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Cindysphinx
05-01-2009, 04:46 AM
In my last 4.0 match, we were playing on clay. My partner was near the baseline in the deuce court; I was at net in the ad court. Opponents hit a ball wide to her which landed near the deuce sideline.

She called the ball out. I didn't get a good look at it, but it could well have been in. I wasn't certain enough to overrule my partner, who was right there in position to make the call.

Opponents expressed disgust at the call. After my partner had started walking back to the baseline to serve again, one of them asked her to check the mark. She said they had delayed in making this request and could not ask her to check the mark. She went over and said she didn't see a mark. Me, I stood there saying nothing and doing nothing because I didn't know what to say or to do. My partner then asked me if they had waited too long. I shrugged.

OK. What is the proper protocol for checking marks on clay and for making requests? I know the opponent is not permitted to come across to the other side to inspect a mark (Thanks, Martina Hingis!). What happens if the players disagree about which is the correct mark? How promptly must the request to check be made? What if the request to check the mark is refused? What if I don't know what the mark means? If I call a point-ending ball good, can I go over, inspect the mark, declare it out, and then take the point? Would my opponent be justified in strangling me to death on the spot if I attempted such a thing?

Here's what the Code says:

Calling balls on clay courts. If any part of the ball mark touches the line on a clay court, the ball shall be called good. If you can see only part of the mark on the court, this means that the missing part is on the line or tape. A player should take a careful second look at any point-ending placement that is close to a line on a clay court. Occasionally a ball will strike the tape, jump, and then leave a full mark behind the line. This does not mean that a player is required to show the opponent the mark. The opponent shall not cross the net to inspect a mark. See USTA Regulation I.N.8. If the player hears the sound of the ball striking the tape and sees a clean spot on the tape near the mark, the player should give the point to the opponent.

I have played on clay a lot, and often the courts are so banged up that it is difficult to find or interpret ball marks. No one has ever asked me to check a ball mark (other than my own partner!). Nor have I ever asked an opponent to do it. Now I am wondering whether I should start making such a request, as there have been many, many occasions where I heard the ball smack the tape and the opponent called it out anyway.

Thud and blunder
05-01-2009, 04:59 AM
Don't worry; pros get confused too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMr04du5__0

watch from 2:50...many comical aspects, including Soderling pointing to a mark about a metre from where the ball actually landed, "show me again", "I don't remember, but I showed you", "I wasn't looking, show me again" etc...

jrod
05-01-2009, 05:01 AM
Sorry but I don't think this situation is all that complicated. When we play on clay the etiquette we use is always check the mark. If it is unclear, we replay the point. The first part of this is consistent with policy whereas the second part is not always.

mikeler
05-01-2009, 05:07 AM
What is the proper protocol for checking marks on clay and for making requests?

I would make the request within a few seconds, but if somebody made a request for me to inspect a mark after say 15 seconds, I would always afford them a look.

What happens if the players disagree about which is the correct mark?

You mean partners or opponents? I would leave that call to your partner since it is hard to call a ball wide from the other side of the court. If opponents disagree it comes down to the person making the call. That person gets the final word.

What if the request to check the mark is refused?

Never had this happen.

If I call a point-ending ball good, can I go over, inspect the mark, declare it out, and then take the point?

This is more of a gray area since you don't call balls in. Most of my opponents are OK with doing this since they understand the intent is to get the call correct. A few believe that the call is the call and if you screw up then it is your fault which I believe is the rule.

larry10s
05-01-2009, 05:08 AM
i play on clay alot. if there is a question about a call you should promply ask the player to circle the mark. if they cant find it it shouild be your point. they can say i dont have to show you the mark(they are correct) the ball was out. this to me is either gamesmanship or cheating. if i feel i have been robbed on purpose i have been known to call a good ball out and when they say show me the mark i replky i dont have to .they usually get the message.

Nellie
05-01-2009, 05:12 AM
To be honest with you, I would try to look at mark, but since any courst we would play on would have thousands of marks (and the hard-tru green does not leave good marks except of hard hits) I can never really see anything.

mikeler
05-01-2009, 05:38 AM
I always use my shoes to get rid of ball marks within a few inches of the line to make the calls easier. You'll see Nadal do that a lot in his clay court matches.

FloridaAG
05-01-2009, 06:19 AM
I always use my shoes to get rid of ball marks within a few inches of the line to make the calls easier. You'll see Nadal do that a lot in his clay court matches.

Ditto - I especially do this with any mark that has caused an issue - ie. someone asked me to check etc.

Atown
05-01-2009, 11:33 AM
Don't worry; pros get confused too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMr04du5__0

watch from 2:50...many comical aspects, including Soderling pointing to a mark about a metre from where the ball actually landed, "show me again", "I don't remember, but I showed you", "I wasn't looking, show me again" etc...


Another good clip is from the 1977 US Open.

Jimmy Connors ran around to the other side of the court and erased a ball mark when his opponent (Corrado Barazzutti) thought that an incorrect line call had been made.

http://www.fandome.com/video/92137/Mark--What-Mark--Theres-No-Mark/

Steady Eddy
05-01-2009, 12:53 PM
Another good clip is from the 1977 US Open.

Jimmy Connors ran around to the other side of the court and erased a ball mark when his opponent (Corrado Barazzutti) thought that an incorrect line call had been made.

http://www.fandome.com/video/92137/Mark--What-Mark--Theres-No-Mark/I don't blame Connors. Who says that the mark Barazzutti wanted them to look at was the correct mark? That's the real question, isn't it? Which mark is the right one, not to inspect a mark. From the umpier's chair you can see that an out mark is out. That's not the point. It's which mark is the right mark. Tennis people haven't figured this out yet?

volleyman
05-02-2009, 10:49 AM
i play on clay alot. if there is a question about a call you should promply ask the player to circle the mark. if they cant find it it shouild be your point. they can say i dont have to show you the mark(they are correct) the ball was out. this to me is either gamesmanship or cheating. if i feel i have been robbed on purpose i have been known to call a good ball out and when they say show me the mark i replky i dont have to .they usually get the message.

The ball doesn't always leave a mark on clay. I've seen soft shots with little spin leave no visible mark.

So, sometimes they can't actually show you the mark.