LONDON (AFP) - Roger Federer took a thinly-disguised gibe at old rival - and potential Wimbledon semi-final opponent - Rafael Nadal on Thursday when he demanded play be speeded up at the Grand Slams.
Seven-time Wimbledon champion Federer believes the sport is in danger of losing support and its appeal to TV viewers by the length of time it takes some players to serve at the start of a point.
The Swiss star's comments came just hours after Lukas Rosol had complained that Nadal was constantly going beyond the 20 seconds allowed between points at the Grand Slams during his second round defeat to the Spaniard.
Federer said he had not seen Nadal's match against Rosol, but was keen to make an appeal to see action in general speeded up.
"I just think it's important that we, as players, play up to speed and don't exceed the time limit, because what I don't want is that we lose viewers because we play too slow," he said.
"I know you need to focus. That you can do in 10 seconds. Just can't be that we only see two points per minute. I just feel like we need to keep up the pace and obviously play according to the rules.
"The rules are there not to be broken, but of course you need to give leeway to tough rallies."
The Swiss star added: "I did watch some matches, but they were playing so slow I was like, Okay, I really can't watch it."
Federer said he would not be surprised if tournaments installed a "shot-clock" so that players, officials and fans could see how long some players take.
"I wouldn't be surprised if that were to happen all of a sudden. Because you only just need a couple of guys always doing it, and that's when it happens," said Federer.
"We have seen it in so many other sports, people who push it too much, and then you have to go the other extreme to counter that.
"They have gotten a little less aggressive, the umpires, again, which is understandable sometimes. But I don't think all of last year I got a warning. Did I always play under 20, 25 seconds? I'm not sure, but maybe I do get the benefit for playing quick most of the time."
Rosol claimed that Nadal, who has picked up warnings throughout his career for the time he takes between points, was regularly breaking the 20-second rule in his 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, 6-4 defeat.
"I think all the players should have the same time between the points. But always the best players, they're taking much more than the normal players, and nobody is telling them nothing. I don't know why," said the 28-year-old Czech.
"When the game starts it was not 30 seconds. It was one minute always.
"He is doing all his rituals. Somebody has to tell them something. It's not my fault. I said to the referee if it's still okay, and he was saying to me, yes, it was fine."