Rude to Return Out Service Ball to Server Especially When It's Obviously a Fault?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by USS Tang, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Your premise is incorrect. It is most efficient to catch the ball and pocket it, a little less efficient to hit it near the bottom of the net, and the least efficient to hit it back to the server, which takes the most time, travels the longest distance, and has the most possibilities of fumbles, the effects of wind, sun, hitting a bird, having the server fumble it, or ricocheting off a fence pole or other court structure.

    If you want to maximize your court time with the least potential to disrupt others, catch and hold is more efficient.
     
  2. Brian11785

    Brian11785 Hall of Fame

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    After you've already begun swinging? I catch VERY obviously (more than a foot or two) out balls that are slow enough to catch, return balls hard at the last minute. Bunting only seems intuitive in that middle area, in which a bunt is virtually a last minute foot-on-the-brakes of a full swing.

    No, the worst scenario, one suggested by many here, is to let the ball hit the back fence.
     
  3. Brian11785

    Brian11785 Hall of Fame

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    This is the part where I say I am a 3.5 and that delegitimizes my opinion? It has been my experience, that, as I've moved up from 2.5 and 3.0, players have become less nit-picky and complaining. With 2.5 mixed doubles being the worst. I still think our relative perceptions are based more on the cut-throatness of the leagues we've played in (thus, the need to enforce The Code--I've had virtually none) vs. some sort of difference in culture based on skill level.


    Strong words. And your judgments about other players as clueless/rude/new/all of the above further reinforces my thesis that people who play in USTA tend to view those on the court in more adversarial lights than those who do not participate.
     
  4. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    This is the part where I tell you that once you move up to 4.0 that your perception would almost certainly change.

    The best example I can use is that at 3.5 and below when warming up serves it was common to have people bunt back the serves so one person would serve over and over, then the other person would take all their serves. Once you move up in my experience people exclusively catch and serve back because of how much more efficient it is to warm up that way. There is just FAR too much chasing when players try and bunt back serves even when they are only trying to bunt it back.

    Maybe at 3.0 and 3.5 the serves are slow enough that you can consistently bunt the ball back to within a step of the server which is why I was saying that I have a strong feeling that the difference in level strongly clouds people's judgement on this.

    But if there are a bunch of 4.5 players who bunt the ball back I'm certainly willing to listen.
     
  5. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    Well here's an old thread on the topic:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=37953

    From that thread:
    --rkelley is a 4.5 at this point I believe.


    --USERNAME was a high-level junior and D1 college player as I recall.

    --BU-Tennis says elsewhere in his posts that he played college tennis and also coached high school tennis.

    So it would seem that there are some pretty advanced players out there who think it's not a crime to bunt serves back to the server.
     
  6. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    The above is the correct way to warm-up serves.

    You are amending your previous statement. You are now agreeing with me that you catch and pocket if your ability allows. Yes, sometimes you are in full swing at a fast and close to the line serve--the hand/reaction is quicker then the eye--and the mind. Good players will understand when this happens and will forgive you for it as long as you were able to "bunt" the return to them or into the corner so as not to interrupt the rhythm of their serve. If you can't, then you must offer them two. As your vision/VISION improves, you will get better at this. The "worst scenario" "by many here" is incorrect, allowing the ballto go back to your fence is acceptable--hitting the ball back over the net is the worst choice. If, and when you play tournaments, this will become painfully obvious to you why--start fixing it now.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
  7. Brian11785

    Brian11785 Hall of Fame

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    Not an amendment. A qualifier. One I made within the first couple of my posts in the thread (from page 2.)

    I am not arguing that bunting is the best or easiest ways to deal with out first serves. I am only arguing that it is in some cases.
     
  8. Brian11785

    Brian11785 Hall of Fame

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    That is a valid point (that 3.5 serves are more "buntable" than those of higher levels.) And, not to pat myself on the back, but I am a 3.5 with at least a 4.5 bunt.
     
  9. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Then we have nothing to argue about.
     
  10. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    Actually I suspect this is not much of an issue at genuinely high levels as first serves will rarely be slow (or off-target) enough to make "gee what shall I do with this slow and clearly out first serve" a common question.

    Presumably most first serves will be too quick or close for the returner to avoid a reaction return and many balls will be coming back to the server regardless, so the servers can't be getting too worked up about balls coming back their way.

    Also--the Code as quoted in this thread just says "don't return obvious faults" not "don't return obvious faults on first serves."

    Cindy (or anyone) are you saying that it's wrong or rude to bunt the ball back to the server after a double fault? Because that's what the letter of the Code seems to say, and that sounds goofy to me.
     
  11. Brian11785

    Brian11785 Hall of Fame

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    I was wondering about this exact point.

    That specific issue has never come up for me. As soon as I see my opponent's second serve land out. I immediately drop my racquet and do a double fist-pump, accompanied by a loud "Come on!" So bunting back, not so much an option here.
     
  12. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    I believe this is incorrect (though it may fly at the 3.5 level).

    The proper thing to do according to the Code is to catch that ball and pocket it, then politely walk it over to the other side of the net so that the server can begin the next point.

    Alternately, you can hit the ball into the net. You should then proceed to walk to the net, pick up the ball, and toss or hand-deliver it to the server.

    This may seem counterintuitive, but the Code clearly says "don't hit obvious faults over the net," and if we don't follow the Code to the letter, there will be anarchy.
     
  13. jmnk

    jmnk Professional

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    these two are priceless.....

    Honestly I have always thought that The Code is there in case two folks can't come to an agreement on something. As in - both have valid points on something so The Code tells you what to do.

    But if both sides have some common sense - i certainly think that they can have a nice match and not follow the code.

    Like do i really must loudly say the score after each point? Is that really that bad to catch a ball in the air if i'm three feet behind the baseline and the ball is still chest high? Do we have to change sides if for the sake of prompt play we are both perfectly fine with playing entire set from the same side. And so on....
     
  14. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    You're right that the Code says you aren't to hit the ball back over the net following an obviously out serve.

    For second serve faults that are obviously out, this requires the returner to catch the ball and physically walk the ball up to the net and hand it to the server.

    Um, no.

    Obviously, you can bunt the serve back over the net following a DF. What you cannot do is take a huge rip at it, and if the Code limited itself to applying only to first serves, some people would do exactly that.

    Personally, I do not bunt the serve back following a DF. This is because the server and net player may have let their guard down. I wouldn't want to hurt anyone. So I control the ball and bunt it to the server when she is expecting it. It takes just a second, but it strikes me as more courteous than whacking the ball back over before the server has had time to scold herself for the DF.
     
  15. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    There are moments when the Code is great, but in this case, I disagree with it. I would probably ask my opponent if he/she has a preference. If they don't mind, I'll do it. If they do mind, I won't. Plain and simple. I honestly don't care about my opponents feelings because they double faulted. They know they made the mistake and should be able to get over it. Of course they will be upset because there's a thing called pressure[/B. Tennis is a mental sport (the majority of the time). If they can't get over a simple DF, they deserve to lose.

    Goodness, there's alot of pansies out there in the courts...

    Goodness,
     
  16. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    Guess I'm missing that "obvious" citation. Which item number is that?

    I'm kinda liking the very first item under "Principles":

    1. Courtesy is expected. Tennis is a game that requires cooperation and courtesy.

    In all my years of playing singles, doubles, USTA and all other manner of organized and social tennis, I've never had this issue come up. Ever. Of course, can't say I've even played with or against someone that really took a whack at an OOS. It just doesn't happen, at least around here. And either I'm oblivious or completely carefree and couldn't tell you who typically bunts the ball back and who doesn't.

    Will admit to bunting it back a time or two myself, generally more as an oops than something scripted or nefarious...but most likely to keep from having to hold a second ball (since, when playing singles, I'm already holding one). Unlike you guys, whose shorts often have deep pockets, it's hard enough for us gals sometimes to have a place to stick the one ball, much less another one. And on a windy day, with close courts, in a friendly match (which could also be a USTA-affair :) )...us ladies will figure it out.

    Realize I'm in the minority here...and would most certainly defer to an opponent who says something.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
  17. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Not sure what you're asking.

    After a DF, the players are between points. At that time, players will shift to the other side of the court and handle the balls. As there is no rule requiring players to throw balls to their opponents, they may use their rackets. That is what I mean -- you use your racket to send the ball back to the server.

    I don't think our female wardrobe issues create an exception, honestly. If it is singles, give the server all three balls so that you can pocket an errant first serve.

    If you haven't played an OOR, consider yourself lucky. It is really annoying, IMHO, and it can suck you into not playing a return because you figured the returner was just sending the ball back to you when in fact they were playing it.
     
  18. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    That's true through half-way in your post.

    Uh, you don't have to wear skirts/skorts/whatever-they-are-called to play tennis. You can easily get some XS or S men's shorts and play with those as I see they make women's shorts very short and don't have deep pockets in them.
     
  19. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, how very silly of us ladies to prefer to wear ladies' clothing rather than men's clothing.
     
  20. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    But you are playing tennis, isn't that all it matters? It's easier to have some shorts with deep pockets instead of putting it under your shorts/skirts. I seen this happen all the time and it's odd to me. :)
     
  21. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    The citation you're hanging your hat on says: A player shall not put into play or hit over the net an obvious fault. The general section it's in, Serving, isn't specific to things while just "in play" or "at the start of a point." If you're going to nitpick the Code, just make sure you can do it for all the possibilities (and let's face it, there are lots of DFs, LOL).

    Not asking for an "exception," merely explaining why I might be inclined to push the ball back over the net. And really, make the server hold two balls, just so I can pocket an errant first serve? That ain't happenin' around here either. Now, there are players (mostly male, but a few women too), who like to have all three and I'm happy to give them the bunch. But, generally speaking, I've had way more outright requests to "hold the third"...than "gimme all three."

    Guess I can see how if it were a constant, or they were really taking a shot at it...dispersing the ball to goodness-know-where...sure that'd probably get on my nerves. This whole mess is just not that big of a deal.

    Guess I'll have to go searching in the boys section (as even a mens XS won't work on me)...again, just so I can pocket an errant serve. :rolleyes: Don't tell the folks at TW. They make a lot of money selling those thingys.
     
  22. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Good luck finding some!

    Trust me, there's always something that can fit you. :)
     
  23. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I have seen people bash it back. Very rude.
     
  24. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Okay, now that is something a jerk would do.
     
  25. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Are you kidding, kid?--watching the ladies lift their skirts and stuff the ball into their panties is one of the best things about tennis. I tried to find some tennis panties here at TW, with two ball pockets to help the ladies here, but they only have them with one ball pocket--real women want to hold all three, since some balls get fuzzier then others from topspin.

    There were some at **** with two ball pockets. I hope I don't get banned for saying that, they were old lady looking and used:

    WHITE WOMENS TENNIS BLOOMERS TO WEAR UNDER SHORTS 2 SIDE BALL POCKETS (6506)

    Watch this item
     
  26. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    There you go. Server expecting the controlled bunt; it just takes a second, and play proceeds at a quick pace. All's well when done under your interpretation -- and even mine.
     
  27. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    This is an excellent analysis; certainly more polite and accurate than turning issue into level of ability.

    Kept this discussion in mind yesterday evening through 3 sets. Don't recall any obvious first serve faults that were easily "buntable." We readily give firsts with much humorous banter over a sub-theme of trying to get (and preventing) a let based on any distraction - and with 10 filled city courts there are many :)
     
  28. breezybee

    breezybee New User

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    I wear a ladies' XS so no way a men's XS is going to fit. I do buy boy's track pants for playing in the cold but I'm not wearing boy's shorts to play in the summer. They come past my knees and make me look like I'm 12.
     
  29. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    No, no. You misunderstand me.

    I don't return the serve in the form of a bunt. I *control it* and then hit the ball back to the server.

    See, it is important not to hit the obviously out DF back to the server. The farther out a serve is, the more likely the net player is to let her guard down. If you bunt rather than control, you may hit her when she is not protecting herself.

    Here's the other thing, though.

    For years, I have done warm-ups at the 3.5/4.0 level. This is a time when all players are trying to hit controlled strokes right back to their opponent. Yet a lot of players cannot seem to do that. Some cannot feed a ball accurately to save their lives. Surely all of you have experienced this during a warm-up?

    So when people on this thread say they can bunt an aggressive obviously out serve back to the server so the server needn't move to retrieve it, I absolutely do not believe you have that kind of control off of a serve.
     
  30. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Yes! It's amazing how these very same "players", who can't hit a ball back to you to save their lives in the warm-up, suddenly become dead-eyes when the score is being kept. All those shanks during the warm-up become winners in the match--nightmares to play with.
     
  31. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Okay, the exposed view is alright I guess.

    But with the collected sweat in the underwear, it messes up the ball...

    Sure, two ball pockets are alright. I don't carry more than two because carrying multiple balls decrease mobility to an extent.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  32. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Because of your body type and height, it's someone a valid excuse.

    For some reason, sizes in shorts differ from each other. One short's "Medium" is a small compared to another short with size "Medium". :|
     
  33. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    "A player shall not put into play or hit over the net an obvious
    fault."

    I understand you; you hit a ball back to the server with "control" as the operative qualifier. I agree. If receiver can't control it, keep it on the receiving side or risk giving a let.
    :)
     
  34. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    No, you don't understand.

    When I say "control" the ball, I do *not* mean "hit the obviously out serve softly."

    "Control the ball" means the serve is coming and you catch it. Or you backspin it to yourself. Or you slap it into the ground near you and then grab it. Or you pick it up.

    Once you have controlled the ball, you then take your arm or your racket and send it to the server or server's partner. You can do this by throwing, hitting, slapping it into the ground so it bounces over the net, or rolling it under the net.

    See?
     
  35. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    I understand completely; you "hit the ball back over the net" to the serving team under your conditions. Any other way is wrong and only done by noobies.

    Keep in mind, according to the OP, the noobie receiver in question has the control to gently return the obviously out serve "straight back to the server."
     
  36. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Those aren't just Cindy's, those are the right way as done by real players. It's not just noobies who do it wrong, there's "players" who've been playing all their lives, who are too ignorant and slovenly to learn how to do things right--how you do something is how you do everything.
     
  37. Texas Scrambler

    Texas Scrambler New User

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    OK, I took an informal poll

    I for years returned serves back to the server as a manner of speeding up the flow of the game. I would smack them if they were close but if widely out, a control shot to the server back fence.

    I asked this question to my men's doubles league last night and no-one had any problem with the common practice. No problems even after discussing the rules and return of out serves.

    So I think different strokes for different strokes and probably varies from place to place and person to person.

    So if it bother you, speak up and most will oblige.

    I don't mind it as a server, feel it speeds the flow of the game.

    All that being said, if someone I was playing did not like it, then I would alter the return.
     
  38. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    I know very few (if any) people that would complain about a first-serve fault being returned to them - especially if it was gently bunted. It is the obvious first serve faults that are returned over the net but nowhere near the server that get annoying. I see lots of people do this and I'm convinced some do it intentionally.
     
  39. NoSkillzAndy

    NoSkillzAndy Rookie

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    For me, reading this thread was like taking a trip into the Twilight Zone. This sort of thing just hasn't been an issue at all in my playing experience.

    First of all, the precise etiquette of how someone handles the return of serve is not that big of a deal. Chill out a little :D

    Second, while not everyone knows The Code, most people follow some sort of common sense on the court or will at least respond to common sense when asked to do so. People have different habits on the court, and from my experience most of these are perfectly reasonable. If it's really bothering you, ask them nicely to do it differently and problem solved. Going all rules lawyery on someone probably won't end well.

    Lastly, The Code isn't the infallible word of the tennis gods. It's just a set of guidelines to follow while playing the sport. I personally don't agree with this particular part and believe there is more than one acceptable way to handle out serves. When I play matches I tend to adjust to my opponent's preferences and all is well.
     
  40. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Thank you Mrs. Macenroe, your name says it all.
     
  41. Brian11785

    Brian11785 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks. My opinion exactly. Also, best racquet ever!

    I mentally bookmarked when I returned out serves in matches since this thread began. I realized that I did it less than I thought I did (almost to the point to which I question why I was defending the act so vehemently), but there are some cases when it just makes sense:

    1) On net/let serves (this was never officially addressed I don't think, since it isn't an out serve technically.) Serves that pop up off the net are easiest to bunt....and the server needs another ball, most likely.

    2) When I can tell out of my periphery that my opponent was expecting/wanting it. This was not every opponent obviously, but some people just seem to be expecting to have the serve immediately returned to them (to use the same ball for the second serve?).

    I kept waiting for an instance to come up where it felt a little iffy on whether or not I should have hit the return back to them so I could ask my opponent how he felt about it, but it honestly never came up. Either it felt totally right (honestly, about three times a set) or I just instinctively caught the ball, blocked it down, or (something I hate doing in singles) hitting it into the net.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  42. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    ^This is good to hear.

    It is really not that difficult to comply with the Code on this, and it sounds like you did a nice job. If you are catching or blocking the ball rather than whacking it some of the time, you are doing just fine.

    I, on the other hand, played social doubles this weekend against 3.0/3.5 players. They returned every single out serve. Because they lack control, these serves often went away from me and rolled back onto the court so I had to go clear them. I do not recall them ever, ever pocketing an out serve.

    Ahem.
     
  43. Brian11785

    Brian11785 Hall of Fame

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    I definitely know where you're coming from; just know I am not (and have never been) that person.

    Though I never pocket out serves in doubles. I always hit them into the net for my partner at net to pocket. But singles, yeah.

    But I don't think I did any less or more bunting after reading this thread. I simply became conscious of when (and why) I was doing it. I realized that it doesn't happen often, but for the instances I mentioned above (lets/when my opponent sends the signal that he wants it), it is just automatic.
     
  44. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    thought of this thread the other day. somewhat annoying rec partner has the habit of using obviously out serves to practice teeing off on ball; swinging full force and sending balls screaming into far fence. sigh. Suddenly hear him shout and then see his brand new racket screaming by the side of my head; I think I'd have killed him.
     
  45. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Did you tell him it was not cool to use out serves for practicing returns?
     
  46. The Isomotion31

    The Isomotion31 Semi-Pro

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    I just try to catch them with my bare hand and pocket. Or tap in down with my racket and pocket it.

    I love the look on some opponents faces when they think they are smashing serves and I just bare hand grab and pocket it while calling out.
     
  47. sam_p

    sam_p Professional

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    Be careful, I had a 4.5 USTA doubles match the other week and my partner barehanded a ball, got jammed and dislocated his ring finger on his left hand. Brief injury time out, finger reduced, we played the match and won. Later he got x-rays and found out it was broken...
     
  48. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    The only way I would ever even think of this is if someone was blatantly practicing their returns. Otherwise, it's just not a big deal and honestly if someone can hit it back to my general area so I can grab it, that would be my number one choice.
     
  49. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    agreed. there's disagreement here but imo, controlling the ball back to the server vs. letting it hit the fence and go bouncing about is good. swinging so hard that you can't maintain a grip on your own racket, not so good.
     
  50. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    887
    I don't know how you guys catch balls as returner especially if you have a 2hb. ??

    As a server in singles I prefer that the returner hit the out ball directly back to me if he is capable since it speeds up the game and gets a ball out the way. As a returner I go along with whatever the server wants to do.
     

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