What is the etiquette for returning balls to an opponent?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Oxford, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. Oxford

    Oxford Rookie

    Aug 27, 2006
    Carlsbad California
    I occasionally hit with a 65+ year-old Lithuanian guy. He is nice as anything and loves the game. Everybody loves John.

    Anyway, he does this one thing that make me nuts. When it is my turn to serve and he needs to send the balls over to my side of the net, he just grabs them from his pocket or the court and starts slamming then to my side without any regard for where I am standing. Often they are bouncing into the back fence in opposite corners.

    So that means I have to go retrieve them from all over hell which slows down the game and is just a pain in the butt and unnecessary in my opinion.

    I always lightly hit balls back to an opponent so they bounce in front of them and time the delivery so they have time to gather each one.

    I asked John to not do it, but he continues to do so. So I am now going to do it to him and hopefully he will get the idea.

    Question: Am I being picky about all this? Or should I expect an opponent send me tennis balls in a way that facilitates my retrieval of them?


    OX :)
  2. Supernatural_Serve

    Supernatural_Serve Professional

    Jul 10, 2006
    Not really. Its common courtesy to make the ball bounce or roll in front of your opponent. I would walk toward him with my hand in the air so as to say "I'm ready to catch the ball over here", and if he hits them somewhere else, then just stand there and say "I'm over here"

    Maybe he'll get the hint without you falling into his erroneous or gamey way.
  3. QuietDaze

    QuietDaze Rookie

    Jul 12, 2007
    GREAT suggestion.
  4. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2005
    Big Canoe, GA
    Ox - You're not being too picky, that's a reasonable request.

    I'd try to bring him around in a funny, joking way - as opposed to getting in his face. If he just won't do it then it's obviosly not an important thing to him. I'm sure he won't mind when you send the balls back to him in opposite corners (or maybe even over the fence).
  5. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

    Sep 17, 2004
    The High Country of Colorado
    Don't "slam" them all over his court. Just tap them into the farthest corner from him.

    (And do this only with him. If you're playing Dubs and it's his partner's turn, follow the common courtesy....)

    - KK
  6. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Jun 2, 2006
    The Great NW
    In my experience folks in his age group are given a "pass" on etiquette issues because of their age. Also in my experience, they know perfectly well exactly what they are doing and are exploiting the free pass they are given, ie. they aren't as clueless and innocent as they appear.

    My advice: handle it like you would if they were 30 years old...
  7. bumfluff

    bumfluff Semi-Pro

    May 1, 2007
    South England/Scotland
    Is this when you actually need a second ball? If so that does sound a little annoying. If my opponent didnt need the ball there and then then I would probably hit it to the opposite side so that it stays at the bak out of the way but is there when he needs it, maybe he has just got the opposite idea.

    I think the joking way woul be best, kinda like can you hit them nearer me as I want some energy left to beat you with.
  8. WBF

    WBF Hall of Fame

    Jul 18, 2007
    Somewhere in NY
    At the beginning of play, tell him you would appreciate it if he gently hit the ball to your relative vicinity when needed. If he refuses or does not follow through, do not pick up any offending balls. Do not continue play until *he* comes to get the ball. Drop hints or don't, but I wouldn't tolerate the asshattery you are describing. There is no excuse for his behavior, it is incredibly rude. The only exception might be if he were physically handicapped in a way that prevented him from giving you the ball. If this were the case, he shouldn't be playing tennis...
  9. dennis10is

    dennis10is Banned

    Jun 19, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    When it is your turn to give him balls. Slowly walk up to the net. throw the ball up, slam an overhead to the furthest corner, then aim right at him and slam it at him, and for the third time act as if you are going to slam it and then reach over and drop the ball on his side of the net.

    Keep doing this until he gives you the ball nicely. You don't have to say anything. You've already said it. He doesn't want to do it. OR, you could say, he's being an *** so stop playing with him.

    If he's a nice guy in everything else but this, ask yourself, which is the real him. You know what they say about Catholic Priests and Buddhish monks...
  10. HellBunni

    HellBunni Rookie

    Apr 13, 2006
    or talk to his partner, so that he'll pick up and return balls to your side instead.
  11. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

    May 8, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    I would slice the heck outta them corner to corner with good spin so when they hit the fence, they take off right or left. Just keep doing it and enjoying it until he stops.
  12. i prefer to keep one ball in my pocket and tap the rest to the back of my fence. if he needs one, i just hit him one softly so that it will bounce a couple times in front of him
  13. koopa_troopa

    koopa_troopa Rookie

    Aug 15, 2007
    I remember doing that kind of stuff happening when I was PE playing volleyball. The kids would just throw the ball randomly over the net than roll the ball under the net directly to the server.

    It is really a waste of time for him to do that and you have a right to be annoyed. You can do what you have suggested and return the favour, or you could take your time to get the balls. Walk slowly to get each ball, one by one. Take as much time as possible. And if he asks, you tell him you are not going to run around and waste energy to collect the balls he hit all over the place. It might backfire if the old guy needs the extra to rest.

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