Murray backs time penalty rule after Brisbane win

Sat Jan 5, 2013 2:59am EST
 
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By Will Swanton

BRISBANE (Reuters) - Andy Murray has thrown his unequivocal support behind the crackdown on time-wasting in tennis because he believes it will turn the sport into even more of a survival of the fittest.

The U.S. Open champion was speaking after he eased into the Brisbane International final on Saturday when his opponent Kei Nishikori retired but he does have one issue with the ruling, admitting the 25-second limit is a little too short.

The top-seeded Briton and Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov will contest the Brisbane title on Sunday amid widespread controversy over the strict enforcement of a rule that had been virtually ignored for years.

Dimitrov will aim to usurp the defending champion after a 6-3 5-7 7-6 triumph against Marcos Baghdatis that was notable for the Cypriot being penalized for a time violation in the deciding tiebreaker.

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) is trying to speed up matches and an automatic fault was called against Baghdatis when he exceeded the time limit at 2-2 in the tiebreaker.

Baghdatis was clearly agitated by the call at such a crucial juncture and Dimitrov won the decider 7-5 to reach his first tour final and earn a clash with Murray.

The Briton made a sluggish start to his semi-final but rallied to lead Nishikori 6-4 2-0 when the Japanese number one withdrew because of a knee injury.

Murray said the crackdown on time wasting had stemmed from Novak Djokovic's win over Rafael Nadal in their grueling 2012 Australian Open final that lasted almost six hours.   Continued...

 
Andy Murray of Britain smiles during his men's singles semi-final match against Kei Nishikori of Japan at the Brisbane International tennis tournament January 5, 2013. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz