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View Full Version : Can a "thwack" create doubt?


Cindysphinx
05-09-2009, 09:08 AM
I was playing doubles last night on clay. Partner was rallying from baseline, I was at service line.

Opponent hits a ball wide to the doubles sideline near my partner. I glance over and see she is in position to hit, so as the ball bounces I start to turn my attention to the opposing net player, expecting the point to continue. The ball bounces, and as I am starting to focus on the net player, I hear a loud "thwack."

My partner calls the ball out.

Opponents flip out. "Whoa, are you sure of your call?" "Come *on,* that was right on the line!". My partner says, "Hey, I was right there and I saw it out."

Now, I didn't really see the ball well enough to be certain of anything. I wasn't paying close attention, I was farther away, and I was looking across the line rather than down it. But I heard that thwack.

Should I have overruled my partner (or more accurately gone up to her and had a conference that the opponents would have interpreted as "doubt") based on the sound of the ball rather than what I did or didn't see?

As it was, I just stood there, waiting for the argument to conclude.

And as things went, our opponents hooked us back on another call pretty quickly. So I guess we were square . . .

Marc The Shark
05-09-2009, 10:21 AM
what's a thwack? I fail to understand what the sound was that you heard...

raiden031
05-09-2009, 10:28 AM
what's a thwack? I fail to understand what the sound was that you heard...

the ball hitting the line on clay possibly makes a different sound than hitting the clay.

maverick66
05-09-2009, 11:23 AM
it does and it means it was in. your partner just hooked someone.

Cindysphinx
05-09-2009, 12:32 PM
it does and it means it was in. your partner just hooked someone.

Does the thwack mean I should have had a conference with my partner?

maverick66
05-09-2009, 12:34 PM
the thwack was the ball hitting the tape or line of a clay court. it makes a very loud sound. so your partner hooked the other team. if thats important to you its time for a talk.

raiden031
05-09-2009, 12:44 PM
the thwack was the ball hitting the tape or line of a clay court. it makes a very loud sound. so your partner hooked the other team. if thats important to you its time for a talk.

So you're agreeing that you should go by what you hear, even if she saw nothing? I've definitely never heard that mentioned before when it comes to line calls so its an interesting topic.

maverick66
05-09-2009, 12:47 PM
also if its on clay why didnt someone look for an out mark? that would have been the logical thing to do.

Raiden you can hear when a ball hits the tape on a clay court. that automatically makes it in. i would have protested the call as well especially if it made that noise.

Cindysphinx
05-09-2009, 12:48 PM
I mean, what would I *say?*

And if I go over for a conference, don't I have to be prepared to overrule her (by convincing her to rescind her call)? What is the point of going over to my partner and repeating what my opponents are saying ("Are you sure?")?

rich s
05-09-2009, 05:18 PM
I mean, what would I *say?*

here's what you say: ".....let's go over and look at the ball mark to verify the call."

Nellie
05-09-2009, 05:36 PM
Don't go by the noise/bounce on clay. (no such rules exist!)

Look at the lines and check the mark.

woodrow1029
05-09-2009, 08:07 PM
You cannot automatically go by the sound of the bounce. There are spots on clay that will sound very similar to the ball hitting the line. It is still the player's call on that side of the net that that the ball hit. If Player A calls it out, and can't find the mark, his call stands regardless of whether or not the other player "heard" it hit the line.

burosky
05-13-2009, 12:32 PM
For line calls I think you can't rely on the sound only. I think the only instance where you can rely on the sound only is when calling a let cord.

Steady Eddy
05-13-2009, 01:39 PM
My opinion, which I know many here do not like, is that you should support your partner. After all, you're supposed to be a team, not a supreme court judge sitting on a bench! (It's just a tennis call for cryin' out loud. Loyalty trumps truth.) If your neighbor said that his wife was beautiful and his children smart, you wouldn't argue, would you? (Apologies to H.L. Mencken). They hooked you back, anyway. So then you shouldn't feel guilty and this way you still can play with your partner.

FloridaAG
05-13-2009, 01:47 PM
No way I would do anything other than go with the call. I play on clay all the time and would never change a call based upon what I thought I heard if I did not see the ball. I might have a word to my partner separately after the game.

Cindysphinx
05-13-2009, 01:52 PM
About this checking of marks business . . .

In the scenario I described, the opponents could have but did not ask that the mark be checked. If a player is sure of her call, is she obligated to propose that the mark be checked? Does her partner share this obligation to propose a mark check? (I think my partners would take it *very* badly if they made an out call, I was out of position or not looking, and I checked the mark or told them to, as it would suggest I don't believe them).

Sorry to be so thick on this issue, but I have played a whole lot of social and USTA matches on clay, and only once has a player ever asked my partner or me to check a mark. Nor have I even once seen an opponent check a mark.

Also, say I do check the mark and I can't be sure what I'm looking at. Does that mean I have to award the point to my opponent? I mean, if it is obvious it is obvious. But what if it is close? Must I see a clear bit of dirt between the edge of the mark and the line? Is it sensible to say, "I'm not sure what's going on with this mark, but I saw the ball out"?

These are Har Tru courts I'm talking about, often not well-groomed. What explains the fact that, although the Code talks about checking marks, no one is doing it?

oldhacker
05-14-2009, 12:44 AM
Cindy - I am a big believer in supporting your partner and not doing things to show them up in front of opponents. After all you are a team and the team will be affected if one of you starts publically undermining the other.

When I play doubles with my regular partner the one best placed generally makes the calls - in your example this was definitely your partner. And if one of us is doubtful about a call a quick and quiet (so not heard by our opponents) "you sure?" suffices with the answer being accepted without further comment.

slice bh compliment
05-14-2009, 02:20 AM
My opinion, which I know many here do not like, is that you should support your partner. After all, you're supposed to be a team, not a supreme court judge sitting on a bench! (It's just a tennis call for cryin' out loud. Loyalty trumps truth.) If your neighbor said that his wife was beautiful and his children smart, you wouldn't argue, would you? (Apologies to H.L. Mencken). They hooked you back, anyway. So then you shouldn't feel guilty and this way you still can play with your partner.

Respect to you, Eddy, and also HL Mencken....but....
loyalty only trumps truth when winning becomes more important than integrity. I'd rather lose a point honestly than win a shady one.

The Mencken example with the neighbor is good, but of course a little different. It involves the bending/omission of truth, but it is basically victimless. This bad call stuff is overtly and obviously wrong and it could lead to more bad calls.

Look, we call make honest mistakes. If/when my partner has done that, rather than stiffly overruling him and creating discord on my side of the net, I've always gone with something like this:
[turns to partner] "Hey that was a close one, but, man we all make honest mistakes, I think they actually got some line there. We've got to call that one good, pal. Let's get it back right here, let's go, brother." [it is so important to help the person who just made the bad call save face.....whether it was an honest mistake or not, during the match, you've got to consider it an innocent first offense...this prevents the forming of a rift between you and your partner]

This way, there's integrity and still forgiveness and unity on the court. In fact, honestly like this is usually appreciated by the opponents, and the tennis becomes more pure.

You know what's even better? Have the conversation beforehand: "Hey, if I make a bad call by mistake, please know it's an honest mistake and you can overrule me if you think I'm off, okay?

^That takes five seconds, and it is just one tiny piece of the pre-match plan.

Nellie
05-14-2009, 05:56 AM
Also, no offense, but I find that unless you are hitting the ball pretty hard, you will often not see a mark on the Hard-tru. I also need clarification from the experts as to whether Hard-tru is considered to be "clay" under the rules. For example, I had a disagreement with someone recently where they call my shot out on a hardcourt. I showed them the clear mark on the line, but they refused to look at it because we were not a on "clay" court.

woodrow1029
05-14-2009, 08:15 AM
Also, no offense, but I find that unless you are hitting the ball pretty hard, you will often not see a mark on the Hard-tru. I also need clarification from the experts as to whether Hard-tru is considered to be "clay" under the rules. For example, I had a disagreement with someone recently where they call my shot out on a hardcourt. I showed them the clear mark on the line, but they refused to look at it because we were not a on "clay" court.
Har-Tru is considered a clay court. It isn't Hard-Tru. This is the same surface that is used at the WTA tournaments in Charleston and Ponte Vedra. It is also used at the challengers and futures on clay in the USA. If the court is groomed properly, you should be seeing clear marks on almost all shots. The exception is in the Hydra-Courts, (the courts which are watered from under the ground). These courts sometimes it's hard to pick up a mark on drop shots and lobs and such.. But yes, it is a clay court.

beernutz
05-18-2009, 09:54 AM
You cannot automatically go by the sound of the bounce. There are spots on clay that will sound very similar to the ball hitting the line. It is still the player's call on that side of the net that that the ball hit. If Player A calls it out, and can't find the mark, his call stands regardless of whether or not the other player "heard" it hit the line.

What he said. Sound doesn't prove or disprove anything. Your partner clearly saw the ball out or it was in. If she was sure she saw it out, case closed. I don't think it would be inappropriate for the other team to ask her to point out the ball mark showing the ball was clearly outside the line though. Even so, like Woodrow said, the inability to find a ball mark doesn't invalidate the call.