Melbourne: Australian Open defending champion Novak Djokovic says he’s not concerned about a crackdown on the time taken between points in tennis matches, saying if he is guilty of delaying play, he'll take the warning without complaint.
At tournaments in Chennai, Doha, Auckland and Brisbane this month, players received warnings and penalties for exceeding the 25-second time limit under a push for stricter enforcement of the ATP World Tour's rules.
At the Australian Open and other three Grand Slam tournaments, that time limit is reduced to 20 seconds.
Djokovic, who bounces the ball repeatedly before he serves, and Rafael Nadal, who goes through several pre-serve routines that includes tugging on his shorts, are two of the most consistent offenders.
Last year's epic Australian Open final between Djokovic and Nadal took 5 hours, 53 minutes to complete, the longest final in the history of Grand Slam tennis.
Some complained that the pair often took longer than 30 seconds between points, while others saw it more as just one ingredient of a classic match.
“Well, I guess Nadal and myself, we're right up there mentioned in that topic as the players who would be always in danger of the time violation because of the time we are taking between the points,” Djokovic said.
“It is the way it is. I cannot have any complaints when I take more than 20 seconds between the points. If the chair umpire comes to me and said, 'Listen, you should be a little bit more careful about it'. If I do it again, he gives me warning, I can't complain about it.
“It's within the rules and I will respect it.”Australian Open tournament referee Wayne McEwen thinks common sense will prevail at the majors. McEwen on Friday said he is speaking to chair umpires before the Australian Open begins, reminding them of the time between points and “to keep it fair, keep it consistent.”
Chair umpires can give a warning and then begin imposing penalties if slow play continues, McEwen says.