Rafael Nadal is no fan of the new ATP rule meant to speed up matches.
In November the ATP cracked down on the time players are allowed to spend between points in an effort to speed up the game and provide more uniformity against the somewhat arbitrary nature of rule enforcement in the past. Repeated violations now come with relaxed penalties, but with much stricter enforcement.
Players who take more than 25 seconds between points are now issued a warning, and subsequent violations bring a “fault” penalty for the player.
The rule may not be aimed specifically at Rafael Nadal, but he will certainly be affected more than others. Known in tennis as a slow player, Nadal often takes 30 seconds or more between points.
In a recent win over Ryan Harrison, Nadal abided by the new ATP rules and played much quicker.
Playing on a hard court for the first time in more than a year after suffering an injury last year, Nadal made easy work of Harrison, winning 7-6 (3), 6-2.
Though Nadal was able to play under the new rules, his match with Harrison was played in dry and cool conditions.
In the heat of the summer the rule will have a big impact on matches, Rafael Nadal said.
“I am [playing faster] because somebody very smart puts a new rule that is a disaster, in my opinion,” Nadal told reporters. “Not in places like here that is dry, not very humid place, but is completely disaster when we are playing in tournaments like Acapulco, Brazil or Chile.”
Nadal complained that the new ATP rule will make it much harder for players to sustain the long rallies that make the sport popular with its fans. He noted that after some of the 30-plus shot rallies in his career he and his opponent spent 30 to 40 seconds to recover.
“The rules go against the great points of tennis,” Nadal said. “Because if you see the highlights of the end of the season, I didn’t see not one highlight, the best points of the season, I did not see not one ace. The best points of the season are long rallies and amazing points. With this 25 seconds, you play a long rally and you think you can play another long rally next point? No. So go against the good tennis.
“The guy who really accepted this rule was not very smart, in my opinion,” Rafael Nadal added.