Bring on the shot clock in tennis
Players consistently violate the time rules, but enforcement is erratic at best
With very few point penalties, there's no incentive for players to pick up the pace
American players have received many of the coveted slots on show courts
Rare photos of Roddick
Best players without a major
Fashion at the U.S. Open
Celebs at the U.S. Open
Do you think that the time violation that was called on Marin Cilic directly cost him the match because of that break and then going down two sets to one?
-- Kevin Ware, San Francisco
The match? Against Roger Federer? Not so much. Was it an odd time to make that call, though? Absolutely. Few things bother an athlete more than erratic enforcement of the rules. Any fan with a stopwatch on his or her phone can clock players exceeding the time limit.
Rafael Nadal just took 45 seconds to serve at 5-5, 30-40 in the third set against David Nalbandian, but because he had been warned previously and would lose a point, the chair umpire did nothing. What's the point of warning a player if you have no intention of docking him a point if he does it again and again? How anyone cannot see Nadal's tactics as gamesmanship bewilders me.
-- Patrick Preston, Chicago
I don't think it's gamesmanship, nor do I think it's gamesmanship when Novak Djokovic takes forever. That implies a level of conniving and deceit. I just think it's two guys who have habits that entail breaking a rule. Just bring on the darn shot clock already.
Let me describe exactly what happened AFTER the umpire called "time" in the Juan Martin del Potro-Gilles Simon match. The Argentine calmly picks out a bottle of some drink, sips it slowly, reaches out to his other bag, takes out a new wrist band, carefully opens it and takes time to wear it. Slowly takes his towel, reaches out to the ball boy and gives it to him. Takes four balls, selects two. Then reaches the service line and finally starts to serve. It was like he had two changeovers there. Credit Federer here: He is fast between points. As much I like del Potro and Nadal, it bores me as a viewer. Why can't the umpires be a little strict here?
-- Rajat Jain, Mountain View, Calif.
What's with CBS' gadgets? They had a shot clock for Nadal-David Nalbandian that they showed off at 30-love, on serve in the first set. It was nowhere to be seen when Nadal was serving at break point at the end of the set or in the tiebreak. What's the point of having a nifty time gadget if you're not using it when the players are infamous for taking a long time? (I counted 30 generous Mississippis at one point and the clock was nowhere to be seen.)
-- Fiona, Houston
Shot. Clock. With. Consistent. Enforcement.
Tennis is a GLOBAL sport. I am proud to be an American today. But growing up in Venezuela, one of the things that made it really easy for me to fall in love with the sport was the fact that it was not a team sport, and individuals from any country, regardless of its resources, could one day shine. This brings me to the overly "patriotic" night schedule on Ashe Stadium. Don't get me wrong, I've started to follow Christina McHale and I've been a longtime fan of Andy Roddick (minus the bratty outbursts), but there has to be a load of much more interesting potential matchups for the "global" tennis fan. I don't see the same trend in the other Slams.
-- Dave, Jersey City, N.J.
Scheduling is a thankless task that -- at every event -- lends itself to ire and second-guessing. I agree that the USTA goes overboard on the patriotism. But I'm not too bothered by the scheduling of Americans for the night sessions. Remember that television partners have a great deal of sway. When Andy Murray plays at 9 p.m. ET, it's 2 a.m. in England. When Federer plays then, it's 3 a.m. in Switzerland. When the European players go on in the afternoon and the American players fill night sessions, it often makes the most sense for everyone. (For the same reason you rarely see Roddick or the Williams sisters play "first on" in Paris and at Wimbledon.)
Maybe you could shed some light on something that totally baffles me. Why does two-time Grand Slam winner and former U.S. Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova get such disrespect from the schedulers? I had to trek all the way to Court 4 to catch her first-round match, and her second-round match was scheduled on Court 11. At least she finally made a "show" court by the third round, but come on. Don't you think a former champion deserves better?
-- JW, Austin, Texas
I do. But in fairness, she won the U.S. Open a full seven years ago. And she's currently ranked No. 17.
Not really a question, just a comment about how those little moments count in tennis. Coming to the net, Gael Monfils applauds Juan Carlos Ferrero by clapping his hands, then thanks him warmly for the match. Not the things you would expect from someone who has just lost a five-hour marathon. Just a few seconds and Monfils gets 1,000 bonus points for goodguyness and I guess some new fans (like me).
-- Grzegorz Markowski, Kutno, Poland
Amen. I tweeted the other night that my wife noticed that Mike Russell thanked the ballkids each time they handed him a towel. Many of you responded, "I noticed that, too!" The bad news for players: Fans not only notice every move but also report it. (Victoria Azarenka's mistreatment of ballkids may have gotten noticed a decade ago, but thanks largely to social media, it now gets exposed, too.) The good news: A few small gestures of "goodguyness," as Grzegorz puts it, and you get plenty of mileage for that, too.
Funny, some people say Caroline Wozniacki is "milking" the non-Slams. I say she is just showing up for work.
-- Pam, Amherst, N.Y.
We're going to take a break from discussing Wozniacki's bona fides. But what do we make of this tweet she issued on Sunday night: "Came back from the cinema with my brother. Went to watch the movie called The good old fashioned orgy. Very very funny!"
Stephen Birman of Toronto:"You are bang-on with your assessment that the networks, etc., are spending way too much time reliving history rather than promoting the current game. I am watching the U.S. Open coverage right now and upcoming is a profile on Jimmy Connors and his great run to the semis 20 years ago. I would rather hear about Alex Bogomolov and his ride from teaching pro to the third round, or hear about any other player still in the tournament. There is way too much focus on McEnroe and Connors and the past greats. Also, I agree with Roddick's assessment of most of these analysts (and I usually don't agree with Roddick). I can't think of any other sport where the so-called experts spend so much time talking about what players should be doing versus what they are actually doing."
The top four men -- Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray -- have qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals in London. Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova have qualified for the women's event in Istanbul.
Gopal of Houston: "Check out this parody of Sharapova by Djokovic for a promo of Sharapova's new racket."
Jessica Pegula, who reached the third round in women's doubles, is the daughter of Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula. Her partner, Taylor Townsend, is coached by Donald Young Sr.