To Bend or Not to Bend?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by fe6250, Jan 31, 2008.

?

Do you Bend USTA rules?

  1. No - I play to the letter of every USTA rule

    15 vote(s)
    25.4%
  2. Yes - I let common sense rule

    44 vote(s)
    74.6%
  1. Joeyg

    Joeyg Semi-Pro

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    You either play by the rules or not. They are there for a reason and it is not up to anyone to selectively enforce which rules they like. Especially in USTA league matches.
     
    #51
  2. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    The first time someone caught a ball that was sailing way long, I'd say something along the lines of "You really need to let that bounce next time, technically I could claim the point since you touched it before it went out". In that instance I'd let them have the point.

    If they respond with "sorry, I didn't know that" then everything is cool. If they respond with "don't be a jerk, it was way out" then I'd know we're in for an unpleasant match.
     
    #52
  3. Supernatural_Serve

    Supernatural_Serve Professional

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    Totally agree with that and some of those reasons aren't always obvious or intuitive or based on common sense.

    No. I don't agree with that.

    Several years ago, a guy showed up late to a tournament match, I was offered to take 3-0 in the first set by the tournament organizer, technically according to the time rules, I could have demanded the entire first set. I said, "No" to both of those and I lost and the opponent was very appreciative after sitting in traffic/accident or something. So, what. He got destroyed in the next round anyway, and so would I

    Talk about deciding not to enforce the rules and ruling against onself. It just wouldn't have felt right to me not to play the entire match.

    You can selectively choose to not enforce rules as long as it isn't to your benefit like the common ones people have talked about: opponents foot faults, catching balls, etc.

    As I've said, its opponents who think that they can use whatever rationale they want including common sense to demand or bully someone into rules that don't exist or to expect a rule in their favor and make a stink if they don't get what they want, that I have a problem with. That's wrong.
     
    #53
  4. 10sguy

    10sguy Rookie

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    Consider this: It's quite apparent YOUR shot will land well beyond the opponent's baseline; your opponent catches it in midair and you let it slide. NOW, this happens several times . . . so have you set a lax/casual precedent by letting it previously slide? Now your opponent may well feel no hesitation to catch ANY ball which COULD conceivably be out. You have potentially created a very uncomfortable situation for yourself by overlooking the letter of the rule.

    I like, and have used Kyle's first paragraph example above: "The first time someone caught a ball that was sailing way long, I'd say something along the lines of, 'You really need to let that bounce next time, technically I could claim the point since you touched it before it went out.' In that instance I'd let them have the point."

    Personally, I was playing in a National USTA league event many years ago when our opponent caught a ball which looked like it was going long. I didn't hesitate for a second; I claimed the point. The opponent had a short hissy fit but his partner told him I was right. From my perspective (I knew (myself well enough), I knew darned well that had I not (rightfully) claimed that point and had lost that particular game, I would have had a very tough time getting that out of my mind for the rest of the match. (note: my partner and I won the match, our team won that match, 2 - 1 . . . and I never regretted my action, not for one second.

    FINAL NOTE: You can probably apply this example to any "technical" rules violation one decides to occasionally ignore. It's really simple; always play by the rules (LEARN THEM) . . . you'll have more fun - and possible help others do the same (by politely educating them).
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2008
    #54
  5. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    Exactly. If the ball is in FACT going long (10 feet beyond the baseline--think of a lob) and you claim the point just because someone stopped it from hitting the fence, then YOU are cheating--knowing full well that the ball is going LONG, yet enforcing that specific rule. That rule is there to stop hindrances of points, and not for blatant cheating!
     
    #55
  6. Hooooon

    Hooooon Rookie

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    wrong (you are a dense one). by stopping a ball before it lands out you are volleying the ball, therefore playing it. by catching or stopping it you are missing a shot.
     
    #56
  7. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    And I'm the one who's dense? There's a lot more to stopping the ball than those reasons. Think about it. (Maybe because the ball is obviously out, and there is no way in h*ll that it will go in?) Use your imagination, certain shots will obviously be out, and stopping them shouldn't be penalized. Period.

    I haven't attacked you once, yet you are throwing around insults. Guess the truth hurts. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2008
    #57
  8. Supernatural_Serve

    Supernatural_Serve Professional

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    You have to agree that its not your decision to violate the rule and expect someone to go along with it. You can request, hope, and ask someone to go along with it. But, they aren't obligated. This is where you are wrong: the expecting others to go along with your rule violation as if their opinion is meaningless is how the game gets cheapened. You also disrespect your opponent by thinking this way and bringing this attitude to the court.

    You may not see it this way, but people who thrive on gamesmanship generally probe their opponent in various ways to see what they can get away with, people who like to do irritating things, disrespect their opponent and the game, etc.

    Its your opponents decision not yours to overlook you catching the ball. And like most of the people have said, they WILL overlook it the first time but ask that you not do it again.

    Last season in USTA, I watched a guy throw a mild fit when I said we weren't going to play a match on hard courts with balls made for clay courts. He thought I was being ridiculous. No, I had a can of balls for hard courts and said we will play with these instead. After some absurd banter, I simply asked, "why would you not want to play with balls made for hard courts? what's so special about those clay court balls?"

    Let's say someone hits some incredibly offensive shot, you barely get your racquet on it, send the weakest floater imaginable back and the guy in perfect position, you are way out of position, he trips and falls and can't make a play on the ball.

    Is it cheating, gamesmanship, or being a poor sport to claim the point? No. Would it be absurd for the guy who tripped to make a scene? Yes. Would it be absurd for him to ask for a let? Not really, but its not his decision to expect and demand a let. Its his opponent's decision.

    Then, imagine that scenario at a tournament at set or match point in a close tie breaker.
     
    #58
  9. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    Trolling aside, if you and I both (among everyone else on the court) knows that the ball is sailing out by miles (from experience of course) and your opponent stops the "out ball" from landing, then it's generally accepted that it is 100% OKAY to intercept the ball. We all know where that specific ball is going to land, capice? Are you with me so far? Good. (I am talking about an OBVIOUS line-call here, if you are at all confused.)

    If you want to strictly talk about the USTA rules, then if the ball is going out, then it should land before a call is made. I agree 100% with that rule. But that specific rule was invented to prevent players from obstructing the ball from bouncing--cheating your opponents out of a decent/fair call. But if everyone knows that the LONG-SAILING NO-CHANCE-IN-H*LL ball is going to land outside the lines, then it is logically/rationally accepted that it is fine to stop a sailing "out" ball. If you want to argue against this, then there is obviously a hitch in your logic. I am talking about out-balls. If you played enough, then you'd surely agree with me. Other than that, and politics aside, I don't see how you can argue against this point and get away with it. ;) Please stroke your ego somewhere else.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2008
    #59
  10. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    How does everyone NOT read this post, when it is in fact at the very first page, at the top? :confused:
     
    #60
  11. Supernatural_Serve

    Supernatural_Serve Professional

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    In this scenario, by definition, the point isn't over until you catch it and doing so means you never let it bounce. You lose the point unless your opponent lets you get away with a rule violation. Which is his choice, not yours.

    Get into an argument? Call a tournament official over? Tell him your tale. Everyone agrees it was sailing out 10 feet. Guess what? The tournament official will rule against you and tell you not to do it again. I have been playing a long time. I know exactly how that scenario ends.

    If you and I were playing, I would give you the point and ask you not to do it again, and if you did it again, I would consider it disrespectful and gamesmanship and not give you the point even if it was sailing out 20 feet. Why should any opponent put up with it?

    The illogical and irrational part of your post is that you expect opponents to simply allow you to violate the rules. Nobody is obligated to do so.
     
    #61
  12. fe6250

    fe6250 Semi-Pro

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    I think the point of this whole thread is when your opponent catches the ball (or similar) and the decision lies in your hands - not the other way around. I don't think anyone feels entitled to the call.
     
    #62
  13. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    Why the hell would anyone "do it again" when asked not to? (Are you deluded?) Stop posting situations which allow you to pat yourself on the back. :rolleyes::oops:
     
    #63
  14. randomname

    randomname Professional

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    out of curiosity, do you rule sticklers always obey the speed limit no matter what? I'm guessing no, and it seems a little crazy that people are more anal about following the rules of a GAME than they are about following laws
     
    #64
  15. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    The officials are there to enforce the rules, period. You've got that right. But try to be less thick, and understand that if the ball is obviously "landing out" in everyone's perspective, and you claim that point from your opponents, then that's just abusing the rule, and I'm SURE everyone on that specific court will most likely not want to play with you again or even shake your hand afterwards. You do have common sense to understand that it's wrong, don't you? That rule wasn't made to be used to cheat your opponents out of a point by strictly enforcing it 100% of the time. Would you claim that point, or call a let, if your ball went 2 courts down and someone caught it mid-air? I mean, it was never allowed to bounce even though it had no chance in hell of boomeranging itself back onto your court. Somehow, judging by your posts, I'm sure you would. :lol:
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2008
    #65
  16. fe6250

    fe6250 Semi-Pro

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    Well said! I think the basic issue here is that there are rules to every sport that need to be followed to define and allow competition for a fair game. That said, most sports have umpires, referees, and officials to call the game for them - unlike tennis which relys on the players to make the calls (at least at the amateur level). You do run into some more unusual situations in tennis than other sports - at least in my opinion.

    A couple of examples of this that are on the unusual side:

    - I can call a foot fault on my opponent
    - I can penalize the opponent for catching the ball
    - I can give my opponent a LET pretty much anytime I want to

    These require ME to call the infraction or offer the play over

    - I CAN'T call a double bounce on my opponent (even if it is clear)
    - I CAN'T call them for crossing over the net (even if it is clear)
    - I'm pretty sure (please correct me if I'm wrong) that I can't even call them for HITTING the net

    These require them to acknowledge the infraction occurred.

    Line calls are called by the person receiving the shot - but can be deferred to the opponent, however the opponent may call his OWN shot OUT - except on first serves.

    While all these rules are important to fair play and probably should be enforced strictly in tourneys, especially at the highest levels of play - there are a lot of new players trying to get their heads around the game and a good sportsman offers at least a little latitude (perhaps a warning on the first offense or misunderstanding).

    My opinion anyway.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2008
    #66
  17. Hooooon

    Hooooon Rookie

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    you cannot call footfaults on an opponent, and the player who stops the ball before it bounces has to admit doing so (not necessarily agree with the rule:))
     
    #67
  18. Commando Tennis Shorts

    Commando Tennis Shorts Hall of Fame

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    I was too lazy to read past page 1, but. . .

    I want to know where you guys play where if you don't catch the ball, it flies over the fence. I have never played anywhere against anybody where the back fence was no higher than my shoulders (which is where the fence would have to be to be able to catch a ball over your head that "was going to go over the fence," as several people here have put it.).
    !
    Besides that, I can't really think of any rules that I would even think of bending, be it foot faults or touching the net, etc.

    The rules are there for a reason. There are not unreasonable, and if you bend them when you play with me, you can bet I will call you on them. Call me a harda$$ for that, but the only way to avoid ambiguity and confusion is to follow the rules.

    And as a final thought: There is absolutely no no no no no reason for you to catch the ball, even if it is flying out. Oh, no! If you don't catch the ball, you'll have to walk an extra six or seven feet to get it! That is just too much to ask. . . (note the sarcasm)
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2008
    #68
  19. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    LOL! (10 Char.)
     
    #69
  20. Supernatural_Serve

    Supernatural_Serve Professional

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    No. There are rules governing when a third party makes contact with a ball. The point is over. Its just as if the ball hit a fence or any other permanent fixture. The person who hit the ball loses the point. Furthermore, it would be difficult for my opponent to offer me a let since in the scenario you described it would be absurd to claim that either of us was hindered.

    I lose the point.

    You would know the above if you read the rules.
     
    #70
  21. WBF

    WBF Hall of Fame

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    Yes you can. You must warn on the first, search for an official on the second, but on and after the third, you may call footfaults when they occur.
     
    #71
  22. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    In all honesty, I'd avoid sticklers, because common sense should prevail when it comes to certain types of calls. No one benefits when certain types of rules are abused and overly enforced.
     
    #72
  23. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    Out of economic necessity I have to catch balls that are going out (including
    balls going wide) if I can reach them. I play on top of a skyscraper with no
    side fences.

    I usually I like to go to the net b/c less I can reach more balls. If it's going
    out I just hit it into the net. I usually tell my opponent that I'll be doing this
    before the match so that he knows if my volley goes into the net then his
    shot was going out and it's my point.

    I also play this way on regular courts at sea level. j/k
     
    #73
  24. fe6250

    fe6250 Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for the clarification! And this goes to the issue a little bit. I've been playing for only 3 years and while I have read the rules, play in a lot of leagues and captain teams there are rules I'm still learning and I can't keep all of them straight! That's why I'm a little hesitant to enforce some of the things fully.

    I guess I have a lot to learn about this game still!
     
    #74
  25. Hooooon

    Hooooon Rookie

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    not in socal
     
    #75
  26. tennis-n-sc

    tennis-n-sc Professional

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    It is accepted at the Saturday morning social, sometimes.

    Nope, I think we are talking about the Rules of Tennis, to which USTA adheres.


    Please provide us a source of why the rule was "invented".


    Everyone I know is under the correct impression that the ball is in play until it lands out, then it is called out.

    I believe I have played more tennis than you and I am sure that I have officiated many more matches than you and I can emphatically say that your argument is immature, disrespectful foolishness.

    [/QUOTE]
     
    #76
  27. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    I would obviously call those balls "out" before I would stop them, but when you are well beyond the baseline, some of those balls are just BLATANTLY OUT. It's just common sense to not take that point away from your opponent if they stop the ball. For this specific situation, I will honestly say that if you claim that point, you are using that rule the wrong way, and need some common sense.
     
    #77
  28. Hooooon

    Hooooon Rookie

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    watch any football today? was that 12 man on the field penalty "oppressive" because the guy was running off the field? no, it's a rule damnit. if any sport wants respect, it's rules need to be respected. maybe you like tennis players perceived as pansies... if not, don't question tennis
     
    #78
  29. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    Wow, I guess you're right. Don't know what I'll do now that I've read your opinion on the matter. Think I'll go eat some ice cream with the girls and try to be happy again.
     
    #79
  30. fe6250

    fe6250 Semi-Pro

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    They're pros and lives and careers are on the line - big difference!
     
    #80
  31. Hooooon

    Hooooon Rookie

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    you can afford to, you play 5 times per week! are you a 2.5 yet?
     
    #81
  32. fe6250

    fe6250 Semi-Pro

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    Great - we are back to name calling again. NEXT!!!!
     
    #82
  33. randomname

    randomname Professional

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    your argument makes no sense, of course they will call anything, they are professional sports umpires, if you break any rule they will call it (there is some leniency in sports like basketball, but not much) all your doing is pointing out that there are rules and umpires call them. we arnt talking about what umpires should or should not do, we are talking about what we, as players who make our own calls and have the benefit of BEING ABLE TO USE COMMON SENSE WHERE IT APPLIES should do
     
    #83
  34. tennis-n-sc

    tennis-n-sc Professional

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    #84
  35. Hooooon

    Hooooon Rookie

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    the point is that rules are rules. the nfl rule was unnecessary in that situation, yet properly enforced. if there was no likelihood of someone stopping an "in ball" in the air you beginners would have a point, but you don't.
     
    #85
  36. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    So what makes a person, approaching the net, NOT hit a fly ball that is sailing out of the court? Common sense? We all have common sense to judge the situation and depth of an incoming ball. Some are more obvious than the others. Your point is still subjective, so please don't think otherwise. You are a stickler, I get that.
     
    #86
  37. tennis-n-sc

    tennis-n-sc Professional

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    Your analogy is BS. I'm not a stickler, I just play the game according to the rules. You, on the other hand, are play a game with tennis balls and rackets but it isn't tennis. Not sure what it is. Perhaps you common sense will allow you to give it a name and you can then write your own rules. The Rules of Tennis have already been written.
     
    #87
  38. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    Like I said, I understand that you are a stickler when it comes to the rules of tennis since you strictly enforce them without any gray areas at all. We'll just leave it at that, and accept things the way they are. Happy-tennis with everyone!
     
    #88
  39. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    I know a losing argument when I see one. :lol:

    Thanks guys.
     
    #89
  40. fe6250

    fe6250 Semi-Pro

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    Somehow this thread has turned into a feud over whether or not someone should obey the rules. As the OP, it wasn't my intent to question the rules but rather to find out how people dealt with cases where they could choose to be a sportsman and give an opponent some slack. It was never my intent that someone would bend the rules to give themselves an advantage. Perhaps the difference lies in the level and type of tennis people are playing, but in my case at the 3.5/4.0 levels, I try to be a gentleman within reason and will cut someone some slack out there from time to time. I don't think that is bending the rules to suit my purposes, but allowing for the fact that I'm playing amateur tennis against other community members and recognizing that we are all still learning some of the rules.
     
    #90
  41. spiderman123

    spiderman123 Professional

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    I am not even bothered by the ongoing debates and I don't think anything is going to come out of these discussions. People who claim that "we will be playing some other game if we don't follow the rules exactly" clearly have missed the essence of this poll.

    I am very happy that people who said that they will use their common sense outnumber the sticklers 37 to 13. The % of players who prefer their common sense has always stayed close to 75% and that is what makes social and USTA league tennis without umpires such a fulfilling experience for me. When I play against the 25% sticklers, I will not argue with them to use their common sense(that never was intended) but I will not have any small-talk with them after the handshake either.
     
    #91
  42. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    #92
  43. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    #93
  44. boilerfan

    boilerfan New User

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    I haven't read all the pages, but it is interesting that this turned into a discussion on catching the ball. I was wondering if the opinions have anything to do when you started playing and what level you achieved. I have only witnessed someone catch the ball a few times and neither time was it somebody that played competively as a kid. Most people cringed when they saw it happen as if it was a pet peeve for them.

    I think most players that played competitively as a kid can't imagine catching the ball in an official match. The rules are so ingrained and you are taught to not bend the rules that I have a hard time actually catching it even in a practice match. I can tell you that in all matches I have played, if a serve is shanked and hits the opponent or if the opponent can't get out of the way of the ball, the point is always taken. You may feel bad about taking a point on a bad shot, but that is what we were taught to do.
     
    #94
  45. spiderman123

    spiderman123 Professional

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    FWIW, no, this is not a discussion about catching a ball, if it is good/acceptable etc. That was a hypothetical situation discussed to bring forth what the poll question is about.

    And there can be some time where you are in a little hurry. But you need to be in the DC/MD area and losing by a point/game with 2 min left on the game-clock :)
     
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  46. amarone

    amarone Semi-Pro

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    I've only come across the ball being caught twice in official matches. The first time there was no obvious reason to do so - it was going to hit the back fence - so I let him have the point but asked him not to do it again. The second time the ball was going off to the side and would likely have gone over a low side fence and out of the court. A player ran across and caught it to stop it going out. I was absolutely fine with that.
     
    #96
  47. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    You guys need to fix the errors with "[Quote.=tennis-n-sc;2067583]" because we're being misquoted here.
     
    #97
  48. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    I'm totally with fe and spiderman on this one. I generally like to stick by the rules but will bend them when there is a common sense reason to do so, or in the interests of sportsmanship.

    In fact I played a match last night where both situations came up:

    1. There was a large water puddle on the court alongside one of the back fences. So we were all catching / blocking balls going clearly long on that side of the court to prevent them from getting wet. This was just the practical thing to do. Had we decided to follow the rules exactly, we would eventually have ended up with just a bunch of really wet balls and nothing to play with.

    2. Serving from the deuce side, I miss-hit a first serve badly and it ended up hitting the opposing net player on the foot. He was in the center of the ad-court service box (was not cheating towards the middle at all). I could have claimed the point of course, but instead called it a fault. If he was trying to poach, or I did it deliberately to send a message, I would have claimed the point. But since it was completely unintentional and my serve was clearly off-target, I felt that this was the sportsmanlike thing to do.

    By the way, if the situation was reversed, and my opponents did claim the point, I would of course understand and would not complain. I guess it's a personal decision we all make for ourselves... kinda like making line calls - if I see an opponent's ball as out but am only 95% sure, I'll give my opponent the benefit of the 5% doubt and call it in; some folks would just call that out and that's ok.
     
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  49. fe6250

    fe6250 Semi-Pro

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    NC
    Orange - I think that is one of the best examples I've seen of where it really makes sense in amateur tennis to use some common sense. I'm sure in the pros or a high-end tourney - these conditions are unlikely to exist, but those of us in the world of amateur USTA recreational tennis deal with this type of situation from time to time and have to use our heads.

    Thanks for the post!
     
    #99

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