Taking the code too seriously?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by tennistim, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    I play tennis in the UK in adult leagues and I always play by the code.

    http://www.usta.com/Active/The-Rule...e_The_Players_Guide_for_Unofficiated_Matches/

    Recently I have been getting angry more and more often because other players (including doubles partners) don't play by the same rules - breaking the code all the time in every match.

    How do other players get around this?

    Should I tell my doubles partner he is breaking the code during a match? What is the best way to deal with this?
     
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  2. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    It depends on how serious the violations are. For example, if people are foot-faulting by a few inches, I wouldn't be bothered. But, one thing that still bothers me even after five years in England is that people want to play a let when they can't tell if the ball was out. It's like they want to cheat but they don't have the guts to do it, so they want you to replay the point. I try not to be rude, but I push them to make a call one way or another.

    If it's serious stuff, I'd say stand firm. Otherwise, let it slide.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011
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  3. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    That's the most common way that all players cheat - and it is cheating because universally the world over every tennis authority states that benefit of the doubt must be given to the opponent.

    Is this just a UK thing or does this go on in other countries?

    The other things people do are:

    Not calling their lines. (very common)
    Not calling the score when they serve and then not knowing what the score is (very common)
    Asking to play a let after they have lost the point because they were put off (happens every month or so)

    I also turn a blind eye to foot faults as there is no real advantage gained by the server and most foot faulting players would be annoyed if you ever called them on it. But if it were a league match would you call it?

    Other than foot faulting, I think any instance breaking of the code is as serious as any other. Just because one violation is more common than another shouldn't make it any less serious.
     
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  4. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    There is an advantage gained by foot faulting. Most sports are a game of inches, every one matters.
     
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  5. JLyon

    JLyon Hall of Fame

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    why not just follow ITF rules since USTA is specific to USA, ITF governs the pros and the rest unless LTA has their own set of codes
     
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  6. jdubbs

    jdubbs Hall of Fame

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    Those drive me crazy. I've had opponents look at me for the call. I just say "yep it was in" because if I show doubt they either call the ball out (80% of the time) or want to play a let.
    If you don't know, it's your opponents point...every time.

    The score thing drives me crazy too, with people not calling the score before every point, I've gotten into arguments over this. Less so now, as I call it before every serve, and even some of the opponents serves too.

    The let thing doesn't happen too much though. I'm also very generous with the "take two" philosophy if there is any doubt at all.
     
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  7. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    I will almost never "play two". It just bothers me. I will give an honest answer to the question at hand ... the ball was good, or I saw it out. I know the correct call gets made (at least as far as I saw it) and we move on.

    Had a USTA match last year where a chap from the UK (maybe it is a cultural thing) tried this no less than 6 times in the match and every time I said "no that ball was well in and we will not play two".
     
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  8. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    Yes, it is quite common over here to call lets when people don't want to make a call. It surprized me quite a bit when I first moved over.

    If I'm in a match, I push people (including my own partners) to make a call. If my partner tries to call a let and I didn't see it clearly, I'll say it was in. If my opponents try to call a let, I'll tell them it was either in or out and they have to choose.

    It shocked people at first, but they're getting used to it now.
     
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  9. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    So if this is a problem more common in the UK, do you think it is because the LTA's version of the code is just 1 page long and doesn't spell it out?

    I have just posted on the LTA's facebook page about this - http://www.facebook.com/britishtennislta/posts/261243117222158
     
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  10. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    No, the Code specifically says that if you do not know whether the opponent's shot was in or out, you can ask the opponent. You must accept the opponent's answer.

    I had this happen in a mixed match this weekend. My partner hit a shot to the male opponent at net, who blasted his volley right at my face. I ducked, so I didn't see the ball land. I turned to my partner and asked if the shot was out. He didn't know. I turned to the male opponent, and he said he didn't see it. No one saw it out, so it was in.

    Although it was probably out . . . :)
     
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  11. tennytive

    tennytive Semi-Pro

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    I agree. Step on the line in football or basketball and you're out of bounds.

    If even the very tip of your toe touches the 3 point line, it's 2 points not 3.

    Why we let people foot fault when the only effort they need is to stand back those "few inches" is beyond me. When their serve or any other shot is out by only a few inches, do we count those as good too? Big pet peeve of mine.

    This isn't golf with ladies tees.
     
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  12. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    Personally I turn a blind eye to this as I think some lower level club players can't help it and I believe that it wouldn't give them any advantage at the level anyway.

    At the pro level foot faults would give a noticeable advantage (it could change the result of a match) and rightly so is strictly enforced by officials.
     
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  13. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    should have read "at that level"
     
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  14. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    Did you notice if his pant were on fire? When us big strong men blast volleys we tend to notice if they land in or not. Unless he was upset that you managed to get your face out of the way...
     
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  15. 6-2/6-4/6-0

    6-2/6-4/6-0 Semi-Pro

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    I'm all for playing by the code, and certainly don't call anything out (definitely not a let) unless I see it as being out. Honor in tennis is imperative in my book. Winning by cheating at close line calls is worse than losing.

    That said, how can someone who is preparing to receive serve see from 80ft. away that you toe nicked the baseline when you are serving. I don't ever call foot faults because I'm too busy getting ready to return serve. Unless it's a huge foot fault (stepping well into the court), there's no way to clearly see it, I think.

    I used to foot fault quite badly some times when I was young and got a reputation as a foot-faulter, so people watched. When I sorted out my serve motion and mechanics to eliminate the foot fault people would still throw in the odd call because they thought they had a few coming from me (and, of course, they would usually do it when I popped a big first serve). After changing my serve motion if I did foot fault it was by less than a centimeter and I have a hard time believing that they actually saw it. A line judge would have, but someone 80ft. away preparing to return a big kick serve? Really? (Sorry, my own personal ax to grind...)
     
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  16. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    I printed out a copy of the code to keep in my racket bag - just in case I ever need to show an opponent in a match.

    Really, the thing that makes the problem worse is that at least 99.9% players I play break the code. One player sees other players breaking the code and does the same.

    I played a guy in practice at my club last week, and after my winning shot he paused for about 20 seconds and then called it out. I said that he didn't sound very sure and he said he was about 70% sure it was out. I told him that he had to give the benefit of the doubt to me and he said, "Well I've never heard that rule before".

    I blame the LTA.
     
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  17. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

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    I hate it when my opponents ask me if a ball was good or ask to replay the point. I mean what do they expect my answer to be? No man the shot I hit was so out, are you kidding me? Who would do that? Even if I thought my shot might have gone wide or long, I'm not saying anything. It's their responsibility to calls balls on their court. Next time someone asks me or wants to play a let, I'm going to be the biggest ****** ever. Too many times before I've actually played points over because the dude wasn't sure, or the person has asked me and I give him an unsure answer and he's just like oh "I'll give it to you." Well, thanks for your charity ********, since you didn't have the balls to make the call yourself, and had to ask my opinion.... No more will that ever happen!! It's like You don't get to replay points just because you can't make a call or you didn't see it well.


    Code stats that a call shall be made in a timely fashion. 20 seconds is a ridiculous amount of time for him to sit there and look. I would have gone McEnroe on his ass and been like "You cannot be serious!"

    I mean come on, 70% sure? What a joke. It takes him a year to make an out call and he's not even 100% sure? Wow...
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
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  18. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    So are you saying that some parts of the the code are dumb?

    I disagree.

    What's the point in winning if you know you cheated your opponent!?!?!

    How would you like it if you were in doubt about a call, and your opponent lied to get the point.

    I think this part of the code makes sense because often you have a better view of your own down the line shots than your opponent does - especially if they have been pulled out wide.
     
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  19. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Lately, in rec/club play, I have not been as generous with my calls as is my normal want. I may have not forced my eyeball muscles to constrict and focus as well as they could have. One hair, on that cheap fuzzy Penn, may have come very close to that blurry line, and I may have said "OUT" wrongly without the utmost benefit of the doubt.

    But, in my own defense, by that point in the "match", if you can call it a match, it was no longer tennis. It was four old farts trying to impress each other, a sad state. If there was a hundred things that could have been done wrongly on a tennis court--or on the way to and away from it--all hundred were perpetrated and ingeniously new ones created.

    Code?, what Code?--that had gone out the window on ye ol' club's deck prior to "playing". Surprisingly, when you cheat a cheater or they think you are cheating them, their eyes open wider and they make better calls. Perhaps they have a new found respect for those on the other side of the net and now accept them as worthy opponents rather than mere patsies. They have now been accepted into their league of worthy shysters, an equal. Or, maybe the cheater fears his opponent may be better at cheating and retreat to playing tennis.
     
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  20. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Simple question: Are you aware that you are wrong? If not, I can go dig up the relevant code provision for you, which undermines this idea that you shouldn't be calling your obviously out balls out even if no one asks you to do so.

    For the record, I would never propose that we play a let. That's lame and contrary to the Code. But if you saw the ball out you should Man Up and say so and not steal points you didn't earn.


    Maybe you, um, should read the Code and change your attitude?

    If your ball is out and you see it clearly out and your opponent asks for your opinion, you need to admit the ball was out. To do otherwise would be cheating.

    If you honestly do not know whether your ball was out, then it is your point. No let, ever. Just politely explain that you didn't get a good look at it either, so we'll need to call it good. If they try to ignore your opinion after asking for it, remind them of the Code.
     
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  21. OrLevy

    OrLevy New User

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    Last Friday, my first ever tournament match, I play this woman who is loads better than me, the score is 6-0, 4-0, 15:30 on her serve after 30 minutes (And no, it wasn't closer than it looks, this was my first 30 on her serve in the entire match.)

    I finally manage to get a decent return in, and we engage in a proper rally, she hits a ball to my baseline, I manage to return it, but can see it was well out right away, I hesitate, she hesitates, for some reason I don't call it - because I already hesitated, and because it would be my first out call in the match, and it was the only call which was actually really in doubt, my meek return is already in play, I helplessly get set, and she blasts it for a winner.

    I call myself a ****ing idiot out loud, It would have been my BP, but now I can't do **** about it. The guy in the court next to us shows me it was a mile out. I tell him I know, but too late. She hears the exchange, ask me whether it was out, and then let me have the point. I know it was probably due to the score, but still a great gesture on her part. She said she saw it out but I didn't call it.

    Anyway, if you are curious, she hit an unreturnable on her next serve, and on the 30:40 point I had a look at a second serve and a short ball, biffed it, had 5 deuces overall, couldn't break, and the match was over love and love.

    This friday I'm gonna play the girl who beat HER 6-0, 6-1. Fun for me.
     
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  22. jht32

    jht32 Rookie

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    Cindy is correct. I would also add that the code goes even further and says:

    13. Player calls own shots out. With the exception of the first serve, a player should call out the player's own shots if the player clearly sees the ball out regardless of whether requested to do so by an opponent. The prime objective in making calls is accuracy. All players should cooperate to attain this objective.

    So Big_Dangerous, you must be playing by a different set of codes and rules.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
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  23. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    I play the best I can to honesty, whether or not it's to the "code" I'm not sure. I haven't taken the time to brush up lately, but in any situation if my shot was out, I'll call it out no matter the score or situation. Of course I do the same for my opponent! If they hit a fantastic shot on the line I just say "good shot!" and move on. There is no need for arguing on court over a point. Not once have I ever had something even resemble some of the situations on here in real life.

    If I'm honest with people, normally they are the same to me! :)

    Of course I've played some negative people that like to call everything out, so I just don't aim to the lines. I keep everything within 8-10 inches of the lines so there are no "close calls".

    -Fuji
     
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  24. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    It happens once in awhile over here as well.

    I think people have the mistaken impression that somehow playing it over makes it "fair" as if nobody wins the point then. But nevermind you are robbing whatever side SHOULD of won the point.... Which is not fair...

    It's like winning a hand in poker where you should win $400, but someone has some dispute or that about what took place, so instead you just start the hand over...
     
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  25. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    At the weekend I partnered a player who stalled the opposition repeatedly. If the first serve was out he would hit the ball up high so the server would have to wait for the ball to clear before he could second serve.

    This is obviously against the code, but in the UK the LTA has no such guideline so therefore there is no way to stop the guy doing this gamesmanship tactic.

    I have posted on the LTA's Facebook page but after some inadequate responses they have stopped replying.



    If the code was adopted would it deter cheaters from using dirty tactics?

    Any advice?
     
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  26. MethodTennis

    MethodTennis Hall of Fame

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    Thing is if im at the net and the opponent trys to take my head off and I dont actually see the ball bounce but there is no way in hell the ball could have even been with in 5 feet of the baseline or if i hear it hit the backdrop or fence with out a bounce can I assume it is out and make the call
     
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  27. mctennis

    mctennis Hall of Fame

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    The rules are the rules. Either go by them or play with no rules at all. What rules should you complain about or mention? What rule do you let slide and what rule do you bring up? The only time I wouldn't use the rules is if you were just hitting around or just practicing with a buddy. Then you're more into doing a specific drill or playing out some sort of " hit me some serves" or "let me try my backhand serve return" then the rules are not really followed.
     
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  28. mctennis

    mctennis Hall of Fame

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    I use to have a small booklet with the rules and code in it. I can't find that now since I switched racquet bags. If anyone has an extra copy I'd like to buy it from you. I know the USTA has a download available BUT it is full pages of paper and that isn't very easily carried around. Let me know via my email under my name. Thank you.
     
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  29. timeisonmyside

    timeisonmyside Semi-Pro

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    Why is there an exception for a first serve? Shouldn't this apply to all shots?
     
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  30. mucat

    mucat Hall of Fame

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    Prevent server call out on his own serve when receiver hit winner off the 1st serve.
     
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  31. timeisonmyside

    timeisonmyside Semi-Pro

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    Ah OK, got it now. Thanks.
     
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  32. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    Perhaps an app would be more appropriate these days.
     
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  33. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    Changes in the code themselves would not stop dirty tactics, but it would give players the ammunition to battle against dirty tactics. The only way to stop illegal tactics is to enforce the rules.
     
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  34. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    In the uk the code is not enforced by the lta. The USTA created the code, it's not part of the itf rules. So right now non officiated uk tennis seems to be full of cheats.
     
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  35. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    That's exactly what happened to me in my match. Ball comes at my head, I duck. I figure the shot never would have landed in -- I was at the service line -- but I didn't see it.

    IMHO, it is poor form to call that ball out, even if I hear it hit the back curtain. I didn't see it out, and the sound could have been something else (sound from neighboring court). I think it is better to just ask the opponent for his opinion.

    Which is why I get so annoyed with the people who take offense at being asked.
     
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  36. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    I'm not sure cheating/gamesmanship has much to do with the existence of a code. I've seen plenty of complaints from people playing USTA, and I've seen it myself in both USTA leagues and UK leagues.

    Having an established code helps those who fight cheating and gamesmanship. But in the end I think the main factor in the amount of cheating in a league/city/region depends entirely on the players and their outlook and tolerance of it.

    For example, despite all the rules and the presence of a referee, there's a ton of cheating/gamesmanship in the football leagues here. The worst tennis cheats you've ever seen have got nothing on these guys. They come from a sporting environment in which they are pushed to bend or break the rules whenever they think they can get away with it. Every once in a while you'll see a few playing doubles on the courts at my club, and the difference between them and normal tennis players is night and day.

    In the end, the only way to get rid of cheaters is to refuse to play with them as partners/teammates. Eventually, when they can't find a partner and/or team to play with, they'll go away.
     
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  37. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    But surely with the advent of you tube, there should be a video series explaining the code? After all, the various governing bodies of tennis have the responsibility to encourage the education and enjoyment of the game - not just let it slide. They've got the cash spare, but maybe not the imagination.
     
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  38. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Tennis Channel has some funny segments with John Lovitz featuring situations involving the code.

    The governing bodies of tennis, as any modern institution, is primarily interested in growing itself and increasing revenues. Their mission statement is "GROW THE GAME" and not "PLAY FAIR AND SQUARE". Given the age we live in, learning and playing by the rules, is not going to encourage a lot of converts to the game.
     
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  39. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    http://www.tennischannel.com/video/#

    OMG Genius! If only there was a video for calling lines and calling the score. The 2 most common breaches of the code/
     
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  40. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Using "funny" and "John Lovitz" in the same sentence is a serious breach of The Code.
     
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  41. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Aw c'mon. He was good when he did...ugh...let's see if I can remember...hmm...OK valid point.
     
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  42. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    ^^^I thought Lovitz was pretty good as a...liar, yeah...that's the ticket! :wink:
     
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  43. Dave M

    Dave M Hall of Fame

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    I'd not heard of "the code" before i found us websites, just play by the rules.I'll only challenge something like foot faults even in LTA leagues if they're getting an advantage.Played one last week where if the guy wasn't a foot inside the baseline it wasn't getting to the net I was getting bored of double faults so stopped calling him on it.Purely because i wanted to hit some returns.
     
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  44. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    See, I think it's the players who let it slide rather than the LTA. There's nothing stopping people from calling the score, and I occasionally see others who do because it obviously makes it easier to keep track. But, the majority just can't be bothered.

    And when it comes to actual cheating and/or gamesmanship, then it's definitely due to the players. No amount of rules will stop cheaters unless the other players are willing to stand up to it.

    For example, a couple of friends of mine had to play a doubles match against a couple of guys who are known for gamesmanship and dodgy line calls. So, on the very first point of the match, one guy steps up and hits an ace. But, the dodgy guys said they weren't ready and wanted the guy to serve again, obviously trying a bit of gamesmanship. So, his partner said that, since the match hadn't started yet, he was going to go take a toilet break, and he just walked off the court. Basically, he just turned the tables on them.

    When he got back, the dodgy guys were fuming. But he said "hey, you said the serve didn't count, so technically the match hadn't started yet." And the funniest part of all is that, when they all finally settled down to start the match, the guy serving hit another ace with his first serve. The dodgy guys weren't so dodgy from then on.
     
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  45. craniopath

    craniopath Rookie

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    calling spaceman

    spaceman I need some help regarding the fit of tk82s pallets to pro tour 630, I have seen in one of you messages you have done that. coud you drop an email to me please.

    cavusogluk(at)yahoo.com
     
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  46. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    @Craniopa Please don't hijack threads
     
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  47. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    A rule that is not enforced is not a rule. The Lta is responsible for this and at a bare minimum publishing the code on their website is a fair request.

    When I referred a junior tournament, I was tools to nip any swearing in the bud. If one kid gets away with our soon every kids will be doing it. It spreads like a virus. Same thing it's true for breaking the code. The Lta are definitely responsible to encourage fair play a much as they can, but their efforts are pathetic, they don't even answer their emails properly.
     
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  48. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    Sorry, teach me for using my phone to post. should have read when I refereed a junior tournament,
     
    #48
  49. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2005
    Messages:
    1,513
    Location:
    The crappest town in Britain
    That's true. But most adults should be well aware of the basic rules of tennis themselves, especially since they are expected to call their own lines in their league matches. In most matches I've seen, the cheating/gamesmanship was obviously against the rules to all involved without us having any LTA handbook to go by.

    For example, I had a match recently where a guy was arguing about us calling his serve out when it was nowhere near the line. It was at least 6" out, it left a big black mark on the court that was nowhere near any others (so no confusion about which mark to look at), and it was at an angle that was clearly visible to the server himself. Yet, he insisted on arguing with us about it.

    There was no question about who's call it was to make, and we were more than willing to point out the mark to show the ball was out. The guy was only arguing as an attempt to wind us up in hopes that we would get angry and play worse. There wasn't any question about the rules, so no rule book would prevent that type behavior; it's up to the players themselves.

    As for the lets when people say they are not sure, I think most already know that's not the correct call. Anytime I insist on the other team making a call, no one argues that a let is the appropriate action. When pushed, they all know that the right thing to do is to make a call in or out. But, when you don't push them to do the right thing, they try to cop out with a let call. That's why I consider it the coward's cheat (they don't want to call it in and lose the point, but they don't have the balls to call it out like a true cheater).
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2011
    #49
  50. tennistim

    tennistim New User

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    London, UK
    That guy sounds like a nightmare. Fortunately not all players are as bad as that.

    To be honest I think most players have never read the rules of tennis or the code. They just pick it up from other players, and like chinese whispers most of it is incorrect.

    Recently, I mentioned to an LTA qualified coach that a player is obliged to call his own shots out but can not call his own first serve out. He had never heard this rule before. I think the LTA should be teaching this sort of thing to their coaches.
     
    #50

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