The Unready Receiver's Partner

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. doubleshack

    doubleshack New User

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    What a great thread. The nuances of this are fun to work through. Woodrow1029 is never wrong when it comes to the rules. Wait, let me rephrase that, I've never seen Woodrow1029 be wrong. Rich Kaufman might be able to find something, but I never will. Whoever said Woodrow1029 should retire has clearly not read all the thoughtful posts that have been made by Woodwow1029.

    Anyway, in my opinion, in this case the receiver returned the ball, so they were ready. Kudos to all the people who make sure both players are ready, but you are going above and beyond. Yes, that makes you awesome, but that doesn't mean I have to do it as well. It is the receiver's responsibility to make sure their partner is ready, not the server.

    It should have been point -> Cindysphinx. I think everyone is agreement with that. The question then becomes, since she conceded the point should be replayed due to the receiver's partner wasn't ready, should it be first or second serve. Ok, now we are outside the rules at this point, since the rules say point-> Cindysphinx. So, we are voting. And I will vote with Cindysphinx, first serve. They decided to replay the point. When you replay a point, it is first serve. I don't think the rules are clear as to first serve or second in this situation. So, it's a vote, and I vote first serve as they are replaying the point.
     
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  2. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    [rant] Way too many people expect (and often demand) a first serve for the most pathetic delays. You missed your first serve fair and square. Hit a second and don't look for an excuse to start over. If people played more singles (and I'm primarily a doubles player too) and had to clear more balls themselves they'd whine less about delays between serves.[/rant]

    I don't start my service motion until I see both opponents ready. Once I start, I'm not really looking at either one of them so if the partner turned around to do something (including clear the ball) I'd be serving anyway. If they shout "hold on" then no problem. If they just start wandering around then I'm not likely to be sympathetic to their claims of unreadiness.
     
    #52
  3. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    I realize you can tell the story so that yes, the returner hit the ball with her racket, so you should win the point ... however, if we were watching the match and someone hit a serve while one of the opponents had their back turned, as observers we would call that classless... Even if you could find an obscure rule that gave you the point.

    While you say the receivers partner screwed up I would say one of the universal signals for "I am not ready" is to have your back to the opponents.

    I agree that the correct resolution was to replay the point ... but I felt from the original telling of this story you took a position that "we cut them a break" by only taking a first serve and not the point.
     
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  4. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    As for the rule ... I believe that most rules are written so that disputes can be settled on the court, by non officials after an infraction has occurred.

    In this case that meant that the rules were written to identify the only measure of readiness that could be found, after the fact. Specifically, did the returner hit the ball ... if yes then point to server ... if no then replay the point. If there was any way to definitely measure the readiness of every player after the point was played, I am sure that would be written into the rules.

    However, this does not make what your team did right, just within a strict interpretation of rules. You acknowledge that the opponent was not ready, as you saw her with her back turned.

    If this had been an officiated match the umpire would have stopped play immediately .... and you would have had a second serve, not a first. To me, the generous thing to do was acknowledge that you erred in serving when she was clearly not ready and take a second serve.
     
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  5. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    If this is a friendly league match, why not just let Cindy's team have a first serve? If I was the receiving team I would be unhappy to have the opposite team claim a point on a serve when my partner was clearing a ball. Conversely, if I don't want that point to count, I would never tell them they lost their first serve.

    It would seem to be common courtesy to play a let. If it's a "do over" give them a first serve and get on with the match.
     
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  6. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    Also, I believe there is a Jon Lovitz "court calls" that deals with this situation. The receiver is ready and the partner is tying their shoes. I believe the call is that if the receiver is ready then it doesn't matter what the partner does.

    As Cindy said, the receiver hit the serve back which indicates she was ready. The strict interpretation of the rules is as Cindy said - they get the point. The friendly interpretation is to play a let. I don't see any reason they should lose their first serve. The receiving team is out nothing with the "do over"
     
    #56
  7. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    I agree that replaying the point is the fair thing ... but it was already a second serve ... so they did not lose their first serve during the exchange, as they had already lost that ... instead they gained a first serve through the exchange.
     
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  8. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    That is my bad. I thought it happened on a first serve. I agree with you - they should not gain a first serve here. The "friendly league match" thing to do is to replay the second serve.
     
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  9. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    You know I think you're awesome, right? But I really think we are wandering off a cliff at this point.

    The receiver is the one who has to be ready. It doesn't matter whether the partner is turning her back, fixing her skirt, blowing her nose, tying her shoe. If the receiver is ready, the receiving team is ready, and the person with the responsibility to see that her team is ready is the receiver.

    The receiver should have held her racket up, or said something. Failing that, she should have let the ball go past her and not play it.

    All of this mess is the fault of the receiver. She probably did not notice her partner not being ready. That is understandable. Loss of point would teach her a lesson.

    The only way we are at fault and should have to hit a second serve is if my partner *knew* the receiver's partner wasn't ready and served anyway. That would be nasty gamesmanship, and we shouldn't profit from it.

    That didn't happen.

    So yes. We most definitely cut them a break. Anytime the rules say it is your point and you volunteer not to take the point out of sportsmanship, you are cutting the opponent a break.
     
    #59
  10. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I'm sorry. When I said "dangerous," I didn't mean that someone would get hurt. I meant "dangerous" in the sense you might create a problem that starts an argument.

    For example, many servers mumble the score or do not announce it at all. Some people will interrupt the server and correct the score or ask that it be repeated.

    I usually do not do that because it is dangerous. If you start speaking during someone's service motion, they might serve anyway. Then you might get into a squabble about it.

    My practice is simply to wait until the point is over and then raise it. "Hey, you said 15-30, wasn't it really 30-15?" I have found over the years that it works better that way.

    Similarly, when I am not ready when a point begins, I don't yell, "Hey, I wasn't ready!" I let the serve go unplayed if I was the receiver. If I am the receiver's partner, then I put my racket up and try to win the point.
     
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  11. michael_1265

    michael_1265 Professional

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    Within the framework of the rules, the only responsibility of the server is the readiness of the receiver. That being said, if the server did not see the receiver's partner in the unready state, I am fine with that. Stuff happens. If the receiver was looking to get a point by purposely serving with the receiver's partner unready, the rules are still on the server's side, but it constitutes bad sportsmanship (or woman-ship) in my mind, and is not the kind of thing that I expect from USTA opponents. Bush league. I want to outplay my opponents, not outgame them. I have played older players in USTA who still had game, but whose attention spans were a bit....um......flighty. I could have done stuff like this to them all day long. Why would I even consider doing it?
     
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  12. rudester

    rudester Professional

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    As an older player with the type of attention span you describe, i commend your integrity
     
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  13. AtomicForehand

    AtomicForehand Hall of Fame

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    I think Cindy is right. It is the responsibility of the receiver to indicate unreadiness for herself and/or her partner. If the receiver hits her return, the team is considered ready, per the rules. I believe Woodrow is NOT correct when he says that the server must determine that the receiver's partner is ready before serving. Sure, it's a good idea, but ultimately it's not that person's responsibility.

    Since this receiver didn't indicate that her team was unready, it seems probable that she wasn't aware that her partner was unready. Therefore it also seems reasonable that the server was likewise unaware--perhaps already in the midst of her service motion. Yes, of course the server shouldn't have served if she were aware of the unreadiness. But let's not assume the worst of her. She served, and the ball was returned. Point to Team Sphinx.

    In the same situation, however, I would also have offered to play a let. I find myself doing this constantly after educating my opponents on the rules. The other thing I often do is explain a rule and not claim the point--"Just so you know, you're not allowed to talk/shout/scream while the ball is headed toward us, or you lose the point for hindrance. We won't take the point this time, but wanted you to be aware of the rule." (This pisses people off 9 times out of 10, which amazes me...what I think they should do to be sportsmanlike is apologize, say they weren't aware, and offer to either give us the point or at LEAST replay it, but they never do and just take the point themselves [if we've missed the shot because of their hindrance]. When they cop an attitude, I always regret not having taken the point right off!)
     
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  14. jht32

    jht32 Rookie

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    Got it. I misunderstood what you meant by "dangerous."
     
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  15. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Professional

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    I totally agree with this. It doesn't matter to me what the rules say, its about what is in the "spirit of fair play", if that even exists in USTA leagues. The other team was not ready and they asked to replay the point. That seems legitimate. Isn't that a fair outcome?

    If anyone had tried this with me, I would have told them off. Trying to get a point in this situation is just way out of line, I don't give a damn about the rules.
     
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  16. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    (disclaimer ---- Cindy, you know I love 'ya right?)

    Again, this is what several of us are getting stuck on here....the receiver's BACK WAS TURNED. If your partner was doing what everyone else does, and that is look up at the court before starting her service motion, then I can't believe there is a way that she would NOT have seen the woman with her back to the court. And there is, IMO, no way that anyone could construe that as 'being ready'.

    I gotta agree with SweetH20...a bit of common sense needs to be used here. Yes, you and Woodrow and several others can talk about the proper use of the rule, but I'm still stuck on how your partner could have served in good conscience.

    If she claims she did not see the receiver's partner had her back turned, then how could she say that she made sure the receiver was ready? The receiver sounds like she was just confused and wasn't sure what to do. Honestly, had I been the woman with my back turned, I would have been pretty ticked off. It would be hard to interpret the situation as NOT being an act of gamesmanship.

    That being said...what league are you all just starting?
     
    #66
  17. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Professional

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    The fact that this situation is even being debated is absurd.

    I think the phrase "can't see the forest for the trees" applies here. Some of you are so mired in the technical rules that you can't even see what is fair.
     
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  18. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Are you talking about me? I basically agreed with what you said. :confused:
     
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  19. Tennis Truth

    Tennis Truth Rookie

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    Totally agree with topaz. If my partner served while receivers partner was still in motion from clearing a ball I would think my partner was clueless and wrong. After a missed serve, all the players generally watch the ball and person clearing it and the second serve process does not start until things are situated. Granted the ball clearer needs to not delay, but it is hard for me to imagine the server serving the second serve while the ball clearer had her back turned.
     
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  20. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Topaz,

    You know I love you, right? :)

    As AtomicForehand explained, there were two people on the court who apparently didn't notice that this lady turned her back: The server and the receiver.

    Doesn't that make sense?

    Think about it. Everyone looks ready (receiver's partner is at her service line facing forward). Server and receiver are focused on each other. Receiver's partner starts moving forward a step or two. Server sees this (perhaps receiver does also?), but thinks nothing of it. As she said, she figures the lady is just changing positions, which people do all the time.

    Instead of taking a step toward the net for positional reasons, the receiver's partner keeps going forward. Her eyes are on the ball she hopes to clear, so she doesn't see the serve coming. By this time, server is tossing the ball and has no idea what receiver's partner is doing. Server tosses ball and strikes it while the lady is fetching the ball and then turning around. It's on its way to receiver, who is also unaware partner has her back turned.

    I don't see why this is so hard to believe. Once you agree that no one was trying to cheat, then you do the sporting thing -- replay the whole point.

    I have to say, I don't pay much attention to the receiver's partner when I am serving. By that I mean that I check to see if everyone is where they are supposed to be. Once I do that, I ignore *everything* except my toss and my plan for the point. I once had a receiver's partner put her racket under her arm and start adjusting her hair clip. I served. Receiver didn't return it, I just served again. No biggie.
     
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  21. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Yes! :)

    Well, to be honest, no.

    The server should be looking up at the court before starting her service motion...and if the receiver's partner had her back turned, she would have seen it. It would be too hard to miss!

    But when you put it this way, it doesn't sound like the net person had her back turned? Just that she moved toward the net to get the ball. :confused: Did she actually have her back turned to the server or not? If not, then yes, it becomes much harder to tell that she is not ready.

    But you do look, and if someone has their back clearly turned to you, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't serve. That's why I'm having trouble with your partner having served if she did indeed check and look over before starting her service turn and the reciever's partner had her back turned. But now it sounds like she did not have her back turned?

    Regardless, and I didn't follow the whole thread so I'm not sure what you guys hammered out about the specific rule...I would have replayed it too.
     
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  22. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    I have to say that I don't think I would notice if my opponent's net player had their back turned to me while preparing to serve.

    I also have to say that there is an unbelievable amount of drama on Cindysphinx' teams. Wowza.
     
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  23. michael_1265

    michael_1265 Professional

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    In defense of Cindy's team, when I serve, I look at the receiver, and then it's all about contacting the ball. I'm diagnosed ADD, and I am either totally unfocused or hyperfocused. Any other issues on the court would have to be called to my attention, and even if they were, I would likely finish my serve anyway. Seeing as I play relatively slowly, it has never been a problem, but if I were faster, maybe it would be.
     
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  24. SweetH2O

    SweetH2O Rookie

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    Cindy, I understand how it all happened, and agree that it was a fair enough outcome by playing a let. My only problems were your claiming a hindrance and thinking you were being generous by playing a let. And your insistence here that the rulebook gives you all the justification you need.

    If the play went down as you described, and your team said "sorry about that, let's play a let" I think your opponents would have been fine, no drama would ensue and it wouldn't even be worthy of a post about it here.
     
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  25. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    There is a good lesson here though. If you are receiving serve, check and make sure the ball is cleared and your partner is ready before assuming the ready position yourself. One you (the receiver) is ready, the server doesn't have to care what your partner does. Once you become "ready", you can't become "unready" unless something affects play from outside the court (ex. ball rolls on). If your partner suddenly decides to do something during the service motion, you don't get to stop play.
     
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  26. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Professional

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    No, not directed towards you. Sorry I was just adding thoughts onto my original post and it just happened to follow yours. Not directed at anyone in particular just the general conversation about technicalities over the rules.
     
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  27. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

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    i'm not sure how any tennis actually gets played in the women's leagues.
     
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  28. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I don't know what to tell you. The rules say there was a hindrance, and if you give up a point the rules say is properly yours then you are being generous.

    I didn't think there was any reason for me to say "Sorry about that." Nor did I think there was any reason for the receiving team to say "Sorry about that." Stuff happens. What should happen is we should talk about what happened and what the rules are so we are on the same page, and then we should do the fair thing. Which is what happened.
     
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  29. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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  30. mucat

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    Let's look at it this way,

    if the returner hit a service return winner, I doubt the return partner will say, "Hold on, I wasn't ready!" and demand a replay.

    One of thing we don't want in tennis is "2 chances". The returning team has 1st chance to return the serve, and if they lose the point, they use their 2nd chance by claiming the returning partner was not ready and demand to replay the point. This is a big no no in tennis. That's why we have rules in tennis and the rules are there for a reason. Also, it is not like the return partner temporary lost her voice up until her partner netted the ball. She should have called let way before that. If the returning partner didn't call let in time, she should hold her peace.

    Also, it is the returning player's responsibility to make sure the partner is ready and it is the server's responsibility to make sure the receiver's ready. The rule is very simple in this regard, and it is very easy to follow. I don't see how this is debatable at all.
     
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  31. jht32

    jht32 Rookie

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    Cindy, from your first post to this one, it seems like the story or scenario has changed. Geez, how long is the servers entire motion such that from the start of the motion to the when the ball is struck, these things happened:

    1) the opponent hesitates
    2) the opponent strolls 4-5 steps from the service line to the net
    3) the opponent squats to pick up the ball to clear it
    4) the opponent turn arounds to walk back

    When I serve, I take a quick look at the other side. Then I look down and bounce the ball several times. After picking up the ball for the last time, I take another quick look. I consider the start of the service motion as starting from when I pick up the ball for the last time after bouncing it. During the ball bouncing, I've seen receivers get "unready" and ask me to stop for whatever reason.
     
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  32. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I do not see any inconsistency in what I said. What has changed in your view?
    Come on, folks. Do you really think the lady walked toward the net facing backward?

    My own service routine is I walk up to the line and look around and say the score. I then bounce the ball three times. I glance at the receiver to see that she is still there. Then I toss and hit it.

    If either of the two net players decides to tie a shoe or turn her back or clear a ball after taking her position, she had better say something.
     
    #82
  33. RoddickAce

    RoddickAce Hall of Fame

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    Ok, since we are talking about fairness and not rules anymore, this is my view.

    Nobody is trying to cheat. It is very normal to not see the receiver's partner pick up a ball once the service motion has started.

    However, unless the ball landed right at the bottom of the net and did not bounce back out onto the court, it would be reasonable for the serving team to give the receiving side some time to clear the ball. Otherwise, the receiving side is at a disadvantage. There will be slightly restricted mobility near the ball area, if the opponents' shots hit the ball the receiving side loses the point, they may simply slip and fall, etc. These risks may be immaterial, but strictly from a perspective of fairness as a principle, the server should give the receiving side time to clear the ball.
     
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  34. jht32

    jht32 Rookie

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    Who cares about the tennis? Tennis is just a backdrop for the drama which is the main preoccupation and hobby.
     
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  35. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    #85
  36. jht32

    jht32 Rookie

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    Topaz, ya know I love ya right? Actually, you don't but whatever... Yes, some of us males enjoy a nice dramatic thread too, and therefore we comment on them.

    But the argument is just going around in circles so there's not much else for me to comment on.

    I have learned my lesson though. From now on, if I clear the ball as the receiver's partner, I will just moon-walk back to position so that I can see and be ready for the serve.
     
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  37. Z-Man

    Z-Man Professional

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    Serving before your opponents are ready is bush league--I don't care what the rule book says.
     
    #87
  38. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Moon walk! Yes!!! That is the answer! ;)

    I just get my feathers ruffled when it is suggested that the drama is only on female teams...'tis not true at all!

    The drama is EVERYWHERE!!! :shock:
     
    #88
  39. tennis tom

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    True, there's a men's team at my club that's always having issues and drama's. We've nick-named them "The Metro Men". They gather at the club's lounge telly at 11 am to watch the soaps.
     
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  40. samarai

    samarai Rookie

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    I've had my own teammate do it on me before. I was walking up to clear his net ball out of way before walking back to the service line since we play both back when he sends his serve off. He has a soft second serve and the return came back whizzing back as I was still walking back. He's a bit older gentlemen so I just had to laugh it off.
     
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  41. beernutz

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    Bush league but probably technically within the rules:

    deliberate head hunting or crotch shots

    receiver's partner who make excessive foot noise during serve while 'feinting'

    announcing the score and serving at exactly the same moment without giving the receiver time to process what was said

    wiping a mark from a clay court before giving an opponent a chance to inspect it

    not being able to produce a mark on a clay court to justify an out call

    serving when the receiver's partner is clearly not ready
     
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  42. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    Even more bush league, returning a second serve when your own partner is not ready, then whining about how the serve should be redone, but not allowing a first serve.

     
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  43. bukaeast

    bukaeast Rookie

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    You know this illustrates that this is all probably a combination of all people on the court completely focused on themselves and what they are to do and not paying attention to the "conditions" on the rest of the court. Server is focused on getting the serv in and not seeing the opposing net player moving to clear the ball. Serving partner not calling off server when the player clears the ball, but focused on the returner. receiving net player focused, albeit late, focused on clearing the safety hazard/distraction. And Returner focused on server prep and getting the return back.

    Everybody is focused on their own task. Peripheral vision has tunneled to that immeadiate goal and blocked out all surrounding "distractions".

    Yep, I can see it happening.

    Especially as an "older gentleman".

    Whether this is what happened in actuality....:confused:
     
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  44. Coach Carter

    Coach Carter Rookie

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    I think this comes into courteousness of play. I guess in gamesmanship you can do a lot to turn doubles into 2 on 1. I guess if you are the serving team on every cross over game you could skip getting a drink and go ahead out and start serving your first serve (with the thought that they have to play to the servers speed).

    If the partner on the other side of the net had their back turned then they weren't ready! They were talking because they may have been talking stategy or whatever...but that wasn't a "distraction". You guys were gaming them...you girls were in the wrong. From you description, y'all were annoyed about some early calls and it changed how you acted about the match.
     
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  45. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Yep, excellent analysis Bukaeast, narcissism in action. The group would be better served by getting off the court and getting on the couch. What's everyone's big hurry? I see it everyday at the rec level. Balls ricocheting off the fences, rolling dangerously near players without a concern that they or others may step on them, twist an ankle or crack a femur.

    The server is obsessed with getting that second serve off as fast as possible as if it were a hot-potato and usually for a double fault. It's the blind leading the blind, the inmates running the asylum, in their haste to be the best of the mediocre and the first to the bar.

    I may still be trying to stuff the server's fault, that went into the bottom of the net into my pocket, not at all ready and he's already hitting his weak second serve.
     
    #95
  46. samarai

    samarai Rookie

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    I like Tennis Tom's analysis. " WE TRY TO BE THE BEST OF THE MEDIOCRE." We argue over trivial facts as if we are on the ATP tour. Love it when people quote official passages from the rule books. People in my leagues are still confused on when to change ends for a game ending tiebreak.
     
    #96
  47. mucat

    mucat Hall of Fame

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    Exactly!!! I don't think they will complain if they hit a service return winner.
     
    #97
  48. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    I might get that put on a t-shirt, it pretty well sums up my aspirations.

    This has been quite a thread. I kind of think, if I was the server's partner at the net:

    --I wouldn't be down in my truly classic "ready position" if I saw the receiver's partner moving to pick up a ball, if I had been I would stand up.

    --If my partner's serve went by me while the receiver's partner was wandering around and/or had their back to the net, I would hold up my hands and say "hold on," or "let's do that again," or "hold the weddin' " if I felt like Kinky Friedman. I guess I would feel like that serve (the second) should be replayed.
     
    #98
  49. mucat

    mucat Hall of Fame

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    However, you cannot call a let just because you think your opponent might not be ready. What if your partner hit a double fault and your opponents said they are actually ready and it should count? The best way is to play by the rules and let the rules sort out itself.
     
    #99
  50. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I think a lot of you are forgetting something. It's something I say to my teenagers from time to time:

    "**It's Not About You!!**"

    By that I mean that when the point is about to begin, it is not about the receiver's partner. None of the other three people are focused on the receiver's partner at that moment. Server is thinking about receiver. Receiver is thinking about server and perhaps server's partner. Server's partner is thinking about receiver.

    That is why not one person saw the receiver's partner turn her back with enough time to stop the server from serving.
     

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