Cheating In Junior Tournament

FIRETennis

Professional
stop worrying about a bad call here and there
To the ones that say 'just beat him despite the bad calls', have you played a tight match in a tournament where someone is hooking you?
The problem is not 'a bad call here and there'.
For every bad call, you lose a point and they gain a point.
An example pro match: 7-5 4-6 6-2 is 185 Total Points Played & 96 points vs. 89 points. 7 points difference. That's 3-4 "bad calls" in a 2.5-3h match.
It's frequent calls that cost you the game.
Happens at all levels juniors and adults.
When you are faced with a chronic bad caller (cheater), those bad calls happen *all the time* on serves close to the lines, angles and deep baseline shots.
I've found that having an audience helps sometimes as line judges are not available at the tournaments here.

My strategy for chronic bad callers:
- ask them for confirmation the first time it happens
- whenever they hit close to the line and it's in - I make sure to let them know
- on clay, I mark every shot that lands out/close to the line.
- if none of the above works to bring the good in people, I have to change strategy by hitting somewhat safer not so much close to the lines on serves, more angles vs depth, more drop shots and push the net much more.
 

nyta2

Professional
Tell him to get good enough to play at a level with umpires:)
if my kids played (they don't), i think this would be my solution...
when playing cheaters, get good enough to keep it waay in the court to make them miss/get tired/etc...
it's a handicap, but the alternative is teaching them that it's ok to cheat
imo a better lesson to be learned is how to overcome adversity even when life is not fair (because it won't be..)
 

giantschwinn

Semi-Pro
I think if you play fair, the opponent will return in kind. There are a few kids that will cheat regardlessly. And the reason they cheat is most likely due to the pressure to do well from the parents. These kids will get a reputation and they won't last. Karma will get them. Teach the kid to question calls, dress like he means business, have good looking strokes then the opponent won't even consider cheating him.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
I think modern society has largely lost the plot. We've become so self-centered that we aren't focusing on things that make a great society - honor, work ethic, altruism. These values are not getting passed down to kids. Rather it's "win at all costs", "if you aren't cheating, you aren't trying", "it's not your fault, it's someone else's", "second place is the first loser"etc.

As a result tennis etiquette and sportsmanship is falling apart. As are other areas of society. Arthur Ashe would be turning in his grave watching modern junior tennis. The gentleman athlete is a thing of the past. Just like the gentleman businessman whose word was his bond.
How modern is "modern?" Because JMac was cheating all his career.

The gentleman businessman is also a myth. The 19th century was full of robber-barons. Todays businessman are far more sensitive to labor conditions, environment and corporate social responsibility.
 

Slowtwitcher

Hall of Fame
I think if you play fair, the opponent will return in kind. There are a few kids that will cheat regardlessly. And the reason they cheat is most likely due to the pressure to do well from the parents. These kids will get a reputation and they won't last. Karma will get them.
Everyone turns into a Buddhist when they're being screwed and have to eat it...
 

Bagumbawalla

Hall of Fame
Even the pros with all their experience, visual skills, a full set of judges, and millions of viewers watching
will miss-read the balls and challenge the calls. Juniors have so much less experience and less resistance to psychological pressures.
What makes sense is to require a group of volunteer judges for every tournament. Two, at least for every match.
This would put pressure on habitual cheeters and take the pressure off those with iffy perception.
 

MasterTS

Professional
My son played a cheater last month and lost to him in the 3rd set TB. The bad calls started coming late in the 2nd set and in the TB (one serve was called a double fault that was 1 foot inside). I watched the match, frustrated, but thought maybe the boy made a few errors in line calls...

This weekend, my son played him again. My son takes the first game, and at 30-30 in the 2nd game , he hits a fh winner about 2 feet inside the baseline. I have a great view on the court because of my elevated position above the court. The boy calls it out. My son argues for a bit but then lets it go. Now its 30-40.. My son hits a second serve that is again within a foot of the service box, and it gets called out. This time it looks very deliberate. They then again argue for a bit and he lets it go and gives the boy the call. Now its 1-1... The boy serves and loses the next game, so its 2-1... My son serves and again the other boy makes that same deliberate bad call (one feet within the service box)

I had enough of this and called the official. It is now obvious to me the prior match was no error and it was cheating. This time the cheating is beyond the last match, this one is deliberate cheating (not even waiting for balls close to the line). Maybe the boy was taught to get into the opponents psych. Apparently, the official saw that last obviously bad call from far away (he was standing above at the office with good view of 3 of the lower courts.). He tells me he's on it. The official stays there for the whole match and ends up reversing four more bad calls from that player (though they were much closer to the line for these calls). My son wins in the 3rd set TB (one of the reversed calls was in the TB!!!)

I know the other player's dad was watching the match and saw the whole thing happen. I walked up to him and ask him about the incident. I thought the dad was going to apologize to me but instead starts yelling at me to not get in his face, and he grabs his son and storms off.. He tells me "we'll see you two again".

Pretty sure this cheating is coming from the parent..

BTW, my son is 9 years old and this other kid is 10 years old. SAD.
 
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FIRETennis

Professional
My son played these cheater last month and lost to him in in the 3rd set TB. The bad calls started coming late in the 2nd set and in the TB. I watched the match, frustrated, but thought maybe the boy made a few errors in line calls...

This weekend, my son played him again. My son takes the first game, and at 30-30 in the 2nd game , he hits a fh winner about 2 feet inside the baseline. I have a great view on the court because of my elevated position above the court. The boy calls it out. My son argues for a bit but then lets it go. Now its 30-40.. My son hits a second serve that is again within a foot of the service box, and it gets called out. This time it looks very deliberate. They then again argue for a bit and he lets it go and gives the boy the call. Now its 1-1... The boy serves and loses the next game, so its 2-1... My son serves and again the other boy makes that same deliberate bad call (one feet within the service box)

I had enough of this and called the official. It is now obvious to me the prior match was no error and it was cheating. This time the cheating is beyond the last match, this one is deliberate cheating (not even waiting for balls close to the line). Maybe the boy was taught to get into the opponents psych. Apparently, the official saw that last obviously bad call from far away (he was standing above at the office with good view of 3 of the lower courts.). He tells me he's on it. The official stays there for the whole match and ends up reversing four more bad calls from that player (though they were much closer to the line for these calls). My son wins in the 3rd set TB (one of the reversed calls was in the TB!!!)

I know the other player's dad was watching the match and saw the whole thing happen. I walked up to him and ask him about the incident. I thought the dad was going to apologize to me but instead starts yelling at me to not get in his face, and he grabs his son and storms off.. He tells me "we'll see you two again".

Pretty sure this cheating is coming from the parent..

BTW, my son is 9 years old and this other kid is 10 years old. SAD.
Sadly extremely common in junior and amateur competitions!
Also the reason why they usually play with 'no-let' rule because they would just keep calling net on all good serves.
My favorite is also the delayed serve call, sometimes they call the serve out right away but sometimes they wait to see how good/bad their return is to call it...
The fault here lies on with the parents imo. Teach the kids to play honest & fair not this 'win at any cost' mentality.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Myth. Urban legend. Unicorn. There's absolutely no cheating going on in junior tennis. A few bad / mistaken calls. But that's it. Case closed.
 

MasterTS

Professional
My favorite is also the delayed serve call, sometimes they call the serve out right away but sometimes they wait to see how good/bad their return is to call it...
Yes, this was actually what the boy did. He called the serves out only after he missed his return. I knew then this was deliberate when the serve was 1 foot in.
 

zaph

Professional
Yes, this was actually what the boy did. He called the serves out only after he missed his return. I knew then this was deliberate when the serve was 1 foot in.
I play a guy who does this, he waits to call until he can see how good his return is and will not call serves which are blatantly out if he gets a good hit on it. It is surprisingly annoying.
 

MasterTS

Professional
I play a guy who does this, he waits to call until he can see how good his return is and will not call serves which are blatantly out if he gets a good hit on it. It is surprisingly annoying.
Wow didnt think about that one.. So basically he calls out balls in, if he can get a good crack at the return... And if the return goes out, then he will yell "out".

If a line umpire is there, can he correct that? Or that is something that can't be fixed with a line umpire? Sounds like the umpire can only say make your calls quicker but cant really do anything about it?
 

zaph

Professional
Wow didnt think about that one.. So basically he calls out balls in, if he can get a good crack at the return... And if the return goes out, then he will yell "out".

If a line umpire is there, can he correct that? Or that is something that can't be fixed with a line umpire? Sounds like the umpire can only say make your calls quicker but cant really do anything about it?
Only rec tennis, so no umpires. It is off putting because when you can see your serve is out, you think the point is over and you're not ready to play it.
 

La Pavoni

Rookie
We've got a few really good juniors at our club who play a lot of tournaments. They are atrocious at line calling. Who knows if it is by art or design.

The only people worse are the uber-competitive 50+ something's in doubles leagues. The mindset seems to be that if you are able to call something out. Then it is out. Even if it is clearly in.
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
I am so happy my son will soon be done with Junior tournament play. We have seen it all and could tell you numerous stories. How about this one:

My son was playing in 12s at a sectional tournament outdoors and he is playing one of the ranked kids at that time. My son can be pretty tricky to play if you haven't played him before and my son just took it to this kid at the start of the first set.

Toward the end of the first set things start getting tighter as the kid changes up his approach. I notice on changeovers the kid keeps looking at his watch. The second set starts and it is tight and the kid keeps looking at his watch on changeovers. So I look around and behind me to the left is this guy sitting underneath a small tree in the shade in a tennis outfit texting.

I thought about it but was like "No. No one would stoop that low."

Anyway, my son lost the second set and the match in a tie breaker. After the match I was talking to another parent and he said "Oh, you played so-and-so. He wears an Apple Watch and his dad texts him instructions during changeovers"

It turns out this kids dad was some tennis coach in our section and was known for doing this during tournaments.
 

RiverRat

Professional
I am so happy my son will soon be done with Junior tournament play. We have seen it all and could tell you numerous stories. How about this one:

My son was playing in 12s at a sectional tournament outdoors and he is playing one of the ranked kids at that time. My son can be pretty tricky to play if you haven't played him before and my son just took it to this kid at the start of the first set.

Toward the end of the first set things start getting tighter as the kid changes up his approach. I notice on changeovers the kid keeps looking at his watch. The second set starts and it is tight and the kid keeps looking at his watch on changeovers. So I look around and behind me to the left is this guy sitting underneath a small tree in the shade in a tennis outfit texting.

I thought about it but was like "No. No one would stoop that low."

Anyway, my son lost the second set and the match in a tie breaker. After the match I was talking to another parent and he said "Oh, you played so-and-so. He wears an Apple Watch and his dad texts him instructions during changeovers"

It turns out this kids dad was some tennis coach in our section and was known for doing this during tournaments.
Nearly unbelievable. Where there is a will there's a way. I heard an interview with Mike Tyson and his daughter. She said he was calm during her matches and clapped politely. He said that other parents were crazy. Can you imagine this guy pulling something like that, when Mike Tyson is the father? I guess my point is that there's no stopping it in junior tennis, if Iron Mike can't stop it.
 
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