Doubles line call etiquette question, just want to know.

Osteo UK

Rookie
I can see that there's a "bad line call" thread and this is not the same.

First of all, I don't get involved with dodgy line calls unless they are ridiculous. If they're close, I could be wrong, so I don't get involved. I really don't care.

I've never made a deliberately dishonest line call in my life, but it doesn't mean that I make or receive perfect ones either for or against me in singles or doubles. That's tennis and life, I get on with it.

So, that aside, here's the question.

I'm from the UK, now in Canada for a while. I've played numerous singles and doubles competitions ranging from club, to LTA ratings, ITF seniors and represented the county at seniors level. I'm not new to the sport, let's put it that way.

Recently I had a disagreement with a partner over a point of etiquette regarding line calls as a doubles team, which I have never come across before. If this is the way that you guys play, I will absolutely not disagree and I'll take it on board, no worries.

"In doubles, the partner who is furthest away cannot call the lines, whether down the line or the baseline, ever. The person closest has to do it alone".

This is totally new to me. In my past UK experience you both call the lines as a team and if you disagree, you give the benefit to the opponent unless you think you got it wrong badly. Sure, some people have better views and it's certainly not necessarily the nearest person either. You're a team, you sort it out.

I'm now at the point where I just play every ball as "in" now even when it look clearly out/in if he calls as the nearest player. I don't get involved. Life is too short to argue about a game of tennis.

I'm assured that it is a USTA rule, but I can't find it. If it is an "unofficial" rule that you have over here, sure I'll roll with it. I just want to know.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Tell the partner in question to find the rule; I've never seen it nor have I unofficially ever played by it.

If I'm a foot further away from the point where the ball bounced, am I in a reasonable position to make a call? Of course.

if I'm 40' further away with my back turned towards the ball, am I in a reasonable position to make a call? Of course not.

If I'm further away and my partner didn't see the ball land, can I make the call? Of course.

I think the spirit behind the rule you wrote above is to prevent scenario #2. But common sense ought to prevail, not the absolute concept put forward in the quoted rule.
 

5sets

Hall of Fame
Hogwash. There is no such rule. Any doubles partner can make a call whether they are closer or further from the ball. Whoever told you otherwise is taking you for a ride.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G928A using Tapatalk
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
There is no such rule. Whoever has a better view of the ball landing makes the call. That normally means the guy seeing down the line should call the ball in/out; not the guy across the court unless it is 1/2' out. It also means the guy at mid court who may see the ball go beyond the line vs the guy who is behind the line. Whoever has the better view.
 

NTRPolice

Hall of Fame
No such rule.

HOWEVER, if you want accurate calls, then the player who is in the best position to make the call should make the call.

Partners do not necessarily have to agree on the call. They just cannot disagree. If there is a disagreement on the call, the ball is assumed "in". Only one person needs to make the call.

If one person calls the ball good, the ball is good. Once the ball is called good, you do not play lets if the "player in better position" calls the ball out.

What you are asking about is logical. However, there is no such rule that determines which player is better qualified, or which player must make the call. There is especially no rule that says a player in better position can overrule a line call if it was called in by their partner.
 

McLovin

Legend
"In doubles, the partner who is furthest away cannot call the lines, whether down the line or the baseline, ever. The person closest has to do it alone".

...

I'm assured that it is a USTA rule, but I can't find it. If it is an "unofficial" rule that you have over here, sure I'll roll with it. I just want to know.
Not only isn't it a rule, the Code explicitly says otherwise:
USTA Code said:
9. Either partner may make calls in doubles. Although either doubles partner may make a call, the call of a player looking down a line is more likely to be accurate than that of a player looking across a line.
See https://www.usta.com/content/dam/usta/pdfs/2015_Code.pdf
 

McLovin

Legend
@Rattler, not trying to get into an argument, but technically it does apply to the OP's question since he stated, and I quote:
I'm assured that it is a USTA rule, but I can't find it. If it is an "unofficial" rule that you have over here, sure I'll roll with it. I just want to know.
 

schmke

Legend
For those trying to weasel out of accepting the USTA rule as posted by others, the Tennis Canada rules state the same thing. Specifically:

Either partner may make calls in doubles. Although either doubles partner may make a call, the call of a player looking down a line is much more likely to be accurate than that of a player looking across a line. When you are looking across a line, don’t call a ball out unless you can clearly see part of the court between where the ball hit and the line. It is difficult for a player who stands on one baseline to question a call on a ball that landed near the other baseline.​

Link: https://www.tennisontario.com/players/resources/rules-of-the-court
 
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McLovin

Legend
OP is not talking about USTA. Quote seems to be specific to USTA. He is in Canada.
Ugh!!! I know that! I read his post. He's originally from the UK but now lives (and plays in Canada. But, if you read the OP's (aka @Rattler aka the very first post in this thread) entire post, and read the very last line, you will see:
I'm assured that it is a USTA rule, but I can't find it. If it is an "unofficial" rule that you have over here, sure I'll roll with it. I just want to know.
That is what I was addressing...when he said "it is a USTA rule", which is clearly is NOT.
 

Osteo UK

Rookie
Thanks for all of the input, it's exactly as I thought across the pond- make your calls as well as you can, "and if in doubt, you can't call it out".

I'm guessing that it is a "local rule" and that's the sum of it. No point getting in to an argument over it if that's what they all do, I'll just bite my tongue.
 
A

AllCourtHeathen

Guest
Why is it always amateur doubles where 20/20 vision and sportsmanship go out the window....
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
"The Code" published by the USTA and authored by Col. Nick Powell only applies to USTA play.

It's not uncommon for non-USTA events to specify that they are using USTA rules. ALTA, for example, specifies that they play under USTA rules, as do a number of smaller leagues and tourneys that are not actually USTA-affiliated.
 

Osteo UK

Rookie
Why is it always amateur doubles where 20/20 vision and sportsmanship go out the window....

At the risk of not wanting to re-start the other thread about line calls, amateur tennis is just that, amateur and that's OK.

Some studies show that we can see balls land with some accuracy to around 4cm, but that doesn't help. The pros or anyone that has played regularly with line judges will get to recognise where balls land and whether they are in or out based on the history of those line judge calls as a reference. The top pros of course also have Hawkeye to add to their validation. We know they challenge tactically as well, but on average 3 in 4 challenges they make are wrong. That should tell you something too.

But that's how they learn to have better (not perfect) judgement than us as amateurs, they have a validation process, which we do not. The closest we can get to that is clay court tennis and I have learned from experience that sometimes I get it horribly wrong, both for and against myself.

Amateurs over-complicate line calls in tennis and attach all sorts of truisms and cliches to justify "how" the ball should be interpreted. Everyone wants to justify and validate what their own eyes see and if someone questions you, it's an insult. We can't all be correct at the same time.

When you play me, just call what you see, I really don't care if you get it wrong, as long as you get it honestly wrong.

99% of players are probably honest. 100% of players get their calls wrong .... and that includes you reading this right now unfortunately.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
At the risk of not wanting to re-start the other thread about line calls, amateur tennis is just that, amateur and that's OK.

Some studies show that we can see balls land with some accuracy to around 4cm, but that doesn't help. The pros or anyone that has played regularly with line judges will get to recognise where balls land and whether they are in or out based on the history of those line judge calls as a reference. The top pros of course also have Hawkeye to add to their validation. We know they challenge tactically as well, but on average 3 in 4 challenges they make are wrong. That should tell you something too.

But that's how they learn to have better (not perfect) judgement than us as amateurs, they have a validation process, which we do not. The closest we can get to that is clay court tennis and I have learned from experience that sometimes I get it horribly wrong, both for and against myself.

Amateurs over-complicate line calls in tennis and attach all sorts of truisms and cliches to justify "how" the ball should be interpreted. Everyone wants to justify and validate what their own eyes see and if someone questions you, it's an insult. We can't all be correct at the same time.

When you play me, just call what you see, I really don't care if you get it wrong, as long as you get it honestly wrong.

99% of players are probably honest. 100% of players get their calls wrong .... and that includes you reading this right now unfortunately.

The big thing is that in non-refereed tennis matches you try to make mistakes that favor your opponent only. You say you've played on clay and screwed up line calls that have favored yourself. That shouldn't happen more than once in a blue moon. You need to recalibrate your calls so that the error favoring yourself is as close to 0% as possible. Line calls is not about trying to be accurate. It's about giving benefit of the doubt to your opponent.

On clay I frequently look back at marks and see I clearly played an out ball. I almost never look back and see that I called an in ball "out". That's how I know i'm calling lines right. So it's not just being honest, it's recognizing doubt exists and casting that doubt in your opponents favor.

And for all you non-Canadians out there, here in Canada we follow the Tennis Code just like the USTA.
 

Osteo UK

Rookie
The big thing is that in non-refereed tennis matches you try to make mistakes that favor your opponent only. You say you've played on clay and screwed up line calls that have favored yourself. That shouldn't happen more than once in a blue moon. You need to recalibrate your calls so that the error favoring yourself is as close to 0% as possible. Line calls is not about trying to be accurate. It's about giving benefit of the doubt to your opponent.

On clay I frequently look back at marks and see I clearly played an out ball. I almost never look back and see that I called an in ball "out". That's how I know i'm calling lines right. So it's not just being honest, it's recognizing doubt exists and casting that doubt in your opponents favor.

And for all you non-Canadians out there, here in Canada we follow the Tennis Code just like the USTA.

I can see that you have unintentionally missed what has been written.

Because I have "learned from experience" (past examples) that I have made wrong calls on clay and have then been able to correct my mistake (that in this case would have been in my favour if I had not known), I have been able to calibrate.

"If in doubt, I won't call it out."

Those who have not played on clay do not have that luxury.

The non-Canadian reference you make did not prevent me receiving a sportsmanship award at a Canadian tennis facility in the past. Perhaps I am the exception.
 

NTRPolice

Hall of Fame
The big thing is that in non-refereed tennis matches you try to make mistakes that favor your opponent only. You say you've played on clay and screwed up line calls that have favored yourself. That shouldn't happen more than once in a blue moon. You need to recalibrate your calls so that the error favoring yourself is as close to 0% as possible. Line calls is not about trying to be accurate. It's about giving benefit of the doubt to your opponent.

On clay I frequently look back at marks and see I clearly played an out ball. I almost never look back and see that I called an in ball "out". That's how I know i'm calling lines right. So it's not just being honest, it's recognizing doubt exists and casting that doubt in your opponents favor.

And for all you non-Canadians out there, here in Canada we follow the Tennis Code just like the USTA.

I have these "I should have called that out" at least once a set. Sometimes my partners get really upset at me, which is why I can only play with a few people. Some of my past partners refuse to play with me because of my bad line calls in my opponents favor, ESPECIALLY on serves. I'm pretty sure I also play way too many balls that are 3"'s long on the baseline if the ball is near my feet.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I can see that you have unintentionally missed what has been written.

Because I have "learned from experience" (past examples) that I have made wrong calls on clay and have then been able to correct my mistake (that in this case would have been in my favour if I had not known), I have been able to calibrate.

"If in doubt, I won't call it out."

Those who have not played on clay do not have that luxury.

The non-Canadian reference you make did not prevent me receiving a sportsmanship award at a Canadian tennis facility in the past. Perhaps I am the exception.

Sorry, didn't catch that you did re-calibrate. One of the great advantages of clay is learning how much your eyes can mislead you.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I have these "I should have called that out" at least once a set. Sometimes my partners get really upset at me, which is why I can only play with a few people. Some of my past partners refuse to play with me because of my bad line calls in my opponents favor, ESPECIALLY on serves. I'm pretty sure I also play way too many balls that are 3"'s long on the baseline if the ball is near my feet.

That's unfortunate that your partner's don't know the rules. And if they were so sure it was out they can over-rule you. If you are unsure and your partner is sure, then they should make the call. What can't happen is you being sure it was in and they are sure it was out. That disagreement goes to the opponent. Similarly if both are unsure, then the ball was in.

Despite those fairly simple rules it's amazing how often people get it all screwed up in doubles. Most certain person makes the call. Discrepancy amongst two "certain" people goes to the opponent. Two uncertain people, then the call also goes to the opponent. Too often its a 5 minute discussion leading to "can we just play a let?"
 

chikoo

Hall of Fame
"In doubles, the partner who is furthest away cannot call the lines, whether down the line or the baseline, ever. The person closest has to do it alone".

What if I was closest but was looking at the ladies in the next court?
 

chikoo

Hall of Fame
Happens to me all the time.

I got smashed in the face when debbie did this to me

479fd304b3b7936c28baa05bee8ce4db.jpg
 
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