Welcome to Sunday Serve, where we give a serve to something in the game we dislike, disagree with or simply don’t like.

And this week, it’s medical timeouts – a tactical move to disrupt your opposition, often in times of trouble.

Simona Halep receives legitimate treatment on court at the Melbourne Open final in  2018. Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos


What other sport allows a 10-minute break just for the sake of it?

True there are interchanges, substitutes or replacement players in other sports, but those sports are very different in one very important aspect: they are team sports.

Tennis is a one v one (or two v two in doubles) and a multi-minute break, especially in womens tennis is clearly used to gain an advantage.

Elise Mertens in action at the  Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre Flushing Meadows, New York. Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd


And if they are used to disrupt the flow of play by one on another, then perhaps there should be points deductions if found to be using them purely for those reasons.

Sure, an injury – blood perhaps – or a muscular issue that needs attention is valid, but all too often in the modern game, players are using the medical timeout for the wrong reasons.

Bladder full? Need a break?

Take the recent Mertens-Halep match-up. Without the convenient timed “medical” time-out from Mertens, Halep was looking a good bet for a win.

And Mertens knew it, shows she used a “medical” timeout for strategic purposes.

Now. I hear you say, no one wants to see someone win over a player who is clearly injured but has to play on regardless.

That’s not tennis and could potentially ruin a players’ season (maybe his or her career). The stakes are so high in a grandslam tournament and perhaps we should give the player the benefit of the doubt?

But it is becoming all to frequent in today’s game and the WTA (and the ATP) need to look at ways to control it, allowing them only for areas of real concern – and not as part of a tactical ploy to upset your opposition.

Sunday Serve #2: What is wrong with Nick Kyrgios?

Clearly a talented player and when GST talked to legendary player and TV commentator Fred Stolle last year, he made note not only of his natural talent, but also of his mindset.

Someone really needs to get hold of hm and sort his head out, was the comment from Fred, or words to that effect.

Tennis has had its fair share of ‘bad boys’ – but most we got to love. Who doesn’t like McEnroe or Nastase?

But Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic really are damaging the game – both in their home country of Australia – where the media seize on their every misdemeanour, but also globally.

Lleyton Hewitt was also considered to be a ‘bad boy’ with a suspect temperament and it’s amusing to many to see him playing the opposite role now as captain of Australia’s Davis Cup team.

Nick Kyrgios practicing in Melbourne Arena prior to tournament. Photo Anne Parker International Sports Fotos

Pot calling kettle black, as the old English saying goes? For sure.

But this current crop of ill-disciplined players are dragging the game into disrepute – and they don’t seem to care.

To the point that the Aussie women don’t want a bar of them. “They’ve got their issues,” Sam Stosur said recently.

“We don’t have anything to do with them.”

I bet you don’t! What is worrying is that these two don’t care that they are seen as bad boys – and equally don’t care their actions could be copied by other aspiring young players.

Get noticed, get angry and get a commercial deal. Let’s hope not.

Sunday serve #3: Does anyone really care whether Rafa Nadal gets married or not?

Rafa’s longtime girlfriend, now fiancee, Xisca Perello, is if we believe the media reports, about to become Mrs Nadal.

Congratulations to you both – but is it worthy of public debate?

Will they have pre-nup agreement, giving Rafa is worth about $200 million?

Again, who cares.

Melbourne Park Australian Open Day 4. Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

And finally… Sorry Serena, you are a wonderful tennis player, but can we have less of a fashion statement and more of tennis match in Paris in May.
From catsuits to a variety of garish colours, including a green ensemble in Melbourne. just stick to whacking the ball, please. Roll on Wimbledon and white.

See you next Sunday.