The US Open main draw will feature the shot clock that counts down 25 seconds between the points and limits the time players take before they serve. We asked some of the top players to tell us how they feel about its introduction.
The on-court shot clock has made several appearances over the past 12 months, starting with the qualifying tournament at the US Open last year, the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan and more recently during the US Open Series events.
Next week, it will make its Grand Slam main draw debut at the US Open in efforts to limit time taken between points and ensure players adhere to warm-up and changeover times.
The shot clock, which counts down from 25 seconds between points and is started manually by the chair umpire when he/she calls out the score, has been met with mixed reviews from the players who have experienced it in the past few weeks in Canada, Cincinnati or other events.
Some find it useful, others find it stressful, and some imply it actually helps them slow down before serving, which perhaps means the shot clock might end up adding time to an overall match rather than the other way around.
Here’s what some of the top players had to say about it.
“I think it’s really important to keep the game authentic. I think that sometimes we try to get a little bit too creative. I think that the shot clock is another human, like, to start it, to stop it, whatever. It’s all human, whatever.
“I think at a point in the match where it’s really close and all of a sudden you get a shot clock violation but two points before that it wasn’t even started on time, like, I think those types of things are just kind of up in the air.
“But I think, I mean, it’s okay. Like, it’s not bad. I mean, you have to pay attention more. Something else to focus on, something else to look out when you look up before you serve. But, I mean, we’ll see if it stays, it goes, what happens.”
“Actually I’m fine with that. I got a time violation already, but I don’t think it was my fault, but okay. Overall it’s fine.
“I got some talks sometimes before [about my speed between points] from the chair umpire but I really try. No I think I was okay playing the matches in Montreal [with the shot clock]. I don’t think I’m that slow.”
“It’s actually quite cool because I’m always so quick so now I can take my time more. It does help definitely because I think I’m really, really quick. Sometimes I don’t even make a decision where I’m going to serve next so now I can see that I still have 15 seconds and I can take my time to think about what I’m going to do.
“I think only Nick Kyrgios is the quickest player ever. And Federer as well.”
“If I’m looking forward to [playing with the shot clock]? Not Really. I think a lot of people will struggle with that because I know some people are slower, some people are faster. I’m pretty normal I think. Sometimes you’re a little too slow but sometimes you have a 45-balls rally, so it’s understandable. It’s, I don’t know. We’ll see how I feel but I’m sure people will be a little itchy.”
“I think it’s alright. I thought it was going to be faster. But actually it starts when the umpire says the score so sometimes there’s a bit of a delay between the end of the point and the time he’s saying the score so most of the time I still have 15 or 10 seconds and I’m alright. I think it’s good because it’s fair for everyone and you can see it, you don’t have to ask the umpire. It makes it more clear for everyone.
“The first match I was looking at it a little bit because I had no idea how slow I was going but now I know my timing is pretty okay so I’m alright.”
“The shot clock, it’s not bad. I think it’s good, it’s interesting for the fans. The only thing for us is we need to still adapt to it. In some cases you’re watching the clock when it’s going to wind down and you’re not sure exactly how much time you have left and you can see the guys before the serve watching how many seconds they have left. I think the guys are going to get used to it.”
“I’m still not sure about the shot clock how I feel about it. I play pretty fast to be honest. I noticed in Montreal last week that the only thing that a couple of times I got close was getting out of the chair when they call time. By the time you get from the chair over to get your ball and then get ready for the serve I’m like ‘oh gosh, I have five seconds left’ and you’re like stressed. So maybe that’s one point where I’m like ‘okay, give us a little time’. But other than that it isn’t something that I would really stress about or anything.”