Is Tennis’s New Serve Clock Doing Anything?
by Sean Randall | August 16th, 2018, 3:16 pm

I first said tennis needed a “Serve Clock” back in 2008, and though within four years we would see one. Well, it took 10 but it’s finally here, and probably here to stay because… IT’S NOT DOING ANYTHING!

From what I’ve seen these past couple of weeks is that there really hasn’t been much change to pace of play that I’ve noticed. It’s interesting to see the clock wind down, but awfully rare to hear a warning or a violation and there’s been little crowd reaction.

The problem is, the clock doesn’t start until AFTER the umpire calls the score, which can take as long as 5-10 seconds. So the tour rule of 25 seconds to serve effectively becomes 30-35 seconds. Therefore…we are pretty much back to where we were with players going well over 25 seconds to serve between points.

And I have noticed on big points the umpires do take a little longer to call the score. And they are clearly delaying their call because of the clock!

So I don’t really understand the point of it if it is intended to speed up the play. That said, the tour should have some numbers to prove me wrong and to back up if in fact the pace has quickened or slowed, as some players will see they still have time on the clock and make use of it. I do like the 5-minute warm-up rule, that should pay off.

And maybe in a few years once players do get accustomed to it they can drop the time allowed from 25 to 20 seconds. That would make sense. But it’s a start and at least the guesswork of time left on the clock has been removed.

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4 Comments for Is Tennis’s New Serve Clock Doing Anything?

skeezer Says:

Totally agree Sean. I have seen that also. What is the point then? The umps still use discretion when the clock starts? Leaves room for a Ump who could show favoritism in a match. Very dumb rule. Might as well take the new rule out. The ump shouldn’t have control of that.
If anything maybe implement a rule that if the point lasts longer than X then the clock adds 10 seconds (as an example). That is the only time/case I can see where the clock should/could be fooled around with.

Humble Rafa Says:

What clock? You mean, they are going to hit the number one player in the world with clock violation. I will put them in their place.

Rafa fan Says:

Why do you care if its 25 seconds or 45 seconds? The way they run around out there, someone could have a heart attack if they don’t breathe in between Rally’s

skeezer Says:

^these are “premier” professional athletes, not couch potatoes.

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