and 30 minutes was cut off.

I think the old school guys, Fed Haas, Melzer and others in their age group won’t be bothered by the new rule. It’s the younger guys in the 20-25 group that will feel the impact of the new rule.

Those guys wait until it’s 20 secs to get to the baseline, and bounce the balls several times before serving, which is why they add on an extra 10 to 15 seconds. Perhaps they should try to get to the baseline in about 15 seconds and the do their bouncing, etc.

If left to some umpires nothing will be done because it’s obvious some of them are afraid to enforce rules against the top players, which is unfair to theother players, IMO.

jane Says:

I am still unclear about ITF and ATP rules as well. Are the rules the same?

Sandra Says:

I’m very happy with the rule, but lets wait and see if the empires have the balls to penalize the top guys if necessary. I honestly don’t see it happen. I just can’t image a empire give a time violations to rafa for example, let alone multiple ones in a match.

Skeezer Says:

Absolutely do not agree. Taking too
much time(deliberately) between points ( including big ones ) can be used for gamesmenship to an unfair advantage. People who play competitively know this. Pick a time allocated that applies to BOTH players and enforce it. If there breathing too hard after a long point get in better shape. Conditioning is an intregal part of the Game of Tennis. This is not Golf

Skeezer Says:


Cannot look that up ATM(ATF & ITF enforcement at Slams), I would like to know also …..

MMT Says:

Here’s the news release on the new time violation rule:


Please note this is an ATP rule change, not an ITF rule change. The time limit is 25 seconds on the ATP tour, and 20 seconds at the majors and Davis Cup (presumably because an extra 5 seconds for a match that can have hundreds of points would make tennis unwatchable by the general public – and that costs money). I don’t believe the ITF has changed their time violation rule.

I think the idea here is that if the umpire doesn’t have to penalize a player with a point, he is more likely to apply the rule consistently throughout the match, but I think that’s a nonsense. The same pressure not to even give a warning (which is a courtesy after all, so I don’t understand why players get so flummoxed by it), let alone a point penalty, will also plague umpires contemplating assessing a fault to the server or a point to the receiver. All the same arguments in favor of “discretion” will still apply.

I also don’t think they should make exceptions for distractions – that’s absurd. Basketball players shoot free throws with all kinds of intentional distractions, but somehow we expect a stadium of 10,000 – 20,000 to remain absolutely silent and still before the point can begin? That is very fancy.

And by allowing players to take longer after long points, puts pressure on the umpire to determine what constitutes a long point, and creates an unnatural evolution in the game whereby players can now strategically elongate points ad nauseum, causing them to take fewer chances to shorten points and creating a monotonous ball bashing game that becomes less interesting and more tedious each year.

I believe the best option for the fans (which at the end of the day is the most important consideration) is for the rule to go back to the continuous play – no delays, no incessant towelling off, no nonsense internal pep talks, and no running commentary. This would also serve the purpose of diminishing the opportunities to coach – that other unenforced rule in the modern game.

Of course, I know that will never happen the game is SO different from the past, it is simply IMPOSSIBLE to ask modern players to man up and get on with it. So my other suggestion would be a shot clock and one 30-second extension per game available to the server only. If you don’t want to run out of gas after every point, then shorten your routine and shorten the points.

Everybody just suck it up.

skeezer Says:

Tx for posting the info ;)

Giles Says:

^^ This Info was posted on this forum way back in September!!

dari Says:

This article is pretty good, answers some questions.

They slowed down the courts with the intent to make more exciting rallies, and long term that has contributed some problems with the ability to recover within the allotted time.
They are gonna have to speed up some of these hard courts to make it work.

Giles Says:

Jane. These rules only apply to the ATP and Challengers at the moment.

jane Says:

I think these players are – for the most part – in excellent shape. But as Ben says, after playing 5 sets, say, and then a 30 shot rally or something, a little leeway is nothing imo.

As for crowd distractions, I think it depends on the severity. The simple movement of a person coming to his or her seat, or even crowd banter, doesn’t bother me. But, for example, in the past Fed had been bothered by camera flashes or crowd noise, and other players, including Rafa, Nole, etc, have beenm bothered by excessive movement. I remember one time during a Fish vs. Rafa match at the USO, they actually had to remove a guy from the crowd he was being so rambunctious. And sometimes audience members yell out pre-serve, which can throw a toss off, etc. So once again, I think it comes down to discretion. The umpires *have to* be able to use some common sense imo.

Umps don’t seem to do as much anymore anyhow, what with Hawkeye. So why not be attentive and make some decisions, wisely enforcing rules and make the odd exception if needed.

jane Says:

Thanks for MMT and Giles for clarifying re: ATP/ITF.

skeezer Says:

“But as Ben says, after playing 5 sets, say, and then a 30 shot rally or something, a little leeway is nothing imo.

Ugh. How many 30+ shot rallies are there in a match? Part of the “game” is outlasting your opponent, wearring them out ( ala Agassi strategy in the day ). Sure they are in shape, but are they in shape to win a Slam? The guy who wins is. No “extra” time needed. If your spent, then the other guy imposed his will on you via his game, and deserves to have you “spent”.

( BTW Borg in his day, a fairly quick player, had a standing pulse rate in the low 40′s, so stamina imo was great even back then. )

Whats changed?

They used to getting things “there’ way, and the system has placated them. Johnny Mac got Dq ed from a Slam in ’90, Nastase in 79 USO ( as an example ). There is plenty of bad behavior on the court nowadays goes unpunished, along with other rule breakers like on court coaching. ( I myself sit and watched in amazement during IW that players were foot faulting and not once was it called. )

We’re slowly but surely coming to “whatever the player wants” instead of “whatever is better for the game and the fans”.

This has got to stop or the game is in danger of losing fans. I mean the average length of the top sporting events is approx 3 hrs. Who is gonna sit through a match that long?

I’m sorry, but if I dodn’t have DVR during the last AO there is now way ( ok, even if Fed was playing ) I would sit on the couch that long and watch TV. I got better things to do with my life than waste it on a chair or couch that long, like get on the court and play Tennis myself!

Crowd distractions and umps imo are another subject matter that deals with the crowd behavior and the players, not Player rules.

jane Says:

Thanks dari.

I think this part makes sense – the ITF should up their limit to 25 second, as the writer points out that after long points both players were taking that long to gather themselves – quoting now:

“The time limits are different at tour events and the Grand Slams. Shouldn’t they be made uniform, for players’ and fans’ sakes?

Yes. At the Slams, which are run by the ITF rather than either tour, 20 seconds is the (theoretical) limit. Since the men play three-of-five sets, rather than two-of-three, the idea is to try to keep things moving a little more quickly. That’s a nice idea, but its time has passed.

During the third set of Monfils-Kohlscheiber today, I put the clock on both players for a few games. By that stage, Monfils appeared to have accepted the new reality and was moving at a brisker clip than normal. Kohlschreiber always plays well within the time limits. But after long rallies, when both players (understandably) toweled off and took a few extra moments to gather themselves, even Kohlschreiber was taking 23 to 24 seconds before serving. He wasn’t dawdling, either; he and Monfils needed every one of those seconds to catch their breath and be ready to go again.

If a no-nonsense player like Kohlschreiber can’t get himself set in the time allowed, you’re not allowing enough time. The Slams should follow the ATP’s lead by going to 25 seconds and enforcing that number. This will also allow the players to develop their personal tempos and rituals without having to adjust them four times a year.”

skeezer Says:

“….Who is gonna sit through a match that long ( 6 hrs )? “

jane Says:

I also agree with this:

“Lopez received his penalty at set point. Shouldn’t the umpire stay out of things at crucial moments?

Yes. Players will understandably take a few extra moments before a big point, and they shouldn’t be penalized for that, or distracted at that moment. The key is for the umpire to give warnings early in sets. A tone will be set, and he won’t insert himself unduly in the match. A player who goes over the limit once or twice on big points isn’t the issue; it’s making sure it’s not a trend throughout a match”

jane Says:

And this:

“I should note that, in my opinion at least, a tennis match can be played too quickly. A couple of summers ago in Cincy, Roger Federer and James Blake raced from one point to the next; it all went by in a blur. Watching old clips of Ilie Nastase can be jarring for the same reason. He takes the balls and serves so rapidly, it doesn’t look like he has even bothered to set his feet. A good match should be worth taking a little time to see.”

jane Says:

I think the ATP have to consider their ROLE in this too. If they indeed slowed the courts so that matches didn’t go by “in a blur” and so fans could see long and exciting rallies that showcase all sorts of shot-making, and great defense as well as offense, but they now want to make the matches and rallies shorter for the fans (mixed messages much?), perhaps they are going to HAVE to speed up some courts to allow for more variety: some slower hard, some faster hard, faster grass, and so on, etc. I think most serious tennis fans would like to see that anyhow.

Ben Pronin Says:

Jane, completely agree. Honestly, as a fan, after a 30+ shot rally, are YOU really ready for the next point to just get started? I know I’m not. I like some time to react, to shout a “WOW,” or hold my head in amazement, hear/watch the crowd react, the commentators, etc. I don’t like when a player takes a minute after hitting an ace or something, but after a long rally? C’mon.

skeezer Says:

^ Again, how many long 30 + rallies are there? If that is the case, ump counts the ball hit count and they get extra time for the next point? This “discreetly” thingy is to vague, and they know it, that is why they are attempting to change it.

“I think the ATP have to consider their ROLE in this too err …well they did. They just changed the rule.

That said, jane, that is a great idea( re 6:45 post )!

They just need to keep the variety in and distinction between court surfaces just that, DIFFERENT. Then that should appease everyone and we all will really see who is the best most complete player on all surfaces, speed, texture, type. No arguments there…..

IMO they did not know what they were doing when they slowed everything down, they panicked, and did not do enough R&D. Didn’t realize for every action there is a reaction…

Remember, simply if they timed the players, it would(should) be the same for both. We have not seen yet what that will do, and players adapt. How they adapt and the strategy to use the time will be quite interesting. One thing for sure, it will( it better ) be fair to both. You say “discreetly”, so let say one player gassed takes 50 seconds to recover( lets say a 30+ rally ), whilst the other player is fine, not as gassed, and can serve or can return in time WITHIN the rules. Is that fair?

Ben Pronin Says:

Who is not gassed after a 30+ shot rally? Especially in the fifth set? Murray and Djokovic have 30+ shot rallies pretty regularly.

Players get tired. It’s a fact. Especially after a while. One guy won’t be gassed? I doubt it. I’d rather see the guys collect themselves and proceed to play quality tennis than them get sloppy because they’re being rushed.

skeezer Says:

^really? What your doing is promoting 30+ rallies, so goody for you. Your method will see plenty more long and longer rallies and 8 hour matches. Good luck with that.

jane Says:

“They just changed the rule.” – they didn’t change the rule except for making the initial penalty to the server *more lenient* – they are just saying they are going to enforce it more strictly.

And by considering their role, i mean the fact that they are sending mixed messages: they don’t want wham-bam tennis as boring for fans, and now they don’t want too long of matches as boring for fans. So which is it!? How to solve it? They need to find a middle ground.

I still maintain that some human discretion is necessary, as the writer in the article says: big points, for example, or how longer rallies – even 20+ – need leeway as per his example of Khols. The ITF should make it 25 secs too so it’s uniform at all events. it makes sense.

Ben Pronin Says:

The longest match ever was played by 2 guys who are abysmal rally players, so… I don’t see how that’s a product of long rallies.

jane Says:

^ What – who? 0_o

jane Says:

Oh! You mean Isner vs. Mahut, right? LOL, almost blocked that one out. hee hee. It’s true: it was a lot of serving. ;)

The longest best of 3 match was Fed and Delpo at Olympics this year – almost 4.5 hours. Longer than Nole vs Rafa *on clay* at Madrid (4 hours)! Go figure.

Other matches have lasted over 6 hours, i.e., longer than the AO final, including JMac and Becker 1987 DC, or Wilander and Skoff, 1989.

And there are 21 matches that have lasted over 5 hours (including the AO final).

Link here:


jane Says:

Oops – sorry 36 matches have lasted over 5 hours.

Brazil Federer Fan Says:

isner-mahut. the same match would have taken 25 hrs if one of these youngsters played!

i think it is clear that djokovic/rafa fans as usual want to cut the corners!

Brazil Federer Fan Says:

federer-delpo played in 4.5 hours, almost the same number of points as joker-nadal at AO. go figure that one!

there is no doubt that nadal and djokovic are the biggest abusers of this rule and the medical time out too. unless you are too much drunk on the koolaid, there is no defending these 2 on this count.

then people wonder why these 2 get suspected of doping. well, if you keep breaking rules, left right and center, how can you put anything past such people? i am sure ben/jane has their doping defence lined up in case either of these 2 gets caught for doping!

this is not the worst. there are people who still believe armstrong is a saint and all the dopers in this world are saints. that is what happens when fanaticism meets stupidity! you want to defend every wrong a player does.

jane Says:

3 sets though. Versus 5.

dari Says:

Jane, the Olympic match was 19-17 in the 3rd, not 7-6 like rafa nadal Madrid that year!
Interesting for that one the participants were one of the fastest guys on tour, fed and one of the absolute slowest, del potro. Geeze Louise he is gonna get hit by this new enforcement…

skeezer Says:


You can try to justify compared to others but you and everyone here know how long Rafa and Nole take in between matches. Ben has not convinced me that they NEED it ( more time adter a long rally). They both have appropriate time, and they both have to suck wind it’s part of the game. Otherwise, dump the rule altogether. Rules are made cause they need boundaries, and making those rules “descretionary” by someone sitting in a chair is a fools way to make it better. Your way lets the players continue to dictate for there own advantage, and there should not be an advantage, there should be “fairness”. If I play a point, ran my man around in 20 – 30 point rally, and have him exhausted by doing so, despite what “Ben” says I want to suck it up and tee off as quickly as possible. I the opponet can’t
Keep up, too bad, get in better condition.

skeezer Says:

Matches ( meant points )

Brazil Federer Fan Says:

Please use your head. It does not matter whether it is 3 or 5 sets. It is about total number of points played.

jane Says:

There is a LONG history of LONG matches – 36 ATP matches longer than 5 hours, and a number of them took place in the 80s and 90s.

As I say, even Fed/Delpo took longer to complete 3 sets on grass than Nole/Rafa on clay.

I don’t post at Tennis.com, but I’ve been following the discussion under the article that dari posted, and a writer there posted this:

“I actually timed all of Nole’s matches at the WTF, except the one against Tsonga… Delpo, Berdych and Murray all took longer than Novak. Roger was flawless as usual: less than 20 seconds. He was the best. The worst offender was Delpo, then Murray and then Berdych, Novak was better than the three of them. He took longer than 25 seconds on a few occasions: always against Murray, not against the other 2. I timed the first set of each match.

I can only speak for London: I decided to do it because people were already talking about the enforcement of the rule. I was interested to see.”

A number of people mentioned Delpo on that thread.

Ben Pronin Says:

Tignor mentioned it in the article, too. Djokovic only really abuses the rule against fellow abusers. Against Federer, he moves almost as quickly. No one really moves as fast as Federer as it is, so it’s not the fairest comparison, but Djokovic doesn’t abuse the rule against him at all. The rule is 20 seconds in slams, 25 in ATP tournaments. If Federer is taking 15 seconds, it only appears like everyone else is abusing but that obviously isn’t that case.

But Del Potro and Nadal do abuse the rule a lot. And Djokovic tends to abuse it when playing Nadal, too. By this logic, Djokovic only dopes when he’s about to play Nadal. Which doesn’t really make sense.

Skeezer, are you playing in the pros? How do you know you just want to tee off the very next point? My main argument is that there should still be some discretion. And I agree with Tignor when he says it should be 25 seconds across the board, at ATP and ITF events. It’s a pretty perfect amount of time. But 20 seconds is too short. And it makes even less sense when you’re saying you need 25 seconds in 3 set matches but only 20 in 5 set matches?

I’m not advocating super long rallies all the time, but I don’t hate them. I’d love for more variety during the season. I think it’s vital that some courts become faster because it’s just ridiculous now. Indoor events should be fast, hard courts should never be slower than clay, grass should be the fastest overall, etc. But when we get epics from Murray and Djokovic and Nadal, I don’t mind. Just because Federer is quick between points doesn’t mean he doesn’t engage in epic long rallies. Remember the one that was like 56 shots between him and Hewitt from Indian Wells in 05? Federer, Mr. Attack himself, 50+ shots! And it’s absolutely awesome. Apparently I’m in the minority but I loved last year’s AO final. I wasn’t happy that I lost a night of sleep but the tennis was incredible. And I’ve rewatched the highlights several times this off season and enjoyed it every time. It’s not a bad thing when we see that these “pansy” tennis players are capable of the most athletic feats you could imagine.

Ben Pronin Says:

And here’s some food for thought. Murray was recently asked about players maybe serving and volleying in order to lengthen their careers. He said that serving and volleying is more physically taxing than staying on the baseline. And his examples were Agassi and (I think) Lendl, two baseliners who had very, very long careers. And then guys like Rafter and (I think) Cash, who served and volleyed and had shortened careers due to injury.

Wog boy Says:


I don’t know if you watched last night Nole and Tomic but as I can remember the commentators said that Nole was using 12 seconds between the points, and towards the end 16 seconds on average. I am pretty sure that is what they said.

I think we can all agree that if it wasn’t for Rafa and Nole using that extra time between the points to unsettle Roger, Roger would win even more titles ;)

As for Nole, he plays depending on opponent, if opponent takes his time Nole does too (Rafa case) if opponent doesn’t and Nole doesn’t (Roger case), that is fair enough ! Stop whinging and picking on my man and Rafa and Delpo and …
Greetings from the white sandy beaches of Jarvis bay :)

jane Says:

Hi Wog boy – no I missed that one; it was on around 5:00 am my time and I slept in. I guess Bernard played well, served like 75% or similar; Nole said he deserved the win. You must be excited for the AO soon!

Wog boy Says:

Hi jane,

Yes I am, that is why I am now on holiday soaking the sun’s energy and cooling down with some white wine. Tomic did play really well and he deserved to win.

skeezer Says:


This has been my whole argument in the end all along. 25 sec is fine, just hard line enforce it!

re: Pros, yes, long time ago, not now. Now, if playing, I would need a full 2 minutes in between points and oxygen from the ball boy on the backcourt. (Which, btw, kidding aside would recommend they make available to all players on the sideline switchover. Would speed up recovery time, and quality of viewing play.)

-More food for thought

IF they were consistent in enforcing the(a) rule you probably wouldn’t have had this happen, which, if your a Nole fan…seemed unfair, because he gets called for it, and, really, why? The end game here is that it was a descretionary call, and Murray had taken too much time in as much as Nole at times, so imo it WASN”T ( fair )


jane Says:

I guess that’s where a clock would come in handy? I don’t know.

Ben Pronin Says:

Well, looks like we’re all saying pretty the same thing in various ways.

skeezer Says:

jane/wog boy,

Hope u 2 realize I am not piling on Nole, nor Rafa for that matter, its the principle of the thing. Look, Fed is not perfect either, and to me he is a little arrogant at times, and he is my fave. He could be a little more humble at times, lol. But I would get tired if everytime he won he says “I was lucky, schucks”.

We are talking the “Game” here and Nole has been taking his time(at times, and btw, I know he has gotten better ) along with many others. I use him as an example because he is #1, and he will be the Leader of the sport if not so already. He sets an example for all, whether he knows it or not. As someone mentioned above, he has the game to adapt, being clocked and winning big matches under 20 sec, so no one can tell me he is not good enough to do it, even at Slams. He is. I firmly believe he can win lots of Slams with a clock.

But if every pro tennis player starts adopting this “I’ll play when I am damn ready” the game will eventually go down downhill big time, imo. Is this the type of pace you all want to have in the game, and more of it? If so, you’ll get alot more of it, cause it won’t turn into less time in between points, it will turn into more.

After us debating the issue, I am starting to lean on both your sides ( Ben )on this, that the points that last long ( maybe there is a rule, like if there is 30+ shot rally or whatever standard you set ), and based on that individual long rally, they give the players extra time only based on that individual long rally. But it somehow has to be a clear rule, not a discretionary one, because, “discretionary” will always be controversial an unenforceable in the end. Maybe that is the way to go?

Ben & jane??

The downside goes against my argument that if the player is meaning to get someone in a long rally ( because its to there advantage to exhaust the opponent ) then that strategy gets lost as the opponent is given extra time to recover ( ever watch a boxing match? )


Thanks for the great debate and discussion. Was fun. Lets all hope the rule makers read blogs ;)

jane Says:

No worries skeezer: interesting discussion I thought. :)

Wog boy, I am totally jealous: wishing I was sipping white wine on sandy beaches! Enjoy yourself…

Dan Martin Says:

Connors was the reason they created the rule to begin with and once it existed he milked the clock like crazy. Of course, Gilbert would towel off between every point if it was cold outside just to win ugly or whatever he called it. Old story, but I do think tennis can speed things up in 2013.

Michael Says:

It seems Novak was not that much serious about this loss. May be, he wanted to lose the match. But I do not want to comment without watching the match. Nevertheless, Tomic is a good future prospect for Tennis and I hope he does not go the Gulbis way and realize his potential. Guys like him are very much needed when the creamy top is shrinking due to the age factor.

Brando Says:

“Stop whinging and picking on my man and Rafa and Delpo and …” ABOUT TIME some one said so! It’s simple: IF the opponent or umpire has a problem with time taking by a player they’ll deal with it on court. IF NOT they won’t say anything about it on court. IF a fan has a problem with it enough to whinge and moan about it- then there is an even simpler solution : DON’T WATCH them play! Simple stuff. I’m sure it would be easier to do so than moaning and groaning about them like a sour note blog after blog!

jane Says:

Wow, Verdasco looks so different – facial hair, pony tail and all in black. I kind of like the look on him. He looks tougher. It’d be great to see that guy realize his potential.

skeezer Says:


This discussion was not about favorites, but your post exposes your feelings about your love for a player, not the game. Its all about your man and not the game. Me thinks your post speaks for itself. It just so happens your man is the worst abuser, so I would expect that comment from you. But if you read through the thread intelligently, you can easily see that it is an issue with the game overall. It just so happens your guy is in the crosshairs with rule abusing, what else is new? Are you telling me Rafa can’t win by playing by the rules?

“IF the opponent or umpire has a problem with time taking by a player they’ll deal with it on court.”

Well this is the way you want it to be, because it involves Rafa. But its not about a “problem” but a “rule”. Hopefully the governing body is on track to straighten all this out, and not turn the Game into a circus of the players(not only just Rafa)
“doing whatever they want” because “I am popular.” Waiting for an ump or a player to complain about it has nothing to do with it. Bending, coniving, manipulating, influencing, whining, complaining, power tripping, to justify rule breaking should not be tolerated. It cheapens the game and says to the officials “I’ll do whatever I want to win this match, to h@ll with you and the rules”.

They have acknowledged there is a problem with it and are taking steps.


Margot Says:

Always thought the receiving player could complain to the umpire if the server is taking too long?
Of course, we are forgiving of our favourites’ foibles but speaking generally a lot more stuff goes on that irritates me personally far more than taking longer to serve than you officially should.

Brando Says:


‘Always thought the receiving player could complain to the umpire if the server is taking too long?’

COMPLETELY AGREE with that school of thought! IF a player has a problem with another violating the rules of the game, then he is within reason to complain about it to the umpire.

IF he doesn’t, surely by default one can safely say: he/she is fine with the server taking their time!

Same with the umpire: they lay down the law, are there to do so and IF they feel proceedings are moving along nicely for them then WHY moan about player x,y,z for taking 5 seconds longer in serving when the umpire and opponent on court is fine with it?

All sounds to be SOUR GRAPES to me!

I did not mention ANY player in my first blog regarding this topic but now i shall.

RAFA and NOLE are 2 names that seem to be mentioned alot in this regard.

They also played the longest final in GS history. A match that has led to a SELECT FEW to bring out the calculators and moan about the time that could have been saved.

Fair enough, I suppose.

Last time i checked though, a FEW things also occurred to many about THAT LENGTHY match and these 2 ‘supposed culprits’:

1- They were met with APPLAUSE from a FULL CAPACITY crowd after that long match.

2- The match is now LAUDED by many as the MATCH OF 2012 season.

3- Many ATHLETES FROM OTHER SPORTS praised rafa and nole for their titanic battle.

4- RAFA and NOLE FANS (in the main) THOROUGHLY ENJOYED that match. As did MANY others!

IMO these are FAIR ASSERTIONS to make.

So considering this OVER WHELMING positive reaction to rafa and nole for their lengthy match i guess one could conclude to some extent that:

IF the length of the match upsets you enough, then DO NOT watch it! Change the channel!

As many seemingly STILL enjoy it and love it!

Sienna Says:

Delpo Fed semie final was the match of the year.

The final AU Open 2012 was so freaking boring that neither of them wanted to win it in the end. huffing and puffing where both on court and just because of lacking even the slightliest improvisation they kept the ball in play for such a long amount of time.
If Fed was even remotely in condition like he was a few weeks later when he pummled Rafa then Fed would and should have collected his 17t there and then.

Giles Says:

Yesterday Monfils received a tvw and thereafter he and the umpire spent the next 60 seconds in an argument. Does this even make sense? It will all probably boil down to which player/s are the umpire’s favourite in any given match. Yes, even the umpires have favourites!!

Wog boy Says:


We are only exchanging opinions as usual. That was mine.
Sorry, signal is bad and doesn’t last long where I am ATM so I couldn’t get back earlier. As Margot said there is another things not just the one we are talking about that can be addressed.


Nole wanted to win, he always wants, just wasn’t quite there and Tomic played freely and when you are serving 75% first serve everything is much eaisier even if you have #1 on the other side of the net. Tomic lined them all up: Haas, Novak and Seppi tonight. That is big confidence boost before AO. But as Nole said after match, Tomic has to produce that kind of game on a consistent bases outside Australia not just in Australia.

Nadalista Says:

Pity the poor bloke who has to spend his time counting the seconds taken by a player in between points while the rest of us watch a craftsman (afore said player), at the peak of his powers, beguile us with his sumptuous play……..

alison Says:

Michael as Wogboy said Novak played to win,and so he should,otherwise its disrespectful to the fans,the tournament,and most of all his opponent as it takes away from Tomics win,it was Tomic who was the the better player on the day simple as that,even if it was only an exho,however i doubt this result will have much bearing on the AO,but its great to see young Tomic playing so well,hope it translates to the rest of the year,BTW dont know if i have already said it but happy new year,to your good self and your family.

alison Says:

Meanwhile Brands has absolutely taken Monfils to the cleaners,in that 1st set playing some breathtaking tennis interesting to see if he can keep this up.

Ben Pronin Says:

Brando, interesting point. If the returner feels the server is taking too long then he should speak up? Well, no, quite frankly, that’s unfair. The time between points is a rule in pro tennis. A rule. Not a suggestion. Should we allow the defense in the NFL to determine if the QB is taking too long to call a play and take the snap? Or the defense in the NBA to say, nah, 21 seconds isn’t enough time for them to get a shot up so let them have some more. No, so it shouldn’t be left up to the returner to determine if the server is taking too long. It’s up to the ump, and it should be. And considering a team only has 21 seconds to get a shot up, you’d think a tennis player can easily be ready to play the next point within 25 seconds.

I agree with Skeezer in saying that this isn’t just about one player. It just so happens that Nadal is one of the top players who violate the rule a lot. So does Del Potro. And apparently Murray (although honestly I somehow never really noticed). And Djokovic. We point them out because we see them the most. I’m trying to think of lower ranked guys who abuse the rule but I can’t because I rarely see them play. And I’ve said it a thousand times, I loved the AO final. But this isn’t about just 2 guys and 1 match.

And think about this. So Federer takes 15 seconds between points. Would it be fair for him to complain that his opponent is taking too much time? What if his opponent is taking only 20 seconds, but for Federer that’s too long. But what if the guy had beaten Nadal in the previous round, who let him take 30 seconds between each point? Now he has to completely adjust? It makes no sense and there’s just no consistency.

The rule is and should be 25 seconds. And it should be enforced properly. Like Tignor said, the umps should make the call as early as possible in the match and then the players will catch on the flow/tempo will be set for the rest of the match.

If we’re gonna let players determine when someone is taking too much time, should we also let them determine if someone is hitting too many down the line forehands?

alison Says:

It would be interesting to here Daves take on things.

alison Says:

Off topic but as it didnt seem to warrant a mention in the grand scheme of things,but i would just like to congratulate David Ferrer on a fantastic year last year,and wish him all the best for the year ahead,had he gone on to win a GS any other year,that would have been enough,and he would have been the best player,shame he lacks any big weapons,so its unlikely he will ever win a GS,still an amazing player so you never know,anyway good luck in the season ahead Daveed.

Ben Pronin Says:

I kinda hate when young guys are pitted against each other early. It’s a shame Raonic lost but I’m happy to see Dimitrov get off to a good start. I hope by the end of the year they’re both seeded too high to play this early and we start seeing some quarters, semis, and finals between them. If 2013 ends up being a big year for the young guys, I’ll be very pleased. But I hope it last beyond Australia. One thing is it seems like everyone starts well but then fizzle when they realize they actually have to keep working for the rest of the year.

Brando Says:

@Ben Pronin:

Honestly i’m through talking about it.

I think we can ALL agree that:

1- The rule is there for a PURPOSE

2- Its up to the UMPIRE to ENFORCE it where they see it fit or not

So, at least from my side, i’ll just leave it to them to handle it as best as they can.

Hopefully all will be well and can get on with enjoying the game as per usual!


So far in 2013 the youngsters seem to be the ones making all the noise on court (in the positive sense not the dreaded Sharapova/Azarenka sense lol).

Who do you fancy to make a real run at AO a la Tomic at Wimby in 2011?

jamie Says:

Nadal’s 2013 schedule:

Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, French Open, Bastaad or Stuttgart, Hamburg, Gstaad or Umag, and Kitzbuhel. He’d play 13 events all on clay, I think it’s what he’s truly become, a full-time clay court player (plus maybe Davis Cup too if it’s on clay as well).

Ben Pronin Says:

Through 2, 3 rounds, it’s not really a big enough sample. I’d have to see the draw. I don’t have enough belief in the younger players yet to say someone will make a run. I think they’re all more than capable. Raonic, Tomic, Dimitrov, even Harrison and Goffin. Talented guys, lots of game and variety and they all are really desperate to perform well. But then they fold at the worst times. Raonic still needs to improve his return game. I think Tomic is too cocky. It’s good to be confident, but he needs to understand what it takes to be successful in slams before he talks too much trash. Last year he was playing plenty well at the AO but Federer picked him apart. You have to go in prepared for war. The Big 4 have shown time and time again that you really have to beat them, because they’ll never just roll over. Just look at how many times the 4 of them have come back from big deficits to win.

skeezer Says:


My response to your post is mostly covered by Ben’s response( nice post Ben, although I fell asleep during the last AO. Was it great? Hell yea, just too damn long), so no need for me for me to go on about it.


“If 2013 ends up being a big year for the young guys, I’ll be very pleased”

Me too! Raonic also needs to move better, which is always a tough challenge for a big guy ( Hey Raonic; study Delpo ).

Sienna Says:

From a Fed standpoints I would not mind if the rule is firmly held high by referee.

I think Roger will benefid the most from all elite players or so called elite players.
The others clearly would have more trouble in focusing for the next point so quickly. otherwise they would not need more time to do so.

I think Novak is the one who needs breathbreaks the most. Rafa just has a terrible long aftermath and prep start for next point. So he could easiley cut that time down.

Murray also might have troubles because he could get rushed into wrong decision making. He has a tendency of making wrong decision in which point to play.

Michael Says:

Alison/Wog boy,

I said, to put it in quotes “May be”. I never said for certain. I think Wog boy has got a better picture of that match since he has managed to view it. Ofcourse a guy serving a good percentage of first serves in is half the match won and it seems it was Tomic’s day. Of late, he is not living up to the expectations he promised. May be this will be a shot in arm for him and will boost his confidence tremendously. Afterall beating guys like Novak, Roger, Nadal and Andy doesn’t happen often. All said and done, I love this chap. He has got tremendous variety.

Wog boy Says:


I know you were guessing, that is why I tried to clear the picture about the match itself. I know for sure that Tomic is going to be most dangerous floater at AO though I am not his fan.

alison Says:

Michael i know you were guessing too,its the thing i find most irritating when fans say,he was injured,he wasnt bothered about the winning this tourney,or he wasnt at his best,he had other distractions like losing a relative blah blah,and im not just talking about Djokovic here either,im talking about all players,as it takes away from the opponents win,not to say its also dissrespectfull to the tournament and fans that pay to watch them,if indeed thats the way they are thinking,i think some fans seek comfort in the knowledge of blaming losses on other things,which i find pointless and BS,i only live in the real world,just my take.

alison Says:

Michael to add its very early in his career for Tomic hes only 20,an up and coming young player with much to improve,in the way players like Rafa and Djokovic are troubling guys like Roger,guys like Tomic will perhaps been the type of players to trouble them.

alison Says:

@January 3rd 6.23am Fed wasnt good enough to reach the final of the AO last year the other 2 players were, so its irrelevant,damn those would haves,could haves,should haves eh lol.

alison Says:

Thanks for the link Giles.

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