Do you call a footfault

Toby14

Semi-Pro
I am a newbee in playing tournament tennis. I just reached the final in my first tournament, and watched the other semifinal to figure out my future opponent.

It will be a tough and close match, but I have for sure a chance.

When watching the other semi I observed a few things that bothered me:

My next opponent was not friendly on the line calls, he was not actually cheating, but very close calls always went his way - but I can live with that.

When he was serving, he stepped in over the line, not an inch or two but his whole foot was inside the baseline when hitting the ball. He does not jump on serve (+50 Tournament), and he is not really a great server, but from my perspective he actually gains an advantage of being a foot closer to the net. His opponent was a real gentleman and never called him on the footfault, or perhaps he did not even noticed it.

Even in the serve warmup hed did the same, so I guess that is just the way he serves.

Does he do this on purpose to get an advantage ? or perhaps he not even aware he is doing it ?

So my question is what do I do in the situation ?

1. Do I call a footfault, when he is serving. Is that OK in lower level tournament.
2. Do I tell him up front that I saw his last game and he foot faulted on every serve. Seems a bit aggressive.
3. Do I get someone to sit at the line, and tell him. Also seems a bit unfriendly.
4. Do I just dont care even if he get an advantage - after all he does not serve bombs.

What do you more experienced match players do if you encounter this situation.

I asked some more experienced players at my club, and they told me the etiket is not to call footfault unless you compete in the Nationals. I could agree with this but his footfault are one of the more extreme I have ever seen.

I am aware that telling him that he footfault can mess up his serve motion and give me an advantage

Thanks for your advice, cheers Toby
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
Say something in the warm up. Once he does a few serves just come up to the net and say it. "Mate your whole foot is inside the baseline when you serve". Who cares if its only a little bit, none of us are pros, but his whole foot inside the baseline lol thats a tad excessive in anyone's book
 
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zaph

Semi-Pro
Yes you should call them on it because it gives the server a huge advantage. Not only are they serving from closer in but when they are effectively walking into the court, they are increasing their power by the weight transfer of moving forward. I have noticed in practice that when I take a big step into the court while serving, the serve has more on it.

The problem is the rule is never enforced at club level, so by the time players enter events they think they can foot fault. So as long as you are sure you are not faulting, I would call it. If they complain, get a referee. You can also suggest they serve from further back to avoid entering the court.

After all you are not doing your opponent any favours by letting them use an illegal technique. When they can to a high enough level the rule will be enforced and their serve will be illegal and useless.
 

Born_to_slice

Professional
You know that one should actually land in the court after the ball has been struck? If he starts his motion behind the baseline there's hardly any advantage gained by stepping a little bit over the line. Anyway, you shouldn't be paying attention to your opponent's feet but to the ball. Only way you could stop him from FF-ing is to have dedicated lines people. If he starts the motion from visibly inside the court already say something.
 

Searah

Rookie
less chance of a double fault if he is foot faulting. benefits him big time.
had a double partner call someone up on it once. made the whole night super awkward.. opponent was in such a bad mood rest of the night.
 

Toby14

Semi-Pro
Wow @Toby14

First ever tournament and reached the final?

Thats damn amazing!!

Lokal +50 Tournament at Club level - but still very happy as I am just learning to play competitive tennis.

I face all kind of playing styles, but I have decided to go for my strokes in matches, just like I do in practice - Fearless Tennis by Jeff Greenwald helped me a lot with that approach.

Keep you fingers crossed - I am in the semi finals in double too (but my partner is really good).

Cheers, Toby
 

Toby14

Semi-Pro
less chance of a double fault if he is foot faulting. benefits him big time.
had a double partner call someone up on it once. made the whole night super awkward.. opponent was in such a bad mood rest of the night.
Yes I know it could mess up his serve if I call him on it. I want to be fair, so I think I will tell him beforehand and hope he adjust.

I think it is tricky, as I understand the rules you are the referee on your own half of the court, calling balls in or out - but suddenly you are making a call on your opponents side. You also dont call time limits etc.

Cheers, Toby
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
My take is just do it yourself too if you feel it is an advantage. Pointing it out just makes it awkward and also how can you realistically police it the whole game? If he points out you are committing foot faults, gently tell him that you thought it was allowed since he is also doing it.
 

Morch Us

Semi-Pro
There is a reason why they say that. And yes they are right, especially seeing your remark below.
I asked some more experienced players at my club, and they told me the etiket is not to call footfault unless you compete in the Nationals.

The right answer is 4.
If you are that competitive and if the trophy means that much to you, request for an official and specifically complain about foot fault. It is just "dirty", do you really want to go that way? Are you sure you are 100% perfect?

I remember a case where someone asked for an official for checking opponents foot fault, and got caught himself on line calls by the official :) .... totally backfired.....

So my question is what do I do in the situation ?

1. Do I call a footfault, when he is serving. Is that OK in lower level tournament.
2. Do I tell him up front that I saw his last game and he foot faulted on every serve. Seems a bit aggressive.
3. Do I get someone to sit at the line, and tell him. Also seems a bit unfriendly.
4. Do I just dont care even if he get an advantage - after all he does not serve bombs.
 
Get an official if you feel it's giving him an advantage. Play on if not.

You might say something after the match like, "Hey I would want someone to tell me this so I could work on it or fix it before someone else calls me a cheater."
 

MajesticMoose

Hall of Fame
Call him out when you spin rackets at the end of the warmup. And if he does it in a match, call him out again and if it gets out of hand, have the director or someone else responsible start watching for you.
 

Toby14

Semi-Pro
There is a reason why they say that. And yes they are right, especially seeing your remark below.



The right answer is 4.
If you are that competitive and if the trophy means that much to you, request for an official and specifically complain about foot fault. It is just "dirty", do you really want to go that way? Are you sure you are 100% perfect?

I remember a case where someone asked for an official for checking opponents foot fault, and got caught himself on line calls by the official :) .... totally backfired.....
YES I guess I will do no 4 and just let it go - but to me it seem strange that many tennis players are all hung up about rules, and then just look the other way when they see a big foot fault.

I am pretty sure I dont footfault myself, I have many video footage of my self serving and no footfault, so I would be happy with a referee.

I play for fun, and I dont really care that much. I know that if I can play my best tennis I will win, so in order to play my best tennis I have to let all the disturbance go. There will likely be some spectators, and they might comment. So I will concentrate on my game, and let all the other stuff go.

Cheers, T
 

Toby14

Semi-Pro
You belong to the same club? And this is your first tournament there?

I’d just play and not say anything.
Yes we belong to the same club, but there is more than 3.000 members so I have not played him yet.

I will just let it go and say nothing...

Thanks, T
 

Toby14

Semi-Pro
My take is just do it yourself too if you feel it is an advantage. Pointing it out just makes it awkward and also how can you realistically police it the whole game? If he points out you are committing foot faults, gently tell him that you thought it was allowed since he is also doing it.
Yes that could be a smart move, but I am not sure I want to go that way - or maybe if I am loosing I will have it in mind :)
 

Toby14

Semi-Pro
Yes you should call them on it because it gives the server a huge advantage. Not only are they serving from closer in but when they are effectively walking into the court, they are increasing their power by the weight transfer of moving forward. I have noticed in practice that when I take a big step into the court while serving, the serve has more on it.

The problem is the rule is never enforced at club level, so by the time players enter events they think they can foot fault. So as long as you are sure you are not faulting, I would call it. If they complain, get a referee. You can also suggest they serve from further back to avoid entering the court.

After all you are not doing your opponent any favours by letting them use an illegal technique. When they can to a high enough level the rule will be enforced and their serve will be illegal and useless.
Thanks - I will try to practice with a foot inside the court and see how the serve works.

However he is really not a great server, so I am not sure how much advantage he gets....

Cheers, T
 

zaph

Semi-Pro
Thanks - I will try to practice with a foot inside the court and see how the serve works.

However he is really not a great server, so I am not sure how much advantage he gets....

Cheers, T
The advantage is in the weight transfer, foot faulting players are effectively walking into the court. To be fair some at my club are ridiculous, there front foot is almost a foot inside when they hit the ball.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
The advantage is in the weight transfer, foot faulting players are effectively walking into the court. To be fair some at my club are ridiculous, there front foot is almost a foot inside when they hit the ball.
To me footfaulting is blatant cheating, theres no way in the world that anyone can claim that they are not aware that they are stepping into the court when serving, nobody can be so incompetent.
 

user92626

Legend
You know that one should actually land in the court after the ball has been struck? If he starts his motion behind the baseline there's hardly any advantage gained by stepping a little bit over the line. Anyway, you shouldn't be paying attention to your opponent's feet but to the ball. Only way you could stop him from FF-ing is to have dedicated lines people. If he starts the motion from visibly inside the court already say something.
This guy said it best. There's just no way to enforce this stupid rule when there're just two players.

If you have to say something, make sure the FF is excessive enough that even the offender can't deny. Who cares if it's half a foot inside, you'll call his serve out anyway if the ball lands a few inches in, if you're that type of player.

It's best to focus on beating your opponent in reasonable premises. NOT stupid, irrelevant technicalities.
 

coupergear

Professional
Go passive aggressive. "hey I see you're making massive footfaults. I'm not going to call you on that but just so you know you should probably clean that up." It will get in their head. If they win it puts and asterisk on it.
 

Dan R

Semi-Pro
I'd let tell him first that he's foot faulting on ever serve, and then give him a chance to stop, but let him know you're going to start calling it. Be careful that it doesn't interfere with your return game. I find it hard to watch for a foot fault and still keep my eye on the ball for the return.
 

coupergear

Professional
This guy said it best. There's just no way to enforce this stupid rule when there're just two players.

If you have to say something, make sure the FF is excessive enough that even the offender can't deny. Who cares if it's half a foot inside, you'll call his serve out anyway if the ball lands a few inches in, if you're that type of player.

It's best to focus on beating your opponent in reasonable premises. NOT stupid, irrelevant technicalities.
You must be a foot-faulter to claim as "stupid" the agreed upon rules of the game and boundaries of the court. So where do you draw the line? 3 inches foot fault? 6 inches in? 12? 18?
 

user92626

Legend
You must be a foot-faulter to claim as "stupid" the agreed upon rules of the game and boundaries of the court. So where do you draw the line? 3 inches foot fault? 6 inches in? 12? 18?
Draw the line whereever you want, if the other player doesn't agree with you, then what?
 

Toby14

Semi-Pro
Any update on your final, @Toby14 ? Congrats for getting to the final, btw!
It´s an open tournament via Challonge.com so date for the final is not set yet - I guess within a week or two as we need to play outdoor on clay.

Thank you all for your insight, it is great to have such a competent community to learn from.

Cheers, Toby
 
If the foot fault is less than a foot in length I'm not really worried about it, unless a guy's serving and volleying. If he's coming to the net and foot faulting that is a little hard to take. But if you call someone on it you most likely will then be playing a hostile match. It's not right that you have to put up with it but you have to decide if it's really worth it to say something.
 

movdqa

G.O.A.T.
I usually focus on the shoulders, ball and hips and don't see footfaults. The only time I see them is in doubles when my partner is receiving serve.
 
how would you even have a chance to see footfault from other side of the net when receiving the serve? there is million other things to care about at that moment, but to see someone overstepping the line. just ignore it if you dont know the guy. if its your friend/mate just tell him to practice not overstepping.
 
That's the bottom line that some of these guys, like coupergear, just don't understand.
If you don't think foot faulting is a problem that's cool and it's your choice to let it slide. That's how I play it, but it's interesting you find those who disagree somehow lacking in understanding.

Imo, the reason there is so much foot faulting is because these players never get called, so why would they stop?? Maybe, just maybe, it's those of us who don't bother to enforce this rule when it is clearly being violated (in a competition setting) who are the problem. After all, if it were standard protocol to call blatant foot faults, this thread would be moot.
 

tonylg

Semi-Pro
If it bothers you, you should call it.

Unless his name is Williams, it's not worth dying for.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

blablavla

Professional
YES I guess I will do no 4 and just let it go - but to me it seem strange that many tennis players are all hung up about rules, and then just look the other way when they see a big foot fault.

I am pretty sure I dont footfault myself, I have many video footage of my self serving and no footfault, so I would be happy with a referee.
the referee might backfire as well on close line calls.

I have seen quite some competitive tournaments, kids -> juniors.
While various calls can be argued, almost nobody calls foot fault.
Because you need a linesman on the baseline, on both sides, and that typically doesn't happen.
It is pretty much like the game fluidity. The game shall be played as fast as possible, but it is barely enforced if one player takes longer breaks between points.
Also in ATP, I remember in the past foot faults would be called once a while in the past, and I see less and less calls nowadays.
So, you might want to take it easy, or mention to the opponent, but you have to be sure that he is crossing the line before the racket hits the ball. If he crosses the line after hitting the ball - that is fine.
 

TagUrIt

Professional
Some of these responses are just comical. Rules are in place for a reason. It makes me laugh to hear people say the match will be hostile if you say something to him. The serve is the single most important shot in tennis and yes he does gain an advantage by stepping into the court on a foot fault. I truly believe that’s a huge problem with our society. Some people want to make excuses for other people’s behavior. No accountability, who gives crap of the guys feelings get hurt? He’s breaking the rules and honestly I think he knows it, but no one has ever called him out on it. It’s just my personal opinion, but I think he knows exactly what he’s doing. Are we so weak as a society that we would rather let someone get away with breaking the rules just to avoid a confrontation?

If you don’t want to confront the guy on this issue, notify an official before the match starts to watch his service game. Problem solved.
 

blablavla

Professional
Some of these responses are just comical. Rules are in place for a reason. It makes me laugh to hear people say the match will be hostile if you say something to him. The serve is the single most important shot in tennis and yes he does gain an advantage by stepping into the court on a foot fault. I truly believe that’s a huge problem with our society. Some people want to make excuses for other people’s behavior. No accountability, who gives crap of the guys feelings get hurt? He’s breaking the rules and honestly I think he knows it, but no one has ever called him out on it. It’s just my personal opinion, but I think he knows exactly what he’s doing. Are we so weak as a society that we would rather let someone get away with breaking the rules just to avoid a confrontation?

If you don’t want to confront the guy on this issue, notify an official before the match starts to watch his service game. Problem solved.
unless you have the resources to hire 2 independent linesman there is no way to enforce the foot fault.

either way, at the amount of wrong calls done and not done in the rec tennis, I would say foot fault is a minor thing.
I can't believe my eyes when I see how often folks don't call aut in cases where the ball is inches out. Or the opposite way, in particular on non-clay surfaces.
I guess for many enough people this is still a gentleman game, and a recreational event, so the fun and the social aspect are as well taken into account.
 

user92626

Legend
If you don't think foot faulting is a problem that's cool and it's your choice to let it slide. That's how I play it, but it's interesting you find those who disagree somehow lacking in understanding.
Well, you can demonstrate your understanding to me by explaining how you would effectively address what I said in post #31 and "what if we called foot faults there would be almost no one left to play with [in the case they don't agree with your call]"?
 
Well, you can demonstrate your understanding to me by explaining how you would effectively address what I said in post #31 and "what if we called foot faults there would be almost no one left to play with [in the case they don't agree with your call]"?
First, how about you provide some actual evidence to back up your initial claim. Just making an assertion doesn't do that. If you never call them, it stands to reason you can't be sure of the outcome until you do.

I referenced blatant foot faulting in a competitive setting and that was the context of the OP. Does that hold true for your comment above, or are you referring to a more recreational situation?

Edit: At any rate, I don't know anyone who would go out of their way to call foot faults in a friendly or non-competition environment, and there have been various posts already in this thread outlining how to deal with a foot faulting opponent in an officially sanctioned match (an independent arbiter being the obvious choice for me). Perhaps they didn't satisfactorily address your concern; that is a concern I do not share and therefore I must reject your hypothesis in bold.
 
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TagUrIt

Professional
unless you have the resources to hire 2 independent linesman there is no way to enforce the foot fault.

The OP made reference that this was a tournament. They generally have two roving officials and I was suggesting he could let one of them know. Of course in social play you would have to address this issue directly with your opponent.
 
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