The Case Of The Tight Service Line Call

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, May 20, 2009.

  1. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,642
    But in a pro match, the line judge looks only at the line, isn't it?
     
    #51
  2. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    6,404
    Location:
    The Great NW
    This post is correct, of course, but begs the question, why is Cindy having this concern with this partner out of the presumed many partners she's had? Especially when all of the other lines are being called correctly. My guess is that this player is calling the lines correctly and many other partners call them generously.
     
    #52
  3. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,092
    Ha!

    We need a name for that particular phenomenon, meaning the tendency of a player to grossly exaggerate the distance by which the serve missed. The closer the call, the greater the distance indicated when the player says, "No, man, it was out by [gesture indicating 8"] this much. Not even close!" :)
     
    #53
  4. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    2,032
    Um...

    ...not an easy one to answer, but here are my thoughts:

    - As someone said at the beginning, start by talking with your partner. It's as simple as "You're calling a lot of serves out that I see | feel like are in...what's your take?" You could get a range of answers all the way from "I'm right on the service line, and I see it better than you do, but if you think I made a mistake, please overrule me." to...I dunno. But I say start there. She's your partner, you really get along well with her, all partners have issues at one point or another, bring it out in the open, and I'll bet you'll come up with a solution that'll make everybody happy.

    - I believe, along with a lot of other posters, that the server's partner potentially has a better look at close serves...if he or she is looking at it. I have a blown out left eye (plastic lens replacement, hit in the eye with a bunji cord...long story...), so I already don't see all that well in some situations, as in low light. So if I'm playing doubles, my rule is that if it looks like it caught any part of the line, it's good.

    If my partner, on the service line, says "Nope, it was out, I saw it," then I'm fine with that. On the other hand, is the other team going to start screaming bloody murder? I dunno, honestly, what the rules are re who calls what and how soon...I'm talking about The Code, I guess, and especially in the reverse scenario. I call a serve out, my partner says "Uh uh, Richard, clearly in," I just say "Sorry, your point" if I fanned on the return, or "Sorry, please play the serve over" if I hit a return.

    - Third, I hear what you're saying about "tight" line calls, sort of, but to an extent, there is no such thing. The ball is either in or out. Since we don't have Shot Spot, however, it comes down to the eyes of whomever made the call. What it sounds like you may be saying, and I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, is that people who call lines "loose" like I do, tend to give the benefit of the doubt to the other side if I can't see it clearly. I've heard people tell me I give away a fair number of calls in some matches; so be it. I once made a bad call (inadvertently) in a junior match that cost the other kid the match; I'll never do that again, especially now that I've got this eye problem. If I'm sure it's out, even a little bit, then the call is out. If I'm not sure, I have to give it to the other guy. I suppose that calling lines "tight" means something like "I'm not absolutely sure, but it sure looked like it was out, or might be out...so it's out." Opposite philosophy, I suppose. What we'd all like to do, of course, is make the right call, every time. None of us wants to cheat the other team, but we don't want to cheat ourselves, either. Fair enough. I just know that my eyes are no longer good enough to be absolutely sure on a few close calls over the course of the summer, so those balls are in. That's my philosophy, everyone else's may vary...
     
    #54
  5. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,092
    This is interesting, PimpMyGame. I don't think I factor my opponents' reactions into my assessment of whether we are perhaps not giving benefit of the doubt as a matter of course.

    In fact, I think the louder and more quickly the opponents flip out over a dubious call, the more likely I am to stay out of it unless I saw it differently and thus am planning to overrule.

    I mean, you know how it goes. Partner calls a close ball out. Opponents charge the net aggressively, scowling, making their case, questioning my partner. That this happens in a match won't make me think my partner is calling lines too tight. Some opponents are just the type to question everything and assume you are hooking them from jump street. I have a former captain who seemed to think the whole world was out to hook her, to the point of telling her players to expect to be hooked by such-and-such team and to make sure to hook them back. So if someone like that is questioning a call, that doesn't mean the call was wrong or even that a reasonable opponent would think it was wrong.

    When it (opponents questioning a particular partner's calls) happens over a series of matches, that would give me pause though.
     
    #55
  6. Ajtat411

    Ajtat411 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    591
    I had this same situation come up in a practice match earlier this week.

    My partner was returning serve and I was up at the service box watching the incoming serve and saw that the ball was out about 2 inches. My partner continued to play the ball since it was coming at a decent speed.

    If you're the returner, it is very difficult to see balls that land OUT within 2-4 inches if the ball is coming at a fast speed and at a flat trajectory.

    When I returned serve there were a couple times when my partner called the ball out even though I thought the ball looked in on the line. These were all line calls.

    When you're focusing on returning serve, it is difficult to see line calls that are within inches of being in or out. Usually as a returner I give the benefit of the doubt to the server. When I'm at the service box looking at the line, I'll call it out even when it's 1 inch out because it is what it is. I have the best view of the ball and I'm not moving around like the others.
     
    #56
  7. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    2,032
    Hmmm....

    ...a kind of a different dimension. Looking back at your original post, I gotta say that it sounds to me like your partner isn't conciously hooking the other team...she honestly believe the ball is out, and maybe it is, and as I and others have said, have a talk with her and my money says that you and she will clear the issue up just fine.

    As far as hooking generally...it's an ugly thing, and it's what periodically causes me to give up tennis and go back to putting in 100 plus miles a week on my road bike. I want to win as badly as the next player, but I'm not willing to cheat to do it, and if somebody else has to win that badly that they have to resort to cheating...well, I'm going to pick up my marbles and go elsewhere. I really see little or no hooking in the matches I play, which are Men's Open and Men's Age Group tournaments. It's just that when I see or hear about this kind of thing happening in today's tennis, of which NTRP is a large sector...well, all of a sudden, tennis has stopped being a game for me, and has, instead, turned into a knife fight in a phone booth...
     
    #57
  8. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,092
    No, I don't think she is hooking on purpose. No way.

    Just to set the record straight and defend her honour . . .
     
    #58
  9. Xisbum

    Xisbum Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    Messages:
    670
    Location:
    Elvisland
    Are you English?
     
    #59
  10. alice301

    alice301 New User

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    shreveport
    cut it out.

    1. we're all learning here
    2. i don't want to captain a team, so if someone else wants to, god bless 'em.
    3. we all go a little mad sometimes.
     
    #60
  11. SuperJimmy

    SuperJimmy Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2005
    Messages:
    129
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    I think it's overall a trust issue. If you are not paying that close attention, instead focusing on the return, and your partner has a better view, why not trust her judgement? Calling the lines tight does not imply the calls are wrong. It might imply the partner has very sharp eyes.

    Can you imagine a case where you get your partner thinking about it so much that they start calling out balls in? Heck, some opponents purposely say "are you sure about that", just to see if they can rattle you...even if they knew the right call was made. They will absolutely love it if they see you start questioning your own partner.

    Also, I did have a slightly long observation I was going to post, but decided to keep this part short...from what I remember of your previous threads about your doubles partners and their lines calls...several of the situations you have described are very similar (in terms of which player has the better view of the ball, and making the call on the ball). It seemed to me that regardless of who was in better position (and in one case you werent even looking at the line), somehow it was always the partner that made the questionable call. I just think that more of that trust has to be built.
     
    #61
  12. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    24,466
    Location:
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida

    Cut what out??

    The OP has clearly stated she does not look at where the ball is landing, yet questions her partners line-calling on the service returns??? :roll:

    What am I missing here??

    Then, she creates a thread to get sympathy/advice from posters here on how to handle this situation. To add insult to injury, she is a Captain of a team?? Please.

    Like I said>>> she has no clue what she is doing out there and has absolutely no business being the captain of a team.

    If she does not look/see where the ball lands, she needs to shut her trap and allow someone who did see it, make the call. This is not rocket science.

    PS: If you want to learn something, I strongly advise you not to learn from this poster.
     
    #62
  13. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Messages:
    2,546
    Location:
    Arizona
    In doubles, the partner of the receiver calls the service line. That's it! And it's in The Code. This won't prevent a willful cheater, but it prevents these types of discussions. "How sure are you?" "Kinda sorta, you?" "Yeah, like I really thought it was out, but it's possible I could be wrong." "Okay, how sure are you on a scale from 1 to 10?" "Like a 7". "Okay, if it's only a 7, then I'm going to stand by my call."...

    Awful!! We don't need those sorts of conversations delying the match! How much court time will it take to complete a match? Some calls might be wrong. It probably won't get fixed if everybody talks about their feelings after every point. It's her call, good, bad or ugly.

    Absolutely!
     
    #63
  14. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    2,032
    Let me tell a story...

    ...and this is about hooking, not about who can see what and when. Has nothing to do with the original post or issue, it's just an....observation.

    I'm 61, have been playing tennis, coaching it, and so forth, since I was about 10...which my guess is, most of you have not. Doesn't make any of us Bad People, just make us different. Back in the 60s, when I was growing up on a tennis court, everybody's hero was Rod Laver. He was a little dinky guy with a Popeye forearm and an incredible heart who had just won the 1962 Grand Slam. Understand that he won it again in 1969, and nobody since has won it.

    The players back then, Laver included, were a different breed. In his first autobiography, Laver said that the year after his first Grand Slam was magical! He had won the munificent sum of $100,000 and was trotting around the world as the Grand Slam champion of a game. Know who else was an Aussie player at the time? A guy named "Nails" Carmicheal. Know why they called him "Nails"? Because even though he was the #4, or something like that, player in Oz, that wasn't worth enough money for him to be able to travel the circuit, so...he was pounding nails, on a construction site, until he could get enough bucks together to go out and, you know, play tennis again. Some of his Aussie mates gave him some encouragement and some money, and he got back out there, and had a grand tennis career.

    All of the old Aussies...and the corresponding Americans and other players on the tour of that era, had the same qualities, in this order:

    - Honesty, and fair play, to a fault. They were gentlemen, in the full sense of the word.

    - Matesmanship. Mantesmanship is an Aussie term, which I learned from my former coach, Dave Hodge. An Aussie, Dave was a prodigous talent, could have been an ATP star in singles, IMHO, but always felt like team play and doubles was the ultimate tennis competitive cauldron...and that the solidarity one has with one's mates...your buddies on court, and in life...is what really counts, when it all comes down to it.

    - Doing your best as an athlete, always, with no excuses. I could write a novel on this one, but it pretty much stands on its own, for now.

    - Playing tennis the way that the grand game of tennis deserves...with elegance, with grace, with dignity.

    There is no room in that ethic for any discussion of, or issues with, cheating, hooking, or whatever you want to call it. And that's basically the arena in which, in the remaining days of my life long career in tennis, I intend to spend on a tennis court.

    Two summers ago, I played a second round Men's Age Group match (I forget which one it was, but I think it was Men's 50) in the Denver City Open, one of the big tournaments in the Colorado summer circuit. My opponent was Gary Maccholz. I was probably a 5.0 at the time, he was definitely at least a 5.5. We both played our hearts out, and he won, something like 6-2, 6-2. There was a curious moment in the second set where when I was 2-5 down, 15-40 down, I called his first serve, a winner, good. He said "No, Richard...that was out by two feet...second serve." And proceeded to drill me off the court on the next point to win the match.

    I was crestfallen. I had played a great match, and had gotten schooled. I was ready to take up bowling until two things happened:

    - My then coach, Sam Winterbotham, then Head Coach of the CU Mens' Tennis Team, came up to me and said "Well done...you did everything you could, everything I've taught you, he just won the last point."

    - Gary came up to me and said "You have a great game...want to hit some balls next week?"

    You could have knocked me over with a feather. Of course, I took Gary up on his invitation, and we have been buddies and hitting partners ever since. He's passed on to me all kinds of useful info from his time as one of Peter Burwash's instructors, and has gotten me a ton of Adidas stuff for no money, because he's one of the national reps.

    So I lost a match, which wasn't great...but you know what? It was one of the greatest experiences I've ever had on a tennis court, and there wasn't any discussion of line calls or anything else having to do with the NTRP Lawyer's Rule Guide.

    I've since continued to play Men's Age Group tournaments, and it's been a uniquely rewarding experience. All the guys I play grew up on a tennis court in about the same era I did, and they all play hard, play fair, and play a great, elegant game of tennis. And that's what I'm looking for...how about you?
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2009
    #64
  15. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,917
    No it's not just "it".

    Here's the exerpt from the Code:

    ---
    25. Service calls in doubles. In doubles the receiver’s partner should call the
    service line, and the receiver should call the sideline and the center service line.
    Nonetheless, either partner may call a ball that either clearly sees.
    ---

    Which person calls which line is a suggested guideline. It's not impossible though that the returner's partner doesnt see a ball clearly that is out. Especially if they are just staring at the line intently because if the serve is good enough they may just see a big yellow blur go across the line.

    Im not arguing they have a better chance in general of making the correct call but that's not always the case with everyone.

    What happens to some people is they only know about the first part of the rule. I have this happen all the time, I dont clearly see a ball and my partner gets mad at me for not calling it out. (because he says it was out....)

    Well tough! He should of called it out if he saw it out then. Either player can call any ball out they want if they clearly see it go out.

    Either player can correct the other player as well if they clearly saw it go in.

    Which is what I dont understand about the OP's point here. If she clearly saw it go in, why cant she just say something? She's too scared to bring it up so she's going to cheat?

    But if she's not sure if it went in or not but she "thinks it might of went in", then why is this even a discussion. Certainly she should not confront anyone about something she isnt even sure about.

    And if she did see it clearly go in that destroys her whole argument about being "gray" because she's stealing a point from the other team. Hopefully the other make believe gray people dont want to be associated with a point stealer.

    It's fine to pretend you dont care about the rules when they supposably dont affect the game, but when you do it to steal a point that you didnt earn that's low.

    That's not being like Andy Griffith, that's more like being Peggy Bundy.
     
    #65
  16. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Messages:
    2,546
    Location:
    Arizona
    Looks like even the Colonel made a mistake. This is like the rule in pro tennis that allows the Umpire to over-rule a linesman on one they think is clearly wrong. That doesn't help.

    No, I'm not John Dillinger plotting to "steal a point". It works against me too. I'm returning and the server hits a 100 mph serve, but it's a foot out, no call comes from my daydreaming partner. Know what? I'm not going to give a late call. I take my lumps. Sometimes I say to my partner "That serve was in?", as a reminder that they should be helping me out. I can't call it out 'cause I'm concentrating on the return and assuming (praying?) that they'll do their job. Since it takes a while to realize my partner didn't make the necessary call, any call I'd give would be a late call. I don't do late calls, per The Code. (I hate 'late callers') Mistakes will happen. But it's better played that shots are what they're called, not what they "really" are. (That's in The Code too.)
    That should nip this problem in the bud. You've got to nip it, nip it, nip it! (Oh, that's not Andy.)
     
    #66
  17. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Messages:
    2,546
    Location:
    Arizona
    Cool. I like seniors tennis, the calls are fair, and there's no unpleasantness during the match. I wonder why that is? Is it because as people age they learn that some things are more important than winning? Or is it a generantional thing? Maybe these guys were like this even when they were juniors? I have a story for you. I think you'd remember Whitney Reed. He was a great player of the 60's. In one year he had wins over Laver and Emerson. Anyway, on match point his opponent double faulted. Reed told him, "It's no fun to win that way.", and let him play the point over!
     
    #67
  18. MNPlayer

    MNPlayer Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    420
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    At the higher levels, the old guys/gals might be more relaxed. But in the NTRPA 3.5/4.0 USTA league matches where I play, the older folks are often the most persnickety ones. This is not "senior tennis", just adult league, but many of these people also play senior league. Actually I guess I've seen this mostly in 3.5 now that I think about it. There always seems to be at least one argument about line calls, foot faulting or something like that. The young guys will get frustrated, maybe even throw a racket, but not start too many arguments.

    For some reason, tournaments (also NTRP) have been different. I have had great experiences playing tournaments so far. All my opponents have been very gracious and friendly, win or lose.
     
    #68
  19. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,917
    Oh Im sorry, I didnt know you were going to "add to the rule.....". I dont have the official "Steady Eddy" version in front of me.

    You're wrong, it doesnt say anything about overruling, it's saying that either player can make that call if they see it. You should "read the rule", not "add to it".

    Hopefully woodrow is around and he can confirm that, but we've probably scared him away by now.

    (oh ya and as far as the other stuff, I was refering to YOU as in the OP, not you as in Steady Eddy, no worrys....)
     
    #69
  20. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    2,032
    Great story...

    ...and yeah, I know who Whitney Reed is, and what he did. Per what makes seniors tennis great, it's all of the above that you mentioned...let's hit some balls sometime, mate, and have a couple of coldies afterwards...
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2009
    #70
  21. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Messages:
    2,546
    Location:
    Arizona
    Unfortunately, such a guide has not been published...yet. I like The Code, I generally follow it, but there are a few situations where I know better than The Code. How does one come to know this? It takes years of playing, but it is the place I am at now. :) I contribute my knowledge to this forum as a sort of public service.

    You're welcome.
     
    #71

Share This Page