Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by tennistim, Oct 13, 2012.
I read this post literally 5 times, and I still don't understand what it's saying...
Uh.. it's hard to call a ball long when it's hit right at you ?
Fuji, let me see if I can help:
"Giving the benefit of the doubt and returning a serve you believe is probably a couple inches out [while] never playing every serve 8 inches long that you know with 100% certainty is out simply because it is physically impossible to see space between the ball and the line while looking over the ball [would be pretty much impossible.]"
thats because what I wrote was evidently jibberish with a bad copy and paste. I've gone ahead and rewritten it.
There we go! Thanks for the clarification. Makes a lot more sense now!
You can still give more leeway on service calls in singles and still not give AS MUCH leeway as would be required if going by the requirement that you see space between the line and the ball. I do think that singles players by and large do give the benefit of the doubt on service calls alot, and rightfully so, as it is just a hard line to call properly.
But they still don't adhere to the letter of the "must see space" part of the code every time, that is unless they play every single serve that is 6 or 7 inches out. The fact of the matter is, on balls that are that far out, you can both not be able to see space, and still be quite sure that the ball is in fact clearly out, especially if it is a slower moving serve.
I tried a google search to see if I could find an example of what I was talking about, but this is the best I could find:
It's a stationary ball, and not on the same line we're talking about, but the point is there. We clearly can not see any space between the ball and the line behind it (as the ball is itself blocking our view of that space), but it is still pretty clear the ball is not touching that line. In truth, you could move that ball a good 3 more inches towards the camera, and still the top end of the ball would obscure the bottom piece of that line behind it (no space!), but it would still be obvious to anyone that this ball is not on that line or even close.
Obviously on a service return we can't be as sure that a ball that is 1-2 inches out is really out, but the geometry of the situation is that we couldn't actually see space between the line and the ball until it's a good 7-8 inches out. I'm just saying that people can still be sure that the ball was out even if they can't technically see space, because if only the top end of the ball is obsuring the very bottom of the line from their vantage point (again, no space), the only possible way for that to happen is if the ball is in fact several inches out. I think most people understand this intuitively and call those balls out (to the point where they aren't actually thinking about if they saw space or not, they're just sure the ball was out based on what they saw), and imo there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, even if it is not technically going by the letter of the code.
Not only that- but have we considered how long there is actually space visible over the top of the ball in this situation? The amount of time that the ball spends in its maximum compressed state has to be just a few milliseconds. After that the ball is once again rising and blocking the view of the line.
The longer you play, the more precise you'll get with your calls. You just need to see more examples of how a ball hits and if it's out or in based on compression, speed, direction, etc. Balls can be slightly in and be called out initially. I've done it on serves and other line calls. It happens, especially when they're fast. I however, if I'm doubtful after the call, go up and take a quick peek at the mark. Even on hard courts, you can see if the mark is touching or not. If I can see even a mm or two of space between the mark I think the ball left and the line, it's out, but if I don't, I correct the call and award the point.
I once had a match where I was receiving serve and it was match point. The guy served and it wan an ace that looked a bit long. He was actually ready to serve another ball. I didn't call it as out and ran up to check it. I told him, nope, it's just in. I could have just as easily called it out and dealt with the the 2nd serve and go from there, but I knew all I'd be thinking about is the bad call I just made just because I was match point down. Wasn't worth it and in the end, the guy was surprised I'd make such a call since this was a tiebreak in the final set. He said most people just cheat out of points.
even if you make yourself look like such a good sport with your story on the match point ace, you are not a saint. As you stated in the bolded part - when you are doubtful the ball is in. there's no checking the mark on the hard courts. i believe it is actually explicitly stated in the Code.
So now we decide to adhere to Rule 7 to the letter. We play out a serve that is 6 inches long. We return the ball in and the server just lets it go by and prepares for a second serve. We say "what are you doing? I just won the point. Rule 7 says ....blah blah" The server angrily says " Are you out of your freakin mind? That ball was way out. I'm sure if you returned long you would call it out. Don't try to scam me, buddy. Second serve". Now what do you do?
Fix or dump that stupid rule.
I tell him that I was giving him the benefit of the doubt on calls. That if he wants me to stop doing so that I am more than happy to but the result of the play stands. How is this complicated?
I think the rule as written is a good statement of intent, but obviously can't be taken literally in all cases - as others have pointed out, depending on the vantage point, a ball could be a foot out and still the player would not be able to see clear space between the line and the ball.
Most people understand it for what it is. For those who are limited to literal interpretations, I would propose the following wording:
"A player shall not call a ball out unless the player is certain that there is space between where the ball hits and a line."
You don't need to see space in order to be certain that there is space.
I originally started this thread because about two weeks ago at team practice I told my players we needed to work at sticking to the code. I very explicitly told them they were not to call the ball out unless they Clearly. See. Space.
We start playing and pretty soon it's totally apparent that on a lot balls you don't get to clearly see space even though they were obviously several inches out. Not just when receiving serve.
So, what I had told them to do was in direct conflict with the way every player actually calls a ball.
If there are coaches teaching the code word for word, then yes it does need to be accurate.
It's not good enough to say that as long as the intent of the code is good, inaccuracies don't matter. They do.
So on match point your opponent's first serve is a full 6 inches out. It's obvious to both of you. But you play it as a return winner. Your opponent goes to serve a second serve and you walk to shake hands. No matter who your opponent is, they will not take it well. I can guarantee it.
It's not beside the point. It's exactly the whole point of this thread.
We are not talking about those tough calls. Of course you give benefit of the doubt if you are not sure.
Sometimes it is completely obvious a ball is out without seeing space.
Whether you played it because you hesitated on the call or were giving him the benefit of the doubt who cares if he throws a fit? I have never in my life seen someone play a serve that was long in order to get an advantage. That is on him for not playing the point out and I think that he would be equally upset if they felt hooked on match point. I will never understand how anyone could be so childish as to be upset when an opponent gives them the benefit of the doubt on a call.
In his example, he says the ball is six inches out and obvious to both of you. There's no doubt to be given a benefit, and to me it's flat out cheating.
As far as space between the ball and line, some of you may want to try and watch the bottom of the ball and its relation to the line. The top of the ball never touches any line, only the bottom. If you look at the photos in this thread, the line is nowhere near the bottom of the ball, and common sense would seem to call for the ball to be out without any argument from either side.
Literal interpretations can sometimes lead to trouble. I think that may be what's happening here.
I've seen people play balls that were out because they simply saw it wrong. I've seen people play balls that were out to give the opponent the benefit of the doubt. I've seen people play balls that were out because they realized it too late and hesistated on the call and didn't feel comfortable calling it out so late.
I've never once in my life seen someone play an out ball on a first serve in order to cheat. Nothing even close. I will never understand why anyone would consider the opponent giving them the benefit of doubt on a call cheating.
I agree, playing the out ball in the examples you gave is not cheating.
Playing the out ball in the example tt gave, and then walking up to shake hands with the opponent because you "won" the match on a ball you both knew was out (obvious to both of you) is cheating in my humble opinion.
I like this modification.
Separate names with a comma.