Shot clock – A potential for Wimbledon

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The Times are Changing in Tennis

Time violation rules already exist in the sport, but the shot clock allows players and the crowd to see time ticking by.

World No 1 Rafael Nadal took a swipe at plans to introduce a shot clock at Wimbledon next year after speedily moving past Israel’s Dudi Sela in the first round on Tuesday.

There are various reasons why players take their time in between points including fatigue and striving for perfection of the first-serve.

But Nadal believes it would not be good for the sport if Wimbledon introduced the shot clock – although it would have little impact on him at 32 years old.

“I am 32. I don’t know for how long I going to play,” Nadal said.

“Hopefully for a long time. But is something that is not bothering me.

“If you want to keep playing in a sport that you need to think, you need to play with more tactics, you want to have long and good rallies, then, of course, you are going the wrong way.

“But seems like sometimes is only about the business, so… I can’t support this.”

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Rafael Nadal brings his own to style to Wimbledon.  Source: Getty Images

Novak Djokovic also had something to say about the implementation of the shot-clock. He admits he is ‘really frustrated’ that players have not been directly consulted over rule changes at Grand Slams.

The US Open confirmed in April that a 25-second shot clock would be introduced from 2018 onwards, with Wimbledon set to follow suit. Djokovic is a notoriously slow player so the change could have a dramatic effect on his game, but he says his frustration stems purely from the fact that there has been no communication from administrators.

‘I heard about that [the US open change] at the players’ council meeting some days ago,’ Djokovic said.

‘I obviously was not happy at all, just like all the other players in the council, for one very simple reason.

‘Not because of the shot-clock, we could discuss that. It’s because we as players are never reached out, never advised.

‘We are not participating in the conversation or decision-making. That’s something that is really frustrating, to be honest, from our perspective.’

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Djokovic races past Sandgren in Wimbledon opener
Credit: REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

Djokovic, speaking after his routine first-round win over Tennys Sandgren, added:

‘Absolutely no say. Whatever Grand Slam decides to do, they have 100 percent power to do that.

‘We’re not taking away that power or questioning that. We are just questioning why we are not approached, the actual people that make that show.

‘I think it’s just them reaching out to us prior to making these kinds of decisions that are going to affect the play.

‘It’s just important to have these conversations before you make any decisions.’

Three-time champion Djokovic made light work of his first-round encounter with Sandgren, winning 6-1 6-3 6-2 to set up a second round clash with Horacio Zeballos.

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