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View Full Version : Time between points. Observations and Criticism.


Russeljones
09-16-2012, 02:09 AM
Originally I wrote the title as 'Time between points. Observations and Constructive Criticism' but then I snapped out of it and removed the part in italics.

The thread about the new rule and Nadal's imminent downfall caused by it (can his terminal decline really be in any state of doubt?) made me ask myself a couple of questions.


What about Nadal's upbringing caused him to come up with a ritual of time wasting between points?
What did tennis players do before they were provided towels fetched by their own 'page'?
What will stop a player from deliberately break the rule in order to obtain a tactical (psychological) advantage?

To begin with, I considered Nadal's history of injuries and heavy training from a young age. Could the time wasting have originated then to give him a couple of deep breaths before his tyrannical uncle starts battering him again? I can really see that happening. I know when I was 5 and my grandfather was teaching me the multiplication table I'd often ask for the question to be repeated (frequently earning his ire in this fashion) to buy myself a little time. Imagine a skinny little Nadal getting bombarded with flat balls to his LEFT side and asked to play a forehand! Potentially traumatizing I'd say.

The whole towel business is ridiculous. I frequently see tennis players wearing two hand towels and never using them once in a match while frequently (and surprisingly haughtily) gesturing for a towel, as if they have a servant at home who fetches them whatever they desire. This situation is shameful for the ball boys and I think it should be banned out right.

I still think the top players will do whatever it takes to create a tactical advantage. I don't see a penalty (short of forfeiting the game) that would discourage them enough to prevent such a ploy. People bounce the ball long or pretend to stretch tired limbs or whatever it takes to interrupt the other's rhythm. Sadly I just don't see how it can be effectively discouraged.

Your thoughts?

FlamEnemY
09-16-2012, 02:12 AM
My thoughts are that the ATP is already enforcing new rules that will help avoid such behavior from the players. Namely a direct serve fault or point penalty for the server and returner respectively.

Sentinel
09-16-2012, 02:29 AM
The part of Nadal is totally speculative, we'll never know either way, this will just dissolve into another bashing thread. It certainly won't cause his downfall. However, delaying while serving does disrupt or mess with the returner, so if this rule is enforced, should be beneficial for the game.

You cannot have people taking a minute between serves from the very first game itself, and between first and second, or between aces, or the first serve after a changeover. I totally understand if the point was long, but that should only be at most one point per game, not more.

Ms Nadal
09-16-2012, 03:16 AM
The Umpires don't enforce this time rule so I can't see if this will change anything. The Umpires are scared of the players yelling at them as Rafa just flips when he gets a warning. What does he expect? :confused:

sureshs
09-16-2012, 09:31 AM
The whole towel business is ridiculous. I frequently see tennis players wearing two hand towels and never using them once in a match while frequently (and surprisingly haughtily) gesturing for a towel, as if they have a servant at home who fetches them whatever they desire. This situation is shameful for the ball boys and I think it should be banned out right.


The towel should be placed on the side and the players should go there and get it. That is fair.

If the present system is continued, I would request that gloves be provided to all ballpersons.

Russeljones
09-16-2012, 10:36 PM
Guess the subject is exhausted :)

Sentinel
09-16-2012, 11:30 PM
Guess the subject is exhausted :)

We need more time to come out with fresh observations and criticism.:)

Russeljones
09-16-2012, 11:44 PM
We need more time to come out with fresh observations and criticism.:)

I thought I gave the perfect overture for the Nadal hate to commence! This forum never skipped a beat on that front before! ;)

TennisD
09-16-2012, 11:58 PM
Guess the subject is exhausted :)
Not really, because for the subject to have been "exhausted", there would actually have to be an interesting and engaging conversation first. It's sort of amazing, the things people on this board focus on. I mean, between the idea that steroid use is rampant in tennis, and the call for more grass court events, it's mildly hilarious. But this is a new level. Let me break it down for you, really, really quick:

- It has nothing to do with his upbringing, and everything to do with his training. We all know how much Rafa likes to line up his water bottles and level his socks, and the amount of time he takes between each point is nothing more than an extension of this. Considering that so much of his success comes from his ability to dominate his opponents physically (and therefore mentally by extension), it should be no surprise that he'd want to be in complete control of the pace that the match is played at as well. It's a focus and concentration routine, and absolutely every single player on the tour has one, and most of them developed theirs (plus/minus a few details) before they even turned 10.

- They did the exact same thing. Maybe they didn't go to the towel as often (and it's not like having those at the side of the court is a really modern thing, it's been happening for a good long while), but players found a way to speed up/slow down the game in any way they could. It literally comes down to the simple fact that, if you can control the pace of the match, you can control your opponent. Lendl used to stare into the sky and pretend the pick at his eyelashes for half the match because he knew that there was nothing anyone was going to do to stop him, and that if he wanted to slow his opponent down, he was damn well going to do it. It's part of the game. If you look at old videos of Rosewall you'll see him moping around, literally dragging himself from deuce side to ad just to try to make sure play was at his pace. Nothing new.

- Nothing. It's a rule that, literally in the entire history of tennis, has never really been that strongly enforced, and it's because everyone likes to play at a different pace, meaning that, at the end of the day, it all kind of evens out and nobody cares. Taking extra time (or less time!) in an effort to throw your opponent off and throw that momentum and rhythm of the match your way is one of the most interesting things about tennis, and it's going to remain an important part of the game until it is no longer played. I actually can't believe how up-in-arms people get over this.

The one thing you have got right is that the top players will do anything to gain a tactical advantage, and that's exactly what makes them top players...

ramos77
09-17-2012, 12:04 AM
it's the players fault for not calling it..

if I was playing against djokovic or rafa, I would have no problem calling them for time wasting just to mess with their heads and gain a mental advantage.

if the players and crowd don't complain, nothing will be done about it

Russeljones
09-17-2012, 12:09 AM
Not really, because for the subject to have been "exhausted", there would actually have to be an interesting and engaging conversation first. It's sort of amazing, the things people on this board focus on. I mean, between the idea that steroid use is rampant in tennis, and the call for more grass court events, it's mildly hilarious. But this is a new level. Let me break it down for you, really, really quick:

- It has nothing to do with his upbringing, and everything to do with his training. We all know how much Rafa likes to line up his water bottles and level his socks, and the amount of time he takes between each point is nothing more than an extension of this. Considering that so much of his success comes from his ability to dominate his opponents physically (and therefore mentally by extension), it should be no surprise that he'd want to be in complete control of the pace that the match is played at as well. It's a focus and concentration routine, and absolutely every single player on the tour has one, and most of them developed theirs (plus/minus a few details) before they even turned 10.

- They did the exact same thing. Maybe they didn't go to the towel as often (and it's not like having those at the side of the court is a really modern thing, it's been happening for a good long while), but players found a way to speed up/slow down the game in any way they could. It literally comes down to the simple fact that, if you can control the pace of the match, you can control your opponent. Lendl used to stare into the sky and pretend the pick at his eyelashes for half the match because he knew that there was nothing anyone was going to do to stop him, and that if he wanted to slow his opponent down, he was damn well going to do it. It's part of the game. If you look at old videos of Rosewall you'll see him moping around, literally dragging himself from deuce side to ad just to try to make sure play was at his pace. Nothing new.

- Nothing. It's a rule that, literally in the entire history of tennis, has never really been that strongly enforced, and it's because everyone likes to play at a different pace, meaning that, at the end of the day, it all kind of evens out and nobody cares. Taking extra time (or less time!) in an effort to throw your opponent off and throw that momentum and rhythm of the match your way is one of the most interesting things about tennis, and it's going to remain an important part of the game until it is no longer played. I actually can't believe how up-in-arms people get over this.

The one thing you have got right is that the top players will do anything to gain a tactical advantage, and that's exactly what makes them top players...

It's a good thing you diluted the contradictions toward the end I was looking at a 1 molar confused solution. ;)

What part of Nadal's regimen involves lining up bottles and fixing socks? I must have missed it. Don't you think it's odd for someone who dominates physically to give his opponents extra time to recover? "It's part of the game" is a very strong argument in just about any field of sports today, I salute you for employing it in this otherwise very complex issue. So in the end without a single original thought/comment your only contribution has been to concur with the original post in saying you don't believe time wasting between points will go away. How refreshing stimulating at this early hour of the day. :)

ollinger
09-17-2012, 09:15 AM
Couldn't make much sense of what TennisD had to say. Sure there's a few players like Nadal and Lendl who played slowly, but there's no reason to believe it had any correlation with dominating anyone. Watch video of Laver, Smith, Rosewall and you'll see a brisk pace free of affectation. Ability dominates, not ritual. Djokovic was a better player AFTER he'd stopped bouncing the ball 20 times before serving.

smoledman
09-17-2012, 09:25 AM
Nadal takes so much time between points to let his brutalized opponent contemplate his next crucifixion. Rafa is generous that way. :D

rufus_smith
09-17-2012, 11:05 AM
I was upset with the tardy players until I realized that nowadays they are often playing a point with a ten-twenty stroke rally in high heat or high humidity. There has been a big change in the amount of effort they put into a point these days than they did five-ten years ago. The slower courts and better equipment are largely to blame. I can't blame them for taking 35-40 seconds between points at times and the refs seem to agree with this technical breaking of the ATP rules. It strains the fan's patience but it is not good for the players to get injured and not good to play a substandard point.

RF20Lennon
09-17-2012, 11:57 AM
Nadal takes so much time between points to let his brutalized opponent contemplate his next crucifixion. Rafa is generous that way. :D

Yeap this guy knows it!!

coloskier
09-17-2012, 01:00 PM
I was upset with the tardy players until I realized that nowadays they are often playing a point with a ten-twenty stroke rally in high heat or high humidity. There has been a big change in the amount of effort they put into a point these days than they did five-ten years ago. The slower courts and better equipment are largely to blame. I can't blame them for taking 35-40 seconds between points at times and the refs seem to agree with this technical breaking of the ATP rules. It strains the fan's patience but it is not good for the players to get injured and not good to play a substandard point.

And if they enforced the time limits that type of play would go away because no one could keep up with the energy expended. Being in shape is part of the game and if you are too tired to play the next point within the allotted time period you deserve to lose the point.

TennisD
09-17-2012, 11:30 PM
It's a good thing you diluted the contradictions toward the end I was looking at a 1 molar confused solution. ;)

What part of Nadal's regimen involves lining up bottles and fixing socks? I must have missed it. Don't you think it's odd for someone who dominates physically to give his opponents extra time to recover? "It's part of the game" is a very strong argument in just about any field of sports today, I salute you for employing it in this otherwise very complex issue. So in the end without a single original thought/comment your only contribution has been to concur with the original post in saying you don't believe time wasting between points will go away. How refreshing stimulating at this early hour of the day. :)
1) Watch him during changeovers. Literally everything he does on the court comes down to routine, routine, routine. It's the same for nearly all top players, because this is how they're trained; and trust me, as someone who's trained at a high level, it is something each and every single one of those guys is very, very aware of.
2) It has nothing to do with physical recovery; an extra 5-10 seconds between points isn't going to help players at that level by any amount whatsoever. It all comes down to control. Nadal wants to control every part of the match, including the pace it's played at.
3) This would normally be the part where I'd tersely inform you that you've completely misunderstood my point, and probably haven't done a terribly good job of reading it, but let me just suggest that you go back over it once or twice more instead. My point is that I'm flabbergasted that people are actually worried over this, and that it's not a complex issue; the amount of time you, as player (ok, fine, probably not you...) take is just as much of a part of your gameplan as where you plan to serve next, or which of your opponent's wings you plan to attack; it always has been, is, and will/should continue to be. In fact, the tug-of-war between a player who wants to play quickly and one who wants to play slowly can often add a lot to a match. The fact that people here spend their time wringing their hands and suggesting that the ATP waste their time creating and imposing a new rule to combat this evil is patently absurd.

Couldn't make much sense of what TennisD had to say. Sure there's a few players like Nadal and Lendl who played slowly, but there's no reason to believe it had any correlation with dominating anyone. Watch video of Laver, Smith, Rosewall and you'll see a brisk pace free of affectation. Ability dominates, not ritual. Djokovic was a better player AFTER he'd stopped bouncing the ball 20 times before serving.
Reading comprehension is your friend, so perhaps go back and give it another go. Nadal and Lendl are hardly the first guys to slow play someone; if you want a more demonstrative (and entertaining) example, take a look at what Kucera did to Agassi at the US Open in 98. Whether you're trying to play someone slow or trying to speed them up, it all comes down to being able to impose your game and your will on the other player, and it's what all of the Big 4 are very, very adept at doing.

PS: In case you were wondering how I knew you didn't read my post, it came down to the fact that you went out of your way to mention Rosewall; in mine I pointed out that, even in the brisk-movin'-70's, he was often dragging himself from deuce side to ad while returning in an effort to slow down his opponents. Nothing new.

penguyen17
09-18-2012, 12:16 AM
This thread is pointless. All we have here is the case of a Nadal hater hiding behind the title "Time Between Points..." trying to make something out of nothing. Blah Blah Blah, can't you just appreciate tennis for what it is,a beautiful game?! Without this poisonous hatred for Nadal?! I mean, its one thing to have a favorite player and dislike someone else, thats sports ( I get that), but to nit-pick at everything that you don't like on the board and then try to rally some sympathy from fellow haters is just pitiful. If you know so much about the game, then how come you don't write for tennis.com or the atptour or some big newspaper or commentate for ESPN and NBC?
You should really be ashamed of yourself. I feel sorry for the people you play/watch/discuss tennis with. Don't bother trying to defend yourself, and make up some lame excuse about "how you know more than me", or "that you are just voicing your opinion", or "that you do, in fact, appreciate the game", or try the "you got it wrong", because I've already heard those a million times. Save yourself the trouble, and don't insult the game more than you already have, because honestly, you should find a different sport/board to hate on.
So go ahead, report me, ban me, ridicule me for my "gramatical errors" or my "immaturity", go ahead. There is nothing you can say or do that will make you seem somewhat intelligent. I'm done with this board. Every now and then I would read something insightful and think to myself "there is some hope for TT", but not anymore. I'm sure there are some people who actually have something to say, and those people drowned out by all the haters.
So I hope you sleep better at night, knowing that your words of "wisdom" will actually affect the outcome of a professional tennis match or change the rules. Because quite frankly, no one values your opinion.

Wuppy
09-18-2012, 12:56 AM
I, too, think it's disgusting that ballboys and ballgirls have to regularly handle towels that are covered in sweat, mucus, and god knows what else.

Russeljones
09-18-2012, 02:36 AM
This thread is pointless. All we have here is the case of a Nadal hater hiding behind the title "Time Between Points..." trying to make something out of nothing. Blah Blah Blah, can't you just appreciate tennis for what it is,a beautiful game?! Without this poisonous hatred for Nadal?! I mean, its one thing to have a favorite player and dislike someone else, thats sports ( I get that), but to nit-pick at everything that you don't like on the board and then try to rally some sympathy from fellow haters is just pitiful. If you know so much about the game, then how come you don't write for tennis.com or the atptour or some big newspaper or commentate for ESPN and NBC?
You should really be ashamed of yourself. I feel sorry for the people you play/watch/discuss tennis with. Don't bother trying to defend yourself, and make up some lame excuse about "how you know more than me", or "that you are just voicing your opinion", or "that you do, in fact, appreciate the game", or try the "you got it wrong", because I've already heard those a million times. Save yourself the trouble, and don't insult the game more than you already have, because honestly, you should find a different sport/board to hate on.
So go ahead, report me, ban me, ridicule me for my "gramatical errors" or my "immaturity", go ahead. There is nothing you can say or do that will make you seem somewhat intelligent. I'm done with this board. Every now and then I would read something insightful and think to myself "there is some hope for TT", but not anymore. I'm sure there are some people who actually have something to say, and those people drowned out by all the haters.
So I hope you sleep better at night, knowing that your words of "wisdom" will actually affect the outcome of a professional tennis match or change the rules. Because quite frankly, no one values your opinion.

I hope English is not your first language, in which case I will accept your apology for the missed sarcasm.