Pants on Fire?!

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by jc4.0, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    I was playing on clay in a friendly doubles game last week against a couple of older ladies that are on my team. One of them has a habit of calling very close balls out, and I know that before we even start - but they took three points in one set on balls that I definitely thought were in (not balls at the baseline, but down the line shots that I had a clear view of). I didn't say anything about the first two, but on the third one, which I believed was a clean winner - I said, "are you sure?" "Can you show me a mark?"

    She circled the mark, and it was right on the outside edge of the line. The mark was a half-moon, not a full circle, nestled right against the line - and part of the line was clean. She still insisted the ball had been out, and in fact threw a temper tantrum, throwing her racquet up in the air and saying, "what - are you calling me a liar?!"

    I said just relax, take the point, we'll forget about it. A couple of points later she called my ace serve wide, when it clearly zinged off the center tee. I said, "oh - that was out?" And she went ballistic again. Actually I was just looking for confirmation - I wasn't sure that she'd called out - and it was just unbelievable that she did... Later I apologized, and assured her that I was not calling her a liar!

    My question here is - when someone questions your call, do you automatically think they're calling you a liar? Should we always just clam up and "take our medicine" even when we think our opponent is making terrible calls (especially in a friendly game)? I thought that according to the Rules, we could politely ask to see a mark, particularly on clay. This "are you sure" question doesn't mean "you're a liar/cheater" but it seems to always be taken that way.
     
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  2. Clintspin

    Clintspin Semi-Pro

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    Anytime you can see a clear mark on the clay-you should correct your call. She was out of line.
     
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  3. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    That reminds me of an episode of The Simpsons:

    Homer: Are you calling me a liar?

    Kent Brockman: Well, Mr. Simpson, we do have this video of you with your pants on fire.

    Then they play a clip of Homer running around in panic with his pants on fire.


    Anyways, she was obviously wrong, but what can you do when someone acts like that?
     
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  4. bcart1991

    bcart1991 Semi-Pro

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    Her pants were definitely on fire.

    I had that happen this summer. I had a serve get called out that was on the line. It made a mark (hard court), leaving felt half on, half off the line. Guy insisted the ball was out. I laughed at him and said "Okay buddy."

    We demolished them in the 2nd set, and I made sure to pick on him (not his female partner - mixed doubles) whenever possible.

    Edit to add: All you can really do is 1) not go for lines quite as closely and 2) trade bad call for bad call if you feel it's intentional. More times than not in competitive matches, it's intentional, despite their ramblings to the contrary.
     
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  5. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    This is very strange, especially since the mark she pointed out clearly was not out. Are you sure that she understands that half-on half-off is in and not out? Either way, if there is a mark that is half in, half out on clay, you should take the point.

    In friendly matches, if someone questions my call, I'll either accept their correction and concede the point (if a clear winner) or offer to play a let (otherwise). I call what I am sure I see, but I can't guarantee that my eyesight is infallible. If it's a friendly match then I'm sure no one is trying to cheat, so if there is a dispute, then someone who is sure that they saw the shot one way saw it wrong. I figure it's just as likely to be me, and since it is a friendly match, I don't really care about conceding a point to keep it friendly. In a league or tournament match, I'm much more likely to hold my ground if it is my call to make.
     
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  6. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I don't question calls in friendly matches. If someone needs to win so badly that they will cheat to win a social match, that's fine by me.

    If someone questions my call in a friendly match, I would consider that very weird. I would say the ball was out if that's how I called it. If they then asked to see the mark (setting aside the fact that we never play on a clay court pristine enough to find a mark), I would consider it poor form. Still, I would abide by the code and inspect the mark, which would undoubtedly prove I was right because I call the lines quite generously in such a setting.

    I think there are some unwritten assumptions and customs that govern friendly play for some people but not others. That can lead to conflict, which is apparently what happened here. I mean, if someone is footfaulting their head off in a social match, I would never in a million years call them on it. If I genuinely thought they wanted to hear the criticism, I might tell them privately afterward but that is the most I would do in a social match.
     
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  7. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    she may not be lying, but she certainly could be wrong
     
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  8. jmverdugo

    jmverdugo Hall of Fame

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    I has happened to me too: "are you saying that I am a liar?" No I am just saying that you have problems seeing the lines.
     
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  9. RichT

    RichT New User

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    The interesting bit for me is that she is a team mate.

    Call it as you see it, sure, but when challenged be a little more adult about things. Some people...

    Hope you kicked her butt.
     
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  10. decades

    decades Guest

    if you question line calls they do think that you disagree with their call....I don't question calls in rec matches...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2010
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  11. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    maybe your pants are smokin' a little...

    This is exactly what I mean, I'm NOT calling anybody a liar or a cheat - but I think we all should be a little more humble about our eyesight; we call the ball as well as we can, but nobody's perfect; so always give benefit of the doubt (that's the rule anyway). Some of these older players really CAN'T SEE worth a flip, and they wind up "winning" numerous points because of their bad calls - I just don't like to play with these guys, and often turn down games with them. God love 'em, I hope I'm still out there at their age.

    One day recently, I hit a serve which I thought glanced the line, and the guy goes and circles a mark on the outside doubles line, in other words saying that my serve had landed three feet out. We all had a good laugh, and they let me take my serve over.
     
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  12. HitItHarder

    HitItHarder Semi-Pro

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    Personally, I feel the more upset a person is about a question concerning an out call, the more likely the person has doubt about it.

    "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

    However, like Cindy mentioned above, I don't question line calls in friendly matches. If someone really wants the point that badly, so be it. Crappy line calls in friendly matches are more amusing to me than anything else.
     
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  13. Nor'easter

    Nor'easter New User

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    Last week during a league doubles match, my doubles partner and I disputed a questionable line call. It happened to be on a second serve that kicked out wide off the service box side line during deuce#5. My partner and I clearly saw it in and walked over to the net to see if there was a ball mark. The opponents said we don't "do that in this league"...so we just shook our heads, let the call stand and moved on. It wasn't a very crucial point and we were playing on hardcourts anyway.

    We happened to split sets and had to play a super-tiebreak to determine the match. We were up 9-1 and our opponents were serving. The match ended on the next point which unfortunately was a double fault. I immediately sensed our opponents were unhappy with our call. It was a weird way to end a match. Afterwards, my partner and I wondered if our opponents thought we were retaliating for the above mentioned line call. We certainly were not, but it got into our heads! Line calling is a touchy situation, perhaps in this case we should've just played the point given that it was 9-1 and it was highly probable that we were going to win anyway.
     
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  14. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    If someone goes ballistic, it is not a "friendly" game any more.
     
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  15. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    I don't understand why the OP is apologizing? If you think you're right, why back down? Players like these continue cheating because no one calls them on it. So, they cheat more and more. Why not, there's no downside to it. If you're sure she cheated don't back down, don't apologize, cheat 'em back or walk off the court and never play with them again. That may improve their vision.
     
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  16. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    Yes, they will continue to make lousy calls - only solution in my book is to not play with them anymore, and in this case it would be tough, as we're all on the same team. I only apologized because she thought (mistakenly) that I was "calling her a liar". We play mostly on clay so I've always thought it was ok to check out the mark, which is clearly visible.

    However I disagree with the notion of "cheating back". Just can't bring myself to do that, no matter how bad the line calls get. I'd hate myself in the morning!
     
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  17. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    I've been trying to tell myself that if I my shot hits the line and gets called out, it wasn't really a good shot--I don't want to hit the line, a foot or 2 inside it is great. So I missed by at least a foot if I hit the line.

    Not sure how much this helps, though.
     
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  18. bcart1991

    bcart1991 Semi-Pro

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    You've never played a South Atlanta team, have you? ;)
     
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  19. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Depends how they ask, you know? There's polite questioning, such as "did you get a clear look?", and there's implicit accusation, such as "that was clearly in!". Even tone of voice can matter - asking the exact words "are you sure" can be done with a neutral tone or an accusatory tone.

    If someone questions a call I make I don't automatically assume they're calling me a liar, unless their words or tone of voice imply it.

    I think in a friendly game, just accept the call and move on, unless you have a good enough relationship with the caller so that you can question it without potential for causing bad blood. Otherwise it's just not worth it.
     
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  20. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    I don't play tournaments or leagues anymore, just social tennis. If someone wants to cheat their *** off to win. I'll just let them. I've got no interest in trading unpleasantness for a "win" in a social match.

    It might make sense to retaliate against a career cheater in a tournament. It's still risky, you might get the reputation as the cheater. But in a social match, no one cares if you won or lost, so just leave it alone.
     
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  21. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    In our friendly group of doubles players, I'll say "no, that ball was in," smile, turn around and go back to the baseline and accept the call of out and loss of the point and go on. I won't accept it if they try to change their call; I make mistakes, too. If it is a friendly match and you believe the person isn't intentionally cheating what does it matter if you lose the point?

    You should have explained when she showed you the half-in half-out mark that it means the ball is good. She may not know the rules and could be being branded a cheater without intentionally cheating - incorrectly calling every ball that is even a little bit outside the line out.
     
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  22. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Ok, let's not brand her a cheater, but...the ignorance always goes in the person's favor, and someone remains ignorant of a rule that would only take a minute to learn?
     
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  23. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    Oh, I explained it to her - she understands the rules anyway - but she was just mad and wouldn't back down off a bad call.
     
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  24. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I'm trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, but now it sounds like she is intentionally cheating.
     
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  25. Becksx1

    Becksx1 Rookie

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    If the ball hits the line in squash its out .... if the ball hits the line in tennis its in ....
     
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  26. yourmailman

    yourmailman Rookie

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    I do not agree with retaliating with bad calls at all! That makes me a cheater, and I refuse to become that. Besides, everyone makes a bad call now and then. Even the people who's only job is making line calls get it wrong sometimes. That's why the chair umpire can overrule a line call and professional tennis now has Hawk-Eye.

    In a friendly game, I don't worry about it. In a league or tournament, I would politely question the call, but it must stand if it is their call to make. Just move on and play your best. Regardless of the outcome of the match, if you have done your best and been honest with your line calls against someone that is intentionally making bad calls, you win - they lose.

    I played in a doubles league and made a call on a baseline ball that was seen as clearly out to both myself and my partner, giving us the game. The opposing team used the "Are you sure?" question (in a very argumentative tone). We both responded in the affirmative and received the balls to continue play. My first serve of the next game, an obvious ace, was called out... followed by a look and a nod between the opponents that screamed retaliation. My partner and I didn't press the point. We just looked at each other and and smiled. I took my second serve and took pride in knowing that neither my partner nor myself would stoop to that level to win a match.

    The next time we played them, a similar situation occurred. My partner and I both called one of their serves wide. This time it was not "Are you sure?", it was "No way that was out!", followed by a stomping of feet that would have made McEnroe proud. We politely reiterated our call and they grudgingly agreed with it. On the very next point a lob behind them was called long by both players, one before the ball hit the ground right at the baseline (It looked good to me. It may have been out, but it was very close and my view was a bit obstructed), and he was already facing the net again. He clearly did not see where the ball landed. We changed our strategy. We tightened up our shots so there would be no questionable calls and took the second set. We lost the tie-breaker, but I slept well knowing we had taken the high road.

    After this incident, we did some checking with the other teams and found that our opponents were known for their vociferous protests of close line calls and retaliation tactics. I would rather have a reputation as an honest loser than a winner that cheats others by retaliating with intentional bad line calls. After all, intentionally making a bad call is not just bad form, it is cheating.

    Besides, anyone that tells you they have never made a bad call is lying to you and themselves. If you are sure you made the right call, be polite but stick to your guns. If you have doubts, offer to play a let or replay the point as the situation warrants. If you analyze the call and decide you were wrong... set up, change your call and award the point.
     
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  27. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    OK, the events of today make me think that questioning line calls in social matches is not a good idea.

    I was playing doubles with friends today. One lady was playing with a very strong partner. My partner and I had no prayer of winning, and it would be a struggle to win even a single game. That's OK. We're all friends.

    So the lady with the strong partner is serving to me in the deuce court. Serve comes up the middle. My partner calls it out. I really didn't get a good look at it -- I was returning poorly and so was quite focused on looking at the ball, moving my feet, and dealing with some serious sun glare. It wasn't really far out, nor was it obviously in. I didn't know.

    Player who served the ball says, "You're calling that out?" My partner says it was out, indicating it was on the wrong side of the center line. Server says, "Are you sure?" My partner says she is sure. Server looks at me and asks me if it was in. I said I had no idea, but my partner saw it out so it was out. Server then walks up toward net, peering to look for a mark on the hard court.

    Good grief. It is a social match. It might have been out -- my partner was standing right there by the bounce of the ball. Is it really necessary in a social match to go all John McEnroe over a line call? Why not just accept that your pal at worst made a bad call or at best made the correct call?

    And no, I didn't offer to play a let. :)
     
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  28. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    I wouldn't have over-ruled my partner either. But I think your partner shouldn't have made that call. Isn't the partner of the receiver to make service calls only with regard to "deep" or not? You'd be the one to call "wide". She's looking across the line, not down the line, with that bad view, she shouldn't have made that call, that was your call to make.
     
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  29. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    I think calling the lines is a challenge. I recently was playing doubles when our opponents hit a ball deep and toward the side line. Both my partner and I were within 15' of the ball (I was about 6' away), which I saw land right on the middle of the line. I called it good, my partner called it out. She pointed to a mark (clay courts) a couple inches from I thought the ball hit. I asserted myself on the call because 1) I thought I was right, and 2) If you're going to err, that's the side you want to err on.

    I have been playing friendly games on these courts before when I have asked onlookers whether a ball was in or out (onlookers sit in an area that is 4 feet above the court and have an excellent view). I am surprised at the number of times I am wrong on balls that I saw very clearly. I have had the same reaction while I have watched others play, seeing numerous players make incorrect calls.

    My takeaway here is that line calling by players is inexact, and no one gets the close calls correct all the time. I am new to tournament tennis, but I have yet to see anyone make bad calls on purpose, but I suppose that day will come.
     
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  30. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, that is true. I would normally not wish my partner to make that call. I think one reason I wasn't paying too much attention to a line I normally call is that it was a social match, so who cares if the first serve was a tad out? I'd rather call the lines generously and focus on my shot.
     
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  31. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Play long enough and you will run into a conscious cheater. But most cheating is due to negligence, but it will cost you critical points just the same. It's like car accidents, most people don't go out with the intention of deliberately having an accident. They get into or contribute to them do to poor habits like tail-gating, inattention like talking on the cell or taking eyes off the road to converse with their passengers.

    It's the same in tennis. Most missed shots are caused by taking the eye off the ball and most bad calls are caused by negligent, lazy eyesight. One trait shared by pros and good players is excellent eyesight. They got it by working on it. The eyes have muscles too that make them foucus. There are eye exercises one can do but the best one would be to play tennis and watch the ball.
     
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