has to play to the “server’s pace”… Unfortunately, over the past few years, especially in men’s tennis, several players are challenging some of these rules by their style of play, idiosyncrasies between points, etc. For example, certain players have been the focus of attention, e.g., Novak Djokovic
, because they tend to bounce the ball a lot before they serve, especially before important points. This can be disconcerting for the receiver who never knows when the server will actually start to serve. It also clearly exceeds the allowed time between points. There are other players who have gotten into the habit of toweling off after every point during hot days, e.g. Rafael Nadal
. On the women’s side, there are frequent complaints regarding the use of “bathroom breaks” which some opponents feel are strategically timed to disrupt a player’s rhythm, run of games, etc. At the 2009 French Open
, there were some rumblings regarding the noise that Michelle Larcher de Brito made as she grunted while hitting her shots. Another hazy area, has been the use of injury timeouts, especially in hot weather or during long matches where players are now allowed to receive massages for aching and cramping muscles. Although one hopes that the players will respect the time limits, spirit of the game, etc., ultimately, the burden falls on the chair umpire to control the situation. Sometimes, it may be a judgment call, but in other instances the rules are very clear and umpires should respect the players and the game by enforcing the rules.