'Rushed All The Time': Alcaraz Hits Out At Rule Change That Affected Him In Queen's Loss

'Rushed All The Time': Alcaraz Hits Out At Rule Change That Affected Him In Queen's Loss

by Zachary Wimer

The ATP Tour has been trialing a new rule this week, and Carlos Alcaraz is not a fan of it, as he admitted after his loss at the 2024 Cinch Championships.

The current rule in tennis regarding time says that players have 25 seconds between points, with the time starting as the umpire announces the score. The players have 25 seconds to start the serving motion, after which the clock resets.

If they don't, they receive a warning from the umpire. Some who prefer snappy games like Nick Kyrgios like the fast pace, while most don't because they want to take time between ralies.

It's a relatively new rule in tennis, and it's even more rushed this week. The ATP has been trialing an updated version of the rule where the clock starts automatically three seconds after the point concludes, regardless of where the players stand on the tennis court, and how long the previous rally was.

Previously, it may have taken the umpire additional 10 seconds to announce the score, as they had to wait after a long applause from the crowd after a long rally. However, that's not the case anymore.

It doesn't matter anymore when the umpire announces the score because three seconds after the point concludes, the clock starts. Alcaraz is not a fan of that, as he felt rushed the entire match against Jack Draper.

"Yeah, absolutely. I think for the player it is something bad. I finish the point at the net, and I had no time to ask for the balls. I have time just to ask for two balls and no bounces. I have never seen something like that in tennis."

Of course, it is a very nuanced issue because all players are different. Some like the quick pace, while others prefer to take their time, and everybody has a different idea of what the ideal serve clock would look like.

Having umpires make a judgment call on when to announce the score might be a sensible approach compared to this one, but time will tell which version of the rule prevails, if any.

"If you play a long point or finish at the net, you [should] have time just to go for a towel or [do] your routine: ask for, in my case, four balls, I’m concentrating for the next point, just bouncing my bounces, and serve as best as I can. Today I felt like I was in a rush all the time. I had no time to bounce and do my routine. Of course it’s something bad for the players."


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