Fed-Nadal butt heads in Wimbledon dispute
ROGER Federer and Rafael Nadal have butted heads over the burning issue of Wimbledon's court speeds following claims the event has lost its signature speed.
Once a serve-and-volley paradise, the courts served up for the 2019 Championships at The All England Club have been raising eye brows since the opening day of the event - and Federer put the issue firmly under the spotlight following his fourth-round win on Tuesday morning.
Federer lamented the lack of reward big serving players have received at this year's grand slam, while admitting it has helped his own game in some occasions, including in his 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 thrashing of Italy's Matteo Berrettini.
UK tennis commentators Mark Petchey and Paul McNamee have both said the 2019 court speed is the slowest they have ever seen at Wimbledon.
Living legend Martina Navratilova also expressed her concern at the slow speed on social media.
Looking at the pace of these courts I would have seeded Nadal one....— Mark Petchey (@_markpetchey) July 1, 2019
It's why Federer finally addressed the issue on Tuesday morning in his post-match press conference where he admitted the tournament has lost one of its signature characteristics.
He said it's obvious to measure how slow the court played in his match against Berrettini, judging by the fact the boom server finished with just three aces against the former World No. 1.
"What was I going to say? The guy is serving on average 130 miles (per hour) and second serve 105 or 110. He gets three aces.
"It's just slow. Especially tonight, conditions are a bit cooler. I just felt like, you know, it's not really going through.
"If you're almost clocking 140 (miles per hour) serves, you should be rewarded a little bit more probably. There is definitely an issue with the speed of the balls or the speed of the courts."
He said the conditions made it easier for him.
"I was able to get a lot of balls back, again I think because of the conditions as well," he said.
"I think if it would have been faster, then again we would have seen the match that I was expecting with few chances here and there.
"I was just able to maybe outmanoeuvre him with my slice. He couldn't hurt me enough with his forehand, which I thought was going to be maybe tough to manage today.
"Everything seemed to go easier. Then eventually you know how it is, when you're down two sets to love so quickly, I mean, it's hard to figure things out. It's hard to change. I just think the conditions also didn't allow him to do that today."
Many other players, including Canadian star Milos Raonic, have spoken out about the move being made to slow down the speed of the match to create longer rallies - but Rafael Nadal isn't one of them.
The Spanish star, the best return of serve in the modern game, is a big winner from the slower conditions.
But he insists he hasn't noticed anything different in 2019.
"I have been answering this almost every day," he said.
"I say the same: for me not. I feel I'm here since 2003 playing almost every year. For me, tell me I have zero feelings, but that's all been something that is not the chances like this, it's not very high. Normally I have feelings.
"Honestly, I don't think the courts are playing slower today than in 2003 for when I came the first time. Personal feeling and personal opinion.
"Another thing that I say the other day is that sometimes maybe what makes the game little bit slower are the balls. I see normal feelings."
Slow. Very slow. Just look at who is in the round of 16 in the men- so many clay court players... Bounce does get higher and that also slows the game— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) July 7, 2019