Roger Federer Wants Faster Play In Tennis, Says A “Serve Shot Clock” Could Happen
by Tom Gainey | June 27th, 2014, 8:15 am

Following a quick second round win last night over Gilles Muller, Roger Federer addressed the topic of the day: time between points. In Grand Slam events men are allowed 20 seconds to serve after points, however that rule has long been abused and debated. And Federer wants the rules to be followed.

“I just think it’s important that we, as players, play up to speed,” Federer said. “And don’t exceed the time limit, because what I don’t want is that we lose viewers because we play too slow.

“You cannot take 25 seconds. I mean, I know you need to focus. That you can do in 10 seconds. Just can’t be that we only see two points per minute. I just feel like we need to keep up the pace and obviously play according to the rules.

“The rules are there not to be broken, but of course you need to give leeway to tough rallies and somebody who’s got — needs a bit more time. I’m fine with that.”

Federer also hinted of a possible future on court “Serve shot clock”, one first proposed on this site in 2008.

“What you’re going to see next is all of a sudden a shot clock,” Federer said. “We discussed that as well. We said we didn’t need to go that far. That the next council can decide. If that happens — I wouldn’t be surprised if that were to happen all of a sudden. Because you only just need a couple of guys always doing it, and that’s when it happens.

“We have seen it in so many other sports, people who push it too much, and then you have to go the other extreme to counter that.

“Yeah, they have gotten a little less aggressive, the umpires, again, which is understandable sometimes. But I don’t think all of last year I got a warning. Did I always play under 20, 25 seconds? I’m not sure, but maybe I do get the benefit for playing quick most of the time.”

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122 Comments for Roger Federer Wants Faster Play In Tennis, Says A “Serve Shot Clock” Could Happen

jonathan Says:

20 second rule has NEVER been enforced although historically many players exceeded it, McEnroe and Courier well over 20 seconds frequently in the two slam matches below.

This is all because Nadal is getting close to Rogers major total, nothing else. Shot clocks. What a joke.

With Wawrinka and Isner on the player council, Queen Roger will surely get his wish.

1980 Wimbledon Borg vs McEnroe:

1992 Edberg vs Courier:


Giles Says:

Prize whiner. He is probably peeing in his pants right now at a possible semi encounter with Nadal!

jonathan Says:

In the shorter term, the only reason he brings this up at Wimbledon is to put pressure on the umpires to call violations on Nadal to throw him of his game when they meet in the semis.

Just more gamesmanship from the supposed “classy” Federer. Sheer desperation.

Nadal lets his racquet do the talking. True class.

Giles Says:

Jonathan. I don’t think the ATP will resort to a shot clock. If they do what they will be saying to the players is “Hey guys, you can engage in several 50 shot rallies but the element of discretion by the umpire will automatically disappear”.
Do they really want that scenario to take place?

Giles Says:

The sooner the ex- president of the players’s council retires the better so far as I am concerned.

Humble Rafa Says:

The Arrogant One has officially reached old age. Talking about crazy things.

What’s next? Start a shot clock at 22 years. If player has no twins in 10 years, delete his record because his career is not worth it without twins.


Raja Says:

This comes off as a slap at Nadal because he fears Nadal. I truly believe he is afraid of playing Nadal.

skeezer Says:

The Cult once agan spews hatred and jealousy towards Fed….like its his fault and not Rafa’s. Rafa breaks and abuses rules plain and simple to win matches. No wonder players like Sod and Rosol show there disdain on the court.
Feds reasoning is logical. We don’t need to lose viewership for stupid reasons like waiting and waiting for a player to do nothing but wipe and pick and whatever for more than 25 seconds. You really heed that “crutch” tip win a tennis match?

skeezer Says:

If you thnk this rule controversy is going away when Fed retires from the council, think again.

jonathan Says:

Not the only one. Half the players including Courier and McEnroe. No one complained then nor was there ever any thought to strictly enforce 20 seconds. Antiquated rules should be modernized.

But that was before the Federer Religion and a desperate man resorting to gamesmanship that should be beneath him. Tarnishes his legacy.

jonathan Says:

Fed has already retired from council but Stanisfluke will do his bidding.

Surprised he doesn’t carry his bags for him when they play.

jonathan Says:

Being elite players comes with its privileges.

Rafa takes time to serve and Roger gets cushy draws, preferable scheduling and closed roofs.

It’s all good.

What goes around, comes around.

skeezer Says:

Rafa admits he is slow. It is a tactic, and a illegal unfair advantage. Worse than that it is apparently a “crutch” he needs to win matches by abusing rules of the game to win.
Regarding Feds Presidency;
He has done an excellant job and helped bring in more money to ALL players. Ponder if Rafa was President. We’d have a 2 year point system, 90 seconds between points, minimum 4 hour matches, and all the surfaces would be Clay. Woohoo.

jane Says:

everything fed says here is fair. the umpires need to call more violations; it would be better than the implementation of a shot clock. like fed says, they can use discretion, but sometimes it’s just too much and they have to call it. the fair thing is to give a warning to the player first, and then after that, call the violations.

skeezer Says:

btw Nole used to bounce the ball a thousand times, and constantly went over the time limit. He cleaned up his act, and won more slams whilst doing it.

Okiegal Says:

I think they need to implement a device when the time count actually starts…’s clear that each umpire has their own rule of thumb they go by. I think the lady officials start their count quicker than the men do. Rafa has played this way his whole career……not a tactic…..a sincere focus of his game……and he has gotten a bit quicker, imo. Rafa’s game will suffer if he is pressured by a time clock…..the players know this too… why wouldn’t they push for it….better chance of beating him…..maybe??


Giles Says:

It’s funny, Rosol only complained to the Umpire about Rafa’s time between points when he started losing. Why didn’t he complain when he was a set and a break up?

Fed started complaining about Rafa’s grunting when he was well and truly on the losing end of their match in AO!

jonathan Says:

It’s more about Fed’s timing in bringing it up again. Wouldn’t bother if they weren’t scheduled to meet.


Josh Says:

Wow, Roger is one of the greatest ever, but you have to be kidding me. This is totally a shot at Nadal, as Roger has always complained about the time he takes between serves.

I do believe deep down that the ONLY reason Roger is still playing tennis, is he’s afraid Nadal will tie or overtake his GS record. Not for the “love of the game”, etc. He spent so many years chasing this record, and to have his main rival overtake him would be demoralizing. Roger needs to stop worrying about this type of stuff and focus on trying to win Wimbledon.

Sirius Says:

“not a tactic”
“a sincere focus of his game”

may be, but is it fair play?

Take all the time you need especially when you’re facing a break point/set point/match point to get your focus and tell your opponent that you are playing a fair game

jane Says:

but was federer asked about the time violations in his interview? it could be that context is important here. or maybe it’s an issue with the council that had been discussed? or maybe it’s because he was last on centre court and had to wait through nadal/rosol and then kerber/watson, which were both very long matches, so he brought up the time issue? hard to say.

Giles Says:

Joker fell on his right side but was clutching left shoulder. Makes no sense!

John Says:

jonathan youre an idiot,

¨Just more gamesmanship from the supposed “classy” Federer. Sheer desperation.

Nadal lets his racquet do the talking. True class.¨

Nadal is the king of gamesmanship, thats why he will never get the Edberg award. An average of 25 seconds between points in his last match.

Okiegal Says:


There is no way that you will ever make believe that when Rafa is gearing up to serve that he intends to be unfair. He has played this way forever…..and now they’re cracking down. Can you imagine trying to undo something you have done so long? Would not be easy. I realize he goes to the towel continually….but water drips off him like a water faucet. If i was an opponent I don’t think I could fault him for that. Fed might not be sympathetic to that problem, however, coz he doesn’t sweat much at all compared to Rafa. He is OCD… doubt about that. That fact works into his game big time. I think a lot fans think that when he goes out to serve he has some devious plot in his mind to goad them about taking too much time. I don’t believe that. I believe he is so focused that he loses track of the time…..JMO

Giles Says:

FYI Rafa did win the Edberg Award one year.

roy Says:

the fool says this right after a match with no rallies … on the quickest surface.

and 10 seconds from end point to service motion is physically impossible when people collect and select balls and use towels, not to mention when they don’t finish points right on the baseline and have to WALK BACK TO POSITION.

i guarantee you if people are returning his serve and bogging him down in long rallies he’s not taking 10 seconds. how ridiculous. he’s definitely using up the 20 to recover.
the idea of federer serving without aerobic recovery just to ‘make points shorter’ is outrageous bullsh*t of the highest order.

Giles Says:

So, fed thinks 10 seconds between points is enough. This man is taking leave of his senses and shooting his mouth off with a load of drivel. This is what old age does to some.

Lodhi Says:

Fed’s got a point, although the thing is, it’s really upto the umpires. Just like Rafa needs to stop talking about injuries, Federer should shut the hell up and let the umpires do their jobs. He keeps moaning about slow play like Rafa does about injuries sometimes. My advice: focus on your game Fed.

Hamza Says:

If Nadal wins Wimbledon, I’d be super glad Federer made this comment. Why ? Because he may have pissed off Nadal with this , and a pissed off Nadal is a dangerous Nadal, and a dangerous Nadal can be fairly hard to beat on any surface.

Patson Says:

This Commodus look-alike is never happy about the time taken between points. It’s getting old now, Fed. Enough complaining. Let the officials do their job the way they want to.

jonathan Says:

Fed is aware of Rafa’s OCD tendencies.

He is hoping to exploit this to his advantage. Nothing to do with “viewership” concerns.

McEnroe averaged 25 seconds between serves vs Borg in 1980 final.

Borg was too classy to make such a big deal over an antiquated rule that was designed when tennis was played in long slacks and bonnets.

jane Says:

tennis was played in bonnets?!! ha ha, i’d like to see that. can you imagine serena in a bonnet?

Margot Says:

Didn’t Sasha wear a hair net at one stage?

Daniel Says:

It is not an old rule and it affect the game. HAd Nadal played within the limits all his career would he have won so much?! Because ehe sure need all the time in the world to get back to play the next point with his “intensity” even if that is to make the opponent wait for him ad infinitum.

Okiegal, he is clearly aware that he is making his opponents wait and is part of his game.

Tennis has a lot of what we call in Brazil “catimba”, similar to soccer player who fall down to induce the umpire to call a penalty. Is a metal battle on court and they use all they can get: complain to umpire for opponent to see, pretend to be dead on court only to run the next point, delays the game, strategic MTO, call to the trainer, go to bathroom, change their racquet when they want (Federer changes every 7 games player regardless if the opponent is serving or not).

But the thing is this rules related to how the game became baseline context this days. The longer they rally the more time they need and Nadal being the ultimate baseliner grinder, he is the one who benefited the most of this abuse. Fed is right to complain if he feels as much other tennis payers do that he gets this advantage that work to help his game. If he had to speed up he will be more tired, less focus and won’t play the points the same as if all are match points and eventually that inch shot will, be long and decide the match.

If it bother so much of you here is because there is fundament to it and you know it. Nadal fans don’t bother but all non Nadal fans do and feel like this is part of his “gamesmanship” because we know that he is winning with an advantage that is against the rules which nobody reinforce because the umpires fear his name and on court persona. Also playing like he wants to eat your brain on court is part of his strategy to win the mental battle on court. This part I have no problem with, he can bully his opponent around all he wants as longer as the match is played on equal terms, which with him it never is.

Sirius Says:


great post

jane Says:

margot, well he’s definitely worn headbands. i cannot remember the net, but i wouldn’t be surprised. he’s an enigma, this dolgo pogo. he’s apparently stumped dimitrov, who was favoured by many to reach the quarters and face andy. he’ll have to win in 5 if he is to do so.

Daniel Says:


One thing is average 25 sec Nadal average more than 30 sec in some case 40 sec. Bizarre!!

Daniel Says:

He will do Polianna and behave lioke: well, if the umpire don’t complain I’ll keep doing it! This is pure class thinking and humbleness, yeah right!
This line of thought just represents everything that is bad and wrong with our society. People not knowing when you right ends and the other began, basically it is all their is to it.

Damm, suddenly this topic bring the politician and philosopher in me. LOL

Not to be offended guys it is just the sport we love, but I sure want to see one day Nadal play a match where he would never go over 20-25 seconds for a change, just to see how long will he last and if his tennis quality will remain the same through out.

Patson Says:

To be fair, Nole also does it sometimes. There are quite a few players who tend to do it. To say that doing this can have an impact on the outcome of the match is hard to believe because the 25 second rule already gives plenty of time to the players. Yes, every now and then some would go over 25 but that doesn’t happen that frequently. Federer’s complaints would make more sense if he were to say that 25 seconds should be brought down to say 10. But rest assured, that ain’t gonna happen.

Of course, penalize sometime if he goes over 25 repeatedly. Fed’s bigger problem is with the 25 second rule. He thinks 25 seconds is too much. Me thinks 25 seconds is fine.

skeezer Says:

Spot on @12:28!
btw I have actually watched Rafa win a match playing within the time limit. He can do it!
When has ANY sport accommodated OCD tendencies?
Should the NBA extend the shot clock in Basketball for one guy?

“McEnroe averaged 25 seconds between serves vs Borg in 1980 final”
C’mon, everyone here knows that Rafa takes waaaay longer than 25 sec in most cases….poor example.

Tennis is a fitness sport, and the player that can recover better is part of the game.

jonathan Says:

It’s 20 seconds in majors. Get your facts right.

Federer is hypocritical saying it’s tennis viewership he’s concerned with.

He’s concerned about himself and his 17 major record.

So much gnashing of the teeth from the Fed religion.

Borg was true class. Never complained when he lost like some.

Giles Says:

Fed is getting very jittery me thinks. Poor sod!!

skeezer Says:

^Oh yes…Rafa’s abusing of rules is ALL Feds fault. LMAO.

Daniel Says:


It can affect the match if neither Nadal never played within 20 seconds in Grand Slam. I think you can count in one hand how many points he will playing within the limits, he is constantly pushing and that is where the problem is.


Agree Borg was true class because he played within the rules. But end up his career short after he couldn’t beat his rivals. AT least in this regards Fed has more class and didn’t fold and is top 4 at almost 33 still in contention.

Let’s see if a certain player will finish his career with the same “class”.

skeezer Says:

20 sec for Slams, 25 sec for the Tour (ATP). My facts are straight.

contador Says:

Match of the tournament, imo, so far, this Dolgo-Dimitrov.

@ Margot – have yet to see Dolgo wear a hair net. lol…

He wears a little hairband to keep his hair out of his face and it does make his scalp show more.

Love these two players; sad to see either of them lose. They can play 5 sets in under 3 hours!

Bravo Dolgo and Dimitrov!

Daniel Says:

Grigor at least is delivering in majors now. If he is ranked within the 10-20 he should be making Round of 16 and eventually with a draw break, a Quarter and maybe even a semis. He has a good shot now to play Quarters against Murray.
Same with Raonic which is solid inside top 8 and making quartes of tourney regularly. After Wibledon DelPotro’s 720 points will drop and maybe we can get one of this new guns in the top 10. Ferrer seems to be on his final grasps as well.

Margot Says:

Yes, it was terrific. I thought your “Pogo Stick” was going to pull it off at one stage. Am sure I’ve seen him with a bun and a hair net!
Had to keep flipping channels though, which I hate doing, as the Williams/Kivitova match was also terrific. Neither would yield an inch.
Bum! Castle carries on commentating/drooling etc etc….even bloody worse I expect!

contador Says:

@ Margot. lol, you might be right about the bun and a hairnet. But he can wear whatever he wants – pumps and a kimono for all I care; just in awe of his mad tennis skills.

@Daniel – yes, about Raonic and Dimitrov. Also Kei Nishikori, if he can stay healthy.

The problem is who will be dropping out of the top 10? Delpo will be fighting to get his ranking back, I’d imagine. Yeah, Ferrer, maybe..

interesting times ahead…

Andy Murray not too troubled by Bautista-Agut, I see. Murray looking quite good, actually. Glad one of my draws has him defending his title :D

Patson Says:

May be i was being told to straighten my facts. Facts have been straightened: 20 secs for grand slams, 25 for ATP events.


jonathan Says:

Daniel Says:
HAd Nadal played within the limits all his career would he have won so much?!

Well at least we have one Fed fan willing to admit the real reason for all of this fuss and not “viewership” concerns.

If Nadal hadn’t “won so much” (i.e. three less slams and shrinking), there would be many less complaints now would there.

The decades-old rule is not new. The decades-old violation of the rule is not new. No, what is relatively new is the Federer fandom and the growing threat of Nadal on his legacy.

That is my point. Thanks Daniel.

Patson Says:


If Nadal was forced to play within limits from say 2005, he probably still would’ve won. The ATP and WTF both have to be blamed. It has been acceptable for such a long time, that now many people don’t think of it as a rule. And every now and then, warnings are given. Fergus Murphy is a tough umpire.

I look at time-wasting as grunting. Not a nice thing to do, but doesn’t make a player evil/disgusting etc.

Patson Says:

Of-course this comes from a slightly biased point of view because Nole does these things sometimes albeit in a much milder manner.

madmax Says:

On Thursday, the seven-times Wimbledon champion chose slow play – and by inference Rafael Nadal – as his target, saying that if there are going to be rules, they should be enforced.

Opinions on how significant an issue slow play is ranges from those who believe offenders are effectively cheating, to those who really do not care at all. Television companies would love the rule to be enforced to further condense the drama; some players would like a shot-clock to be placed on court and others think common sense needs to be used by umpires in a sport that has become more and more physical.

“I just think it’s important that we, as players, play up to speed because what I don’t want is that we lose viewers because we play too slow,” Federer said after being told that Nadal was averaging 25 seconds between points against Lukas Rosol on Thursday and describing it as “not cool, then”.

giles again.

It has NOTHING to do with YOUR ridiculous statement. Pathetic Really. Why can’t you see that rafa breaks this rule over and over again.

It just should not be the way to gain a point. He breaks the rules with his over excessing time wasting. Not only with the points, but hte excessive wiping down the sweat with the towels. It really is not okay.

Man up giles and accept that despite Rafa being a great tennis player, he is NOT someone who is respected in the sport for wasting time between points. It is irritating to say the least.

I think it is not only Roger that has said this about every player who wastes time (journos allude to Rafa, because HE is the worst offender!).

Roger did not mention his name, but we all know who is the worst offender, and so do you rafa fans!

I would just like to know WHY it is the case that he gets away with this over and over.

It’s about being fair. Nothing more. Wasting time between points, MTO’s at inappropriate moments. We all know who is the worst offender here and it has NOTHING to do with if and when, when and if, he surpasses Roger’s GS. If he does, then good for him, he will be the best in history, no doubt. For now, he needs to play by the rules.

it was the same when Delpotro took more than 10 seconds to challenge Roger at the USO 2009, it should not have been allowed, he exceeded the time allowed, why oh why don’t umpires enforce the rules that they have trained so hard in understanding?

Makes no sense!

madmax Says:

Giles Says:
Fed is getting very jittery me thinks. Poor sod!!

June 27th, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Do you say anything of any real interest Giles? Me thinks it is you who is getting jittery?

Daniel Says:


Many of us didn’t like Nadal’s game for several other reasons than him beating Fed. I thing some of you Nadal fans are so obsessed with him proving to be better than Fed that you can’t see beyond that. To me he play’s a game I don’t like, neither his on court behavior. I play tennis since I was 8 and I cringe just to imagine playing against some one who plays like him, not my thing. But I can recognize his greatness amd what he brought to the sport, even changing the dynamics with the grinder style.

And you have to stop being so 8 or 80. Their is more to it and what Fed said is balanced and fair in his assessment as he is most of his career. To me personally they are all great figures for the sport, too god for my taste, a little bit of anger between sports is nice for the game.

To each his won, when I first saw Nadal butt picking I could not believe what I was seeing non stop in a tennis court, eventually got used to it. But until today I watch with some people that can’t get pass it.

I don’t like the: return ever ball until you made your opponent lose, and I refuse to believe that this style of tennis will be the measured of GOAThood for the future. I don’t want Nadal to surpass Fed Slam tally nor get more weeks as number 1, nor win outside RG titles, (now I even want him to get 10, just to become a more impressive number) the same way you guys don’t want Djokovic to keep beating Nadal or winning Slams, because the closer he gets to Rafa if he goes there the more questions will raise, similar to what Nadal is doing now. One Rafa fan (Steve27 or Slice Tennis) even admitted that he thank Murray for winning 2 Slams against Djokovic because it diminished Djoko’s career, nothing wrong with that in my view, we all have preferences.

So we can discuss the topic from the viewer point of view because the slower the surfaces became, the longer the points will become, the longer the in between points will be and it can affect tennis viewers and if nobody is seeing, nobody is paying, nobody is receiving millions and nobody will work their life of to become the next Federer, Nadal, and so on. The only ones who will lose is us.

And regarding GOAT, we may have a decisive moment in 10 days, or not if Murray or Djoko wins it, but one thing we know for sure: in the end of it all (once Fed and Nadal are retired) one camp will be the winner and the other will have to deal with it. May the best side win!:-)

jonathan Says:

Simply referring to Nadal as a grinder exposes your bias.

And I don’t care for arrogance and blaming bad luck on losses which exposes my own bias.

We are both fans. To each their own.

10 days with his soft quarter and closed roof, and umpires pressured, I would never count out the mighty Federer.

He always has a slight chance against Nadal, for sure, no?

But there is more to GOATdom than a single major.

For now, Nadal is GOAT. We will see what the future brings.

jonathan Says:

Again Daniel, thanks for proving my point from your earlier post on why all this talk of time violation is a concern.

Wondering how successful Nadal would be if that antiquated rule was strictly enforced before everyone knew what a threat Nadal would become really brought home my point quite succinctly.

Daniel Says:

“For now, Nadal is GOAT. We will see what the future brings.”

After this comment you proved that I just lost my time thinking we could get a tennis conversation.

If their career ends today. Both die tomorrow sharing a limo to SW19, Fed will be GOAT, period.

Nadal has half his #1 weeks, half his Year End #1, minus 18 titles, 3 less Slams and mostly clay. Nadal is not even second in my view, Sampras is and we always have a case for Laver.

skeezer Says:

How many previous monikers have you been? 4-5?
Defending a defenseless argument exposes your bias.

Okiegal Says:

I’m surprised that the secs between points is not the same all the time regardless of the venue. That is ridiculous to me….be it 20 or 25…make it the same. How many secs between first serve and second serve? Is it still 20 secs?

Regarding gamesmanship…..what player hasn’t done that? MTOs? Bathroom breaks? Novak was a ball bouncer……counted over 20 bounces once. Talk about time violation, he was worse than Rafa. He’s cut that back. Rafa has sped things up a bit too.

Bottom line……the umpires have the control and they should exercise it. It’s all on them and not the players.

Okiegal Says:

I do like Fed……but he has turned into a bigger whiner than us Rafa fans!! Tee hee….let it be known that Okiegal never loses her sense of humor!!

skeezer Says:

There are different governing factors between the Slams and ATP Tour. Other factors are involved such as Slams have a different format.
Gamesmenship? Yes other players have done it. But this is the typical rafa fan club response pointing the finger elsewhere. Fact is very very few have a playing history of it that … it most of the time.
I won’t go all out and say Rafa does it for gamesmanship, that is for others to argue. But it is and can be an unfair advantage. That is what rules are for. To make the playing level equal.

Okiegal Says:

Cilic in Berdy out!

jane Says:

Okiegal, skeezer’s right that it’s due to the different governing bodies: ITF/slams, and ATP/other events. However, I actually agree with you that it would make more sense to have the time allotted between points the same across the board, and then to actually enforce it.

Okiegal Says:


Point well taken. Last paragraph of my post at 4:28….don’t you agree with that? That is what the official is for… make sure the rules are followed. Everybody can talk about Rafa doing the serving ritual to be dishonest and to cheat until the cows come home…..I just don’t believe it….sorry. Thanx for your reply, Skeezer….I know we don’t see eye to eye on everything but I respect your opinion….Okie dokey???

Giles Says:

Does anyone remember fed taking a very lengthy bathroom break, something like 15 minutes, which he later admitted was because he was waiting for the sun to change direction on the court? Can’t remember when or the venue unfortunately. So, how does that work out? Cheating or what!
Why is this time rule being emphasised now? Why didn’t he bring it up at the FO for instance? It is because he is in Rafa’s half of the draw and if things work out according to plan they are scheduled to meet in the semis. The man is a coward. He can’t beat Rafa on court. Instead he is whining to the media about time rules. He has done this before.

Polo Says:

About delay of game, I would not call Nadal cheating on that because it’s the umpire’s call. All the umpire has to do is penaliize him if he breaks it. No call from the umpire means it is allowed. Don’t blame Nadal, blame the officials because they are the ones breaking their own rule. They hold the clock and should know best when the time allowed is exceeded.

Polo Says:

…Federer’s complaint about time violation is perfectly legitimate. It is not a dig on Nadal. It’s on the officials who make rules but fail to promulgate it. He has every reason to voice his displeasure about it.

Patson Says:

Fed can be slightly annoying some times though. I’ll never forget when he got pissed at Djokovic for hitting those ferocious returns and snatching from the jaws of defeat. He said something like , “That’s not how I was taught to play the game”. I was like “Seriously? What the hell does that even mean?”.

But this particular complaint is probably more or less meant towards the umpire who will officiate his potential semi-final match with Rafa. He’s basically saying: if I play against this guy, you better call him out for this because I ain’t gonna take none of that.

Giles Says:

How long has fed been playing against Nadal now? Why is he getting all mouthy now about time rules? His comments are directed at Nadal specifically!

Ruby Says:

It’s always fascinating that shot clock debates are never shot clock debates . . . they’re Rafa debates! (As if they would impact no one else.) While many people seem to feel he is the worst offender, without hard evidence that is meaningless. Yes, people have timed him and he often takes 25 seconds, even in slams. But are you timing everyone on the ATP and WTA? Try it some time. Many go over 20 in slams, some on a regular basis. Unless someone wants to start timing each player every match for multiple tournaments and start looking at averages, the suggestion that one player is far more egregious than any other is simply supposition.

For me, it’s the wrong debate off the bat. I have yet to find the ordinary sports fan (as opposed to tennis obsessives) who thinks the problem with tennis is a few extra seconds between points. Most want the points themselves to be more entertaining.

It will be interesting anyway to see if the shot clock debate dies after Rafa retires.

Borninthedesert Says:

I love Fedal, hahaha.
There is not a better rivalry in in the truly sense of the world than this.
I will miss you both and their crazy and neurotical fans when they stop playing tennis.
Forever and ever!

amadeus Says:

If rafael dramadal needs more time than the others to do the job, then he is not the best, he has to be fired today.

Borninthedesert Says:

Mr amadeus there is not need to calling a name to certain player you dont like. Is such a low class. The discussion is over when people act like an animals instead of add ideas and arguments into the subject.
Nevermind, i forgot Internet can be, in a certain way, a very problematic space.

Okiegal Says:

I agree with Ruby, everyone is all eyes when Rafa is serving…..not sure they’re checking anyone else as close. I still think he is doing better about the time limit, but room for improvement. He does worry me…….but it’s still up to the umpires to nip it in the bud when anyone is going over the time.

@Polo 5:09……..exactly!!
@Polo 5:13……..can agree with that too, but it’s puzzling to me that it’s a big issue with him now. I have heard him voice his opinion on this before…it was when Rafa won Wimby for the first time……the same time he wanted Hawkeye turned off. Fed struggled with seeing the handwriting on the wall that there was a good chance he might lose….that was when all the complaining started and he in fact did lose. He has a legit complaint, can’t deny that.
I stand by my original post… way is Rafa meaning to cheat. Being slow and focused is the way he plays his game….Would
be hard for him to serve in 10 secs…..there are players that can do that, but not him……

Skeezer Says:

Fed/Nole hater, no?
It serms u r a Rafa Lover screw everyone else.
Lets all cater to “Rafa Rules”. After all, he is innocent of everything and always does things for the betterment of all players, not himself.

jatin Says:

Meanwhile its not roger who is actually complaining. He was just giving his views.

This I saw how the whole debate has started

Rosol critical of Nadal for taking too much time between points

Nirmal Kumar Says:

I think Roger is opening up a bit more, since he has resigned as Players head in ATP council. He need not be diplomatic in his answers all the time anymore. Looked like last few years, being head of the council, he was conscious not to express his opinions in the press, which can be blown out of proportion by the media and in social network.

Also Nadal fans need to understand the timing issue in a broader sense, rather than thinking it’s an offense against Nadal. I have seen worse offenders of time that Nadal, sometime they have clocked worse than Nadal, when they were playing against him.

DelPo is one of the worst guys I have seen on tour. I have seen him take around 30 secs after hitting an Ace. How ridiculous is that. He just keeps strolling around the baseline looking for towel, just after hitting an Ace. There are numerous players who do that today. Nishikori is another guy whom I have seen consistently go beyond regular time and stroll around too much.

Let’s not be too short minded and think the entire issue is around Nadal. Just because Nadal plays more matches around bigger courts, it’s possible he gets more attention.

Tennis is a much leisure sport compared to Football. Every two games, players get to take a break, which itself I feel is an aberration. They should probably change it to a break only during a new ball change, at least for the first 2 sets.

Saba Sheikh Says:

I don’t see why Federer is being criticized in the comments section here. What he says is very fair and logical. He was asked to comment on what Rosol said and he spoke his mind. He always says what he wants to, isn’t rude, but is quite straightforward. And people listen to him (because there is mostly a lot of sense in what he says). One of the many qualities of the great man.

Hamza Says:


Fed is always logical Saba. I mean I marveled at his logical thinking when he once said after losing a match to a brave Djokovic:

“Some players grow up and play like that. I remember losing junior matches and being down 5-2 in the third and they start slapping shots and they all go in for some reason. That’s the way they grew up playing when they were down. I never play that way. I believe hard work’s going to pay off. […] So for me this is very hard for me to understand how you can play a shot like that on match point. But maybe he’s been doing it for 20 years. Maybe for him it’s very normal. You’ll have to ask him.”

When I heard this, I said to myself : THIS GUY CANNOT BE SERIOUS ! The sad thing is, that he was.

Giles Says:

So the old man thinks 10 seconds is enough between points. I would like him to maintain that statement after he has played a few rallies in excess of 30 shots. He thinks tennis is all about serve, return and end the point. Who is he playing again? Another muppet Giraldo! Lol

Giles Says:

June 27th 9 55 pm post . You omitted a name. Give you a clue, it starts with “s” and ends with “r”.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Giles, Roger said 10 secs only for Focus on next point. I don’t think he meant you can hit a serve in 10 secs.

Are you against the time delay, just because Roger said it or because Rafa takes more time between points. Is there a broader reason why more time should be allowed between points as against the rules already framed.

If players are concerned about the time and tennis landscape has changed now compared to the era when the timelines were defined, then players should approach the ATP and Grandslam with a new proposal, just like they did for raising the players prize money. I don’t see players doing that, which could be because many agree that the current timeline is reasonable.

Giles Says:

NK. You obviously didn’t follow several players’ disdain for the time rule when the ATP tightened up a couple of years ago. I am not interested in discussing this topic with you. No offence.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Giles, no offence taken. Understood you have little knowledge on the subject.

Skeezer Says:

“Understood you have little knowledge on the subject.”

Giles Says:

NK. And you?

Giles Says:

NK. Discuss the topic with old skeezer who thinks he knows everything but really knows nothing.

Okiegal Says:

Maria flirts with the time rule too……I guess the umpires are also afraid of her….lol

madmax Says:

Rafa fans, it is time to admit, why is it that you think anything Roger says is to do with Rafa? It isn’t. Roger was asked a legitimate question and he gave a very fair and honest answer, applicable to all players.

Roger is an opponent’s dream, he is quick to serve, can wrap up a game sometimes in under a minute. The guy does not mess around. Gets on with the game in hand, does the job.

Doesn’t waste time in between points, doesn’t take MTO’s in critical moments. You simply cannot say that about Rafa. If it suits Rafa, then he will do the deed. That is not sportsmanship, it’s gamemanship.

I completely understand you don’t want to appear as if you are turning your back on him. Yet, when not only fans of the sport, commentators too, comment on this, Nadal’s gamesmanship, his “unlikely” MTO’s, it cannot be ignored. Yet, no one does anything. That is the astonishing thing.

The amount of time between points should be kept to the 20 second rule. 1 second over, that’s it. No more “extra time”. It’s not a football match!

giles, it would be more beneficial if you actually learned the rules of the game properly instead of retaliating with nonsense thrown at any fed fan who is around. Take NK’s advice. It’s good!

calmdownplease Says:

Novak Djokovic takes a long time too.
And Fed and Novak have had their frosty moments.
But on TV here in the UK, the presenters are interpreting this as a slight against Nadal.
I also agree with Roger, and the rules should be enforced but apparently Nadal despite many time violations has never lost one point, which is unacceptable.
What’s the point of having the rules and doing not enforcing them?

roy Says:

prove roger doesn’t take 20+ when he’s playing extended rallies.

during dogfight matches with novak/nadal/murray etc., especially on clay, hard, i don’t see federer rushing back to ‘be efficient’. he makes sure he’s aerobically recovered, towel wiped etc. just like everyone else, especially when he’s in epic points on his serve. if there’s a difference it isn’t huge at all in this scenario.

and a key point you people forget is that federer gets far more cheap points on serve. aces, service winners.
obviously you can just walk across. so on HIS serve he might seem more efficient. but that’s because his SERVE is more efficient. it’s got nothing to do with ‘sportsmanship’.

if you have to play more serves you will obviously need more recovery time … more often. it adds up to a slower pace.

on the return game, you go at the server’s speed. so it’s harder to determine how much time the returner wants to take. the returner will typically always take less time regardless because they don’t need the balls. so that’s not really a good gauge. and it can even suit the returner to not allow recovery time because you get a weaker serve to hit. THAT can be gamesmanship, to pressure the server in those moments.

point is, it’s not as simple as people make out.
and it’s not gamesmanship it’s aerobic reoovery and focus. gamesmanship would be an outlier, not the norm.
nadal’s strategy is a high percentage serve and serve+forehand combination which involves gaining a large initial advantage and winning rallies from there.
federer uses bigger/riskier serves to win more points outright.
obviously nadal will want more recovery time on his serve.

novak often needs uses similar recovery time too. certainly in matches against nadal i’ve seen, novak is taking just as much time. because his serve, while better than nadal’s, is not the weapon federer’s is either. a LOT of balls get played in matches between huge returners and great defenders.

of course federer will prove me wrong when the grass season is done. he will only take 10 seconds like he suggested. and he’ll even wave the towel.

Giles Says:

Hey maaaddmax. Tell me, does your old man sweat? Of course he doesn’t and therefore doesn’t need extra seconds to towel off. If he thinks only 10 seconds are needed between points then I’m afraid he will have to play with himself. Geez! The cheek of the man!

jane Says:

not as much anymore, though, cdp: some people at nole’s site actually time him periodically, ha ha. he started to cut back considerably near the end of 2012, around the time of the world tour finals, and has been pretty good since then. occasionally in a tense moment he’ll still revert to adding a couple bounces, but mainly he gets on with things at a quick enough pace imo.

there are many guys that take lots of time. isner immediately springs to mind. also, tsonga can be a bit slow too; he definitely likes the towel, or has in the past, and definitely delpo as someone else already pointed out.

these are all fairly “high profile” players we’re talking about too, guys who’ve been in the top ten. i am sure there are plenty of others.

i think they should make it 25 seconds across the board – at slams and atp events – and then enforce it.

jane Says:

to be fair roy, federer even said in the interview that he probably goes over some of the time – or he implied it when he said this:

“But I don’t think all of last year I got a warning. Did I always play under 20, 25 seconds? I’m not sure, but maybe I do get the benefit for playing quick most of the time.””

the suggestion is that he, himself, probably goes over occasionally but that he’s never gotten a warning. in other words, the umpires are not doing their jobs.

and that is really the bottom line here right?

the players may go over, but it’s the umpires who should be enforcing things.

i also think it’s dumb to have a 20 sec rule in some events and a 25 sec rule in others because if they want players to intuitively know that they’re keeping within the time limit, it should be the same always so they can become attuned to it.

Okiegal Says:

Don’t you have to get the warning a second time before a point is deducted? If Rafa has never been penalized, obviously he has never had two warnings. If he needs a 2nd warning and doesn’t get it….Well, whose fault is that?? It all hoes back to the official.


calmdownplease Says:

Okay Jane point taken.
I notice too that It’s gotten better across the board, I remember the AO final between Nadal Novak it was like 31/32 secs!
Andy sometimes flirts around the more than 20sec mark, usually when he’s playing Novak or Nadal however.
So now it seems that Nadal is still the main problem but they won’t do anything about it, its too much of a big deal for an umpire, it would have to come from down high.

calmdownplease Says:

A lot of this complaining from Roger is akin to his complaining about the speed of the courts.
He no doubt longs for the days of his tennis youth when points were quick and not grinded out.
But the courts were slowed before he had success so he can’t complain too much, and anyway its not going to change now.

jane Says:

yes, cdp, nole was definitely bad in the past, and yes, i think it tends to be in the more grinding matches. however, that’s precisely why i think it should be enforced by an official – i.e., a human being – rather than a clock, because it always at least for a little discretion after long rallies, which fed mentioned. the players should ideally have some sort of warning, at the changeover or whatever – “hey careful, you’re going over the time limit” – but after that, they should get the violation.

jane Says:

*allows at least not *always at least

calmdownplease Says:

` however, that’s precisely why i think it should be enforced by an official – i.e., a human being – rather than a clock,..`

But they are not enforcing the existing rules.
Come to think of it I dont think anyone has been docked a point not just Nadal!
And if they have it will inevitably be some low 200+ seed offered up as an example.
Thats how tennis rolls really.
I think everyone thinks the tour and the slams should have the same time limit, say 25 secs, which surely is enough for any point.
And if it is not, a time violation should occur and then the point should be docked.
Nothing personal and no exceptions.
And if you arent able to then too bad you will have to learn to adapt.

Okiegal Says:

@Jane……ditto at 12:48 and 12:56….last paragraphs of each….spot on.

jane Says:

i guess you’re right cdp. the problem with discretion for longer rallies is that it could lead to a slippery slope: what’s a long rally? how many seconds extra? but sometimes the crowd are cheering and that delays the start of the next point, or even sometimes the crowd are moving between their seats and so on, which goes to show that there will likely always be *some* kinds of exceptions to the 25 sec rule, even if the umpires finally get on with the business of enforcing it! and i agree with you – their track record on this presently is abysmal.

calmdownplease Says:

The clapping usually doesn’t last for more than 5/6 seconds.
Tennis players are not hindered from preparing for the next point due to this, so I would ignore that even if it might prove occasionally unfair at the sharp end of a slam.
Or If it is still a clapping situation then that can be the limit once the 25 secs has been passed.
Ie one must serve as soon as the clapping stops.
It won’t happen too often however.
I don’t agree that Nadal should be accomodated as it can take the rhythmn away from other players and that’s unfair.
25 secs, no politics, no exceptions and everyone is treated the same.

calmdownplease Says:

ofcourse one can’t be too accurate on the 25 second rule without a stopwatch & measure of anxiety being introduced to the proceedings hehe

TennisFan Says:

absolutely agree with Fed … Nadal would have to give back most of his majors if this rule were enforced … tired of watching players bounce the ball … bring on a shot clock … it would be a great improvement.

skeezer Says:

Fed is into next week! Ya mon!

Okiegal Says:

I think a beeping device to start the count would be sufficient….because it’s clear that all the officials aren’t in sync with when to start the time. If there is lots of crowd noise, long extended rallies….then it would up to the officials discretion. Why couldn’t everybody be happy with that?? Roger even admitted himself that he’s gone over because of certain things….but then stated he probably doesn’t get called on it because he is within the limits more times than not……sounds like he thinks the umps reward him because of good behavior……I guess by the same token, they are rewarding Rafa for bad behavior, by not penalizing him…..go figure!!

Okiegal Says:

Serena and Cornet are having a go at it….good match. Cornet is taking it to Serena after the 1st set breadstick….she just broke her…..Cornet now ahead.

Okiegal Says:

Genie B…still in it…..good win!!

Okiegal Says:

Cornet serving for the match….she has played awesome tennis today…..drop shoting Serena out of her tennis shoes. WOW!!

pamei Says:

I think the wimbledon audience ,or for that matter the Council ,should tender their agreement or disagreement about the time issue. every rules is not static, it can be altered for the better ; less ( 10 secs as fed wants) or more ( 25 secs as rafa need).

skeezer Says:

“I think a beeping device to start the count would be sufficient”
I’d like a Bull horn, would be hecka funny ;).

Okiegal Says:

Hey, Skeezer, the bullhorn is a great idea…I hadn’t thought of that. I’ll bring that up at the next board meeting!! Ha ha ha…..I’m so glad you are still taking to heart what Okiegal has to say! Lol

Rave1955 Says:

Funny thing, these rules. The guy who follows the rules gets to be the bad guy, while the guy who breaks the rules gets to be the good guy. No rules needed. I wonder how most of the tennis folks can follow the rules, but the few who can’t seem to be the loudest on how they don’t need to follow the rules.

skeezer Says:

So true and well said!
Apparently it hasn’t affected Nole’s game who the rafafanatics claimed WAS an abuser also in the past. Now? Pfft…..still winning matches and Slams!


GJP Says:

For everyone complaining about Fed, Nadal, etc…

As others have pointed out, Fed responded to a question and in his answer pointed at himself as well. He NEVER mentioned another player by name and simply said the rule should be enforced. He also didn’t say he wanted a 10 second clock… he merely stated it should only take 10 seconds to refocus and also said perhaps a few seconds extra for long rallies. I disagree with the long rally part as fitness is part of the game, regardless of the length of the rally.

The fact is players such as Nole ,Nadal, Delpo, Sharapova, Jankovic, etc have been warned and got extremely upset at the warning. Not sure why you would get upset for being warned of breaking the rules, but none the less it has happened… although the timing of some of the warnings is a little sketchy. Just Google it and you will see where many players have been warned and shockingly, none of the players were happy.

Having different times for the different events is inconsistent to say the least. Let’s find the middle and go 22 or 23 seconds and be strict about it. Have the clock start once all balls are on the server’s side of the court and voila, done.

Skeezer Says:

“The fact is players such as Nole ,Nadal, Delpo, Sharapova, Jankovic, etc have been warned and got extremely upset at the warning.”
Don’t forget here when the umpires are so dang inconsistent with the rule it creates a complaint then in itself.

GJP Says:

I understand the inconsistency and some of the timing issues of the warnings… but you still needn’t complain about being warned for breaking a rule. It’s on the books, deal with it.

Skeezer Says:

^totally agree

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