Weird gamesmanship attempt in league match

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by beernutz, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Last night I played a 7.5 combo match away on rubico where the home team tried something I'd never experienced before which I can only assume was some type of psyche out attempt.

    I was playing court 1 doubles as a 3.5 with a 4.0 from our club who I only knew from reputation as being a solid player. When it came time to start our match the home team hands us a couple of balls to use. Ostensibly these came from a new can but neither myself or my partner saw them actually open a can. Anyway after the first hit it was obvious the balls were dead. I squeezed one the first chance I got and while it was not quite like a nerf ball it was darn close to one.

    We asked the other team if they were new balls and they said they'd just opened them. My partner and I were taking serves and we agreed the balls were dead, although they didn't look used. I asked the opponents if the balls felt dead and the one who'd provided them said they were fine to him and the other just kind of hemmed and hawed. My partner and I conferred briefly and decided we'd just play with them as is and let the chips fall where they may. The balls were Dunlop fwiw.

    It turned out to be a non-issue as my partner was as good as I'd heard and I was having an ok night and we beat them 1 and 1 and it was very close to have been 0 and 0. I guess their plan had been to slow down the play even more but it really didn't help them as far as I could see.

    This tactic was a first for me in 6+ years of league play and my partner whose played much longer than that had never had that happen either but I started to wonder if it was more common than I'd originally thought.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
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  2. jmjmkim

    jmjmkim Semi-Pro

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    This is hilarious. I think I will go to my garage and open up a few cans and leave them for about a year or two. Then, on my off days, or when I feel sluggish, I can take them to a match against a hard hitter. Of course, between now and the future match day, I will have to practice making the "Pssssssssst Pop" sound loudly and realistically, so my opponents will hear the fresh can being opened.

    Oh, and I should save the curled up can top, put it into my pocket before arriving on court. I need to make sure that I turn away from my opponent as I secretly take out this can-top from my pocket.

    Lastly, I will need to practice playing with dead balls so that I will have and advantage over my unsuspecting opponent. I should also have a special racket for this purpose, with string tension that is about 20lbs over its recommended. Also, making drop shots with deadballs is a must, so I will be sure to practice this skill.

    I imagine your opponents having done all or most of the things that I listed.
     
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  3. FloridaAG

    FloridaAG Professional

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    Perhaps they were just a dead set of balls and your opponents could not tell the difference.

    I have had similar experiences with a number of newly opened cans of Dunlops recently
     
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  4. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Those guys were too cheap to open another can of balls. Played at a club that opened then handed the opened can to us before the match. Not sure if they were opened two weeks earlier like at Wimbledon.
     
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  5. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    what is the problem? where is the gamemanship? They opened a can that was a dud, but they couldn't tell. Obviously the balls were not dead enough for you to ask for a new can of a balls.

     
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  6. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Most likely not an attempt at gamesmanship.

    More likely just a dud can of balls. It happens. And then either your opponents could not tell the difference, or they could but were too cheap to admit it and have to open up another can.
     
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  7. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    At least you opened a can of whoop arse on the offenders.
     
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  8. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    The gamesmanship assumption was because the balls were so obviously dead. You could squeeze the worst of them half way to its center. Perhaps they were just embarrassed or cheap but their denial that there was even a problem makes me still think it was gamesmanship. I willing to concede that perhaps it was just weird.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
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  9. BobFL

    BobFL Hall of Fame

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    What I see here is just a textbook example of show-off :) Yeah I got it - you guys beat them 1 and 1! No gamesmanship what so ever.
     
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  10. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Another classic idiot post from Bob. Thanks for being so consistent.
     
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  11. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    :) Here's a completely hypothetical scenario:

    Opponent #1, talking to his partner before the upcoming match against Beernutz: Hey Darryl, did ya check out the records of these guys we're supposed to play in our 7.5 combo match?

    Opponent #2: Yeah Darryl, I saw, what a bunch of #$%@ing sandbaggers!

    Opponent #1: You gotta wonder why we should even bother to play - we've got no chance against those cheaters!

    Opponent #2: Plus, what a waste of a can of new balls - you know the price of those cheapo "irregulars" Dunlop's has gone up to a whopping $1 per can!

    Opponent #1: Hey, that gives me an idea! You know the can you opened last night, that were so flat out of the can that we couldn't even play with them? Do you still have them?

    Opponent #2: Yeah, they're still in my bag - what about them?

    Opponent #1: Well, they look new, right?

    Opponent #2: Sure, we didn't even hit with them, but they're flat as a pancake...

    Opponent #1: So, let's just use those for our match! That way we save on having to open up another can, plus it serves those cheating mother&%&$%$# right!

    Opponent #2: Brilliant! And maybe that way we can even get a game or two off them!

    Opponent #1: Brilliant!

    Opponent #2: Brilliant!




     
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  12. BobFL

    BobFL Hall of Fame

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    Your aggressiveness proves my point. Well known technique in psychology: you just self-identified yourself ;)
     
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  13. jmverdugo

    jmverdugo Hall of Fame

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    I do not think it was gamesmanship, death balls do not help anyone in particular, this is besides the point but even if the balls were unusable in order to change the balls ALL the players need to agree on it.
     
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  14. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Your terminal stupidity proves mine so I guess we're even. Why are you winking at me? Sorry, I don't swing that way.
     
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  15. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Brilliant! Looks like their master plan worked too since they did get the two games.

    Actually I have a bit of a history with the player who provided the balls. He didn't remember me but about 5 years ago we'd played a mixed match against each other on those same courts. I might not have remembered him either except for the fact that during the match when he was upset about his partner's play he threw his racquet over the probably 20' high fence out into some woods behind the court and it took at least 5 minutes for him to find and retrieve it. Just like with the flat balls situation, I'd never seen anyone do that before either. I guess I just bring out the best in my opponents.
     
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  16. BobFL

    BobFL Hall of Fame

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    You are hilarious :) Read the sticker

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Fugazi

    Fugazi Professional

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    Death balls... now that's scary!
     
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  18. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Thanks. Unfortunately you are not except accidentally.
     
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  19. Sakkijarvi

    Sakkijarvi Semi-Pro

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    There was an old guy at a club I used to play at. Was a total dinker slicemaster ... he would always proffer these ancient Penn balls, "here' I have some balls, let's use these.."

    Never claimed they were new, just wanted to use his tired old balls to assert his tired old game: dink you until you were bored to tears.

    Nice guy.
     
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  20. dizzlmcwizzl

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    SO the question for future use is....

    WHat is the rule on this ... If my opponent presented me with balls, claimed they were new, USTA approved balls and I thought they were obviously flat: what are my options?

    I have had this happen before and oppened my new can so that we would have good balls ... but what if the opponent stood fast and claimed that those dead things needed to be used?
     
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  21. tennisee

    tennisee Rookie

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    This did happen to me a few years ago - playing on grass against an old guy. The balls were unused but dead. Anyone who'd been around as long as he had must have known they were dead, so I can only assume he wanted to use flat balls so they would die on the court. It was definitely to his advantage because of the style of his play.

    I did nothing, and played with them, but these days I would have a bit more confidence - demonstrate to him that they were flatter than some used balls in my bag etc and insist on better balls. Fool me once, fool me twice etc...
     
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  22. captainobvious

    captainobvious Rookie

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    Same here. But only one can...I had a can of Dunlop balls (new) and after opening and hitting, they felt like they had already been played with for a match...:-?

    Could be thats what happened with the OP's opponents. I wouldnt jump to too may conclusions about it, you never know ;)
     
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  23. wrxinsc

    wrxinsc Professional

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    Cool story 'bro to follow:

    A friend not prone to making ***t up told me about a singles flex league match where his opponent, who was the home 'team', shows up with a racquet and a plastic grocery bag full of mostly bleached, dead, fuzz-less balls - you know the ones you might see in the woods having been left there for dead for a couple of years?

    Anywho, that is what he insisted to play with. My friend decided it was probably best to just go ahead and agree to play with them given the remote tennis court in the isolated subdivision where he was. Thinking, "this guy must be cookoo".

    Turns out he was a decent player but just a bit off his rocker. Thankfully in an eccentric friendly sort of way...

    Not sure what I would have done in that situation. I guess there is a rule somewhere you are supposed to play a league match with new ball?
     
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  24. NoQuarter

    NoQuarter Rookie

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    Doesn't sound like gamesmanship to me....they probably just could not tell the difference. Besides, they had to play with the balls as well.
     
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  25. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    Did either you or your partner offer to open a new can of balls (of your own)? That's what I probably would have done. If they were naive or didn't have another new can, they might have appreciated the gesture too. If they insisted on the ones they provided, then I might suspect something.

    Nonetheless, you still won..and pretty big. Must not have really bothered you too much.

    FWIW, this is why I wait until all the players are at net, usually introducing themselves, before I pop the top. I have opened a can or two of duds and we all had a good laugh over them since we'd opened them together. Luckily, someone else had another can. :)
     
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  26. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    My partner and I mentioned to each other that we each had a can of new balls but we never offered to use them instead of the flat ones. That's because every time we opened the subject of the flat balls up to the other team, their 4.0 insisted that the balls were fine and the 3.5 said basically nothing.

    I realize people think this probably wasn't gamesmanship and they could well be right. The other team didn't know which specific players they'd be playing beforehand so if I had to guess I'd say the 4.0 cooked up a plan to slow down the game to give them a better shot against whatever team we put up as #1, presumably our best one. It was really just chance that my partner and I were playing #1 since our captain is a very new 3.5 who hasn't played with or even seen play many of the players on our team.

    I looked up the recent records of the other team's players and they were both pretty bad. The 3.5 was something like 1 and 7 in combined singles and doubles play during the last 3.5 season and the 4.0's recent record wasn't much better so if had to suggest a scenario I'd say the 4.0 cooked up this idea to try and level the playing field more and the 3.5 passively went along with it. Feel free to disagree though.
     
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  27. dizzlmcwizzl

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    I guess this brings up the question ... Would flat balls level the playing field and give an advantage to the weaker team?

    To me it seems that the team with the bigger weapons would be more disadvantaged ... but in general the better teams are not the ones that hit harder but are the ones who can control points better. Perhaps at the 5.0 level slowing the ball down to something a 4.0 is comfortable with is advantageous ... but the difference between average 4.0's and good 3.5's is not always because of the pace but usually due to placement.
     
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  28. AR15

    AR15 Professional

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    Life's too short to play with flat tennis balls.

    I probably would have done the same thing you guys did, and just played with what was offered. However, having heard this story, in the future if a similar scenario occurs, I think I will offer to use a fresh can out of my bag.
     
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  29. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    decent balls are a requirement.

    i'd open a new can, always keep at least one (2 is best) in the stupid hugea$$ bag i tote.

    there would be no discussion, it would just happen.
     
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  30. Fugazi

    Fugazi Professional

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    +1.

    10char
     
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  31. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, we open a new can if dissatisfied even after a set of play. Open a different can if offered Extra-Duty balls on clay.
     
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  32. AR15

    AR15 Professional

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    We could start another thread on that. Most of the time, in my area, my opponents bring extra duty balls to play on their clay courts. Two of the clubs I play against that have clay courts, have balls provided by the club that are always extra duty.
     
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  33. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I won't play with extra duty balls on clay courts. They become so heavy once they pick up the clay and turn into a real arm killer. I don't mind playing with regular duty balls on hard courts though.
     
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  34. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    We palm the hardcourt balls, use our own. Local district USTA got cheap, bought Costco balls to distribute to each team. Btw, back-in-the-day we had a singles league and it was clear both players needed to bring new balls. Winner got the new can. Same guy before each match claimed he had just opened the can which looked fresh. Balls were as dead as year-old Alu Rough. We all had the same story. He never opened a can of balls.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2011
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  35. myusername

    myusername New User

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    I've opened a can of new balls and found them to be dead. Wilson's too. It just means that they were probably left on the shelves of Walmart from the previous season. Soda in a sealed plastic bottle will go flatter faster that in a glass bottle. I put them in a pressurizer can and they were as good as new n 6 weeks.
     
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  36. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Based on something that I experienced today I decided to search the forum to see if anyone else has experienced this, and thus the return of this thread from the beyond the grave. Looks like I'm not alone!

    Today I show up for a singles match. It's away and the other guy is already at the courts. He has already opened the can of balls but I don't care, I trust him.

    These things are dead. They're ex-balls. They're deader than a dead parrot.

    He insists the can was fresh so we compare their bounce to some balls I had sitting in my bag for about week. Mine are clearly dead too but they still bounce a little higher than his.

    He goes to his car and returns with two more cans of balls, one of which is clearly old and dead. The other looks new but, again, I don't get to see him open the can and I never hear the usual "woosh" of rushing air. He turns around and presents me with the "new" balls. These too are deader than dead. When I try to serve them they hit halfway down the net.

    While hitting with his dead balls it becomes clear that he has two shots: a drop shot and weak slices. Whenever he tries to hit a normal topspin groundstroke the ball literally hits the back fence. He can't generate controlled pace even with his dead balls. All he can do is slice and dink drop shots to keep the ball in. He's a young guy, mid-20s, but can only slice and drop shot while controlling the ball. They're good slices and drop shots but that's his repertoire.

    Maybe it was just coincidence that he had two cans of dead balls that I never got to see opened and a third can that had been opened and that were also dead. But then he slipped and said that when he had used the supposedly new balls a few days ago they were fine.

    At that point I realize what's probably going on and feel like the mark in a crooked poker game. Obviously I can't accuse him of cheating outright since, just maybe, he got unlucky and just happened to have two new cans of super dead balls that I didn't get to see opened and a third can of dead balls and he just happens to benefit enormously from dead balls. I've had cans of dead balls too. But, then again, maybe it's not a coincidence.

    :-?
     
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  37. dunlop_fort_knox

    dunlop_fort_knox Semi-Pro

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    now this is how you humblebrag. anybody thinking of trying it, study the OP very carefully.
     
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  38. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Humblebrag? What's the point? To impress you? Trust me, you're not that important.

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and an amusing anecdote is just an amusing anecdote. Not everyone is out to impress Dunlop_Fort_Knox. ;)
     
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  39. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    And this is how you be a d*ick. For anyone thinking of trying, study the quoted post very carefully.
     
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  40. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    After balls go flat you can make them non-flat once more? :confused:
     
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  41. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    I don't believe those balls are approved for league play. It also sounds like this guy knew exactly what he was doing.
     
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  42. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    OP I believe you. I think they were using gamesmanship as playing with dead balls is an advantage to as slicer/dinker
     
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  43. TimothyO

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    Yeah, I was fully willing to give him the benefit of a doubt on the first can even though he had opened it before I stepped foot on the court.

    And even the second can wasn't enough to make me think he was shady. Maybe it was just a bad batch/case.

    But after having insisted the balls were new, not letting me see him open the second can of balls, and then slipping up and stating that the balls were fine when used previously, and then seeing how he hit, I finally figured out what was going on.

    Even then I was incredulous and thus my search on this forum and the internet in general to see if others have done this. Maybe he got the idea from the internet.
     
    #43
  44. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I can slice and drop shot too but I know precisely what you mean.

    After thinking about it some more I realized that the advantage isn't just that dead balls make slices and dinks more effective by keeping them even lower than normal. Dead balls also take away pace and depth which this kind of player doesn't like.

    And since one isn't generally used to playing with such dead balls it makes it more challenging to gauge the swing speed needed to produce a given shot. So there's an offensive advantage (slices/drop shots die a lot sooner and lower) and a tremendous defensive advantage (it dramatically mitigates an opponent's power).
     
    #44
  45. CurrenFan

    CurrenFan Rookie

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    Insist on new balls, ones you brought, and open the fresh can in front of the other players. Have a bit of backbone and stick up for yourselves. I'm amazed that so many people here meekly just went along with whatever the other side wanted. What can the opposing team say "No, that's cheating, to have balls that bounce the way they are supposed to - we want them to bounce no higher than our knees"? Or "What jerks - they wanted to play by all the rules, too!"
     
    #45
  46. Gut4Tennis

    Gut4Tennis Hall of Fame

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    epic post lol
     
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  47. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    You're right, and now that I've seen this for myself I agree with you. In the future, I see the can opened and listen for the pressure escaping.

    But while it was happening I really thought it was just a bad can of balls. I didn't even think to challenge the fact that I didn't get the chance to see either can opened.

    It was only after it became clear that all three cans were dead, I never got a chance to see them opened, I saw that he had trouble hitting a normal groundstroke with pace and control and clearly benefitted from low pressure balls, and he slipped up when challenged on the issue that I realized what he was doing.
     
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  48. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    The above is the winner! I've seen tournament players bouncing balls before a match for what seemed like 15 minutes because they thought they were off. There's a regulation hight that a tennis ball must bounce to be legal for play.

    I've heard you can suck some more life out of a dead ball by putting it into a micro-wave but wouldn't try it unless I was in a fully sprinklered building.

    Friends and relatives give me the cheap Costco penns for presents and I use them up for rec matches opening two cans at a time to use them up faster and then they're still playable after the warm-up. Usually each case has one dead sleeve in it. I tried to return the one sleeve and they said I had to bring the case back. I'm saving the empty carton and the dud sleeve to return to Costco next time I need to stock up on toilet paper.

    When I buy balls off the shelf like at Big 5 or Sports Basement, I always squeeze the sleeves to see if they are firm. Some WILL have gone totally flat or partially flat. While buying some balls the other day, I found a flat four ball can on the shelf and feel sorry for the people who play once a year who may purchase them unknowingly. After squeezing a few cans you can feel the difference in pressure if one is going dead, practice on your girlfriend to get the right touch.

    In the OP's case, from the info presented, the opponent bringing out his vintage ball collection, was a real snake playing games to win a lousy tennis match--you have to be kidding! Don't buy a copper bracelet from this guy.
     
    #48
  49. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    The above is why I only buy balls from Tennis retailers.
     
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  50. anantak2k

    anantak2k Semi-Pro

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    I have recently had cans of US Open and Penn (both regular duty) balls like that... Not sure what's going on with quality control.
    They don't feel completely dead but you know they aren't how they are supposed to be when you just open them.

    I honestly don't think that was an attempt at gamesmanship at all... just a bad can.
     
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