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-   -   Obliged to "cheat"? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=400379)

thelastfurlong 10-12-2011 03:55 PM

Obliged to "cheat"?
 
Something came up the other day in conversation about high-ish level club tennis (in europe) that really made me think.

We've all been cheated on the tennis court and we all know people who cheat but one guy came out with the phrase "You're only cheating yourself if you're aren't calling balls out". I think he meant that in other words...on the baseline is out and its understood in the higher levels of club tennis that you should expect your close balls to be called out.

This disturbed somewhat as I would consider myself someone who literally calls everything in on the basis that it would wreck my head if someone hooked me! However having thought a lot about what this guy said and from a lot of on-court experience I'm really starting to think that maybe I'm handicapping myself by being a "good caller"? What's more, when I think about it, most of the better players in my club are horrible people on court. Coincidence?

So i'm just wondering if I missed this unwritten rule along the way or should i just treat tennis as a game of little consequence and enjoy it and continue to be fair?

Interested to know if people here actually go out onto court intending to call close balls out.

spacediver 10-12-2011 04:20 PM

continue being fair. In most high level games I've seen in person (5.0+), the players err on the side of being too generous, if anything.

And even if this wasn't true, you should strive to promote values that you believe would make the sport better.

jk175d 10-12-2011 04:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thelastfurlong (Post 6059595)
Something came up the other day in conversation about high-ish level club tennis (in europe) that really made me think.

We've all been cheated on the tennis court and we all know people who cheat but one guy came out with the phrase "You're only cheating yourself if you're aren't calling balls out". I think he meant that in other words...on the baseline is out and its understood in the higher levels of club tennis that you should expect your close balls to be called out.

This disturbed somewhat as I would consider myself someone who literally calls everything in on the basis that it would wreck my head if someone hooked me! However having thought a lot about what this guy said and from a lot of on-court experience I'm really starting to think that maybe I'm handicapping myself by being a "good caller"? What's more, when I think about it, most of the better players in my club are horrible people on court. Coincidence?

So i'm just wondering if I missed this unwritten rule along the way or should i just treat tennis as a game of little consequence and enjoy it and continue to be fair?

Interested to know if people here actually go out onto court intending to call close balls out.

there are always a few individuals in a league or a club that get a reputation for making bad line calls. The guy you talked to was one of those people. Don't be one of them. The RULE is clear and simple, if you aren't 100% sure on a call that is your responsibility, it goes in favor of your opponent.

Around here most of the guys I play with routinely play balls I hit that I thought could have been out. I do the same, my instinct is to play it not to call it out. It's more fun to play out the point and it's more satisfying to win it legit.

But I can easily imagine a case where in a club where guys are playing each other all the time and one or two start making bad calls a habit that the rest soon follow suit. Another bad byproduct of inbreeding! (That's what happened in the college game with bogus lets being calling on aces often enough so that they changed the rule to play service lets) But as for the members of that "high level club" you can be sure that their reputation for suspect line calling is well known to those who have to play against them.

InspectorRacquet 10-12-2011 04:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thelastfurlong (Post 6059595)
Interested to know if people here actually go out onto court intending to call close balls out.

Not me. I call the balls exactly as they are. If it just barely nicks the baseline, then it's in, and if it is an inch out, it is out (I imagine the HawkEye in my head when thinking about line shots).

Now the phrase can be taken two ways. The first way is that you shouldn't be too lenient with calls, because you might just "call" the game away from yourself, and you'd essentially be cheating yourself. The second way is the "call the lines out" way, which sounds like the case. I definitely don't prefer that kind of thinking, and neither does any other tennis player. No one likes being hooked.

I think it is better to be fair with the line calls, as you will be more respected by other players. And after all, calling line shots out is breaking the rules of tennis. The better tennis player doesn't need to cheat to win.

Timbo's hopeless slice 10-12-2011 05:21 PM

Yeah, be true to yourself and play fair.

You can overdo it, I guess. The best player I know (he is still best in state at age 35) calls EVERYTHING in! Like, if I miss bysix inches on a sideline Ken just goes 'play it!' and carries on!

But I would prefer to be that guy than the one that always ends up with an umpire halfway through his tournament matches because the opponent requested one...

michael_1265 10-12-2011 05:58 PM

Don't compromise your integrity. They may win matches sometimes, but it is my experience that the best players make the most generous calls. Karma is a biatch.

michael_1265 10-12-2011 06:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by InspectorRacquet (Post 6059642)
Not me. I call the balls exactly as they are.

You mean, you call them as you see them, which is a product of the prevailing atmospheric conditions, the angle of the sun, the relative movement of your head and body, the angle and distance at which you are viewing the ball, the speed and arc of the ball, the focusing ability of your eyes, the ability of your visual cortex to process the information............and maybe whether or not you are match point down:)

And unless you have 10 sets of eyes all around the court feeding information wirelessly into your head, you don't have Hawkeye. And even if you did, your margin of error would still be 3.6mm, which would, in fact, still be calling them as you see them, not as they are.

This is a lesson that could be learned by many of our elected representatives in Washington.

slice bh compliment 10-12-2011 06:45 PM

^Good post^.
Good thread.

I tell a guy at the beginning of a match that I do not care who wins or loses. I promise him that I will play my best and I will play fair. It's like a verbal pledge....like they do at the beginning of a YMCA youth soccer or basketball game.

For accountability purposes, I ask him to please let me know if he thinks I am not playing fair (because that's not how I want to win ... or lose). Generally the guy is on the exact same page as me. Or he thinks I'm weird, but it ends up being a good, fair match anyway. And we play again and again.

Results: I might make honest mistakes out there, but hopefully they are in my opponent's favor more often than not. I probably get hooked at times. I usually do not feel hooked. I let stuff go, chalking it up to an honest mistake. If it's obvious, I am stoic and I let the guy know that I know.

Even though I do not care if I win or lose, I am not going to lie: I do prefer winning. I play hard. I enjoy the game, win or lose. I see it all as good tennis.

Of course, this is very easy for me to say. I am past my prime and I have not played a money tournament or a ranking/pts tournament in years.

You guys take care. Sorry if this sounded harsh, glib, flippant or elitist in any way. My intent is to just show you the way I see the game now that I'm a middle-aged guy who still hits a decent ball.

Caesar 10-12-2011 07:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thelastfurlong (Post 6059595)
We've all been cheated on the tennis court and we all know people who cheat but one guy came out with the phrase "You're only cheating yourself if you're aren't calling balls out". I think he meant that in other words...on the baseline is out and its understood in the higher levels of club tennis that you should expect your close balls to be called out.

That's not my interpretation of those words. I would take that to mean he thinks you're intentionally calling balls in that aren't in.

rjw 10-12-2011 07:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by slice bh compliment (Post 6059873)
^Good post^.
Good thread.

I tell a guy at the beginning of a match that I do not care who wins or loses. I promise him that I will play my best and I will play fair. It's like a verbal pledge....like they do at the beginning of a YMCA youth soccer or basketball game.

For accountability purposes, I ask him to please let me know if he thinks I am not playing fair (because that's not how I want to win ... or lose). Generally the guy is on the exact same page as me. Or he thinks I'm weird, but it ends up being a good, fair match anyway. And we play again and again.

Results: I might make honest mistakes out there, but hopefully they are in my opponent's favor more often than not. I probably get hooked at times. I usually do not feel hooked. I let stuff go, chalking it up to an honest mistake. If it's obvious, I am stoic and I let the guy know that I know.

Even though I do not care if I win or lose, I am not going to lie: I do prefer winning. I play hard. I enjoy the game, win or lose. I see it all as good tennis.

Of course, this is very easy for me to say. I am past my prime and I have not played a money tournament or a ranking/pts tournament in years.

You guys take care. Sorry if this sounded harsh, glib, flippant or elitist in any way. My intent is to just show you the way I see the game now that I'm a middle-aged guy who still hits a decent ball.

I don't start out by telling a first time opponent anything. I wait to see how he calls things. To me, it reveals thier character.

I agree with the rest of what you are saying. I play for fun and am well past my prime, so winning isn't near as important as getting a good workout, having fun and trying different things with stringing.

Like you, if a ball is clearly in (by a foot) and is called out, I'll simply ask if they are sure about the call.

split-step 10-12-2011 07:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Caesar (Post 6059939)
That's not my interpretation of those words. I would take that to mean he thinks you're intentionally calling balls in that aren't in.

That's how I read it as well.

Datacipher 10-13-2011 01:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spacediver (Post 6059619)
continue being fair. In most high level games I've seen in person (5.0+), the players err on the side of being too generous, if anything..

Yes, and really they should. Generosity is built into the code. Out balls are CLEARLY out....everything else IS good...even if it actually wasn't.

Forget the nonsense about cheating yourself, or seeing what the other guy does first.

Resolve to play everything close as in, and tell yourself that even though your opponent will have an advantage (assume he won't be as generous as you), you're going to do your best to win anyways.

Bedrock 10-13-2011 10:32 AM

Unfortunately calling of outs is a subjective thing.
It is due to that every person has different skills(ability).
There will be no two identical opinions about a close call.
What you do can do is to Improve your reaction time, play more tough games in order to improve your skill in judgment.
If you saw a ball out - call it rightaway, no doubt (Even if the ball was outside of the line just by a half of inch). You are in charge, you suppose to make a decision. Take responsibility for what you suppose to.
Do not worry what others say (it is a game). You are sure, that the only thing that counts. You are showing a respect to the decision of your opponent, so you can count on the same thing from the opposite side.

P.S to me it looks like you feel sorry for your opponent when he made a mistake and missed just by a little bit. It happens with almost everybody. But the truth is that you just have to learn to take responsibility.

Jeebs 10-13-2011 11:25 AM

If I'm unsure about a call the other guy gets it; hence I find it annoying when a shot of mine that lands on the line gets called out. Them's the breaks though.

neverstopplaying 10-13-2011 12:21 PM

In my book, if I see a ball 99% out, its 100% in.

Fortunately now I play in a very small singles league and we all play with this in mind. I have playing in bigger leagues where I play many new players and you never know what you get, but I never changed my ball calling habits.

Ben Hadd 10-14-2011 05:41 AM

Play it safe and call everything out, but wear really really dark glasses for your safety. In honesty, be fair and giving.

JRstriker12 10-14-2011 05:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thelastfurlong (Post 6059595)
Something came up the other day in conversation about high-ish level club tennis (in europe) that really made me think.

We've all been cheated on the tennis court and we all know people who cheat but one guy came out with the phrase "You're only cheating yourself if you're aren't calling balls out". I think he meant that in other words...on the baseline is out and its understood in the higher levels of club tennis that you should expect your close balls to be called out.

This disturbed somewhat as I would consider myself someone who literally calls everything in on the basis that it would wreck my head if someone hooked me! However having thought a lot about what this guy said and from a lot of on-court experience I'm really starting to think that maybe I'm handicapping myself by being a "good caller"? What's more, when I think about it, most of the better players in my club are horrible people on court. Coincidence?

So i'm just wondering if I missed this unwritten rule along the way or should i just treat tennis as a game of little consequence and enjoy it and continue to be fair?

Interested to know if people here actually go out onto court intending to call close balls out.

Honestly, at higher levels I'd expect guys to be careful with their calls, especially since the ball is hit deeper and it's not rare to catch a line on a shot.

If this guy was advocating cheating, he'd be #1 on my "do not play / do not call list."

There is no unwritten rule in favor of cheating. Sure, if the ball is out and you are sure it's out, call it out - otherwise, give your opponent a benefit of a doubt.

Taxvictim 10-14-2011 06:21 AM

Don't forget, even if your opponent might not be able to see for sure whether you made a bad call, players on other courts and spectators will see the baseline calls... just like foot faults. Don't be "that guy."

thelastfurlong 10-14-2011 06:27 AM

Relieved to hear the general tone of responses!
 
Thanks for all the replies!

I agree that at the end of the day it really is just a game and a hobby which should be enjoyed, not destroyed by the needless neglecting of the rules.

Personally I find that people who cheat have little respect for both their opponents and the wonderful game of tennis itself.

It really is a unique sport and obviously one of the easiest to take advantage of the rules in certain situations.

I never have cheated and never will but I just had never entertained the possibility that people who for all the world are nice guys off the court, would go out and intentionally call balls out on the basis that you're "supposed to". It just never crossed my mind and hence my curiosity.

It's nice to see that the TT community do in fact play tennis for what it is and have utmost respect for the game and their opponents. If only I could play against you guys everday!! :)

spaceman_spiff 10-14-2011 06:38 AM

A little late, but here's two more reasons not to cheat.

1. It can motivate your opponent, making him more focused on winning. He wants to prove he can beat you no matter how much you cheat.

2. Retaliation. In a recent tournament match, a friend of mine warned his opponent a couple of times about really dodgy calls; the other guy was desperate to win and was making bad calls on all the important points. Eventually, my friend had enough and called the next two serves out despite the fact they were nowhere near the lines. He just stood up straight away, made the call, and caught the ball. After that, there were no more dodgy calls.


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