Cameron on ATP: Rule change not sitting well

January 2, 2013, 10:11 PM

Twenty five seconds.

That’s how long ATP players have between the end of a point and when they serve to begin the next point.

In the past, 25 seconds was the norm, but it was rarely enforced and players would get a warning before any penalty was given (if it was given at all).

Welcome to a stricter 2013.

In September, the ATP board approved a change in the time violation penalty so that players would be given a warning and penalized the first time they went over 25 seconds. For all subsequent time violations, it would be considered a fault and the receiver would win the point. This became the new rule when the clock struck midnight Jan. 1, ringing in 2013.

Well, we’re only a couple days into the New Year and the rule is already causing problems for players.

In Doha, veteran Feliciano Lopez complained to the umpire after he was called for a time violation in his straight-sets, first-round upset at the hands of Lukasz Kubot. Is that why he lost the match? Not entirely, but the violation clearly frustrated him.

After Lopez’s loss, fellow Spaniards David Ferrer and Pablo Andujar took to Twitter in Spanish and complained about the time violation that Lopez faced.

The same thing happened to Gael Monfils, who tends to take his time between points to towel off. In his second round 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win over Philipp Kohlschriber in Doha, Monfils was given a time violation in the second set. Monfils complained to the umpire saying, “I’m black, so I sweat a lot” as an excuse for why he had to towel off between each service point. After the violation, Monfils found himself down a double break, and lost the set 2-6. The time violation can really upset a player’s mental game.

For some players, the new time violation rule won’t be cause for concern. Players like Roger Federer and Bernard Tomic are both typically very quick between points, which sometimes throws off their opponents.

While the time violation is 25 seconds for all ATP events, players only have 20 seconds between points at Grand Slams.

Time violations have rarely been enforced at Grand Slams in the past, but if that changes at the Australian Open, get ready to hear a lot of complaining from the players.

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