Rafael Nadal Says It’s A Mistake To Speed Tennis Up Too Much
by Tom Gainey | October 3rd, 2016, 3:31 pm
  • 25 Comments

WTA CEO Steve Simon told the press over the weekend in Wuhan that he thinks shortening matches might help the sport of tennis.

Specifically, Simon suggested playing no-ad scoring with shorter sets (sets to 4 instead of 6) and using a match tie-break after the second set, all of which would benefit the sport. And these currently are the parameters in tour doubles.

“The attention spans of the audience today is shrinking. Everybody wants it in very short nuggets and to see somebody sit for two to three hours and watch anything anymore is getting harder and harder,” Simon told Sport360.

“Our future audience, that we need to begin embracing – now if a video is more than 20 seconds it is too long and they won’t even look at it.”

Rafael Nadal, however, does not agree. Nadal, who plays some of the longest matches, says the public won’t be as invested in a quick match are they are in a longer match.

“I don’t remember no one match in my life, not of me, or tennis in general, that the match finished in one hour,” Nadal said in Beijing. “I think is not in the memory of the people, these kind of matches. The kind of matches that stays on the memory and on the history of our sport are a little bit long matches and dramatic matches that become emotional, the physical issues, everything. You need to put everything together to create a great show, to create a show that the people emotionally feels involved on the match.

“I don’t remember a match that the people remember with just serves and winners and mistakes and short points. I am not sure if the people are looking for that.”

Nadal, who won the Beijing title in 2015, opens play Tuesday against Italian Paolo Lorenzi.

“For me is always special be back here. Is one of the most important places in my career. I won the gold medal in this place eight years ago. Goes quick,” Nadal said.

“Yes, I am excited to be back here. I need to keep practicing well this afternoon, tomorrow, try to be ready for the match on Tuesday. That’s all.”

Before focusing on the event, Nadal also got a chance to finally visit the Great Wall. “I’ve been here lot of times already. I had never the chance to visit it. I really enjoy it.”


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25 Comments for Rafael Nadal Says It’s A Mistake To Speed Tennis Up Too Much

Humble Rafa Says:

Steve Simon is an American and like most people of his ilk, he doesn’t understand tennis.

Next step – let’s play Davis cup like “Big 4″

(the entire world is like what the heck is a big 4 and how different is it from a small 4)?


elina Says:

Football and baseball games average longer than a best of five.


fred stone Says:

The biggest time-wasting player, next to Djoker, is clueless. It’s unbearable watching those two drag out a match.


skeezer Says:

Been advocating this for years, glad someone is taking action.
“The attention spans of the audience today is shrinking. Everybody wants it in very short nuggets and to see somebody sit for two to three hours and watch anything anymore is getting harder and harder”
Amen Brother!


skeezer Says:

Don’t agree with the no add scenario though….
If they would tightened up the abusing time between points things could get significantly better..


elina Says:

Put in a shot clock. Fair for every player.


chrisford1 Says:

Fred Stone – You have that completely wrong. Novak will play at the pace of a foe. Roger or Isner want to work fast, Djokovic doesn’t hold them up. When he plays Rafa, he adapts, and slows down to Rafa’s pace so he doesn’t get impatient (a flaw just about every other pro has facing Nadal can’t shake and it plays into Uncle Toni’s strategy.
The other stuff pinned on Djokovic – bouncing the ball too much, taking time outs – is largely in the past.

A lot of this is mainly the fault to technology altering the game. Like – new string type/design means huge spins and a baseline game. New audience viewing habits in the days now of 300 satellite channels means too many lets, the viewer is gone, and too many females shrieking, fans are off to some reality show or MMA fights.


Annie Says:

Steve Simon…Guess what? Tennis is a sport of “tradition”.
To make all the rule changes you have suggested would be ludicrous!
Why do this???? Because fans are antsy and don’t like to sit for long periods of time OR the get board??? I’m sure they are in the minority…so if they don’t attend…all the more seats for those of us who are TRUE TENNIS FANS & are willing to sit thru a match no matter how short or long it is. Too bad for future “fans” if they won’t take time to watch a video…who needs them at a tennis match?
You can 86 your new-rule concept!


Van Persie Says:

sets to 4 instead of 6…not so sure I like this idea. They could skip the advantage thingy when it is deuce 40-40, if they want to shorten the matches. My POV.


Annie Says:

Fred Stone…if you don’t enjoy long tennis matches…don’t watch them…turn the channel…is someone binding you to a chair…forcing you to sit in front of a TV watching L-O-N-G Tennis matches as punishment for something? Believe it or not…you have choices!
Choose not to watch! What an amazing idea!


skeezer Says:

@elina
I cannot for the life of me believe it, but I totally agree with you on the shot clock idea.


FedExpress Says:

if the deuce thing is changed how will we witness the epic break point saves.

“game point fed, deuce, break point nadal, saved with an ace”

surely tennis will lose something quite essential.


J-Kath Says:

They could cut out the “Net” service hits.


skeezer Says:

They could take down the net.


elina Says:

Yup and it should be implemented just like the rule states.

Clock starts automatically as soon as the ball is dead regardless of crowd noise, heat or length of point with 20 seconds for ITF and 25 for ATP, no exceptions.

It would be enlightening.


skeezer Says:

Bullhorn, Buzzer, Whistle, Dinner bell ringer or RingTone?


Khb Says:

Yeah, what high quality tennis from Fed!
So many strategies & weapons since 2001!
Nadal misses Fed the most.
Fed matches involved tedious 6 feet behind baseline rallies
and predictable, rushed Roddick serves being blocked back for winners while DDick applauded.


skeezer Says:

I like it, just needs to be louder. :)


BBB Says:

I wonder what Simon bases his views on. Is there empirical evidence to support his argument? Cutting out time without changing the way the match itself is played would be fine (e.g. shot clock). But no-ad scoring is radical, and I’d hope there’s something more than “seems like people’s attentions spans are shorter” to justify it.

No ad scoring was done in doubles to encourage singles play to play. I’m not sure the fact that it was done in doubles is relevant to the singles game.


Okiegal Says:

If the fans are tired of sitting for hours to watch a match why in the world do they change horses in the middle of the stream in a five setter when they start getting behind the loser in hopes they can watch another set or two? I disagree that fans want shorter matches. From what I hear the tickets cost a fortune and I am sure they want their money’s worth. I can tell by watching it on TV the fans seem to thrive on long matches! They hoop and holler for more. If people at home in their living rooms watching don’t like it…..well that can be remedied easy enough. I love a long competitive match…….

Regarding a shot clock, I think there needs to be a sound of some kind when the time starts…….I just think the officials have different ideas when to start. I know it is supposed to start after the point is played but none of them do it. I mentioned one time I thought that a device that made a sound to begin the count would be a remedy, and I got laughed at by a fellow poster……a horn that went toot, toot……….was the response I got! Well,
here ya go……🔔📣📢……LOL!!


Danica Says:

Rafa bro, agree with ya!

I sure do not want to pay a $500.00 ticket for a one hour match. What a ludicrous idea.

Spot on Elina!
How is baseball (or golf for that matter) a more interesting sport where the crowd can be patient in their seats for hours?


Willow Says:

Rafas right, i dont want shorter sets, or best of 3 in GS, that side should be left alone, however im all for letting things like the AD go, and the let, and the second serve, and a shot clock would be a good idea ….


AndyMira Says:

Agree with Okie’s comment up there..

As for a shot clock..i suggest they replace it with a gong a la USO 2016..As soon as the players rise from their seats to go serve,the gong should be ‘gonged’ immediately,just to remind the players that they cannot wasting time to their heart content anymore..And when 20 seconds come,just ‘gonged’ once again..that should do it..Since rafa was known for his notorious slow play,i think he will think twice before he continue to do this next time..and other players as well..

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