Novak Clocks In For Work
Serbian star praises forward thinking
Novak Djokovic endorsed the use of a shot clock at the Rogers Cup, where he beat Peter Polansky for a place in the third round on Wednesday, feeling it didn’t hinder the way he prepared to serve.
The former World No. 1 admitted, “I didn't feel that it affected me in a negative way at all in [my] two matches. On the contrary, I actually feel like there is more time now than before because the shot clock starts counting down once the chair umpire calls the score. So I'm pretty comfortable with it. It's good that we have shot clock in the tournaments prior to the US Open.”
The shot clock, first used in US Open qualifying and the Next Gen ATP Finals last year, was used in Washington, D.C. at last week’s Citi Open, an ATP World Tour 500 tournament.
With 25 seconds to serve between points, the clock begins when the chair umpire announces the score and turns off when the server lifts the racquet to signify the the start of the serving motion. The clock will also be in use at next week’s Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, the Winston-Salem Open and at the US Open.
The clock is also used to speed up the start of matches. Players have one minute from walking on court to present themselves for the coin toss, five minutes for the warm up and one minute after the warm up to be ready for play.
Djokovic, who recently started his third three-year term as a member of the ATP Player Council, believes that the sport has taken great steps forward over the past 10 years.
“I think there was just much more communication, pro-activity from players and a willingness to participate in conversations,” said Djokovic, who served as President of the ATP Player Council from 2008-10 and 2016-18. “You can see that there is much more improvement.
“You just have to take into consideration so many different interested (parties) in our sport. It's not just us that have all the right to make decisions. We are part of the association that is 50 per cent players and 50 per cent tournaments. You have to discuss and go to the [ATP] Board and vote, and so the process is quite long. But it has been much better in the past couple years than it was in the past 10, 15 years.”
Last month, the ATP announced the approval of an ATP World Team Cup, set to take place at the start of the ATP World Tour season from 2020. The tournament, which returns to the calendar for the first time since taking place in Dusseldorf from 1978 to 2012, will feature 24 teams and offer US $15 million in player prize money, as well as ATP Rankings points.
“I think the ATP World Team Cup is something that we are very proud of,” said Djokovic. “We worked very hard together with ATP management to make that happen… That competition will be revolutionary for our sport.”