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Courier on Rafa’s Time Violations: Umpires Have to Stop Doing This

Rafael Nadal was once again hit with two time violations, this time by French umpire Damien Dumusois, during his round of 16 victory over Jack Sock in Paris, one of which cost him a first serve and ended up leading to a crucial break of serve.

More: Nadal's Been With Umpire Bernardes Goes Public

This is not the first time Nadal has been hit for time violations and it won’t be the last (he’s notoriously slow, and it’s well-documented), but Tennis Channel commentator and two-time Roland Garros champion Jim Courier thinks umpires need to “chillax.”

Courier noted that Sock had failed to serve before the mandatory 20-second deadline between points 67 percent of the time, but had not been docked.

He also said that umpires need to be consistent. If Nadal is late on every point they should hit him early rather than wait until a critical juncture, which is how they normally deal with it.

“They have to stop doing this,” said Courier. “They have to stop hitting him with warnings on big points, because he’s consistently over 20 seconds virtually every point he serves. Either he needs to speed up or they need to get him earlier in the match on meaningless points, but to do it on break points is maddening to me.”

The ITF, which mandates the Grand Slams, allows for 20 seconds between points, rather than the 25 that the ATP uses.

“There’s nothing that Nadal is doing that is gamesmanship,” said Courier. “He’s just getting ready for a huge point. He takes too much time, we know this.”

As Tennis Channel put up a graphic that showed Nadal had not served a single time without taking more than 20 seconds (Sock had gone over on 66 percent of his serve points, according to the graphic), Courier said: “Every single point that he’s served he’s been over the time, but the umpire has chosen the most challenging points for Nadal on serve to hit him with the warnings—that’s the part that has to come to an end. It has to stop.”

Courier’s argument was that umpires should be hitting Nadal with violations from the start. He believes if they did, Nadal would adjust. “If you just start hitting him one after another, he would eventually start playing faster. If you hit him every single point, he would eventually say ‘Okay, this umpire’s serious.’”