Rafael Nadal Slams Hardcourts, Time Violations, Says His Knee Still Hurts, But Less Than Before [Videos]
by Tom Gainey | February 12th, 2013, 12:46 pm

Rafael Nadal reached the Brazil Open in Sao Paulo and during a presser today the King of Clay fired away on several issues. Nadal, who may not be in the best of moods after suffering a shock loss Sunday in Chile, took exception first with the number hard court events on the tour. And he’s calling for a reduction.

“That is a theme among the players and doctors,” Nadal told Reuters. “To make a change like that (reduce the amount of hard court events) it won’t be possible in this generation but I think that the ATP has to work to think of how to lengthen tennis players’ careers.

“Can you imagine football players playing on cement?”

And he then went to attack the ATP’s stepped-up enforcement of time violations, telling Reuters:

“I don’t think the players in the dressing room are happy with the new rule and we’d like it to be modified and that the referee interpret when you can take longer rather than it be something mathematical.

“People want to see long rallies and hard-fought points. Twenty five seconds is not enough.”

Under the new rule, the ATP still asks players to serve within 25 seconds, but now a violation will result a fault instead of a greater penalty like a point. This should make enforcement of the rule easier for umpires who previous were reluctant to call the violation.

Rafa also talked about the state of his left knee. A very important topic for many of us.

“The positive thing it that if a month ago 80 percent of the time my knee hurt, now it is 70 percent of the time and next week or next month it will be 50 percent of the time.

“Each week the number of bad days is less.”

Given Nadal’s timeline and projected calculations, his knee should be OK for the French Open! I think.

In his second tournament back, Nadal will play the Rameriz-Hidalgo/Souza winner in his first match tomorrow. He’ll be in doubles action tonight with partner David Nalbandian.

More on Nadal’s comeback:


Airport arrival:

Also Check Out:
Novak Djokovic Is On The Practice Courts In Monte Carlo [Video]
Video Proof! Rafael Nadal Is Playing Tennis Again!
Li Na Withdraws From Summer Events Including US Open Due To Knee
Gael Monfils Hurts Knee, Davis Cup Final Now In Jeopardy?
Roger Federer Doesn’t Want To Cut Himself Shaving [Video]

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113 Comments for Rafael Nadal Slams Hardcourts, Time Violations, Says His Knee Still Hurts, But Less Than Before [Videos]

RZ Says:

Reposting what I had said about this on the other thread…

I think Rafa has a point about the hard courts but since these tournaments care mostly about profit, they’re not likely to change to clay, grass, or indoor. I also think there are plenty of clay court and indoor tournaments on the ATP/WTA schedule already; it’d be nice to see more grass court tournaments! I won’t hold my breath though…

As for the time changes, I don’t agree with him on that one. If there are long rallies and a match drags on long, the ump if likely to take that into consideration when deciding to call a violation. Nole was able to speed up his time between points (and he really did – Murray was taking longer than him in the Aussie Open final); there’s no reason why Rafa or anyone else can’t do it too.

trufan Says:

Yeah right, tennis is already quite a slow and drawn out sport – in 3 hours of match time, there is barely one hour of play. NAdal wants to slow it down further? Crazy.

They need to speed up the game AND the surfaces. Otherwise its a snoozefest, I guess which is what Nadal wants.

How many other players have knee problems? Nadal is the extreme case….

ish Says:

“Can you imagine football players playing on cement?”

easy. Futsal.

jane Says:

Is it proven that hard court is unhealthy for players? I mean, I can understand the gist, that hard courts are hard, but on the other hand, clay courts often result in longer, more drawn out points. Surely that presents its own type of wear-and-tear in contrast to hard courts, whereon, at least ostensibly, the points could be shorter. Similarly, grass can be slippery, and because the grass “season” is so truncated, players don’t have a lot of time to adjust their footwork and get into a groove, which, arguably, could result in injury too (ask Raonic). I think all of the surfaces have their strengths and weaknesses; to single one out as worse than others seems perhaps a little short-sighted?? No offence meant to Rafa. I just think a wider scope needs to be taken here.

trufan Says:

25% of the tournaments, 25% of the slams, 25% of the masters are played on clay. What does Nadal want – more snoozefests on clay?

THe few tournaments that are on grass are also so much slower now, due to change in grass and balls. The hardcourts have been slowed down with greater bounce.

How about some true fast surfaces the way they existed till the 90s? Then at least we will have some shorter points, and that will serve Nadal’s purpose as well – less time on court.

On one hand he wants more time between points so that he can have longer rallies, on the other hand he complains about wear and tear? Not very coherent, is it?

Speed up the hard courts, put in a few more “true” grass court tournaments, and the problem is alleviated. BUt that perhaps will not be acceptable to Nadal?

Best thing is to have a diversity of surfaces – from natural to synthetic, from slow to really fast. Let players compete on all, and then we can see who is the best overall.

OR scale back on the racquet technology that lets players like Nadal hit 3200 rpm topspin moonballs. Why not just put a mechanized device on the racquet next to give it 10,000 rpm spin so that the ball bounces 10 feet everytime it hits the ground? WHy stop at 3200 rpm? The wooden racquets would barely hit 1000 rpm.

Then we can have 7 footers dominate tennis, with a single shot game plan – heavy spinning forehands that bounce like crazy. And kill all other shots.

OR wait, we already have a player using this tactic??

trufan Says:

And ya, do more doping tests please. These super muscular players running for 5-6 hours tirelessly doesn’t seem normal. Endurance athletes are pretty trim – if they don’t dope.

volley Says:

“I feel tennis is very clean, there’s maybe one case a year and they are not all done on purpose.” – roger federer


Ben Pronin Says:

Dumb comment by Roger.

volley Says:

^ maybe, but i think his fans needed to see it.

Sirius Says:

It seems like he wants everything his way…

25 seconds are not enough, how about an hour??

Ida Says:

Oh for goodness sakes, shut up, Rafa. You have bad knees, we get it. But why should the tour cater to just you? Ferrer plays your style, is older than you, and doesn’t have the knee problems you do. I don’t see Fed, Djoker, or Murray complaining like you. And I don’t know who you are talking to, but many, many fans and media didn’t love that AO final that took forever and was just repeating the same boring rallies! You are delusional. The points don’t need to be longer and we sure as heck don’t need you taking 40+ seconds between points! Ugh!

mat4 Says:

Already, the AO was faster this year, so there is perhaps the beginning of a new tendency in finding the “middle” way there.

But for me, the main problem is the string technology. That’s what killed the volley. Ask Sampras. Everybody thought he was in decline, but in fact, the strings had already changed and it was much easier to control the ball and play shots in the feet of the volley player. Agassi even wrote that he felt “he was cheating with the new strings”.

volley Says:

“the AO was faster this year”

that may explain your perplexity on another thread as to why murray/djokovic has trouble breaking each other for the first 2 sets.

mat4 Says:

“jane Says:

Is it proven that hard court is unhealthy for players? I mean, I can understand the gist, that hard courts are hard, but on the other hand, clay courts often result in longer, more drawn out points.”

Ask Kuerten… Robredo… Ferrero…

volley Says:

also, i don’t think string technology killed the volley as such, rather that it helped players to pass better (and from difficult positions). roger, andy, tsonga and llodra have hit some sweet volleys over the last few years. the evidence is on youtube.

mat4 Says:


BTW: I often read your intelligent posts.

I think that it wasn’t the only reason, since both broke big servers at will in the previous rounds.

mat4 Says:

“volley Says:

also, i don’t think string technology killed the volley as such, rather that it helped players to pass better (and from difficult positions). roger, andy, tsonga and llodra have hit some sweet volleys over the last few years. the evidence is on youtube.”

Yes, of course. Llodra also plays exceptionally well at the net. But it became much more difficult to play it systematically.

Ali Says:

I believe time violation is a mandatory rule ” federer vs nole at the US Open semifinal 2011..it was like a game of NBA…Novak was bouncing the ball 20 times before each serve it was crazy

RZ Says:

Trufan and Jane, good points. We don’t know how much is the court and how much is the racquet/string technology.

mike Says:

If I was Rafa, I would piss on the hard courts and play clay and grass.

I know he can win on hard courts, he has proven that. But I also know if he continues to play on them we lose him as player a lot sooner.

Rafa, if you read this give up the hard courts and play clay and grass.

ananthd Says:

First off, I think Rafa’s point about the 25 second rule is way off…

If two guys are playing long rallies, it affects both of them and not just him alone and most umps are usually fair in giving leeway in such situations…

As for his other point, the hard court predominance, I think it’s very relevant to modern day tennis given the way it’s evolved…..

You cannot come in anymore and you have to battle behind the baseline if you want to be a success given the physicality of these guys…

What’s wrong in promoting some more surface variety? I don’t think Rafa’s clamoring for more clay events, but more “natural” surfaces in general. Who wouldn’t like more grass events, especially a couple more 500/masters events on grass? And not just grass or clay, whatever happened to carpet as a surface? Some of those fall indoor events where guys like Boris Becker(arguably the best carpet player)/Mac/Sampras were loads of fun…

As for people saying only Rafa has/had knee issues, you only have to look at guys such as Monfils, Haas, Dent, Philppousis, Kuerten(hip), the list is not small….

It’s just that Rafa’s injuries tend to get magnified since he is a top guy

Giles Says:

@Ida. Get your facts straight before shooting your mouth off !

skeezer Says:

“^ maybe, but i think his fans needed to see it.”

No, and why? Whats the point?

Me thinks Rafanatics fans need to see the light. Fed always comes in to the whining picture from these types to deflect the controversial news Rafa brings on himself.


Well does the latest comments by Rafa here make him finally the undisputed King of Whining? Any other tour player whine so much so as to benefit himself?

Giles Says:

^^^ “these types”???

volley Says:

@skeezer “Whats the point?”

because on the whole his fans slavishly follow his lead. this demonstrates that there is a schism.

“Me thinks Rafanatics fans need to see the light”

for the umpteenth time, i’m not a rafa fan. btw it’s methinks, one word.

“these types”???

you know, the ones below the great height from which fedfans look down on the rest

moam Says:

It was great to see Rafa back in action, even at less than 100%. He had to start somewhere. Despite being rusty he still made the finals and played a productive match. In my opinion, winning the tournament was far less important than just testing the knee and getting some match play.
I hope his knee continues to improve. He brings so much to the game. And he gives as much or more than he brings.

Giles Says:

moam. Thanks for the link. Nice article.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Rafa may think the players want longer delays, though I think he’s dreaming, but its pretty obvious from the response here that fans UNANIMOUSLY want the pace of play sped up.
His comments on his knee are weird and ominous. If after 7 months off his knees have gone from hurting 80% of the time to 70%, his prognosis that this will improve much more quickly with play is insane.
Either the situation is getting really bad, or its an injury that’s all about pain, and can be managed, rather than actual damage.

Giles Says:

“you know the great height from which fed fans look down on the rest”. Hahaha. Hope for their sakes they dont suffer with vertigo!!

Giles Says:

TV. Rafa trusts his doctors. He has been told the pain will continue till the end of the month. Let’s just wait and see.

Sidney Says:

Agree with Rafa on most of his points. I like to see long rallies. I like watching hard-fought points. I don’t like watching a match wherein most points are over in 2-3 shots. That’s boring to me. We had that in the serve-and-volley era, and that was amazingly boring.

I also agree with Rafa that 25 seconds is not enough.

And I see his point regarding hardcourts. There are more hardcourt events than any other court type. Which favors players who do relatively better than most on hardcourts, like my other faves Novak and Roger :). But the French Open has always been “different”. I like to keep it that way.
(Sampras would have won more slams had FO been played on hardcourts. Honestly, I am glad with that. His style was boring to me, I mostly tuned out when he was winning all those slams.)

skeezer Says:


So emotive. When the anger subsides, lets chat.

Skeezer Says:


You side with Rafa because you like Rafa, obvious. But the reality is HC are here to stay, and have been a fundamental part of the game. Changing more courts to Clay for Rafa’s sake is not going to happen, nor a longer and longer time between points. The biggest abuser on tour is Rafa. Nole adapted, and didn’t seem to stop him from winning AO. This is all about Rafa’s whining excuses whenever a loss happens, nothing more.

Rogerisclass Says:

excuse as usual. Hrad court is true tennis.

and Nadal is push of selfish two-year-ranking again?

That is really foolish.

van orten Says:

players want longer rallies ????? this is clearly his opinion!

everybody wants to win the point as fast as possible. of course u must adjust thats called tactics and be patient… but hitting aces and trying to hit winners from all over the court is way more entertaining than grinding it out for hours!!!!!

Jimbo Jones Says:

Blue clay was a chance to make clay more appealing to TV broadcasts. Nadal was against it. He’s against hard courts too. What if har-tru was used again? Would green clay be a non-starter? 3 of the 4 majors are not going to switch to clay. Players want to prep for those majors so they will play tune-ups on a similar surface. End of discussion Rafa.

Alok Says:

The tennis channel is replaying Vina del mar match between berlocq and zeballos. Both of them got a time violation for being too slow. Strangely, I find most claycourters grunt very loudly. Berlocq’s grunts are extremely loud and it’s probably why they got time violations due to in-between points there isn’t any grunting and it begins again when they play, a very goood clock for the umpire to follow.

Alok Says:

I doubt that HCs tournaments will be lessened due to many reasons. One of the most important is that HC is cleaner and less costly to upkeep.

The whole motivation behind tournaments, e.g., draw, venue, etc., is money. Why would the tournaments want clay that’s more costly to upkeep and have to pay out more money for maintence. This would result in less profit, which will trickle down to the players, less prize money. I don’t think many players would want that to happen. If there was a vote between the two for players to pick, and the reasons were put forward, i.e., smaller prize money purses, I’m sure the players will pick HC instead of clay.

i once went to a clay tournament and was sick for two days after with allergies. my clothes were filthy. Another reason in favor of HC for those players who suffer from allergies. On TV HC is much more pleasant to the eye for me, as it similar to the blue skies. Clay is dreary looking to the eye. anyway, it’s only MO.

ty Says:

I’m torn on Rafa. I’ve always been a Federer fan, something about watching him dismantle grown professional men at his will (pre-Nadal), it rung up memories of seeing Jordan do much the same during my childhood. Federer could have theoretically won 25 majors without Rafa, and it takes the guts right out of me to see Nadal or any other player take down such grace. On the other hand, I feel Rafa has been one half of the two greatest matches ever played in the sport. The match with Roger at Wimbledon (you know the one). And that epic battle with Djokovic at last year’s Australian; that was the only match where my enjoyment was diminished by a very real fear for the physical toll the players endured. Curious, when it went to five, I foresaw something quite like what has happened to Rafa, and to a lesser extent Djoko (not winning another major in 2012). These two players did much the same to each other in 2009 at Madrid. That was the year that Nadal lost at the French to Soderling and Djokovic didn’t reach the final of a major.

Thomas Says:

Nadal is THE biggest whiner on the ATP world tour. Guess what Rafa, not all of us like to see 6 hours of 40 plus rallies involving nothing more than ball bashing. As for the hard court issue, yes they are brutal on the body, but all surfaces have their pitfalls and can cause injuries. Nadal is just being a selfish bastard as usual, and he states his views as if the entire ATP tour agrees with him. Smh

nadalista Says:

Tom Gainey is an idiot. Please ignore his report in its entirety.

For a true reporting of what Rafa actually said, please see this article by Tignor:


Choice quote:

” I would also direct people to the L’Equipe interview if you happen to have read an AP article today claiming that Nadal “blasted” the ATP for trying to strictly enforce the 25-second time rule. This is the entirety of what Nadal had to say on the subject last week:

I’m slow, I recognise that. But for me, to apply those 25 seconds in all circumstances will affect the quality of the game. If you strictly apply 25 seconds, my US Open final in 2011, especially the third set, and the Australian Open final in 2012 would not have the same level. It’s impossible to keep on playing incredible points one after the other if you don’t have time to take a breath. It happens that I’m slow after a normal point. When the umpires sanctions me then or gives me a warning, no problem. But if you’ve just played a crazy point, no. Otherwise, what will happen after an enormous point is that your serve or the shot after that will miss the line by 3 meters. That’s not tennis, that. They tell me that those changes are made for the tv public, but don’t you think that those people watching tennis on tv would prefer beautiful points being disputed? No?

You could read the “for me” at the start as evidence that he just doesn’t want the rule to apply to him. I doubt that’s the case. He wants to see discretion from the chair umpire after long points in general. I think that even those of us, like me, who welcome stricter enforcement of the time rule can agree with him on that.”

Tom Gainey Says:

@nadalista: Sorry, an “idiot”? Offense taken. Convince me why Tignor is right and Reuters is wrong.

Thomas Says:

Tom Gainey is right. The comments gainey wrote in his article were said by Rafa in Sao Paulo, which was AFTER the L’Equipe interview.(which was in Vina del Mar) So nadal said al of those comments in this article.

Humble Rafa Says:

I recommend 1 min break between points. That way, everyone wins. You can get a 30 sec commercial in as well. 20-25 secs is not enough.

Humble Rafa Says:

With 1 min breaks, The Egg Lover and I can play a 12 hour 5 set match, which I given the history, will be a sad one for me.

skeezer Says:


Any Tennis fan knows Tignor is a Rafa B@tt sniffer. I mean c’mon, take off the Rafa glasses already……

“to apply those 25 seconds in all circumstances will affect the quality of the game. ”


Hey RAFA, AO was running fine under the new rules, and a great show.

Discretion is where we were AT, been there done that. That is not where they are going, unless Rafa has HIS way…hope NOT.

Brazil Federer Fan Says:

I think except for the rafatards, we all know that the idiot is Rafa and not Tom.

Calling people idiots for reporting some dumb things rafa says? only a butt-picker fan can do that!

2year rankings, slow down courts, get rid of hardcourts, 25 seconds is not enough. how about we just make a rule that nadal should be ranked no.1 and every slam handed over to him irrespective of who wins it. Will that be enough for rafa and his stupid fans?

Enforce the rule, idiots like rafa will whine and cry and then fall in line.

Maybe we should have them play 1 point a day. that way it ensures that they are least tired after a point. fitness is part of the game and the time is the same for both players. if you have OCD and have to perform a million rituals before you serve, that is your headache.

Only thugs and criminals will complain about rules being enforced to ensure fairness. I will say the ATP must enforce a better medical time out rule as well. If someone wants a massage from a doc, dock him a few games. That way the fakers will stop abusing it. Like it or not, fitness is part of the sport.

Brazil Federer Fan Says:

he will not have his way? remember 2year rankings? he quit the ATP council whining like a cry-baby because he did not have enough support?

maybe if you have good ideas that will help everyone on the tour and not just cater to your personal agenda, then maybe people might consider supporting your ideas!

Skeezer Says:


Crying over a heartfelt loss is different than a Cry Baby. Just so you know the difference.

Your desperate aren’t you? Hehe….sorry, your man has dug his own very deep hole here, again, and is consistent with the excuse laden losing syndrome when he loses. Pathetic.



“because on the whole his fans slavishly follow his lead. this demonstrates that there is a schism.”

You meant Rafanitic fans, right?

Giles Says:

skeezer. Me? Desperate? Nah. Just exposing the unsportsmanlike behaviour of your cry baby idol. #Pathetic

Sirius Says:


don’t forget federer also cried at the trophy ceremony of A0 2006 after recieving the trophy from the great Rod Laver. Was that UNSPORTSMANLIKE?

Giles Says:

^^^ if you can’t tell the difference. I feel sorry for you. At the AO 2009 he cried like a baby in the middle of the Trophy ceremony so spoiling Rafa’s moment of glory. People at the ceremony were embarrassed for fed. including Rod Laver and Rafa.

Giles Says:

I think some of you havn’t read Rafa’s words coherently. He says: ”
“To make a change like that (reduce the amount of hard court events) IT WON’T BE POSSIBLE IN THIS GENERATION ut I think that the ATP has to work to think of how to lengthen tennis players’ careers”
He is by no means asking for this change to suit himself like some of you think (note the words in caps). He is concerned for the future of players in the next generation
Pounding all your limbs on cement for hours and hours is bound to have an adverse effect on the body if not in the short term almost definitely in the long term!
In other words, he is concerned for the future of tennis!

Dan Martin Says:

I agree with many posters that hard courts are not going away. Now maybe we get better hard courts in the sense that the Aussie Open’s Plexicushion is not a broken ankle waiting to happen on a hot day in the manner that Rebound Ace was. Maybe hard courts can have more cushion, hold less heat etc., but that is about it. Jimbo’s point about blue clay being an attempt to make clay court broadcasts easier for viewers is an interesting one.

Sirius Says:

I get it. Failing to hold off one’s emotions is unsportsmanlike

federer is a very emotional person. yet he barely shows his emotion. it was the only time and perhaps the last time he cried after a defeat since winning a major

Ben Pronin Says:

Hard courts are an evolution of the game. It’s unfortunate they can cause long term injury, but yeah, it’s not going to change. Maintaining hard courts is too cheap and easy for tournaments to start switching to especially grass and even clay.

Nadal is being a bit picky. If he doesn’t like this evolution, then maybe they should go back to gut strings and wooden rackets. You gotta take the good with the bad, basically. I never found a basketball court to be particularly inviting, either, to be honest.

As for the time rule, well, it’s the same old story. Of course the players, Nadal included, won’t be able to maintain their highest level point after point if they don’t have as much time to rest in between. But isn’t that the point? Isn’t it part of the game to be more fit than your opponent? If you can’t finish the points as quickly as you need, that’s on you. Again I go back to the basketball example. When the shot clock runs out, that’s it, you lose the ball. You don’t have players saying “but ref, we need more time to execute the play so the fans are happy.”

So, it’s a well expressed thought by Nadal, but I don’t agree with it.

As for his knees, well. I’m not surprised there’s still pain. But as long as he can play through it without sustaining more damage, I guess it’s ok.

JC Says:

If rafa favors having a heavier ratio of power over technique, then I’m sorry to say that’s his blessing and curse.
I’m pretty sure there were hard courts/time violation rules around when he started playing – if he didn’t take that into consideration at the start of his career when developing his style of play, then cosechamos lo que sembramos, jovencito.
Bless the guy for what he’s brought to the game, but his prescence is starting to become more of an irritation than an inspiration.
And Giles, bless your enthusiasm, buddy – my only concern is that you’ll be greatly disappointed when rafa doesn’t knock on your door and give you a wreath in thanks for your undying defense and support.
Great site, great comments, esp. Jane @ 1.11pm

trufan Says:

Speed up the game man, it takes TOOOO long now.

I don’t quite like the Sampras-Ivanisevic style either, where 80% of the points are over in 2 shots. But there’s a good middle ground, which is nicely achieved on fast surfaces these days.

EXAMPLES? See some of the early round matches at Wimbledon when there is still grass. There are some short points, some long points, good mix. See the YEC matches – good mix of points. Faster courts create a good mix of points, and let matches finish in less than 45 minutes per set.

Have some faster clay as well (like the green clay in some tournaments).

But I guess true grass and faster clay is not what Nadal would like. He just wants the SLOW RED CLAY.

Then he should just stop playing on hard courts. I think that is best for him anyway, since it will let him play a couple more years. The way he is going right now – either his knees are really bad, in which case I don’t see him playing much of the hard court season without another injury, OR he is doping for which he had to sit out 6+ months.

Either ways, retirement is round the corner for him.

Sean Randall Says:

At least in the U.S., hardcourts are far cheaper to build and manage than clay or grass. That’s why when you go to just about every public park or mid-range neighborhood/apartment complex or schools (and colleges) they have hardcourts.

So kids, especially those in lower income areas, grow up playing tennis on hardcourts. That’s how it is in the U.S. and it’s not changing anytime soon. Of course I can’t speak for other countries.

As for the time violations, Rafa needs to speed it up. No excuses. I understand his concerns with longer points, and the umpire does use discretion there. But after a 6-ball rally Nadal still routinely pushes the time limit, that’s got to stop.

Giles Says:

JC I am not your “buddy”! Thank heaven for small mercies. Find someone else to be your buddy! #Delusional

Thomas Says:

Hahah, nadal has just been whining even more. “It’s unacceptable to play in a tournament like this, and the ATP doesn’t even care.” He was now complaining about conditions of balls and courts in Sao Paulo. What’s next to complain about,Rafa?

Giles Says:

Balls in Sao Paulo bought from local supermarket apparently. They’re not pro- level, much lower pressure. Bravo ATP! What next?

Giles Says:

Thomas. Where do you buy your balls from???

RSP Says:

I dont see why, just because people support a particular player, they have to defend his every statement.
Nadal is undeniably a fantastic player, and the diversity his unique style of play brings is great for tennis, but these statements of his are simply ridiculous.
‘lengthening times between points to improve quality of the game’ – this just doesnt make sense. Where will you stop? Theoretically u could have a 5 min break after every 5 min of game – allow people to get fresh and ‘improve quality’ or, as Brazil Federer Fan said, u have one point a day and everyone will be fresh for each point. If the rule setters in their wisdom found 25 seconds to be adequate, and it applies equally to both the players, what is wrong with it?

And regarding the fact that hard courts cause ‘permanent damage’ – if that were the case why isnt there a whole set of players with recurring injuries after playing on hard courts? If it is only Nadal and perhaps a couple others, maybe it is just their style of play combined with a prior genetic susceptibility to injury? Is there *ANY* (statistical or otherwise) evidence that establish hard courts to be the cause of injuries, whenever they occur?

mat4 Says:


You wrote:

“unless Rafa has HIS way…hope NOT.”

It is interesting to note that such a nice person off the court is without any scruple on the court. I am absolutely certain that he will do whatever he can to win.

We are witnesses that all the top players have moments when they let their daemons out: Novak, when he is losing tends to take an MTO, Roger uses to say something to the opponent or the public when he is nervous (the most famous was: “that was 22″, the most recent “You f… stopped!”), but they try to avoid it, and it is a sign of distress.

On the other side, I feel — I am not certain — that Rafa’s gamesmanship is planned, and quite acceptable from his ethical angle. There is a multitude of examples: Rafa’s and Toni’s behaviour in the final of the FO, Rafa’s MTO against DelPo in WB, the way he tries to intimidate the umpires, his opponent (it almost degenerated in a incident with Tsonga in MC), his obvious inability to accept defeat (although he is quite gracious in his losses against Novak; but his comments about Tsonga in 2008 were… how should we put it?).

It became obvious when he improved on hardcourts, but not enough to be untouchable the way he is on clay. When it became obvious that wins on one surface translated in confidence on other surfaces, Rafa, in 2012, ducked his opponents starting from IW. He did it this year too, missing all the events on fast hardcourts and, then, missing the AO.

His rants about the rankings, the surfaces, the racquets, the public (via Toni, his spokesman), all of this has just one purpose: to impose his rules, his own interests. I wouldn’t be surprised if he managed to do it.

juljo724 Says:

I see nothing has changed on this site. Rafa does an interview and the fed fans go nuts with their comments (why all these threads are about Rafa, none about fed til that comment was made on another thread, all about Rafa whining, how dare Rafa lose after being out of tennis for 7 months, etc, ad nauseum).

Rafa talked of what the players want, and someone on here seems to equate that with us the fans. WRONG!!!!! BTW, not all fans want a quickie version of tennis. Some of us like the long rallies and such of tennis, that yes, the umps should show some discretion. (trufan, 25% is the percentage you use. Quit blaming clay when that equals only 1 out of the 4 Slams and HC equals 50%.)

Like Giles, people need to realize he said it won’t happen in this generation which also means he WON’T benefit by the OPINION he expressed.

Skeezer Says:

^Lol, Birdsh!t? ROFL!

Giles Says:


At least some folk love and appreciate Rafa! #VamosChamp

juljo724 Says:

Tennis Vagabond Says:
Rafa may think the players want longer delays, though I think he’s dreaming, but its pretty obvious from the response here that fans UNANIMOUSLY want the pace of play sped up.

No, it’s not obvious TV. It’s just that if anyone disagrees with a fedfan (except certain nice ones) then they are called names, and called idiots or stupid, or sexist comments are made.

Skeezer Says:


Respect. The play was too quick and fast, and it was partly planned by the ATP to not lose the crowd. but obvioulsy we have swung way to far the other way in its attempts, and they know it. and how do we know this attempt is not the reason for the injuries?. Players are running very hard and long now due to the rallies.

I agree with Sean here, in that the bigger stink Rafa brings up is the time issue. He admits it, then tries to come up with excuses why its justifiable. Nada.

Keep in mind RAFA is the one making these continuos comments or acts, NOT the fans. Just sayin….

Ben Pronin Says:

“how dare Rafa lose after being out of tennis for 7 months”

Haha, that’s funny when put that way.

juljo724 Says:

skeezer, he knows he is slow and admits it. But seriously, do you really think that ALL the AO 2013 play was so much quicker and all adhered to the 25 second rule? I’m quite sure considering the number of matches played by all, that someone dared to break the 25 second rule (put them in the hellfire with Rafa). Point is, exactly as Rafa said, discretion needs to be used.

Ben Pronin Says:

Yeah but then there needs to be some discretion when using discretion. When do you use discretion? After 1 long point? Ok. But what if the next point is long again, then you use discretion again? And then again and again until the rule is completely forgotten about? If the players can’t adjust, it’s their problem. A lot of these guys just like to be slow, that’s why they’re complaining.

Like Isner, he just lumbers around. Maybe if he stopped lumbering he wouldn’t get a violation. Berdych, who isn’t even that good at playing long points, obviously just likes to take his time. And so do most players. But the rule says they can’t just lumber around for fun, and that’s how it should be enforced. If Nadal is unable to shorten his points enough, then that’s on him, not the umpires. And the same goes for everyone else. It’s not the umpires’ problem if no one can hit a winner or make an error before they exhaust the crap out of each other.

skeezer Says:


discretion is what got us here for a change. They are not going back. If anything I could see modification of time on extended rallies. But there has to be a hard line on time.

alison Says:

As a Rafa fan what i love is his skill,style and passion on a tennis court,however what i dont love is all the drama that goes with him,the MTOs,the time between points,the two year ranking system,now the HCs,and im afraid to say he does bring it on himself,when he does eventually retire from tennis which i hope wont be for a while yet,i would like to remember him as the greatest ever CC player,and also an all time great which he is,not one of the tours biggest moaners,please Rafa play tennis whatever the surface,whatever the rules,enjoy the wins,accept the losses,be a man,im tired of all this negativity surrounding you,please just play tennis.

juljo724 Says:

Ben, Nadal isn’t the only one taking longer. For those who like to imply as such, he isn’t and not all points at the AO 2013 were within the 25 second rule. Rafa expressed an opinion, which last I checked, he IS allowed to do!

Ben Pronin Says:

Alison, you really think Nadal is the greatest cross court player ever? I mean, there are a lot of great cross court players out there, after all.

El Flaco Says:

RSP Says:
I dont see why, just because people support a particular player, they have to defend his every statement.

Same thing in politics. People are disingenuous and hypocritical.

Ben Pronin Says:

Juljo, I know. That’s why the rules need to be enforced. They’re not Rules For Nadal. They’re the Rules For Tennis. All the players should follow and quit their whining (Isner, Berdych). But was Nadal even called for any violations in Chile? Were the umps even enforcing it? I mean, it seems like the (not really a) controversy is stemming from what he said, not what he’s done (at least recently).

Yeah he is, and I’m glad he did so in this manner. He’s pretty forthright and honest about how he feels. And it’s not really whining, not the way he said it. Isner whined. And so did Berdych. Nadal answered a question with a pretty thorough response. And I simply disagree with it. But the discussion goes on, so I continue to express my own opinions on the matter for those who agree with Nadal’s stance. No harm, no foul.

Gotta agree with alison, to an extent. Drama does follow Nadal around. But I’d rather he play tennis with all the drama than not play at all. Take the good with the bad. As long as he’s playing tennis.

alison Says:

Ben no clay court lol.

alison Says:

^Well arguably^.

Adam Says:

sounds like a whooooleeee lot of bitchin

Giles Says:

alison. I am just going to pull you up on one point at the moment, MTO’s. You are always talking about MTO’s where Rafa is concerned. When was the last time he took an MTO? Why don’t you talk about Nole’s MTO’s???

alison Says:

Giles if this was a thread about Nole i would,as i dont think hes perfect either not by a long chalk,and to be fair i dont remember him taking a MTO in along time,so my apologies for that one,but i stand by the rest of my post,even though it hurts all the same sorry.

Ben Pronin Says:

Last time I remember Djokovic taking an MTO was in the US Open final. Dirty tactic.

Nadal? Can’t remember. Del Potro Wimbledon 2011? Is that really the last time?

alison Says:

Novak took an MTO when Andy was about to serve for the match at the USO,Rafa took a MTO when he himself was serving for the set at Wimbledon in 2011 against Delpo,just saying.

mat4 Says:


I think it was just before the TB.

Anyway, first a disclaimer: I may be wrong (I am, most of the time, probably), but I do try to be impartial and to give arguments. I don’t say I am always successful. I also try to limit myself to the behaviour on the court, to the game itself. So I hope the many Rafa’s fans I like here won’t take offence in my comments. The same with Fed’s fans, Murray’s fans, etc.

About time between points: Carl Bialik has written at least two articles about it, with examples from the USO. Easy to find. A lot of players take their time: PHM, Berdych… So, it is not only Rafa, or Novak.

Wog boy Says:

Nole took MTO against Rafa at USO2011 if that is what you are after, so what?

Did he brake the rules? Did he even twist the rules?

Now, lets talk how many times Rafa brakes the rules during one single match, shall we? Every time he serves he brakes the rules … dirty tactics, lets start with making oponent to wait until he put his bottles the way they shuld be put because that is very important for his game … etc.

This thread is about Rafa anyway, so leave the best player on the planet alone and talk about Rafa, if you ask for respect you shoul show respect.

Humble Rafa Says:

I dont see why, just because people support a particular player, they have to defend his every statement.

Same thing in politics. People are disingenuous and hypocritical.

Wow. Can I get your address? You have to be the only reasonable person on this forum.

alison Says:

Mat4 my post was merely to make a point to Giles really,in that like you i try to be a fair poster,and not just single out any one particular player,or always defend my favorites just because they are my favorites,i find it refreshing when different fans of different players can have a difference of opinion,but in fact can have an adult discussion without name calling,which is the only thing that makes me uncomfortable on this forum,again not singling any one set of fans,and i agree it seems unfair to just mention Rafa/Novak on time violations when they aint the only ones,not saying this makes their actions any less wrong though dont get me wrong.

alison Says:

Wogboy sorry i was just making a point to Giles,please dont take offence.

alison Says:

^Should have said if your post was meant for me,ill leave Nole out of this as it is a thread about Rafa^.

Wog boy Says:


Actually I saw Ben’s one before I saw yours.

mat4 Says:


I mentioned Novak’s MTOs first… ooops..

There is a lot of gamesmanship in the limits of the rules. But such are the rules, so…

In fact, I think that Novak is meek in those situations, and that he still has to learn to react.

Nobody with some brain would have so easily allowed the interruption of the FO final. He probably won’t ever get the chance again to make the GS: he had to fight for his rights, at least to finish the set, and equalize. Rafa was mad, playing bad, and he used his mood to intimidate the organizers, the umpire, and got things the way he wanted.

Time goes on, but I still can’t forgive Novak that..

Giles Says:

mat4. Don’t beat yourself up. Rafa did not intimidate anybody. Whatever the officials decided was fair to both players. And, there was no way Rafa was going to lose FO 2012. Nole was lucky to win a set!!

Giles Says:

^^^ PS. Me thinks you give Rafa far too much credit. “and got things the way he wanted” You are in fact undermining the officials!!

mat4 Says:


I agree, here, to disagree completely.. ;-)

Although, perhaps you’re right: with Babolat one of the main sponsors of the tournament… there was really no way for Rafa to lose..

Wog boy Says:


I thought Nole fans don’t get involved in Fedal wars ..

Giles Says:

mat4. Excuse me? Have I missed something here? I thought Rafa played the final or was it a mirage?

mat4 Says:


It is not a Fedal war. We are respectful and share opinions.

But there is a Rafole war. A terrible war that will decide the careers of both and their respective places among the greats of our sport.

I think that, finally, they are both aware of that. Nole has already stopped Rafa in overcoming Roger, and he is now ready to chase the lion in his own den. He has to do if he wants to fulfil his ambitions.

Rafa is so close, and so far: he has 11 slams, is at his peak, he probably counts that he would have had 14 by now if Novak wasn’t around. But if he manages to win the FO, build a winning mentality before WB, and, from time to time, win an AO, in the next four, five years he could overcome Roger’s records.

That’s where they want to be both. We have to men that just can’t be denied. They are wearing a terrible war since 2008. Rafa had the upper hand, then Novak, now, we are perhaps watching the decider.

mat4 Says:

… of course, as always, plenty of typos in my post…

mat4 Says:


It is futile to debate more about it. Rafa won. But when the match was interrupted, he clearly couldn’t win a game for more than a set.

So, you can believe that he would have won, and I shall believe that he would have lost. There is no point to debate about it.

But we also can’t deny that Babolat changed the balls from the previous year, opting for slower balls. We also can’t deny that the conditions were almost the same an hour or more before, and that, then, nobody thought about interrupting the match.

mat4 Says:

Toni spoke with the organisers, urging for an interruption; Rafa pressed the umpire to interrupt the match — he even threw a ball at him. Djokovic only noticed that the conditions were the same one hour ago.

Those are the facts. Everything else is just conjecture.

Wog boy Says:

mat4, 5:43pm

Pretty much agree.

JC Says:

@Giles – actually, I think I’ll call you ‘Chuckles’.
Rowr! Kitty has claws.
Don’t worry, sweetie, it’s all in fun. We all love passion – that’s what makes the game so great

Testy Nadal Withdraws From Sao Paulo Doubles To Rest Knees, Nalbandian Returns With A Win; Federer Cruises In Rotterdam Says:

[...] start a week ago in Chile, Nadal lost in the singles and doubles finals on Sunday, then proceeded to torch several ATP policies and last night the former No. 1 took shots at the Sao Paulo court [...]

Dan Martin Says:

I think we can make better hard courts & have as the Aussie Open since 2008 has been played on a court that does not hold as much heat as the old rebound ace and does not grab shoes causing ankle issues. It is possible to make hard courts that are a bit more cushioned as well. Beyond that, if tennis has more players dominating in their late 20′s and early 30′s than it did 10, 20, or 30 years ago then I am not sure the courts are shortening careers. I watched part of the Edberg-McEnroe 1989 Wimbledon semifinal and the commentators were calling the 28 year old Mac a veteran with one last chance (who promptly got beaten in straight sets). Federer won Wimbledon at 30 in 2012. I know Mac reached the USO semis in 1990 and Wimbledon semis in 1992, Connors reached the USO semis at age 39, and Agassi was USO runner-up at 35. Still, Federer is #2 and Ferrer is #4. Both just lost in a slam semifinal and both are over 30. Slower courts have made it harder for a young player to ride a hot streak to a title a la Becker in 85 or Sampras in 90. It seems like slow hard courts and slow grass have benefited older players.

Steve 27 Says:

and the commentators were calling the 28 year old Mac a veteran with one last chance

He was 30 in 1989

Joe W Says:

Clay courts are not made out of dr shoals. Any surface can and will expose a player to increased risk of injury. The actual time spent on the court is as much a contributing factor as the surface. Nadal’s training and practices are as notoriously intense as his match play. there’s no getting around that.

Nadal would have loved the tour in the mid-70s when the slams were played on clay and grass.

nadalista Says:

Ironic, given that hardcourts are her favourite surface……….her 2 major title successes have come on hard courts.


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