Casper Ruud backs up Novak Djokovic with shared view on medical time out rule

Casper Ruud has called for a potential review of the medical time out rule just days after Novak Djokovic claimed Cameron Norrie didn’t exhibit “fair play” during their last-16 clash. The Serb was unhappy with Norrie for taking a medical time out when he served for the match. And Ruud also questioned Holger Rune for doing the same at an important point in their Italian Open semi-final.

Ruud suffered a disappointing defeat in his Italian Open semi-final on Saturday as he blew a set and 4-2 lead to lose 6-7(1) 6-4 6-2. Rune took a medical time out after getting broken to trail 2-3 in the second set, and the world No 4 was asked about the timing of his treatment after suffering his first defeat to the Dane.

“I would like to think not, but I don’t know,” the Norwegian said when asked if he thought Rune’s medical time out was tactical. “It was for the shoulder. I don’t know, when I broke him, he didn’t serve particularly slow I think. I don’t know. It would only be guessing. But I think if you have pain, you have the right to take the physio.”

While the 24-year-old remained vague, he did call on the rule to be reviewed as he looked to other examples of players getting a treatment break before their opponent was due to serve. And it comes days after Djokovic claimed the action wasn’t “fair play” when Norrie did the same during their round-of-16 match.

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Ruud continued: “The rule should maybe be discussed a bit I think because there are many cases where someone takes [a] medical time out and it’s before the opponent’s serve, which I know a lot of people kind of dislike a little bit because it can interrupt your rhythm and you have to wait when you’re about to serve. I don’t know if that’s something that might change in the future.”

But the two-time Grand Slam finalist conceded that it was part of the rules as he added: “It’s completely allowed to take a medical timeout. It seemed like it helped him a lot. He played very, very well in the second and third set coming back. Yeah, if there was pain, sure it obviously helped him a lot I think.”

Ruud’s comments echoed a sentiment from Djokovic earlier in the week, who wasn’t pleased with Norrie after defeating the Brit 6-3 6-4. Norrie had hit the top seed with the ball when he went in for a smash during the second set and he took a medical time out as soon as Djokovic broke to lead 5-4 and serve for the win.

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Quizzed over whether he thought the world No 13 hit him deliberately or not, the Serb named several issues – including the timing of his treatment. But like Ruud, Djokovic accepted that it was part of the rulebook even if it didn’t feel fair.

“It was not so much maybe about that, but it was maybe a combination of things,” he explained. “From the very beginning, I don’t know, he was doing all the things that were allowed. He’s allowed to take a medical timeout. He’s allowed to hit a player. He’s allowed to say C’mon in the face more or less every single point from basically first game.

“Those are the things that we players know in the locker room it’s not fair play, it’s not how we treat each other. But, again, it’s allowed, so…”

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