Monfils: Common sense key to new time violation
Former world No7 Gael Monfils says he is in favour of the new time violation rule introduced by the ATP but believes the umpires must use their own judgement and common sense before enforcing a penalty.
Monfils was the second player to argue with an umpire in Doha this week over a time violation, after Feliciano Lopez got furious during his first round defeat on Tuesday when the umpire called one while the Spaniard was about to serve.
Players are allowed 25 seconds between points but the new rule, which came into effect with the start of the 2013 season, states that the first offence will be penalised with a warning and the second, and all subsequent violations, will see a fault called against the server.
The old rule was a warning followed by the loss of a point - something umpires have often seemed reluctant to do in the past. So by reducing the penalty on the offender, umpires are now encouraged to give the violation.
On Wednesday night during his 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win over Philipp Kohlscreiber, Monfils was given a warning in the second set for taking too long between points and he furiously explained to the umpire that he was simply drying his hands because he “sweats a lot”.
That disruption was a factor in him losing his concentration and the second set but the Frenchman recovered well to take the win and set up a quarter-final with Germany’s Daniel Brands.
“I think I let down my concentration (after the time violation),” said Monfils after the win. “Because I think I was up 1-0, and as I told the umpire ‘I'm fit. I'm not (breathing heavy) at all. And if I'm taking time, it's because I'm just trying to dry my hands. So actually, it's not a violation.”
The 26-year-old believes the new rule will help but it will take some getting used to. He said: “It's a bit tough. We’ve been without it in tennis for a long time and then they give you new rules like this.
“Actually, I like it because I'm the type of player who plays with his physique. So it's cool if you have a shorter time to recover, I'm happy with that. But I asked for my towel, I was on the baseline every time. So I tried to (stay under the 25 seconds).
“And then, as I told him, it's like if it can be 10 seconds, I'd be happier, because I don't know any players that can run and get back in 10 seconds. I think I'd be one of the best to do that.
“So I think the umpire has to judge if the guy is really taking time because he's tired or whatever or he's taking maybe two or three seconds more because of ball kids or whatever.”