Calling Lines on Clay

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Achillesg, Jun 15, 2005.

  1. Achillesg

    Achillesg New User

    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    Messages:
    72
    I grew up playing on hard courts, but for the past year have been playing on the green Har-Tru courts. On the Har-Tru, about once every three sets, a serve will land and leave a four or five-inch skid mark right behind the service line (out). The receiver will call the ball out, but then walk up and examine the ball mark and see that there is no undisturbed clay between the service line and the ball mark (or that the ball actually caught the back 1/32 inch of the service line). In either situation, the receiver will then correct his call to "in" and the server will re-play the serve. Most people seem to have no problem with this protocol and most of the time the server is pleased that the opponent is honest enough to closely examine the mark to correct the call. However, this week one server in a doubles match became irate after this happened twice during one match. He said the receiver should never call the ball out unless he can instantaneously see that the ball clearly missed the service line. He said that even if the ball leaves a six inch skidmark behind the service line, the receiver should say nothing and should always play the ball unless the receiver can immediately see clear evidence that there is undisturbed clay between the back of the service line and the ball mark. I and others felt that that was demanding too much of the receiver, as you would have to concede not only the service line but the 6 to 8 inch area behind the service line. Most of us felt that the receiver should make his best good faith effort to call the ball as he saw it at the moment, always with the duty to correct a bad call. However, I did not grow up on clay, so I can't claim to be expert in the protocol. Help!
     
    #1
  2. darkhorse

    darkhorse Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Messages:
    321
    Well, that guy is a moron. The main advantage of playing on clay is that you can usually clearly tell if a ball was in or out, even if it is after the point has been stopped..

    It depends though on what you did after changing the call. Did you give him the point or did you have him play the point over?
     
    #2
  3. Achillesg

    Achillesg New User

    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    Messages:
    72
    If the serve was unreturnable, then clearly the server is awarded the point immediately upon correction. In that case, there is no argument by anyone.

    I think where this one guy argues is where the serve is successfully returned, but is called out and the play stops, then the mark is checked and the call is corrected in favor of the server. In that situation the practice at this club is to play the serve over. If it was a second serve, then the server has another second serve coming. This one guy thinks it should always be the server's point when the receiver corrects a delicate call in favor of the server. Keep in mind that the receiver is at all times acting in good faith in calling the serve in or out.
     
    #3
  4. Achillesg

    Achillesg New User

    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    Messages:
    72
    "The Code" does say that if an "out call" is corrected on a second serve, then the server, at a minimum, is entitled to two serves, so that provides a little official help.

    The code also says a point shall be replayed if the receiver returns the ball to the proper court. but, if that return is merely a "weak sitter", the player should give the opponent the point.
     
    #4
  5. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    Messages:
    2,792
    Location:
    Big Canoe, GA
    Well, I only play on clay about 1 week a year, and then not competitively.

    However, that said, if I'm serving and you call my serve out - THEN correct your call and say "take two", I'm gonna be pissed. Especially if you seem to do it a lot. It looks like you're just giving yourself a chance to return an easier serve. (Sounds like you're not, but that may be what it LOOKS like to your opponent.) Even if you return the serve and THEN check the mark - would you check the mark if you'd hit a service return winner, or just take the point? (Again, just saying this is how it may APPEAR to your opponent.) Especially if you're playing doubles, just let your partner call the service line and go with whatever he says. If he calls a ball OUT that upon review is good, your opponents get the point.

    Like I say, I don't play on clay much (yet).
     
    #5
  6. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,071
    Sure, many times you'll hit a clear winner and then check the line, especially if your partner makes an "out" call - actually happens quite often.

    The interesting thing that hasn't been mentioned and I thought this is where the discussion was headed is when the lines are brushed it clears the Har Tru from not only the line but maybe a half-inch on both sides (brush is wider than the line). Many times a ball mark has to be "interperated" to see if did in fact touch the line. Just because there is no Har Tru left between the actual ball mark and the line doesn't necessarily mean that the ball touched the line. I actually lost a match not that long ago because I called a ball in but my partner (and he was probably right) argued the above - it was a set, match call (tied at one set each) and we went on to lose the next two points.
     
    #6
  7. danniflava

    danniflava Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2004
    Messages:
    397
    I've been brought up with the idea that if I can't clearly call the ball out, it's in. On clay, points should be replayed whether or not the calls were correct or not.
     
    #7
  8. Achillesg

    Achillesg New User

    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    Messages:
    72

    Papa,

    If you ever work grounds crew for a professional tournament with USTA chair and linesmen, you'll see them go absolutely berserk when the lines are brushed in the manner you describe. The proper way to brush the lines (for the exact reason that you mention) is to make sure ALL of the overlap is on the inner part of the court. (So the same amount of Har-Tru is brushed, but it's all on the interior of the court or service box instead of having two stripes, one inside the court and one outside.) If you do it that way, your particular problem is solved.
     
    #8
  9. tennis-n-sc

    tennis-n-sc Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Messages:
    1,261
    Achillesg, I have worked satellite tournaments and you are exactly right.
     
    #9
  10. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    Messages:
    2,792
    Location:
    Big Canoe, GA
    ... oops, sorry ...
     
    #10
  11. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    Messages:
    2,792
    Location:
    Big Canoe, GA
    The serve was good, your partner calls it out, and you return it for a winner. What happens in that case? Do you lose the point?
     
    #11
  12. Achillesg

    Achillesg New User

    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    Messages:
    72

    You play the point over, always giving the server two serves. If your return is a decent return, but not a winner, you still play the point over. However, according to "The Code" if your return is a "weak sitter", you lose the point.
     
    #12
  13. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,071
    Yes, I know and I have brushed for some pretty good events. However, and I think you know what I'm talking about, is that as the brushes get used they tend to spread apart more and many of the folks doing the lines still like the "hi diddle, diddle, right down the middle approach" especially in when lines are done at the lower levels. Similiar thing can happen when there are a couple of ball marks together. Not trying to argue with you on this because it sounds like you know what your talking about but I was just trying to say sometimes its not just black or white.
     
    #13
  14. Achillesg

    Achillesg New User

    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    Messages:
    72
    Very true. That's one reason I sometimes like to obliterate all the ball marks near lines when I change sides I can have an easier time calling lines.
     
    #14
  15. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    Messages:
    2,792
    Location:
    Big Canoe, GA
    Thanks (and you tell your partner to get his act together!)
     
    #15
  16. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,071
    Partner calls the ball "out" that ends it, second serve. Doesn't matter if you hit a winner.
     
    #16
  17. Achillesg

    Achillesg New User

    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    Messages:
    72
     
    #17
  18. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,071
     
    #18
  19. Achillesg

    Achillesg New User

    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    Messages:
    72
    Papa,

    Before I started this thread, I would have agreed with you on all points. But after doing some research, I think an official would come up with some different rulings. To wit:

     
    #19

Share This Page