Jun 17, 2018, 2:23:07 PM

Players who frequently overstep match time guidelines need to change habits.

Rafa Nadal withdrew from the tournament at The Queen’s Club and that is perfectly understandable when you consider all he has done over the previous month that culminated in him winning his eleventh major, Roland Garros. It was truly an incredible feat. 

Mr. Nadal, who dropped the flag to start the Le mans 24HR car race, made the withdrawal from Queen’s in time and on time. Had he waited longer and closer to the draw being made he would have been penalised.

Time is the operative word here. Time is not something Rafa with full due respect to him, appears to be so conscious about despite the fact that he wears a watch endorsement that retails the product for about $US250,000.

During the French Open final the Spaniard frequently went over the time limits and it was not till the third set did the chair umpire issue him with a warning. Mr. Nadal admits that that he goes over the regulation time frames and has been known to get irritated with a chair umpire if he is given a warning and suggests he should be provided with a soft warning.

It seems those soft warnings have not worked.

During the French Open final, I had Twitter followers Tweeting me asking what was going on; that he was stepping way over the boundaries and it was getting frustrating and annoying watching the match.

There was a change of ends when Mr. Nadal decided to change his shirt on a change of ends when in fact it was believed that time was called. That is unacceptable on the opponent and could be deemed gamesmanship.

Let me be clear, Rafa Nadal is not the only one over stepping the lines when it comes to time violations, Novak Djokovic has also been pulled up and also says there should be soft warnings before the official warning is given. How many more soft warnings do players need to receive?

The respective tours and the four majors need to take this matter in hand and enforce the ruling, and the across the board installation of shot clocks maybe what is needed. The US Open will have it on court this year.

“If you want to play well, you have to let players breathe a little,” Mr. Nadal has said in the past. “We're not machines. If you want to have matches like I played with Novak (Djokovic), you cannot expect to play 50-shot rallies and in 25 seconds be ready to play the next point. But if you don't want a great show, of course it's a great improvement.”

There was a notation issued to players earlier in the year that time violations would be closely monitored during matches. That happened at a couple of events but seeing the situation at the French Open, it appears that a blind eye is being turned to it.