With resumption of the tournaments at Idle Hour, I was thinking about how tennis brings out the best and sometimes worst of behavior on court.
An experience I had 15 years ago playing a men’s doubles match at the Cape May Tennis Club exemplified the definition of the right thing to do. My 70 year old plus partner and I were about to win a one-sided first round match against a 40 year old Father and his very talented 16 year old son, when, at match point, my partner informs me he cannot come back the next weekend to play our second round! So I call our opponents to the net, forfeit the match to them, shake hands and walk off into sportsmanship glory.
- A friendly IHTC competitor would remind me that I knew the score of a game but didn’t correct it in their favor, while they were serving. What is the right thing to do in this situation? This is the gray area of sportsmanship.
- This reminds me of my Hall of Fame high school baseball coach, Robin Roberts, teaching our team how to steal an opposing catcher’s signals. Is this good sportsmanship? Major League Baseball ruled that it’s unfair to steal opposing team signals using TV cameras and binoculars but OK to use player observations on field.
- Serena Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, was caught red-handed on TV relaying coaching signals to her during her US Open finals match.
- Keeping score of the in-game points is the responsibility of the server announcing loud and clear before each serve.
- Calling a let can be made for many reasons and any player on court can call a let.
- Not getting to a ball before it bounces twice is determined by the player who is attempting to hit the ball.
- Play must be continuous with a reasonable rest between change-overs, usually 90 seconds.
- Line calls are easy, the line is in! Any doubt? Call the ball in! And there always is evidence of a ball mark on Har-Tru courts.
- Talking during a point is limited to a doubles team communicating court position or not hitting an out ball.
- Stepping into the court or on the base line before hitting a serve is a foot fault.
- Catching a ball before it hits the court while standing anywhere on court results in a loss of point to offending player.
Join the USTA at usta.com as an active member and request a copy of the
“Friend at Court “, the rule book of tennis.
I would love to hear your thoughts on sportsmanship and how we can preserve fair play on court. Reply to OurTennisLife@idlehourtennis.com
Have fun, compete, and play fair!