Calling someone out on foot faults?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Bashi, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. Bashi

    Bashi Rookie

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    I'm playing in a tournament in a few days, and today I saw the guy I'll be playing in the 1st round playing on another court. And I noticed that he consistently foot faults, maybe half the time on his first serves. And I don't know if I should call him out on it or not. I just don't want to seem like the desperate jerk who will do anything to steal a few points, if that makes any sense. And it will look especially bad if I ask for a judge and then end up losing. Thoughts?
     
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  2. Kaz00

    Kaz00 Semi-Pro

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    have your coach or parents watch your match and watch if he foot faults and if he does every so often then dont bother but if its every other time then ya i would call it out or get a judge
     
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  3. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    How serious is this tournament... and how good is his serve? Is he taking advantage of the foot fault... or is he just creeping over the line?

    Unless my opponent is seriously over the line... I personally don't really care.
     
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  4. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Players often footfault a little bit. They also commonly call close lobs out since the opponent is too far away to know if they're cheating or not. Of the two of these I'd object to calling the lobs out more. I really don't care if they footfault. Lots of people do it, and while they shouldn't, they don't do it on purpose and it doesn't give them a substantial advantage.
     
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  5. apor

    apor Rookie

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    I tend not to call them, but really, come on people, it's not that hard to back up a few inches is it?
    If it bothers you, and you see him/her do it a few times, I'd mention it and hopefully their reaction will be an apology and they will stop doing it.
     
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  6. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    If you know ahead of time and you are concerned about it, you can mention it during the warmup.

    That way if you do call it, it cant be said that you're just doing it to "win a few cheap points". (or maybe he'll fix it and wont do it anymore)

    It's kind of ruder sometimes when someone will not even mention it until a key point in the match and then all the sudden they call it.

    (not to say they shouldnt call it if it's obvious if someone is going to be upset about it that will really make them upset.....)
     
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  7. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

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    I don't understand why so many seem to have a different feeling towards foot faults than other rules. Not just here, but TV commentators in the Serena case, guys on my team, etc. Is the foot fault rule in an optional portion of the rule book or in with the regular rules? :)

    It's not that unusual for me to tick the netcord on my serves and if I could cheat in an inch or so who knows, maybe it clears? The difficulty of course is its a tough call in most cases in an unofficiated match due to the distance and angle of seeing a fault. In doubles its a bit easier as the net guy has a closer view.

    We have a 4.0 on one of our neighborhood USTA teams that consistently footfaults. I've never been on the same team as him but all the guys get together and play each other once a week. He lines up that way from the start. I mentioned it to him in practice once and he just shrugged me off and got a bit huffy about it. As in, "Foot fault?...who cares?"...so be prepared to get a bad reaction. This is a guy that has played tennis for many years. I want to be clear this is not a guy that that would intentionally call an in ball out, he just doesn't hold a footfault on the same level as other rules for some reason...its just odd to me.

    IMHO its the same white line that is used to call the ball in or out, so why don't we call a footfault in or out? If I just barely touch the ball with my shirt/arm in flight or the net on a slam at the net is it no big deal either?...even if I know I did it? I mean hey, the ball was going out anyway...or I probably coulda still hit a winner if I hadn't swung so hard.

    So in a match if I was sure I would definitely mention it. I wouldn't try to claim a point the first time, but say something like, "Hey it looks like you are edging over the line on your serve, I don't wan't to have to call a footfault." If it happened again I would say, "Hey, I don't want to be a jerk, but you are still footfaulting and that's an unfair advantage, I'm going to have to call a fault if I see it again." I've never played in a match where officials are available so can't help there...not sure when to call one in...I guess if an argument ensues. My 2c.

    Here is a bit from the USTA "The Final Word" April 5th, 2007

     
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  8. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

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    Another similar take on the issue:

    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Tennis-Instruction-328/Calling-foot-fault.htm

    Warning then official or warning then fault called. Both sources indicate it must be obvious or flagrant, I assume due the the difficulty in clearing seeing an opponent foot fault, not b/c the rule is less important, but who knows maybe by tennis tradition that's how everyone looks at it? Extremely flagrant only? :

     
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  9. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I wouldn't warn an opponent about anything based on reputation or experience unless I had witnessed the problem in the current match. It would look like spoiling for a fight or gamesmanship.

    And I wouldn't warn an opponent about footfaulting during warm-up either. Footfaulting is unimportant unless it happens during a match.

    Cindy -- who has never once been able to see a flagrant footfault during her own match, but who sees them all the time as a spectator
     
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  10. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    I agree with you at the professional levels of the game... I also don't understand not calling a penalty in the last few minutes of a hockey game... the game lasts an hour and anything worthy of a penalty in the first minute should be called in the last minute.

    I personally do not foot fault, I realized that early in my developement it could be an issue... and I stand about six inches off the line when serving. I truly never thought that being right up to the line gave me enough of an advantage to warrant the possibility of a foot fault.

    I currently play casually with someone that slides in a foot or two or three when serving... do I care? No............ the serve is not a threat and it is casual tennis. Do others care... some do... in the scheme of things does it matter... probably not.

    In a tournament situation should we be concerned... I believe that is up to whoever is being hurt by it. We are not playing for money at a professional level... we do not have the luxury of people watching for foot faults or calling our lines (though I did have that luxury once). So I would say if it is going to bother you... go ahead and mention it to your opponent... but like Cindy, I would say it is pretty hard to call a foot fault from 70 feet away.
     
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  11. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    At our level, a lot of people foot-fault a little bit - and they uaually don't get any advantage from it. I've never called anyone on it. I've had two doubles partners that have warned opponents during a change-over that they observed the server foot faulting in their previous service game, and asked them to be more careful in the future. That was all that was needed.

    Personally, I think you lose more from worrying about a FF than you gain from calling a FF.
     
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  12. Taxvictim

    Taxvictim Semi-Pro

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    The rule about warnings still isn't clear. If someone serves an ace, and you warn them they flagrantly foot-faulted on that ace, is that the warning required by the Code, and the point stands because you never said anything earlier? Or do you play a let? Even the expert quoted above seems unsure.

    Foot faults aren't just scooching over the line a little. I've seen right handed servers line up right at the center hash mark to serve to the ad court, but they rotate their whole bodies around toward the opponent while serving. In effect, they are standing both feet astride the hash mark at the time of contact (even though still behind the baseline), and that gives them a much stronger serve down-the-middle.
     
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  13. Bashi

    Bashi Rookie

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    That's a really good question (about the warning). I think I decided what I'm going to do is let it go then if I see him do it, let him know during a changeover "hey, I noticed you were foot faulting, not a big deal just wanted to let you know" or something to that effect. I really have no intention of actually calling a fault, since I don't think he's doing it on purpose.
     
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  14. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    I didnt really mean to hit the ball out either, but I did, can I win the point for that as well? :)

    Probably what you may consider though is unless it's extremely flagrant if this is a singles match you may not even be able to notice he's doing it if you're watching the ball. Sure you might suspect it from watching his other match but it's really hard to tell all the way across the net when your focus is really on returning the ball.

    If it was doubles and you had a partner there at the net that would be a whole different story.

    The situation Taxvictim mentioned though is a little more obvious, you sometimes notice more when people step across the hash mark, versus the baseline. (if he means when they actually touch the ground over there)

    And Im pretty sure the warning would be a let. Imagine if it wasnt a ace and it was a returnable ball. If you return the ball and play out the point, there really is no point in calling footfault then or even giving a warning. You could actually stop play to call it (you would if you were taking the point), so that would be a let.

    It's probably a little harder to stomach if it's a ace but it would be better if you called it before it was too obvious it was a ace if you could.

    (and that's all assuming you call it at all)
     
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  15. Marshredder

    Marshredder Semi-Pro

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    One thing that really annoyed me a while ago whilst playing a league match was that, when I hit a ball that was obviously about to go out (badly timed lob etc) instead of letting it bounce out he would catch it or bring it back down with his racquet.

    After a couple of times I started counting the points as mine, and when he asked "where did you get 30-40 from?" etc, I explained. He stopped after that.
     
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  16. Bashi

    Bashi Rookie

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    I guess I meant not that he doesn't mean to do it, but he's not actively using it to gain an advantage. So I don't really think he's edging up there to get over the net. But who knows. I'm not going to say anything
     
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  17. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    It does give him an advantage because it's a "challenge" rule more then anything.

    Im "challenged" to hit the ball on or inside of the lines.

    Im "challenged" to be able to serve without touching the baseline (and the hash, sideline, etc.....)

    Im "challenged" to be able to hit the ball without touching the net.

    Im "challenged" to be able to hit the ball in such a matter that I will not make contact with it until it's reached my side.

    Im "challenged" to not let the ball hit me.

    If you were to allow me to hit the ball just barely out and you still give me the point, then you are giving me a BIG ADVANTAGE. Especially if you do not expect the same outcome because you are trying to hit the ball in.

    If you were to allow me to serve while foot faulting you are doing the same thing, you are giving me an Advantage. (assuming that you do not foot fault yourself due to either your effort to avoid it, or because you simply learned how to serve without doing it)

    So I dont believe that "intent" or their advantage has much to do with it, it's always an advantage when one person is able to skirt the rules and you do not have too.

    What should be more at stake for you though is that calling it could have a negative impact on you.

    For example if it happened to cause a conflict or a disruption in the regular flow of your ability to play the match, which outweighs whatever "advantage" your opponent is getting from being able to foot fault.
     
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  18. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    only if it is legit USTA junior tournaments with your future career on the line. Otherwise,,, you are not supposed to call footfaults,,,period...........:evil:
     
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  19. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    Ignore his faults?

    I agree with asking a friend or coach to watch the first few games to see whether the guy is foot faulting on a regular basis. If he is, you might give a friendly "warning" on the changeover that foot-faulting isn't allowed.

    But ultimately a minor foot-fault isn't going to help his serve and should be ignored; don't let it distract you. If it's a flagrant, big step into the court you have to call him on it.
     
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  20. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I do think footfaulting is cheating. The reason is that people often footfault because their toss is off. If they were to hit that toss while keeping behind the line, they would smack it into the bottom of the net. But if they step over the line, they are then in good position to hit a good serve. So there is an "advantage" in footfaulting because it allows you to make serves you would otherwise miss (or achieve greater serve consistency with an erratic toss).

    Still, I believe the Code requires you to warn the opponent *and* only call flagrant footfaults. As I said, I have never been in a match where I felt 100% certain that my opponent was footfaulting, especially in singles. In doubles, it might be an easier call, but I tend to have my eyes on the path of the ball as it leaves my opponent's racket and the service line, not on the server's toes.
     
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  21. jmnk

    jmnk Professional

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    the problem is that there's virtually no practical chance you can be 100% sure someone foot faults. But as some said if you saw a given player before and he does it consistently than you are pretty sure (still not 100%). So you need help from someone.
    Or take camera with you. You think it may be a little overboard - but some people footfault every time, and not by an inch but like by a foot. They clearly step a healthy foot into the court and than serve. They also tend not to believe when you tell than - so you need to show them.
    And I completely agree that it is no different than any other rule so if they say 'couple of inches does not matter' I kindly say 'well, than you can as well start your service motion a yard behind the service line just to be sure, few inches do not matter anyway, right?'
     
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  22. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    I like your post except for the beginning part where you exaggerate and say that there is a 0% chance that you can be 100% sure that someone foot faults.

    If someone is blatant enough you can and will be 100% sure, especially if you're talking about the guy at the net who's just watching and not the person who's trying to return the serve.

    You are right that there are probably all sorts of cases when someone grazes the line and you shouldnt really notice as the returner, but there are a few cases where people take HUGE steps inside of the court before they hit the ball, those are foot faults as plain as there is daylight.

    I think we're talking about a small number though, but those are definately the people that you would and should really call it on, I know a couple people like that in my area and they and everyone else knows they do it before they even show up to play....

    There was also the other case that was mentioned of the person who steps across the center hash and then serves from the wrong side. Ive only ever seen one person do that (luckily), but it's actually a lot more obvious to see then someone who goes over the baseline.

    (although it's rare, and what tends to happen when people do things that seem rare is they feel that somehow you shouldnt call it)
     
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  23. jmnk

    jmnk Professional

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    yap, agreed. I was really talking about singles only - it's really hard to maintain someone is footfaulting if you are on the opposite site of the court. With doubles it's a different story since the partner has relatively clear look at the server.
     
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  24. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Right, Ive had people call me for foot faulting in tournaments in singles and I'll usually just go get the umpire myself rather then let it get to me.

    The line I use is this: "This guy is calling foot faults on me. Maybe Im even doing it, but I dont trust HIM to make that call so I'd like someone to come out and take a look"

    Then usually they will come out and say Im not doing it. (one time the other player argued that he thought I was still doing it even though the umpire who was watching said I wasnt)
     
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  25. TennisNinja

    TennisNinja Hall of Fame

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    I usually don't care at all because if somebody is footfaulting by like a centimeter or so, it most likely is not going to affect their serve. But if it's like blatant stepping over the line I might say something.
     
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  26. mntlblok

    mntlblok Professional

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    I used to think that most people who foot fault don't even realize that they do it. But, speaking of cameras, walk around a tournament with one and frame any of the foot faulters in your lens and watch the change in foot faulting behavior. :)

    Kevin
     
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  27. jmverdugo

    jmverdugo Hall of Fame

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    IMO unless it is a flagrant foot fault, like serving from the "T", you should not calling it. First of all you are in no posititon of been not even 80% sure that it is a FF, second there are chances, very good ones in my opinion, that you may be doing one too yourself. It is my understanding that even on sanctioned matches there must be a baseline person to call FF inmediately, otherwise the chair umpire cannot call them by himself. Even if you get the tournament umpire to stare at the server for a moment you still cant be sure that when you initially call it, it was actually a FF.

    This is of course in case of Foot Faulting by steping into the court, if the foot fault is crossing the middle line then that one you can definitelly call it exactly at the moment it happens.
     
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  28. Spokewench

    Spokewench Semi-Pro

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    I've only called one person on foot faults and they were flagrant; I played this lady in singles and she had a very unusual service motion and sometimes would almost fall over it was so weird. Some times her foot would fall onto the court in front of the service line before she contacted with the ball on her serve. I did warn her that she was footfaulting (I did not ask for the point or a let, just warned her) and she made an attempt not to footfault again; although I'm sure she did, but the attempt not to was made and I just played the rest of the game without worrying too much about it anymore.
     
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  29. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    ^How could you tell she was making an effort? Her attitude? More catching of tosses?

    Sounds like you handled it well. If someone warned me and then started taking points, I'm afraid I would probably retaliate. 'Cause they are probably footfaulting as well.
     
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  30. Taxvictim

    Taxvictim Semi-Pro

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    Here's the absolute best time to call someone's foot faults:

    We were playing doubles next to these two pretty awesome singles players - baseline bashers both of them. At our club, social cliques revolve around your USTA rating, so I didn't really know either of them. I did notice that one had a blatant foot fault.

    As you all know, doubles is a game of more intense angles on a wider court than singles. As a result, many of our balls rolled onto their court. At first they were polite, but it became clear they were getting tired of calling lets because one of our balls rolled over there.

    Finally, one of the men said, "You really need to learn to keep your balls on your court." Loud enough for his opponent to hear, I replied, "And you should learn to serve without foot faulting."

    You should have seen the glare that got me, though his opponent was laughing. And he stopped foot faulting!
     
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  31. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Do you know this is called 'hectoring' and frowned upon? I've played tournaments where it was stated it would not be tolerated.

    I don't endorse cheating - and foot faulting is. But as others said, if it's not a huge advantage - stepping with his entire foot over the line - I'd just let it go.

    To the OP: if you do go with the 'call a judge over' option, you better be 100% sure you're abiding by all the rules and courtesies of the game or you're going to look like a big eared farm animal.
     
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  32. Spokewench

    Spokewench Semi-Pro

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    I could tell she stepped back a little from the line to start; and she quit falling over quite so much! I'm sure that she probably foot faulted some, but it was not so overt a foot fault later in the game.
     
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