Now that the Aussie has started, we’re looking at some of the rulings. According to the rules, each player is allowed 25 seconds between points, to towel off, get a ball, take a breath, etc. Watching the Sharapova vs. Kirilenko match, these ladies have consistently been taking, on average, 33 seconds between points! Seriously??? Why isn’t the chair umpire doing her job? Why isn’t the tournament director out there warning the chair person? The fun part of watching this match is listening to Mary Jo Fernandez talk about how much time they’re taking and how annoyed she sounds. Dick Enberg keeps telling her that she should be out there with a stop watch…GO FOR IT MARY JO!
Here’s the official rule for your reading pleasure:
o) Continuous Play / Delay of Game
Following the expiration of the warm-up period, play shall be continuous and a player shall not unreasonably delay a match for any cause. A maximum of twentyfive (25) seconds shall elapse from the moment the ball goes out of play until the time the ball is struck for the next point. If such serve is a fault, then the second serve must be struck by the Server without delay. The exception is at a ninety (90) second changeover or a one hundred twenty (120) set break. The procedures for enforcing this rule are as follows:
i) 25 Seconds Between Points.
1. Start stopwatch when the player is ordered to play or when the ball goes out of play;
2. Assess Time Violation or Code Violation if the ball is not struck for the next point within the twenty-five (25) seconds allowed. There is no time warning prior to the expiration of the twenty-five (25) seconds.
ii) Changeover (Ninety (90) Seconds) and Set Break (One Hundred and Twenty (120) Seconds).
1. Start stopwatch the moment the ball goes out of play;
2. Announce “Time” after sixty (60) / ninety (90) seconds have elapsed;
3. Announce “15 Seconds” if one or both of the players are still at their chair.
Other players that come to mind who bend this particular rule are: Nadal, Djokovic, Safina, Serena Williams, and Venus Williams. Add whoever you want in the comments below.
Honestly, if the ITF and USTA have this rule written why isn’t anybody actually enforcing this rule? The umpires should definitely reminded of the rule from time to time, just to ensure they’re actually doing their jobs…seems like most everybody else is.