Court hogging shenanigans. What's your verdict?

nochuola

Rookie
Sorry in advance for the super long post, but I want to try to cover everything relevant in order to not skew judgment. I would like to hear your verdict on the issue.

My group was next in line waiting for a court to open up at our regular public tennis park. After about 25 minutes, the group on Court 2 packed up and left. Naturally, my hitting partner and I started walking into the court when we were stopped by someone playing on Court 1, let’s call him Perp A. Perp A said to us that he has Court 2 saved, he was just letting the group that just left use Court 2 because his friend is running late, and that the group promised to not take a long time. He also claimed that the person (note singular) on Court 1 (Perp B), graciously let Perp A play with him as Perp A waited for his friend. We, being reasonable people, said ok and let them be. So Perp A moved over from Court 1 to Court 2 and sat on the bench waiting for his friend to arrive while Perp B practiced serves alone on Court 1. 10 minutes went by, and Perp A’s friend (Perp C) showed up and started playing in Court 2. Another 10 minutes went by and another person (Perp D) showed up, bypassed the line, and went straight into Court 1. Perp B immediately left Court 1, and Perp D started practicing serves alone. Finding this odd, my group approached Court 1 and asked Perp D why he bypassed the line. Before he could answer, we were once again interrupted by Perp A, who said that Perp D was the one who he was saving the court for. This obviously raised the question why Perp A and Perp D aren’t playing on the same court. Perp A answered that Perp D is not at his and Perp C’s level, and that Perp D needs to practice serves, which didn’t address the court saving issue. We accused Perp A of hogging two courts by himself, to which he denies, and said he was here earlier, saw Court 1 open and saved it, contradicting his earlier claim that he is saving Court 2. After some unproductive back and forth trying to point out the contradictions and flaws in Perp A’s stories, we suggested a compromise that since Perp A knows Perp D, and Perp D is there alone, they should play together on one court, and we can play on the other court. As a last attempt to get rid of us, Perp A claims that someone is going to join Perp D. No such person showed up in the next 15 minutes. We asked one last time for them to play on one court so that we can play. To which, Perp A replied with a passive aggressive statement about how we should come earlier if we want to play, and that Perp D’s friend definitely exists and is joining soon. Knowing Perp A is willing to make up any BS to justify himself, and the park is not managed by anyone who we can escalate to, we cursed them out (without actually using any curse words because I refuse to stoop to that level) and left.

I hope I laid out the series of events clearly. It is clear to me that what happened was Perp A and B were playing together on Court 1 expecting Perp C and D to join later, and Perp B probably had to leave earlier than the others. Perp A saw Court 2 open up, and knowing Perp D is not on the same level, he tried to also save Court 2 while having Perp B save Court 1 for Perp D, so that he could play with Perp C without having to accommodate Perp D’s lower playing level. I think Perp A could make a barely valid case that Court 1 is rightfully being used by Perp B, and that he (Perp A) is next in line for a court opening which was Court 2, which I guess is fine since he did indeed arrive at the courts before us. However, the transfer of Court 1 from Perp B to Perp D is clearly against the rules because Perp D arrived after we did. I can understand if Perp D joined Perp B and played together on Court 1, but it was clearly a hand off since Perp B left immediately after Perp D’s arrival. Even if I entertain the possibility that Perp B and D played for a little bit, and something came up, and Perp B had to leave, the public court rules clearly state that singles and doubles can use the court for 1 hour while one single person can only use the court for 30 minutes. Perp B has been on Court 1 for at least 45 minutes before Perp D showed up. Even if Perp D is rightfully sharing court time with Perp B, that court time would’ve definitely expired 15 minutes after Perp D’s arrival (which is when we asked for the last time before leaving).

Once again, thank you for reading through all that. Did I miss some possible valid explanation to justify them using both courts? Feel free to share any thoughts or similar stories you might have.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
No need to read the whole thing.
Can't read that wall of text.

Is it a case of somebody using a court for close to the time limit and then their friend(s) join the court and they claim that the timer for that court has been reset back to 00:00?

Some people try to pull this jackassery.
 

FloridaAG

Professional
They were wrong. Similar thing happened on our courts yesterday. Only difference was everyone knows each other and let it slide. Was BS though
 

nochuola

Rookie
Can't read that wall of text.

Is it a case of somebody using a court for close to the time limit and then their friend(s) join the court and they claim that the timer for that court has been reset back to 00:00?

Some people try to pull this jackassery.
Something similar. It's a wall of text because that is just one small part of the jackassery they tried to pull. There's that, and handing off the court to someone they know even though there are others waiting (with fresh timer), and splitting groups to take over multiple courts when they were already playing. They essentially claimed each person as a "group" and took turns "waiting" even though they were all playing during those "waiting" times.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
Something similar.
Another issue:
These courts have a one hour time limit but players regularly do not follow the rule. I get in the queue and confirm with others waiting that Court #1 has been playing for over an hour. I request the Court #1 and they tell me that the other courts have been playing longer than them.

I tell him there is a one hour posted limit. He says he understands that but that everyone else breaks that rule.

He wants me to go and check all the other courts and figure out who has been playing longer, which is a pain in the ass, and the people on the other courts might also say Court#1 has been on longer.

If they have been playing for over an hour they should surrender the court to anyone who requests it. It is not my obligation to check every other court.
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
Public courts in SF have rules posted. One person cannot hold a court unless he has proof of reservation. [Some courts are reserveable, others are first come first on.] With the reservation they have to get off when their time expires. Without one, they lose the court immediately to anyone for singles or doubles if all the players are there. Generally, you get to hit for 30 minutes or play one set if people are waiting. If all courts are occupied, you have to tell a court that you are waiting for their court. You cannot wait for any court. If person says I was not the first one here, go to court x, you can say no and restate you are waiting for their court. The people playing cannot go immediately to another court. They go to the back of the queue. If another court finishes and there is no one waiting for it, you can take it. If there is someone who told that court they were waiting for it, they get it. Some facilities will let you queue up for the next court. However, everyone waiting has to agree because the rules are posted for you to tell a court you are waiting for it. I have always been cool with any system so long as everyone agrees to follow the facilities' rules. The informal ones based on who has been there the longest is BS.
 
I find the overwhelming majority of public courts I've played on the past 5 years just say "1 hour time limit if people are waiting and no black soled shoes or tennis shoes only"

Unsurprisingly, adherence to such rules is almost always terrible. If courts are full, I walk around and ask people how long they're going to be. Most of the time, people say they're finishing a set or 10 to 15 minutes.

People that just stand outside the gate and wait are the worst. Basic tennis etiquette is that if you want to get on a court, you have to ask. Hardly anyone knows that it seems.
 

Searah

Semi-Pro
i remember a group of people doing this. hosting there own "tournament".

they all kept switching courts and eventually they left the court which the next people came by and took and been playing for about 15 minutes when the other people came back with 4 claiming they are doing a tournament and had the court.
which obviously is not a real tournament. which created a argument about you can't just leave a court and expect it back when you're ready.

for your problem tho.. i think you should of just alpha'd them.. you and your friends are ready. just hop onto the court and start playing. explain they finished and the noobie D player can just join his "actual friends".

if problem goes higher and president of club gets involved.. i'm sure they will agree with you.

most clubs have a booking system now tho no? to avoid this.
 

PKorda

Semi-Pro
A number of courts I play at have a 1 hour time limit but not many people follow it. So once I’m on the court having waited anywhere up to an hour to get on I’m not following it either. Not to mention I’ve never played tennis for less than an hour in my life.
 

samarai

Semi-Pro
when the courts are full we usually ask the participants how long they have left. Max is one hour as there are signs posted all over and we make sure they are aware of it. we sit outside the courts and time them. Never have a problem.
 

Searah

Semi-Pro
my courts have bookings/timers also.

only problem is all 14 courts are booked at say the best time to play (after work) but only 2 courts are being used.

so anyone who wanted to make booking won't bother showing up thinking it's to busy.

these free bookings for members.. people just book "incase" they do show up to play.

other times they will have the first book it.. then 2nd friend book it.. then next friend book it. so it's the same deal.
 

joah310

Professional
Wow that really sucks. There's no such thing as reserving public courts and if they're 4 people they can play doubles. Very infuriating and extreme entitlement and lack of manners.
 

Morch Us

Professional
Like others already mentioned, since there is no "reservation system" on this court, it is a first come first serve. Which means no "hold" of ANY sort is valid.
So just by starting to hit with PerpB, PerpA left his next place in the line (since he is already served.... and not any more first to be served ... in the first come first serve). So when court-2 opened up the first one to be served is OP.

This also means that, if BOTH PerpB abd PerpC did not show up before OP, there is no way for them to play together before OP. PerpB can do practice alone, but technically before PerpC can play with PerpB, OP need to be served because of first-come-first-serve rules. So if PerpB really want to play with PerpC, he has to give up his postion to OP, and wait for PerpC to show up, before claiming the court. (OP could allow PerpC to jump the line, ahead of OP to play with PerpB, which in most cases reasonable people will do). But if PerpB is not a jerk, he should totally allow OP to take court ahead of him, since he is still waiting for PerpC (or cannot hold a court for PerpC).

That being said, there is almost no way to enforce these rules when you see jerks like that on court. It is probably waste of your time to call park authorities and wait for them to arrive to resolve such a dispute anyway. Maybe you should still report this to the authorities, and possibly ask them to display the rules of "no hold" clearly there, so that you can atleast point them to something like that next time (even then jerks may still be jerks).

I would like to hear your verdict on the issue.
 
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Morch Us

Professional
This is the first time I am hearing this. Where do you live?

In places I am familiar with "first come first serve" means, on the FULL group of courts. This is infact better, since I cannot imagine the additional disturbance it creates for people playing on courts, when each and every "waiting people running around on different courts asking for how long" in an effort to be on line for the very next court to be freed. Of course when there is reservation it is for a specific court.

If all courts are occupied, you have to tell a court that you are waiting for their court.
 

Morch Us

Professional
Again where is this? (where do you live?)

Imagine a place with 8 courts all side by side, with just one door to ALL the courts, with a busy waiting line (assume you cannot ask from outside, since the space behind court is not accessible). The chaos it creates, if each and every waiting individual goes to each and every court and ask the players "how long". Too much traffic disturbing the players on court.

Where I am from the "etiguette" is that you don't disturb someone on court unnecessarily, and wait for your turn patiently. You ask someone only if you feel like they had been ignoring you (knowingly or unknowingly), and so to make them aware of you waiting. Same with first-come-first-serve or even reserved courts.

In general it is considered to be impolite to disturb someone playing on court, and so you better have some really good reason if you do it.

Basic tennis etiquette is that if you want to get on a court, you have to ask.
 
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nochuola

Rookie
Like others already mentioned, since there is no "reservation system" on this court, it is a first come first serve. Which means no "hold" of ANY sort is valid.
So just by starting to hit with PerpB, PerpA left his next place in the line (since he is already served.... and not any more first to be served ... in the first come first serve). So when court-2 opened up the first one to be served is OP.

This also means that, if BOTH PerpB abd PerpC did not show up before OP, there is no way for them to play together before OP. PerpB can do practice alone, but technically before PerpC can play with PerpB, OP need to be served because of first-come-first-serve rules. So if PerpB really want to play with PerpC, he has to give up his postion to OP, and wait for PerpC to show up, before claiming the court. (OP could allow PerpC to jump the line, ahead of OP to play with PerpB, which in most cases reasonable people will do). But if PerpB is not a jerk, he should totally allow OP to take court ahead of him, since he is still waiting for PerpC (or cannot hold a court for PerpC).

That being said, there is almost no way to enforce these rules when you see jerks like that on court. It is probably waste of your time to call park authorities and wait for them to arrive to resolve such a dispute anyway. Maybe you should still report this to the authorities, and possibly ask them to display the rules of "no hold" clearly there, so that you can atleast point them to something like that next time (even then jerks may still be jerks).
Thank you for actually reading through the post in detail, but reading your breakdown made me realize just how confusing it must have been with all characters and complex series of events lol.

There is etiquette and there is sometimes just being reasonable human beings. I've never forced people to leave just because they say they are waiting for someone to join because they are usually telling the truth. It's always the scums like the ones in op that try to exploit good faith and ruin good things for people.

Like you said, there was basically no way of actually enforcing the rules. We had pretty good reasons to deem the conflict not worth it because we technically had a backup plan.
 

nochuola

Rookie
In general it is considered to be impolite to disturb someone playing on court, and so you better have some really good reason if you do it.
Last time I played (different park), a group of guys with a kid with a tricycle just waltzed onto the side of our court and stood there saying nothing. I happened to be getting a sip so asked if I may help them, and one of the guys just asked "Are you leaving?" I said no to them and went back on the court. I was anticipating some follow-up like "how much longer would it take" or "how long have you been playing", but nothing. They just stood by the bench. They weren't carrying any tennis gear so I couldn't even tell if they want a court. There was also no reason for us to yield because we were just 15 minutes in and practicing serves.

The people on the neighboring court left a few minutes later, and the group took their place so I guess they had an understanding, but I have no idea why they didn't wait outside of the fences or at least on that side of the court, not ours. When they did leave our sideline, the kid left his tricycle on our court, and none of the adults said anything. When I asked the kid to take his tricycle, he happily complied, but one of the adults gave me a dirty look. I guess I offended them somehow, and they were being passive aggressive or something, but the entire interaction was very confusing. It was like being given the silent treatment without knowing what you did to warrent it.
 

ngoster

Rookie
I don't agree with how the perps went about hogging up the courts but, unfortunately, rules (even posted ones) cannot be enforced on public courts. I used to play doubles regularly with a group of 8 friends. The park that we play at has an unwritten first come first served practice where we arrive, get into a queue at the top of the steps and, once a court opens, we get on and play for as long as we want. Having 8 players was always more challenging so whenever that happened, we tried to have, at least, 2 guys show up earlier than the scheduled time (no more than 15 minutes) to hold the courts. If we don't get 2 guys or if more than 2 guys show up but no one wants to wait/stay in line for the second court then it becomes an "oh well" situation when the second set of guys show up. I feel that this practice is fair as we are cognizant of court availability and arrived early to get in the queue, however, I have also observed the other types of shenanigans like larger groups tag teaming courts allowing an entire set/subset of retiring players to leave and substitutes to bypass the queue and get right on.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
People that just stand outside the gate and wait are the worst. Basic tennis etiquette is that if you want to get on a court, you have to ask. Hardly anyone knows that it seems.
That is because they have seen so many cases where the guys on the court will not leave unless there is pressure (they will keep restarting sets and lying about the score). After a while, people start expecting the worst.
 

Fxanimator1

Hall of Fame
People that just stand outside the gate and wait are the worst. Basic tennis etiquette is that if you want to get on a court, you have to ask. Hardly anyone knows that it seems.
Where else are people supposed to be standing while waiting for a court to open up? Maybe standing at the net post would speed things along, eh?
 
Where else are people supposed to be standing while waiting for a court to open up? Maybe standing at the net post would speed things along, eh?
The parks where I play, there are benches. All you have to do is politely ask the players on the court how much more time they have, they respond, you then wait on the bench or go sit in your car if the parking lot directly faces the court.

I'm referring to the people that literally stand outside the fence, stare for 30 minutes+ and never bother to ask how much longer you're going to play. They just expect you're going to leave. They're a special breed of moron.
 
That is because they have seen so many cases where the guys on the court will not leave unless there is pressure (they will keep restarting sets and lying about the score). After a while, people start expecting the worst.
It's because they are new to tennis and don't know any basic rules or they're wimps that don't want to ask how much longer the players are going to play. It's not pressure being given, it's cowardice. What's the worst thing that's going to happen? They say,"we just got here, it's going to be another 45 minutes." Go ask the players at the next court, repeat.
 

Rubens

Hall of Fame
The petty game. People know that most people try to avoid violence, so they can get away with a lot.
But you can play that game too.
For example, take photos of them while they play. Tell them you're gonna report each one of them to the city, and on social media. (You won't, but just say it). Make sure the shutter sound of your camera is real loud. Get as close to them as you can. Make sure each of them sees that you're taking photos of their face (say "smile"). Keep doing it, nonstop. Also take photos of their car licence plates, and let them see that you're doing it. They will be the ones cursing you. Then they'll pretend not to be bothered. But chances are they won't stay for long. And even if they do, you've ruined their fun time. Mission accomplished.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
It's because they are new to tennis and don't know any basic rules or they're wimps that don't want to ask how much longer the players are going to play. It's not pressure being given, it's cowardice. What's the worst thing that's going to happen? They say,"we just got here, it's going to be another 45 minutes." Go ask the players at the next court, repeat.
I have seen the false answer being given in a park consecutively with just 2 tennis courts. I get your point. But after a while, people get hardened. I have seen cases where the players ask what is the score and then retire to a nearby bench, and then another 2 players walk up and "claim" their spot by standing at the gate. When confronted, they say the place to reserve your spot is next to the gate, and not at a bench nearby. (Table tennis indoor centers have the tradition of placing your paddle underneath the table you are trying to play next on).

And of course players lying about the score and repeatedly restarting a set to prolong the time, or saying they got there 10 minutes ago, at any time.

The protocol that works is to ask politely as you say, and then move away and sit somewhere else, and keep an eye out for anyone trying to grab your seat, and to make sure the players are not cheating. Which means that you are running up to anyone who comes by and informing them you are next, and facing suspicious glances like Why I should I believe you? So waiting players resort to an uneasy shifting stand somewhere close to the gate yet not obnoxiously close. But if they keep moving, that distracts the players too.

It is a very complex situation. Technology can easily solve this problem (reservation app) but is not deployed on public courts yet.
 
I have seen the false answer being given in a park consecutively with just 2 tennis courts. I get your point. But after a while, people get hardened. I have seen cases where the players ask what is the score and then retire to a nearby bench, and then another 2 players walk up and "claim" their spot by standing at the gate. When confronted, they say the place to reserve your spot is next to the gate, and not at a bench nearby. (Table tennis indoor centers have the tradition of placing your paddle underneath the table you are trying to play next on).

And of course players lying about the score and repeatedly restarting a set to prolong the time, or saying they got there 10 minutes ago, at any time.

The protocol that works is to ask politely as you say, and then move away and sit somewhere else, and keep an eye out for anyone trying to grab your seat, and to make sure the players are not cheating. Which means that you are running up to anyone who comes by and informing them you are next, and facing suspicious glances like Why I should I believe you? So waiting players resort to an uneasy shifting stand somewhere close to the gate yet not obnoxiously close. But if they keep moving, that distracts the players too.

It is a very complex situation. Technology can easily solve this problem (reservation app) but is not deployed on public courts yet.
Where do you live? New Jersey? Sounds like you have a higher than normal ratio of jerks to regular, decent human beings at your public tennis courts.

My experience is based off of playing on public courts in Louisville, KY then Palm Springs and Palm Desert, San Diego, and now Seattle, WA. I haven't had such a negative experience as you have.
 

Hit 'em clean

Semi-Pro
People can be petty rather than gracious... if court opens and their partner isn't there... their loss. He was already using the other court by hitting with the other perp so even if they wanted to practice by themselves... no reason why they couldn't practice whatever on the same court. Why have two single players wasting two entire courts.

At most I might ask someone to allow me 5 minutes for my partner to show up, but I'd never pull that ridiculous stunt and give up the court if they didn't get there fast enough. It's first come first serve on most public courts. Unfortunately the jerk took advantage of your being nice. You can still be nice... just politely and nicely stand your ground. I understand it's not worth it sometimes and that's always a judgement call. I really don't like people that can't just be honest and fair about things just because they want their way. We seem to have more and more people in this country that believe that they more important than everyone else... it's like we've been breeding narcissists all these years. We all have to get along, live together and share what's available to us. They must've failed that sharing part of preschool or had helicopter parents telling them everything they did was perfect, justified and great.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
I dislike most public court situations because you get "regulars" who try to infer some entitlement and privledge because they "always" use x court at 7am, or worse those groups that "always" use X and X and X courts for their doubles. Hell, I had a situation at a scheduled court that I paid for and we had from 4-6p. Around 5:30p some older guy came over and starts walking across our court putting up scorecards. Didn't think much about it, but then a few other start setting up on the benches next to us, lingering on to the court and walking through to other courts (there are sidewalks and gates they can use). A few minutes of this and I said, "Buddy, excuse me but we are playing a match here. Stay off the court". He tells me they "always have the court we are on and the other two courts for Thursday doubles, and they start warm-up at 5:30p. I simply said, no today. He got really pissy and wanted to tell me how he has played there for blah blah years, and always blah blah...and I just stopped him and said, I am playing a match, I paid for the court until exactly 6p, and if he has a problem to go talk with the front desk, but stay off the court and stop interrupting. Several of the folks on the bench started being loud and d'sih, trying to be disruptive. So for the next three consecutive weeks I made sure to book that court at the exact same time. About that third week, the older guy was starting to get the idea, and nicely asked if I would schedule another court. I had already talked with the front desk folks and they reassured me, they only were paying for 6-8p, so the idea they had the court at 5:30p was something they created, but the club had somewhat allowed since they were regulars. I think I was a passive aggressive way for the club folks to help correct that error of theirs. The following week I schedule another court and didn't see anyone showing up until about 15 minutes before, but there was another few players using that top court we had been using until exactly 6p.

Normally, I wouldn't be like that, but we had no idea that court was normally used for their dubs thing, and the club scheduled us there. Had they not been d'sih about things I would have made sure not to schedule there because there was plenty around to use.
 

Morch Us

Professional
Not "easily" resolvable by technology/reservation systems. Some things have to be discussed and worked out.

For example usually these public courts are free courts, and if reservation also you want to keep free with no penalty for no-show, you will immediately see a lot of "no-show", and courts reserved ALL the time, at the earliest possible time the reservation opens. People will reserve it "just in case" if they feel like playing that time. And courts being more busy "reserved" will make the demand artificially high, causing more reservations being made with more possiblities of "no-show". Forget about "free" courts, this happens even in clubs when there is no cost involved with no-show.

Of course there are way to resolve this. I worked on implementing a system of "deposit requirement" for reservation privilege, but no cost to play on one of these "free" public courts. The idea was to charge for "no-show", which were not challenged, and reported by anyone with reservation privilege. It still has its issues, since people cannot be really trusted, when nothing is on the line (no-show reporting and challenges). But still, just having a chance of penalty in place, still does wonders. But the amount of discussions and effort needed was not "easy" and I will never volunteer to do something like that on a free public court ever again.

On a non-managed "free" public court, reservation system has its issues as well compared to first come first serve. Reservation system can be used as loop hole to do back to back reservations for the same guy using his friends login, essentially the same guy hogging the court for more than 4 hours on peak time, everyday (if coaching is allowed on court, coaches would love to misuse this, by back to back lessons for full day). When you see multiple reservations, people may anyway not show up and no pressure for coach to leave the court, and no-one may even notice this misuse. It will be just not available for anyone else to use. First come first serve, it will be hard to do something like that, unnoticed.

Technology can easily solve this problem (reservation app) but is not deployed on public courts yet.
 
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Morch Us

Professional
1. So were you going to leave earlier (before finishing up your match) if the "asked" ?
2. Just because they did not ask, did you stay on the court further than your originally planned tennis time (after you finished the match)?
If the answer to question (2) is Yes,
3. did you actually see them waiting outside the court?


I'm referring to the people that literally stand outside the fence, stare for 30 minutes+ and never bother to ask how much longer you're going to play. They just expect you're going to leave.
 
1. So were you going to leave earlier (before finishing up your match) if the "asked" ?
2. Just because they did not ask, did you stay on the court further than your originally planned tennis time (after you finished the match)?
If the answer to question (2) is Yes,
3. did you actually see them waiting outside the court?
1) Yes, I often decide to leave earlier if someone asks me how much longer I'll be playing. If I just got there, I reasonably tell the person I have been playing for 20 minutes, the other courts were here before me. If they don't leave, I'd be happy to give you the court in another half an hour. Setting a good example matters.

2) Generally, no. I did that once, but that's because these were two grumpy ole codgers, that again, either willfully ignore or are ignorant of the basic rules of tennis. If you want to get on a court, it's the obligation of the player outside the court to initiate. I would say this case wasn't worth it though, some of these guys turn into such gossip queens. Sad.

3) Yes. The aforementioned gossip queens, were hanging their hands on the fence. Just staring... and staring some more. Then they left.

What I find often too is that players that do want to get on, are too cowardly to ask the couple with that stinks and has a dog on the court or they don't ask the women playing doubles longer than anyone there, they want to ask the players that are in their mind, like them. This, too, is annoying and pathetic.

All in all, such occurrences with knuckleheads line this is 1/50 times I try to get a court. So it's not too big of a deal.
 
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