Rafael Nadal‘s elaborate pre-serve routine will be put to the ultimate test at next week‘s US Open, when a countdown clock makes its Grand Slam debut to help speed up play.

Nadal is a creature of habit and as he prepares to serve he bounces the ball a few times, tugs at his shorts, pulls at the shirt on his shoulders, touches his nose and tucks his hair behind his ears before having a few more bounces.

But at the US Open in New York, which starts today, the World No 1 will not have time to add too many moves to his lengthy repertoire as a 25-second clock will tick down immediately after the chair umpire announces the score.

Nadal showed he was not bothered by the shot clock during a US Open tune-up in Toronto, where he lost only one set en route to collecting a record-extending 33rd Masters title earlier this month.


The 32-year-old is not a fan of the new measure, not due to concerns about receiving a time violation, but because he feels it will diminish the quality of play.

“My experience in the world of tennis at the matches that became part of the history of our sport are not matches where the duration… is one hour 30, you know?” said Nadal.

“The matches that the people remember are matches that are epic, the matches that the people get involved (in).

“My experience is I don‘t see people get crazy and involved in the match when the ball, all it goes (is) two or three times over the net every time,” he added.

“I see the people go crazy and enjoy and feel the passion for the sport when you have rallies of 15, 20 balls.”

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