Andy Murray says on-court clocks are the only way to clamp down on Wimbledon time-wasters, joining the backlash against slow servers hanging around between points.
Reigning champion Murray said countdown clocks would end all arguments if an umpire sanctioned a player for going over the time limit.
He was joined by former women’s world number one Caroline Wozniacki and Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka in the push for on-court clocks to show how close a player was to breaking the rules.
“It’s the only way to go, because how are you supposed to know as a player how long 20 seconds is or 25 seconds between a point?” Murray said.
“When I’m playing, it’s not something I’m ever thinking about, how long I’m taking between the points. Then sometimes if you’re playing too slow, the umpire tells you at the change of ends.
“When it’s four-all in the fifth set of a match, you played a 30-shot rally, you’re not counting in your head 20 seconds. You’re thinking about tactics or what you’re going to do on the next point.
“When a player gets a warning, at that stage you can understand when they’re frustrated because they don’t know how long they’ve taken. If it’s right there for everyone to see, then there’s no arguing from the player’s side.”
Roger Federer also reckons clocks may have to be installed to hurry up the slower players, with the seven-time Wimbledon champion fearing that the pedestrian pace of some matches could lead to fans turning their backs on the sport.
Federer’s comments came just hours after world number one Rafael Nadal, notorious for his lengthy pauses between points, had been criticised for time-wasting at Wimbledon.
In his second-round match, the Spaniard took an average of 25 seconds to resume play when the maximum allowed at Grand Slams is 20 seconds.
Wozniacki claimed she was the latest victim of the problem as she crashed out 6-2 7-5 to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the fourth round.
Sixteenth seed Wozniacki was unhappy with the length of time the Czech took between points, claiming her opponent’s routine stopped her establishing any rhythm.
“I thought she was very slow. But… it’s up to the referee or up to the umpire to say if she is or not,” said the Dane.
“I wouldn’t mind. I think that’s fine. You have a clock. It shows exactly how much time you take in between points.”
Wozniacki’s calls were echoed by Wawrinka, who cruised to a 6-3 6-3 6-4 win over Denis Istomin in his delayed third round match.
“I think it would be interesting and good to see,” the fifth seed said.
“You can see so many players taking too much time and they don’t get anything from the umpire. The only time they get something, then they come back to the press conference complaining about the umpire.
“One year ago, the ATP started to have a strict 25-second rule, but it was for what? For nothing.
“You can see some players taking more time than the 25 seconds, getting one time violation, that’s it. Sometimes the average time is 28 or 30 seconds.
“If you want to put a rule, then put it strict for all the players. That’s the only way.”