If you were to ask players what they would change in tennis if they had to the power to do whatever they wanted, it would be rare to find two players agreeing on the same thing. That’s not a criticism, that’s just a fact. It’s part of human nature.
So when Sam Stosur, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Roger Federer and John Isner were asked the questions here’s what they came back with.
Q. If you were put in charge of the sport and could change any rule about play, what one rule would you like to change or enact if you could adjust anything you want as leader of the sport?
STOSUR: Oh. Huh. Gotta think about this. Maybe this new 20 second rule needs to be implemented fairly for all players on all courts.
Q. How would you go about doing that?
STOSUR: Don't know. I guess the umpires have really got to look at what's going on on every single situation.
Q. Why do you say that? Who is not sort of sticking to that sort of rule on court?
STOSUR: Let's just say the last few Slams I keep getting called for these soft warnings, and I've never been called for a time violation in my life, and I get told to hurry up while my opponent is in the back fence. That I wasn't too pleased about in a few other matches.
Q. If you were in charge of the sport and could change any rule on the court, any rule about play, do you have any pet peeves about rules or practices that you'd like to change if you had the opportunity?
SHARAPOVA: I'd probably start charging for medical timeouts. I think we'd all see who really uses them and who doesn't. Yeah, I don't know what we put on it, maybe like $2500 or something. Yeah, I think we should do that. That would be fun.
Q. Given your history with injury, when somebody takes a medical timeout, is it hard for you to handle that mentally? Do you get concerned?
SHARAPOVA: No, I think you have a little bit of a stop. It depends. Sometimes they're shorter than others. Sometimes they don't go through the whole medical timeout. Sometimes the evaluation itself is longer than the three-minute timeout. Sometimes it's an off-court medical, which is even longer. I think from my end it's just a matter of keeping that focus, you know, not sitting down for that whole time, moving a little bit, swinging, may be hitting a few serves if it's a longer one.
Q. For the medical timeouts, is it just cooling off that bothers you, or is it the distraction of wondering what the other player's motive is?
SHARAPOVA: No, it's actually never bothered me because I've always recovered from it very positively. I don't remember many times where it's affected me too much. I've never really felt like a victim of it.
Q. If you were in charge of the sport and you could change any rule about the way the game is played, add a rule, what would you like to make your one change?
FEDERER: I think it's pretty much good the way it is right now. You know, as you move along, you always have to keep adjusting, I guess, to what consumers want a little bit, but also stay true to what tennis is all about. I think we have full stadiums, these great stadiums around the world, because of exactly how it is right now. You can always improve things and all that stuff, but I think it's actually very good as it is right now. So I wouldn't change a whole lot.
Q. If you were in charge of the sport and could pick any rule to change that you'd like to see adjusted in any way, what would you like to see change?
IVANOVIC: You know, I think sometimes some players take too long in between points and some players rush too much. Just to find maybe balance in that a little bit. But, yeah, I think it would be hard because everyone has his own rhythm. I think some players take way too long between the points.
Q. Maria Sharapova said if she could pick one thing to change it would be that players would be charged for medical timeouts. They'd have to pay for every medical timeout. What are your thoughts about that?
IVANOVIC: I mean, I think that's a little bit harsh, you know. But I'm sure many players would agree to pay if it's about health, you know. Maybe toilet breaks. That's another story. But medical timeouts, I think players use them when they really need them.
Q. If you were asked to be commissioner for a day to run the sport and you could change any rule in tennis you like or add a new rule, what would you like to make a change about in terms of the rules of the game?
ISNER: The rules of the game…? Well, I'd go a tiebreaker in all fifth sets of slams. I like it (at the US Open). That's for certain.
JOHN ISNER: For me, it would be good. Simple as that.