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View Full Version : my tournament experience - did I get played?


GeoffB
01-22-2009, 12:59 PM
I played my first NTRP tournament last weekend. All in all, I had a great experience, and took my first 4.0 match easily. My second was much, much tougher, and I lost it, though it was a serious fight.

My opponent was a serious baseline grinder who usually goes deep in 4.0 tournaments, but I started off pretty strong, moving him around, and I went up 2-0. He eventually figured out that he could throw me off by slicing short and pushing me back, and he gave me very little pace. He was a classic retriever, chopping back balls I really thought would be winners, with a maddening ability to place them within a couple of feet of the baseline. I tried closing the net, but he had the ability to come up with a pass, and my net game needs work, so I was only winning about 40% of the points. Eventually, I decided to stay back and make him run a lot. It kind of worked - probably would have been more successful if I'd been a bit more aggressive, because I did degenerate into pushing here and there once I realized he wasn't going to be hitting any winners against me. We battled for an hour or so, but eventually I was broken at 4-5 to lose the first set.

Ok, so here's the part where I think I got played... he told me (at the start of the match) that he has a medical issue that would require frequent bathroom breaks during the match. I said cool, no prob (I'm a newbie at tournamentse).

He took off after the first set and I waited... and waited... and waited. My brother, who was watching, went down to the bathrooms and discovered that he was having a cool down. He was stretching, loosening up, rubbing cool water on his face and hair. I didn't know this until later - all this while, I was on the court in 75 degree heat, with no shade to sit down. All in all, I'd say he was away for 15-20 min.

He returned to the court, and we continued our long battle. The second set went over an hour, with many long rallies requiring substantial court coverage (for both of us), bringing total match time to well over two hours. Once again, I lost it serving at 4-5. His match, 6-4, 6-4.

All in all, I'd attribute my loss to my lack of a good net game and my failure to stay aggressive on the groundies (nothing wrong with moving him around with high percentage play, but I could have made him work harder with more pace and deeper shots). A good net game would most likely have turned this completely in my favor, so I know what to work on. That said, in a serious test of fitness (which was part of my strategy), his 20 minute cool down must have worked to his advantage at least somewhat.

What do you think? How would you recommend I handle the bathroom issue if I play this dude again?

jrod
01-22-2009, 01:03 PM
^^^ Go with him?

albino smurf
01-22-2009, 01:04 PM
Refuse him the extra long breaks. Tell him to get a doctors note or a special dispensation from the tournament directors and/or use the time like he does.

JavierLW
01-22-2009, 01:38 PM
I played my first NTRP tournament last weekend. All in all, I had a great experience, and took my first 4.0 match easily. My second was much, much tougher, and I lost it, though it was a serious fight.

My opponent was a serious baseline grinder who usually goes deep in 4.0 tournaments, but I started off pretty strong, moving him around, and I went up 2-0. He eventually figured out that he could throw me off by slicing short and pushing me back, and he gave me very little pace. He was a classic retriever, chopping back balls I really thought would be winners, with a maddening ability to place them within a couple of feet of the baseline. I tried closing the net, but he had the ability to come up with a pass, and my net game needs work, so I was only winning about 40% of the points. Eventually, I decided to stay back and make him run a lot. It kind of worked - probably would have been more successful if I'd been a bit more aggressive, because I did degenerate into pushing here and there once I realized he wasn't going to be hitting any winners against me. We battled for an hour or so, but eventually I was broken at 4-5 to lose the first set.

Ok, so here's the part where I think I got played... he told me (at the start of the match) that he has a medical issue that would require frequent bathroom breaks during the match. I said cool, no prob (I'm a newbie at tournamentse).

He took off after the first set and I waited... and waited... and waited. My brother, who was watching, went down to the bathrooms and discovered that he was having a cool down. He was stretching, loosening up, rubbing cool water on his face and hair. I didn't know this until later - all this while, I was on the court in 75 degree heat, with no shade to sit down. All in all, I'd say he was away for 15-20 min.

He returned to the court, and we continued our long battle. The second set went over an hour, with many long rallies requiring substantial court coverage (for both of us), bringing total match time to well over two hours. Once again, I lost it serving at 4-5. His match, 6-4, 6-4.

All in all, I'd attribute my loss to my lack of a good net game and my failure to stay aggressive on the groundies (nothing wrong with moving him around with high percentage play, but I could have made him work harder with more pace and deeper shots). A good net game would most likely have turned this completely in my favor, so I know what to work on. That said, in a serious test of fitness (which was part of my strategy), his 20 minute cool down must have worked to his advantage at least somewhat.

What do you think? How would you recommend I handle the bathroom issue if I play this dude again?

I think if he's allowed to take a break, then you need to make sure you take a break and make the most of that time. Dont just sit there like a chump in the hot sun waiting for him.

If anything wait until he gets back and then make sure to make him wait around for you.

Maybe some official can chime in here, but I wonder if there is a time limit for a bathroom break? (if we're allowed a bathroom break in all situations)

Probably going with him is a good move as well. Dont make it out like you are the bathroom police like that Cindy lady who used to post here apparently suggested, but if he's got to go, there's nothing saying that you dont need to go as well.

If you strike up a friendly conversation while him meanwhile, it at least might curtail him from just wasting as much of your time as possible why he's not around.

smoothtennis
01-22-2009, 01:38 PM
^^^ Go with him?


Bingo! A cool down, lol, that is crazy stuff. I would just go with him and say you gotta go too. Or heck, if not, go cool down with him! Somebody bring some massage oil too. :mrgreen:

JLyon
01-22-2009, 02:15 PM
umm aftre 5 minutes I would have gotten the TD or an official, even if it is a hike to the bathroom, it should not take more than 5 minutes.

GeoffB
01-22-2009, 02:24 PM
umm aftre 5 minutes I would have gotten the TD or an official, even if it is a hike to the bathroom, it should not take more than 5 minutes.

Yeah, part of the problem was that I didn't realize how long he'd be there or what he was doing. Obviously if I'd known he was taking a 20 min cool down, I'd have handled this differently. If I play him again, I'll want to enforce the rules...

Actually, does anyone have a link to the tournament rules for NTRP play?

woodrow1029
01-22-2009, 02:26 PM
I played my first NTRP tournament last weekend. All in all, I had a great experience, and took my first 4.0 match easily. My second was much, much tougher, and I lost it, though it was a serious fight.

My opponent was a serious baseline grinder who usually goes deep in 4.0 tournaments, but I started off pretty strong, moving him around, and I went up 2-0. He eventually figured out that he could throw me off by slicing short and pushing me back, and he gave me very little pace. He was a classic retriever, chopping back balls I really thought would be winners, with a maddening ability to place them within a couple of feet of the baseline. I tried closing the net, but he had the ability to come up with a pass, and my net game needs work, so I was only winning about 40% of the points. Eventually, I decided to stay back and make him run a lot. It kind of worked - probably would have been more successful if I'd been a bit more aggressive, because I did degenerate into pushing here and there once I realized he wasn't going to be hitting any winners against me. We battled for an hour or so, but eventually I was broken at 4-5 to lose the first set.

Ok, so here's the part where I think I got played... he told me (at the start of the match) that he has a medical issue that would require frequent bathroom breaks during the match. I said cool, no prob (I'm a newbie at tournamentse).

He took off after the first set and I waited... and waited... and waited. My brother, who was watching, went down to the bathrooms and discovered that he was having a cool down. He was stretching, loosening up, rubbing cool water on his face and hair. I didn't know this until later - all this while, I was on the court in 75 degree heat, with no shade to sit down. All in all, I'd say he was away for 15-20 min.

He returned to the court, and we continued our long battle. The second set went over an hour, with many long rallies requiring substantial court coverage (for both of us), bringing total match time to well over two hours. Once again, I lost it serving at 4-5. His match, 6-4, 6-4.

All in all, I'd attribute my loss to my lack of a good net game and my failure to stay aggressive on the groundies (nothing wrong with moving him around with high percentage play, but I could have made him work harder with more pace and deeper shots). A good net game would most likely have turned this completely in my favor, so I know what to work on. That said, in a serious test of fitness (which was part of my strategy), his 20 minute cool down must have worked to his advantage at least somewhat.

What do you think? How would you recommend I handle the bathroom issue if I play this dude again?
The bathroom break rule is "reasonable time" at USTA and Professional tournaments. If your opponent is gone for about 5 minutes, then you should go get the official. Let them know. If you continue to wait, the official should go to the locker room or bathroom and check on the player. A friend of mine was roving at a tournament once and this situation happened, he went in to check on the player and he was collapsed on the floor in the bathroom. (He ended up being ok, just fainted.)

If the player is in there sitting down to cool off, or in the shower, which has also happened, the player would be subject to AT LEAST a code violation, and in some cases immediate default. This is a blaitant violation of the rules. The bathroom break is only to be used as a bathroom break.

GeoffB
01-22-2009, 02:36 PM
Hmmm... I read up on this at

http://www.usta.com/USTA/Home/AboutUs/~/media/USTA/Document%20Assets/2008/06/12/doc_13_15617.ashx

USTAComment 29.3:Table 10in USTARegulation III.E.allows
one or more “genuine” toilet or change of attire breaks. When pos-
sible these breaks should be taken during a Set Break. If this is not
possible, then the break should be taken at an odd game
changeover. Breaks taken at other times should be limited to true
emergencies. Table 10does not allow a tournament to limit the
number of breaks. Gastrointestinal problems are medical conditions
that are governed by Medical Time-Out provisions and not by the
Toilet Break provision.

So he might have gotten a break as a medical issue (though this still probably wouldn't allow the cool-down). But this doc appears to be more about college tennis, so not sure if it has any meaning here...

GeoffB
01-22-2009, 02:43 PM
Oh, here's another part (on p124):

Toilet/Change of Attire Break:

No limit but official must decide that need is
genuine and not because of general fatigue. Play
continues if the request is not granted. The player
has a reasonable amount of time for the break

So it's up to the tournament official to decide if this is "reasonable".

Jim A
01-22-2009, 02:50 PM
hire the crazed guy from the mixed thread as your buddy for the day

woodrow1029
01-22-2009, 02:57 PM
Oh, here's another part (on p124):

Toilet/Change of Attire Break:

No limit but official must decide that need is
genuine and not because of general fatigue. Play
continues if the request is not granted. The player
has a reasonable amount of time for the break

So it's up to the tournament official to decide if this is "reasonable".
If they are just going to the bathroom to cool off, there is nothing to decide. This is illegal. There is technically no limit in USTA tournaments to how many bathroom breaks can be taken because the USTA is afraid of being sued. 20 minutes is not reasonable at just about any tournament and the OP should have gotten an official after about 5 mins or so.

If he was having gastro problems, then HE needs to tell the official. This would be handled as a medical issue after the first toilet break.

sureshs
01-22-2009, 03:29 PM
How would you recommend I handle the bathroom issue if I play this dude again?

It depends.

brosamj
01-22-2009, 03:47 PM
It depends.

Man, I like a good pun...but that was brutal. :)

Now, in regards to the OP's original question...I would have gone looking for him after 5 minutes. 20 minutes is abuse.

sureshs
01-22-2009, 03:51 PM
Man, I like a good pun...but that was brutal. :)

Now, in regards to the OP's original question...I would have gone looking for him after 5 minutes. 20 minutes is abuse.

The 2 guys who recently went into the world records for the longest tennis rally wore depends. They claim that they did not "use" them. (I don't know of anyone who would be willing to check.)

HookEmJeff
01-22-2009, 04:05 PM
Yeah, part of the problem was that I didn't realize how long he'd be there or what he was doing. Obviously if I'd known he was taking a 20 min cool down, I'd have handled this differently. If I play him again, I'll want to enforce the rules...

Actually, does anyone have a link to the tournament rules for NTRP play?

I'm not condoning the guy's behavior in anyway whatsoever, but it's not like you were running down balls in a ridiculous in the same 20 minutes that he was cooling down.

I imagine you were on the court just kicking back yourself. So, it may have been a long break, but hardly a major disadvantage for you. Seventy five degree heat? That's nothing! If it was high 80's-100...I'd say yes, that's a disadvantage, especially if there was little to not shade.

Regardless, the guy should NOT have been doing what he was doing, so in a sense you were "played". I can't believe a guy would do that.


Jeff

mikeler
01-22-2009, 04:18 PM
Since we have a lot of newbies in this thread, just wanted to post an FYI. Woodrow is a big time official and knows his stuff. Clearly if the guy is just cooling off, this violates the bathroom break rule. The fact that he lied about it and took such a long time would tempt me to default him if I were the official.

GeoffB
01-22-2009, 04:47 PM
I'm not condoning the guy's behavior in anyway whatsoever, but it's not like you were running down balls in a ridiculous in the same 20 minutes that he was cooling down.

I imagine you were on the court just kicking back yourself. So, it may have been a long break, but hardly a major disadvantage for you. Seventy five degree heat? That's nothing! If it was high 80's-100...I'd say yes, that's a disadvantage, especially if there was little to not shade.

Regardless, the guy should NOT have been doing what he was doing, so in a sense you were "played". I can't believe a guy would do that.


Jeff


Yeah, I don't think that the cool-off was nearly as much of a factor as my net game. It was a battle. That said, I had him running harder than I was running, which was part of my strategy for wearing him down.

As for what I was doing during the changeover... well, it was warm, direct sun, but no, not brutally hot by any measure. I didn't want to sit in the sun, so I stood near the fence where it was shady. Part of the problem was that I was kind of pacing, wondering when he'd come back. I didn't want to cool down too much, I felt like I had him on the run and I wanted to keep the pressure up. I think he would have been entitled to 15 minutes as a medical break - if he had done this, I would have *known* I had 15 mins and would have used it to cool down, loosed up, and focus - and I probably would have gone off and gotten a chair so I could sit in the shade. But I expected him to come back any minute.... so he knew exactly when and how he'd return to the court, whereas for me, it was a big question mark, which allowed him to use the time-out more wisely.

So to a large extent, the way I handled this was the kind of mental error you get from someone who is new to tournament play. You have to be ready to get tough in all kinds of ways.

dunno
01-22-2009, 04:55 PM
This stuff happens all the time in the juniors, people will take a bathroom break to cool off or get coaching.

Basically you just gotta go to the bathroom with him, or ask the tournament director about it.

Yeah, these sort of tricks always get you the first time, so now just make sure to keep your guard up at tournaments because you'll be surprised how many dirty tricks people can come up with.

Nanshiki
01-22-2009, 05:27 PM
You should have asked the director to default him... he should be stretching and cooling off ON COURT. Bathroom breaks in the pros always have an official present.

HookEmJeff
01-22-2009, 11:01 PM
Yeah, I don't think that the cool-off was nearly as much of a factor as my net game. It was a battle. That said, I had him running harder than I was running, which was part of my strategy for wearing him down.

As for what I was doing during the changeover... well, it was warm, direct sun, but no, not brutally hot by any measure. I didn't want to sit in the sun, so I stood near the fence where it was shady. Part of the problem was that I was kind of pacing, wondering when he'd come back. I didn't want to cool down too much, I felt like I had him on the run and I wanted to keep the pressure up. I think he would have been entitled to 15 minutes as a medical break - if he had done this, I would have *known* I had 15 mins and would have used it to cool down, loosed up, and focus - and I probably would have gone off and gotten a chair so I could sit in the shade. But I expected him to come back any minute.... so he knew exactly when and how he'd return to the court, whereas for me, it was a big question mark, which allowed him to use the time-out more wisely.

So to a large extent, the way I handled this was the kind of mental error you get from someone who is new to tournament play. You have to be ready to get tough in all kinds of ways.


Yeah, since this was a tournament you maybe should have brought it to the director's attention. Ten minutes I can see. Much more than that..and I would probably start wondering.

The guy kind of played it off like he had a medical condition (maybe he does, I don't know), and I probably would have done the same and given him the benefit of the doubt.

Regardless, he should have alerted you to the fact that it was going to take a little extra time so as not to appear as gamesmanship if it did. Anybody that "requires" consistent 20-minute breaks between sets probably shouldn't be playing tournament tennis IMO.

mikeler
01-23-2009, 07:08 AM
The cool down would definitely be the worst thing for me. After 20 minutes, I'd probably start to get a little bit stiff.

Nellie
01-23-2009, 08:01 AM
Unfortunately, people will try to get away with anything in tennis. It is almost to the point where I assume people are lying everytime they tell me stuff on the court. In the end, I don't care that much because it is supposed to be fun.


By the way, I always carry a small umbrella in my tennis bag. On several occassions, I have had to hide under that thing to get shade and to cool down between sets.

JLyon
01-23-2009, 08:13 AM
[QUOTE=dunno;3034388]This stuff happens all the time in the juniors, people will take a bathroom break to cool off or get coaching.

Basically you just gotta go to the bathroom with him, or ask the tournament director about it.
QUOTE]


At the Sectional and National Level of Juniors, officials watch the juniors very closely for parents and coaching. Radio in to tournament to watch the players and in some cases standing in the bathroom while the player does there business and make sure there is no stalling.

Not fun, but many times the players/parents/coaches love to play the system as if the admins are dumb.

mikeler
01-23-2009, 08:46 AM
Unfortunately, people will try to get away with anything in tennis. It is almost to the point where I assume people are lying everytime they tell me stuff on the court. In the end, I don't care that much because it is supposed to be fun.


By the way, I always carry a small umbrella in my tennis bag. On several occassions, I have had to hide under that thing to get shade and to cool down between sets.


Do you have a stand for it? That is a good idea.

Nellie
01-23-2009, 09:29 AM
No stand - I just hold it and move it to block the sun. No rules against it, as far as I can tell. Guys at a tournement in Las Vegas laughed at me for a while until they started feeling 120 degree heat on the court.

mikeler
01-23-2009, 11:02 AM
I used to laugh at the guys who wore the fishing hats that cover the back of their neck. Now I'm a proud owner of one of those hats!

woodrow1029
01-23-2009, 11:29 AM
No stand - I just hold it and move it to block the sun. No rules against it, as far as I can tell. Guys at a tournement in Las Vegas laughed at me for a while until they started feeling 120 degree heat on the court.
You are correct. There are no rules against using an umbrella on court and it is 100% legal.

AS LONG AS YOU ARE KEEPING WITHIN THE ALLOWED TIME LIMITS ON CHANGEOVERS AND SETBREAKS.

MIGHTY MANFRED THE WONDER
01-23-2009, 12:14 PM
There is always something- I read the original post about sitting out waiting in the 75 degree heat; Here, that would be considered the break.

dunno
01-23-2009, 01:23 PM
[QUOTE=dunno;3034388]This stuff happens all the time in the juniors, people will take a bathroom break to cool off or get coaching.

Basically you just gotta go to the bathroom with him, or ask the tournament director about it.
QUOTE]


At the Sectional and National Level of Juniors, officials watch the juniors very closely for parents and coaching. Radio in to tournament to watch the players and in some cases standing in the bathroom while the player does there business and make sure there is no stalling.

Not fun, but many times the players/parents/coaches love to play the system as if the admins are dumb.

Yeah they kinda keep a close watch... my little sister played and won a Maryland state championship USTA tournament where there were officials all around, but it doesn't stop my sister's opponents from trying to get coached by their parents or coach.

The only one able to stop the coaching was my dad, because we've learned how to deal with it and stop it.

Geezer Guy
01-24-2009, 01:11 PM
Geoff - Sounds like maybe you did get played. However, I just want to assure you (from my experience, anyway), characters like that are NOT the norm at tournaments. Most of the guys are exceedingly fair, will make as many mistakes in your favour as against you, and while maybe not friendly and jovial on court are the kind of guys you'd gladly hang out with later. Certainly, there are a few jerks out there, but you can go for months without running across one.
Sounds like you made a good go if it at your first tournament. Good luck in the future.

Seblad2k8
01-24-2009, 03:21 PM
Geoff - Sounds like maybe you did get played. However, I just want to assure you (from my experience, anyway), characters like that are NOT the norm at tournaments. Most of the guys are exceedingly fair, will make as many mistakes in your favour as against you, and while maybe not friendly and jovial on court are the kind of guys you'd gladly hang out with later. Certainly, there are a few jerks out there, but you can go for months without running across one.
Sounds like you made a good go if it at your first tournament. Good luck in the future.

i have to agree with this however on tight points many players who are normally fair seem to make some bad calls:(