Obliged to "cheat"?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by thelastfurlong, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. thelastfurlong

    thelastfurlong New User

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    Something came up the other day in conversation about high-ish level club tennis (in europe) that really made me think.

    We've all been cheated on the tennis court and we all know people who cheat but one guy came out with the phrase "You're only cheating yourself if you're aren't calling balls out". I think he meant that in other words...on the baseline is out and its understood in the higher levels of club tennis that you should expect your close balls to be called out.

    This disturbed somewhat as I would consider myself someone who literally calls everything in on the basis that it would wreck my head if someone hooked me! However having thought a lot about what this guy said and from a lot of on-court experience I'm really starting to think that maybe I'm handicapping myself by being a "good caller"? What's more, when I think about it, most of the better players in my club are horrible people on court. Coincidence?

    So i'm just wondering if I missed this unwritten rule along the way or should i just treat tennis as a game of little consequence and enjoy it and continue to be fair?

    Interested to know if people here actually go out onto court intending to call close balls out.
     
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  2. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    continue being fair. In most high level games I've seen in person (5.0+), the players err on the side of being too generous, if anything.

    And even if this wasn't true, you should strive to promote values that you believe would make the sport better.
     
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  3. jk175d

    jk175d Semi-Pro

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    there are always a few individuals in a league or a club that get a reputation for making bad line calls. The guy you talked to was one of those people. Don't be one of them. The RULE is clear and simple, if you aren't 100% sure on a call that is your responsibility, it goes in favor of your opponent.

    Around here most of the guys I play with routinely play balls I hit that I thought could have been out. I do the same, my instinct is to play it not to call it out. It's more fun to play out the point and it's more satisfying to win it legit.

    But I can easily imagine a case where in a club where guys are playing each other all the time and one or two start making bad calls a habit that the rest soon follow suit. Another bad byproduct of inbreeding! (That's what happened in the college game with bogus lets being calling on aces often enough so that they changed the rule to play service lets) But as for the members of that "high level club" you can be sure that their reputation for suspect line calling is well known to those who have to play against them.
     
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  4. InspectorRacquet

    InspectorRacquet Semi-Pro

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    Not me. I call the balls exactly as they are. If it just barely nicks the baseline, then it's in, and if it is an inch out, it is out (I imagine the HawkEye in my head when thinking about line shots).

    Now the phrase can be taken two ways. The first way is that you shouldn't be too lenient with calls, because you might just "call" the game away from yourself, and you'd essentially be cheating yourself. The second way is the "call the lines out" way, which sounds like the case. I definitely don't prefer that kind of thinking, and neither does any other tennis player. No one likes being hooked.

    I think it is better to be fair with the line calls, as you will be more respected by other players. And after all, calling line shots out is breaking the rules of tennis. The better tennis player doesn't need to cheat to win.
     
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  5. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, be true to yourself and play fair.

    You can overdo it, I guess. The best player I know (he is still best in state at age 35) calls EVERYTHING in! Like, if I miss bysix inches on a sideline Ken just goes 'play it!' and carries on!

    But I would prefer to be that guy than the one that always ends up with an umpire halfway through his tournament matches because the opponent requested one...
     
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  6. michael_1265

    michael_1265 Professional

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    Don't compromise your integrity. They may win matches sometimes, but it is my experience that the best players make the most generous calls. Karma is a biatch.
     
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  7. michael_1265

    michael_1265 Professional

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    You mean, you call them as you see them, which is a product of the prevailing atmospheric conditions, the angle of the sun, the relative movement of your head and body, the angle and distance at which you are viewing the ball, the speed and arc of the ball, the focusing ability of your eyes, the ability of your visual cortex to process the information............and maybe whether or not you are match point down:)

    And unless you have 10 sets of eyes all around the court feeding information wirelessly into your head, you don't have Hawkeye. And even if you did, your margin of error would still be 3.6mm, which would, in fact, still be calling them as you see them, not as they are.

    This is a lesson that could be learned by many of our elected representatives in Washington.
     
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  8. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    ^Good post^.
    Good thread.

    I tell a guy at the beginning of a match that I do not care who wins or loses. I promise him that I will play my best and I will play fair. It's like a verbal pledge....like they do at the beginning of a YMCA youth soccer or basketball game.

    For accountability purposes, I ask him to please let me know if he thinks I am not playing fair (because that's not how I want to win ... or lose). Generally the guy is on the exact same page as me. Or he thinks I'm weird, but it ends up being a good, fair match anyway. And we play again and again.

    Results: I might make honest mistakes out there, but hopefully they are in my opponent's favor more often than not. I probably get hooked at times. I usually do not feel hooked. I let stuff go, chalking it up to an honest mistake. If it's obvious, I am stoic and I let the guy know that I know.

    Even though I do not care if I win or lose, I am not going to lie: I do prefer winning. I play hard. I enjoy the game, win or lose. I see it all as good tennis.

    Of course, this is very easy for me to say. I am past my prime and I have not played a money tournament or a ranking/pts tournament in years.

    You guys take care. Sorry if this sounded harsh, glib, flippant or elitist in any way. My intent is to just show you the way I see the game now that I'm a middle-aged guy who still hits a decent ball.
     
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  9. Caesar

    Caesar Banned

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    That's not my interpretation of those words. I would take that to mean he thinks you're intentionally calling balls in that aren't in.
     
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  10. rjw

    rjw Professional

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    I don't start out by telling a first time opponent anything. I wait to see how he calls things. To me, it reveals thier character.

    I agree with the rest of what you are saying. I play for fun and am well past my prime, so winning isn't near as important as getting a good workout, having fun and trying different things with stringing.

    Like you, if a ball is clearly in (by a foot) and is called out, I'll simply ask if they are sure about the call.
     
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  11. split-step

    split-step Professional

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    That's how I read it as well.
     
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  12. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Yes, and really they should. Generosity is built into the code. Out balls are CLEARLY out....everything else IS good...even if it actually wasn't.

    Forget the nonsense about cheating yourself, or seeing what the other guy does first.

    Resolve to play everything close as in, and tell yourself that even though your opponent will have an advantage (assume he won't be as generous as you), you're going to do your best to win anyways.
     
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  13. Bedrock

    Bedrock Semi-Pro

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    Unfortunately calling of outs is a subjective thing.
    It is due to that every person has different skills(ability).
    There will be no two identical opinions about a close call.
    What you do can do is to Improve your reaction time, play more tough games in order to improve your skill in judgment.
    If you saw a ball out - call it rightaway, no doubt (Even if the ball was outside of the line just by a half of inch). You are in charge, you suppose to make a decision. Take responsibility for what you suppose to.
    Do not worry what others say (it is a game). You are sure, that the only thing that counts. You are showing a respect to the decision of your opponent, so you can count on the same thing from the opposite side.

    P.S to me it looks like you feel sorry for your opponent when he made a mistake and missed just by a little bit. It happens with almost everybody. But the truth is that you just have to learn to take responsibility.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
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  14. Jeebs

    Jeebs Rookie

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    If I'm unsure about a call the other guy gets it; hence I find it annoying when a shot of mine that lands on the line gets called out. Them's the breaks though.
     
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  15. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    In my book, if I see a ball 99% out, its 100% in.

    Fortunately now I play in a very small singles league and we all play with this in mind. I have playing in bigger leagues where I play many new players and you never know what you get, but I never changed my ball calling habits.
     
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  16. Ben Hadd

    Ben Hadd Semi-Pro

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    Play it safe and call everything out, but wear really really dark glasses for your safety. In honesty, be fair and giving.
     
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  17. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Honestly, at higher levels I'd expect guys to be careful with their calls, especially since the ball is hit deeper and it's not rare to catch a line on a shot.

    If this guy was advocating cheating, he'd be #1 on my "do not play / do not call list."

    There is no unwritten rule in favor of cheating. Sure, if the ball is out and you are sure it's out, call it out - otherwise, give your opponent a benefit of a doubt.
     
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  18. Taxvictim

    Taxvictim Semi-Pro

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    Don't forget, even if your opponent might not be able to see for sure whether you made a bad call, players on other courts and spectators will see the baseline calls... just like foot faults. Don't be "that guy."
     
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  19. thelastfurlong

    thelastfurlong New User

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    Relieved to hear the general tone of responses!

    Thanks for all the replies!

    I agree that at the end of the day it really is just a game and a hobby which should be enjoyed, not destroyed by the needless neglecting of the rules.

    Personally I find that people who cheat have little respect for both their opponents and the wonderful game of tennis itself.

    It really is a unique sport and obviously one of the easiest to take advantage of the rules in certain situations.

    I never have cheated and never will but I just had never entertained the possibility that people who for all the world are nice guys off the court, would go out and intentionally call balls out on the basis that you're "supposed to". It just never crossed my mind and hence my curiosity.

    It's nice to see that the TT community do in fact play tennis for what it is and have utmost respect for the game and their opponents. If only I could play against you guys everday!! :)
     
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  20. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    A little late, but here's two more reasons not to cheat.

    1. It can motivate your opponent, making him more focused on winning. He wants to prove he can beat you no matter how much you cheat.

    2. Retaliation. In a recent tournament match, a friend of mine warned his opponent a couple of times about really dodgy calls; the other guy was desperate to win and was making bad calls on all the important points. Eventually, my friend had enough and called the next two serves out despite the fact they were nowhere near the lines. He just stood up straight away, made the call, and caught the ball. After that, there were no more dodgy calls.
     
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  21. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    These people appear to be "nice guys", superficially off the court--BUT, you don't want them to be your stockbroker or babysitter--when the chips are down and there's money on the table, they revert to form. Watch your wallet!
     
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  22. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Hall of Fame

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    Look. Most of us here aren't playing for big money. Tennis is a hobby. Why destroy your own personal integrity by cheating just because someone else does it.
     
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  23. GlennK

    GlennK Rookie

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    Personally, I would have interpreted this comment to mean if you aren't calling the "out" balls out, then you are cheating yourself. In other words, even if it's close, if you see the ball as out, call it as such.

    Call me naive but I don't think anyone I play with regularly is purposely cheating. Missing a call here and there, yes, but not purposely cheating.
     
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  24. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Just play by the rules, like me. The rule says, if the ball touches any part of the line, it's out - and that's how I call it.

    Seriously though, this:

     
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  25. Bedrock

    Bedrock Semi-Pro

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    "I call out only when I see it is 100% out".
    Who said that it indeed was out?
    You just have made a mistake and simply not aware of it.
    Everyone makes mistakes. So allow your opponent make it sometimes and do not punish yourself for the same too much ;)
    It is a game. What happened on the tennis-court stays there. It is a game and good game suppose to be emotional. Otherwise it is boring and really does not deserve any attention..
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2011
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  26. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    +1

    There are some nice people that totally transform when it comes to competition. One of my friends told me he stopped hitting with one guy because the guy always calls close calls out. My friend says he doesn't believe his hitting partner is hooking him on purpose, but that the guy just wants to win and doesn't give a benefit of a doubt on close calls.

    I know his hitting partner and he's a real nice guy, but it seems he's just a tad too competitive.
     
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  27. Bedrock

    Bedrock Semi-Pro

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    Worlds war ;)
     
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  28. precision2b

    precision2b Semi-Pro

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    I try to stay away from "the few individuals" But when I can’t, I don’t stoop to their level I just play my game and aim a little more inside the line...
     
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  29. PimpMyGame

    PimpMyGame Hall of Fame

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    This has been exactly my experience. Play your game with integrity.
     
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  30. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    In is in and out is out. If you're not sure, it's in. It's not hard. It does, however, seem to be hard for some people to be honest.
     
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  31. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    LOL! The guy thinks tennis is war.
     
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  32. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

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    Funny this thread was made recently because I just had my first experience with cheating.

    I played a league tennis match this past Saturday night and this guy was nice off the court but he was terrible at calling balls in/out. I'd be hitting balls I really felt and thought looked good and he'd be letting them go left and right. He also wouldn't call them out or use the finger to indicate they were out. And it's not like these balls were several feet wide/long either. All these shots were so close and he still would let them go and several times it looked like I hit a ball that was going for a clean winner and he'd deliberately wait to see me give a little fist pump and then he'd be like "oh that was out..."

    So I really had no choice but to try and hook him back. I did it on match point and set point. He hit a ball that looked like it was going long on match point and as I instinctively pointed my finger to say it was out, it looked like the very back of the ball caught the back of the line by a slender margin. And I didn't even care, I just called it out. I said **** it, this guy's playing like a docuhe all match, I'm getting mine.

    Essentially I just cheated in retaliation. It's not my MO to cheat at all, but when I feel like a guy is hooking me, I'm totally going to throw it back in his face. I really should have said something about this guy not making prompt/immediate calls. You can't wait until you see the guy celebrating to say the ball was out... That's horse ****.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
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  33. Caesar

    Caesar Banned

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    So you called balls out that were in because you didn't like the promptness of his calls? Sounds like there was only one cheat on that court.

    Personally if I was playing someone in league tennis who actually fist pumped after winning points I'd probably make late calls too. Its fun to mess with people who take things hyperserious. Doesn't mean I wouldn't make the calls accurate.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
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  34. Bedrock

    Bedrock Semi-Pro

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    Ask any junior tennis player about cheating (after several years of playing in USTA) - Answer will be "everyone is cheating"
     
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  35. Jeebs

    Jeebs Rookie

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    Agassi gives a good example in his book
     
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  36. Bedrock

    Bedrock Semi-Pro

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    Sampres too
     
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  37. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    It's an allegory for war--whatever the hell that means.
     
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  38. InspectorRacquet

    InspectorRacquet Semi-Pro

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    What I'm really saying is that I try to be as fair as possible and I don't intentionally cheat. If you need to cheat to win, you don't deserve to win. And tennis is the prime sport to cheat in.
     
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  39. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    No way. Everyone does not cheat and there is no unwritten rule to call balls other than what they are. I know players and have seen plenty of matches of regular juniors, high level juniors, High School, College, and club that do not intentionally cheat.

    The "everyone does it so I should/can", is a complete cop out. "Everyone" cheats on their taxes, so I should? "Everyone" runs stop signs, so I should? "Everyone" smokes, so I should? And on and on.... BS. Do the right thing and maybe more people will start doing the right thing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
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  40. Bedrock

    Bedrock Semi-Pro

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    ;-)
    ....
    ()()()() *
    ....
    ;-)
     
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  41. michael_1265

    michael_1265 Professional

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    Agreed. My point is that there is a margin of error to what you see, and there are a lot of factors that play into it. Place 10 balls close to and touching the baseline, and then have a friend standing on the opposite baseline guess whether the balls are on, long, or short of the baseline. And those balls are stationary!
     
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  42. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

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    It seems you missed a lot of my post, and you certainly missed the thread where a roving official gave the point to the other person when her opponent didn't make a prompt and immediate out call... And it was a ball that was several feet out... The majority of these balls were ridiculously close..


    This guy did it to me the entire night and he would wait until after he picked up the ball at the back fence to come back and say it was out... Come on, that's ****ty sportsmanship anyway you want to look at it.

    I also said that I felt like at least 4 shots I hit were absolutely in and he didn't give any one of them to me... Maybe they were, maybe they weren't, but the fact that he didn't make calls until way late is inexcusable...


    I wasn't fist pumping after winning every point, just on shots that looked like winners and he called them out way late....

    Reading comprehension FTL buddy... Next time, don't make a comment until you fully understand what the other person is saying...
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011
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  43. Bedrock

    Bedrock Semi-Pro

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    This is real sportsmanship. :twisted:
     
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  44. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Been trying to figure out what this means, but my age-to-emoticon ratio must be too high! Lil' help?
     
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  45. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    My current nemesis seems to possess the keenest eyesight of any of the numerous guys against whom I regularly play matches. He alone will almost always call a hot serve of mine out when it lands close to a line. He really seems to me to be giving himself the benefit of his own doubts routinely, he does not give me very many line calls when (I believe) he feels that my serve is picking up and about to get going for some cheap points. I realize that visual perceptions are subject to distortion given the distance between my baseline and his service box, and that sometimes a serve that looks like it's IN really isn't, while other times a serve that looks like it's OUT is actually in. Against this one guy, though, such close-to-a-line balls are almost always called "out" by him which isn't the case against all the other opponents that I play regularly. When I'm serving, their calls are more random and less uniform than those my nemesis makes. I do not accuse him of purposefully hooking, but I am certain that he is extremely competitive and these people sometimes see only what they need to in order to win.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
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  46. ttbrowne

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    I am overly fair. My wife *****es at me for playing serves that seem in to me but she (a spectator) can see them as out. But this happens all the time, ya can't get every call right.

    I'll only hook a person if I KNOW that they've made the wrong call on purpose. Such as a doubles opponent who is right on top of the line, the ball is clearly in and he calls it out. I'll wait for an in ball and call it out. What goes 'round comes 'round.
     
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  47. dennis10is

    dennis10is Banned

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    You need to think about your children. You winning a tennis match will benefit your children hence, you need to do everything you can for the benefit of your children. If this means you cheat to win, you must do it for your family.
     
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  48. ttbrowne

    ttbrowne Hall of Fame

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    Ha! I can't stand my children (well, all but one) so I wouldn't do anything for them. My wife...that is a different story. Sometimes I need a ride home from the match so you might have a point.
     
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  49. jdubbs

    jdubbs Hall of Fame

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    I played a match Saturday, my first at 4.5.
    I was getting beat pretty good, and I hit a netcord that dropped right in front of his side.
    Somehow, my opponent got to it, and hit it back just over the net, but wide.
    I called it out and he blew up at me. Really let loose and got very angry.

    He was up 6-1, 3-1 at the time. Our next opponent was watching, and he told me later that it was out, he even pointed that out to my opponent.

    I felt bad about the call, even though I was right. But it definitely put a chill on our friendly banter up to that point.

    I guess that's the thing with me, I try to be a nice guy out there and pride myself on calling fair calls. And I'm nice to my opponent always, usually with a little banter.

    It was kind of a bummer he thought I was hooking and I definitely wasn't.
     
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  50. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    Didn't really read all the responses, but I'll throw in my $.02 in simple terms.

    Tennis is special because when it's played without an official, the opponents must exhibit a significant level of integrity and mutual respect. We call our opponent's shots out there, not our own. That's a rare thing in sports, but it's also especially worthwhile. As a "tennis person", I take some extra pride in my sport because of the sportsmanship that's woven into the fabric of the game. According to its code, points are only earned and opponents receive the benefit of the doubt without hesitation.

    Anyone willing to take up these responsibilities as a participant at least earns that extra measure of respect from his or her peers. Those who cheat in an attempt to get by out there are frankly disgusting. They have no respect for the effort and skill of their opponents OR the benefit of the doubt which those opponents are willing to extend them. They also don't respect a sport which spans the globe. I have no tolerance for such arrogant turds.

    Anyone who believes they're "obliged to cheat" are cop-outs who are lying to themselves to justify their conduct. They have no interest in a true sporting contest where they're willing to put their skills and tactics up against those of a worthy opponent. They're bad for tennis. They deserve no respect or courtesy from other players if they think that they can chronically cheat. They'd be better off in some other athletic endeavor where their responsibilities are managed by a third party who carries a whistle.

    On a lighter note, the cool people rarely invite the cheaters or weasels to their parties, so there's that...
     
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