Toni Nadal backs Carlos Alcaraz in slamming ‘crazy’ shot clock rule

Carlos Alcaraz and Toni Nadal
Carlos Alcaraz has been backed by Toni Nadal in a row involving shot clocks.

Toni Nadal has backed fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in a row over a controversial shot clock rule being trialled at the Queen’s Club last month.

World No 3 Alcaraz, in action at Wimbledon this week, was defending his title at Queen’s and was beaten in round two by home favourite Jack Draper.

However, it was not only the surprise result itself that attracted attention, with the three-time major champion slamming a shot clock rule that was in place at the event.

The 25-second countdown between points started immediately after the previous point concluded, not when the umpire called the score as usual.

“I think for the player is something bad. I mean, I finish the point at the net, and I had no time to ask for the balls,” said Alcaraz at the time.

“I mean, I’m not saying to go to a towel and taking my time. I feel like I can’t ask for the balls. It’s crazy. I have time just to ask for two balls and no bounces.

“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, I think.”

The controversy became a key talking point of the week, with several players expressing mixed feelings about the trialled change.

And among those to back Alcaraz is legendary coach Nadal, who wrote of his distrust of the proposed rule change in El Pais – claiming it would discourage long rallies.

He said: “A new rule that provides only 25 seconds of margin between the end of the point and the beginning of the next one: why was it created? Probably to capture the attention of the new generations, whose attention span is increasingly lower.

“It doesn’t make much sense for players to have the same amount of time after an ace and after a long and intense rally.

“The umpires have the mission and responsibility to direct the direction that their sport must take in order not to lose its essence, to adapt to the new times and to maintain, if not increase its spectacular nature. And the popularity of our sport often depends on the correctness of their decisions.

“The work of the umpires is practically reduced to that of simple point counters. What should be sought is to increase the percentage of time the ball is in play and to have long rallies in which the players must use different tricks and skills to win them.

“These are the type of fights that also attract a long applause from the public.”

The rule was also being trialled at the Halle Open, held in the same week as Queen’s, though attracted less criticism there.

Wimbledon has not adopted the proposed change, though it could be trialled at more ATP Tour events this summer.

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