Henman Dismisses Alcaraz Complaints Over Rule Change In Shot Clock System

Henman Dismisses Alcaraz Complaints Over Rule Change In Shot Clock System

by Nurein Ahmed

Former British number one Tim Henman has weighed in on the change of rules regarding the automated shot clock used in tennis.

The 25-second shot clock was trialed during the 2017 season in US Open qualifying and Next Gen ATP Fianls before it was fully implemented in the top tiers of professional tennis in subsequent years.

As the name suggests, this basically implies that a player has 25 seconds to initiate play after a point ends and after the umpire has called the score.

Apart from keeping up the flow of the match, it was almost meant to speed up play and ensure that players don't exceed the allotted time limit after a point.

At the start, the shot clock generated mixed reactions, with 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal a vocal critic. This week, at the Cinch Championships at Queen's, tennis authorities modified the shot clock.

They trialed the shot clock to begin immediately after a point ends, regardless of the player's station on the court after a rally. This was meant to curb any excess time that seemed to stall the games.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Carlos Alcaraz was not a fan of the change and voiced his frustration during his most recent defeat against Jack Draper.

The Spaniard felt that some sort of leniency should be given after a long rally to enable players to reach for a towel, as not all players adjust similarly. Henman, who spoke to Daily Star, brushed off the 21-year-old's complaints and felt the current rule still wastes time.

"People talk about changing the game. One area I don’t agree with is the shot clock. Potentially, it’s a very good addition. However, the way it’s being implemented, in my opinion, is wrong. The only watch you have is controlled by the umpire."

"The rules in tennis are '25 seconds between points'. But look at when they start the 25 seconds. Invariably, it’s after the crowd has stopped applauding and they’ve called the score."

"If 10 seconds is being wasted a point, a game is won to 30, that’s six points...and a minute every game of dead time. You have a 6-4 set, that’s ten minutes. A five-set match, that’s 50 minutes! I feel strongly, as a sport, we could do much better."

The 49-year-old commentator argued his point, explaining that the advised rule will be difficult for the players to cope with but will greatly help with the daily schedule in tennis tournaments.

"The shot clock starting automatically will be hard on players. I’m not oblivious to how demanding the long rallies are. But we have matches finishing at one, two, three in the morning. It’s definitely an area that needs looking at."


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