|Tennis - the Greatest Game - Time analysis of the Wimbledon 2008 final|
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Time analysis of the Wimbledon 2008 final
Returning to the actual time both players took to deliver their serves, Federer took 3974 seconds in total to prepare for his 195 serves (average 20.4 seconds), while Nadal took 6629 seconds to prepare for his 218 serves (average 30.4 seconds). This not only shows that Federer maintained a safe margin of 5 seconds with respect to the rules, but that Nadal constantly violated the time limit by about the same margin. If the time limit rule had been strictly enforced, Nadal too would have had to maintain a safe margin, probably also at least 5 seconds. One can therefore conclude that we spent more or less 2180 seconds (36 minutes 20 seconds) too long watching Nadal prepare for his serve. About half of this time was in direct violation of the rules.
During the five set Wimbledon 2008 final won 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7 by Nadal, Federer served 195 times and Nadal 218. The time each player took to play the first serve is shown in Figures 1 and 2 for Federer and Nadal respectively. In both graphs a time limit of 25 seconds was used throughout and is shown in green. The red bars indicate time in excess of 25 seconds. It is immediately obvious that Federer is also guilty of regularly violating the time limit, but then not nearly as excessively as Nadal. Reviewing the points where Federer exceeded the time limit quickly revealed the reason. Whenever a ball changeover occurs (the total number of games is an even number or there is a change of server during a tie-break), the balls have to be passed to the opposite side of the court and a delay of up to 10 seconds can occur before the ball boys can hand the balls to a player for serving. A similar delay occurs when the umpire calls 'time' and the players have to walk from their chairs to the base line. An even longer delay occurs when the players change sides after the first game of each set or during tie-breaks. If the time limit is nevertheless maintained at 25 seconds, Federer exceeded this limit by a total of 219 seconds (3 minutes 39 seconds) while Nadal did so by 1375 seconds (22 minutes 55 seconds). At first glance it therefore appears that we spent in excess of 26 minutes watching the players wasting time in direct violation of the rules, the bulk of the delay being caused by Nadal. An alternative time limit methodology will be proposed towards the end of this article.
Figure 1. Federer's Time To Serve for the Wimbledon 2008 Final, time limit 25 seconds
Figure 2. Nadal's Time To Serve for the Wimbledon 2008 Final, time limit 25 seconds
Some points of either very short or very long time-to-serve need to be clarified and are listed in the tables below for the Federer and Nadal serves respectively.