Etiquette on picking up balls on changeover - I know, First World Problem

jmnk

Hall of Fame
So what is the etiquette on picking up balls on changeover? Like I just completed my service game and there's change of sides, there two balls on my side of the net, and one ball on the other side. Do I pick up balls on my side and leave those at the baseline, and expect the opponent to pick the ball on his side and take it with him? Or do I leave the balls on my side wherever they are, but when I do go on the other side I pick that single ball that is on my side now, and pass it to the opponent?

I'm asking since often I find myself having to do both: I collect balls on my side, leave them at the baseline, go to the changeover, and then I see that single ball on the other side that opponent did not collect, so I need to collect it and pass it to the opponent. And if I do not collect balls on my side before I go to the bench we often end up playing next game with only two balls - because the opponent does not want to go few steps to collect that ball that rolled few yards from the court.

I know it is a First World Problem - but if I play with someone many, many years my junior, and I have to collect all balls at every changeover I have the urge to say something - and it is not going to be a nice thing....
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
I usually bring them to the bench near the net. There's a little plastic tray attached to the netpost and I just leave them there as it's on my way. If the other person doesn't pick up the balls on the other side, then I pick them up after the break and toss them over. Some people leave them at the baseline, I like to bring them in as there's really no way to miss them and you don't have to worry so much about losing a ball(we have curtains and areas where it's hard to see the balls and they can get lost).
 

newpball

Legend
... I have the urge to say something - and it is not going to be a nice thing....
Say a nice thing about it and most people will get the message!

However if it is wrapped in some curmudgeon style baby boomer sneer yes then people will not take it in a friendly way.



:D
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
if I play with someone many, many years my junior, and I have to collect all balls at every changeover I have the urge to say something - and it is not going to be a nice thing....
If you want an efficient operation, that is what you need to do.

In other news, I play mostly on public courts. If I want to play on clean courts, I have to pick up the trash before starting to play (which is why I carry a supply of plastic grocery bags). I'm sure etiquette dictates that people throw their empty plastic drink containers, ball containers, metal ball lids, etc in the trash themselves. I'm not expecting it to happen anytime soon however.

From a mental standpoint, it helps to not assume people will follow an etiquette. This doesn't mean you should be angry ("I know them *****'s won't do what they should so I guess I'll do it, god dammit"). What it means is, if you have that expectation, it will quite often not be fulfilled. For example, when I'm driving, I never assume people are going to do the "right" thing. But I don't drive angry either. Let's just say I'm a realist with more important things on my mind.

If I assume anything, it is that a fair few in any group will do what is easiest and is of most benefit (least work) for them. This is an expectation that is quite often met. But since I start out with that expectation, I'm not disappointed. It's just "the way it is". Does that mean I get taken advantage of? Yup, multiple times every day. (Don't sweat the small stuff >>> It's all small stuff).
 
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Firstservingman

Talk Tennis Guru
Say a nice thing about it and most people will get the message!

However if it is wrapped in some curmudgeon style baby boomer sneer yes then people will not take it in a friendly way.



:D
Isn't it a bit early to break out the stock images of old people again?

:D
 

esgee48

Legend
I don't care what others do. If I do not have 2 tennis balls on me when I am ready to serve, I will say that I need another tennis ball. Most of the people will just roll the tennis balls towards the net near the side where the bench is. You can see all 3 tennis balls. If you see only 2, then ask where's the 3rd tennis ball. OTW, don't sweat it. :eek:
 

SoBad

G.O.A.T.
If you want an efficient operation, that is what you need to do.

In other news, I play mostly on public courts. If I want to play on clean courts, I have to pick up the trash before starting to play (which is why I carry a supply of plastic grocery bags). I'm sure etiquette dictates that people throw their empty plastic drink containers, ball containers, metal ball lids, etc in the trash themselves. I'm not expecting it to happen anytime soon however.

From a mental standpoint, it helps to not assume people will follow an etiquette. This doesn't mean you should be angry ("I know them *****'s won't do what they should so I guess I'll do it, god dammit"). What it means is, if you have that expectation, it will quite often not be fulfilled. For example, when I'm driving, I never assume people are going to do the "right" thing. But I don't drive angry either. Let's just say I'm a realist with more important things on my mind.

If I assume anything, it is that a fair few in any group will do what is easiest and is of most benefit (least work) for them. This is an expectation that is quite often met. But since I start out with that expectation, I'm not disappointed. It's just "the way it is". Does that mean I get taken advantage of? Yup, multiple times every day. (Don't sweat the small stuff >>> It's all small stuff).
Credited comment. Assume that the world around you is a bunch of belligerent imbeciles and enjoy the rare moment when proven wrong.
 

Alex78

Hall of Fame
Really hate playing with three balls only, yet that's what league games have you do.
When I hit with my regular playing partners, I always bring at least four balls, and so does he.
 

HRB

Hall of Fame
So what is the etiquette on picking up balls on changeover? Like I just completed my service game and there's change of sides, there two balls on my side of the net, and one ball on the other side. Do I pick up balls on my side and leave those at the baseline, and expect the opponent to pick the ball on his side and take it with him? Or do I leave the balls on my side wherever they are, but when I do go on the other side I pick that single ball that is on my side now, and pass it to the opponent?

I'm asking since often I find myself having to do both: I collect balls on my side, leave them at the baseline, go to the changeover, and then I see that single ball on the other side that opponent did not collect, so I need to collect it and pass it to the opponent. And if I do not collect balls on my side before I go to the bench we often end up playing next game with only two balls - because the opponent does not want to go few steps to collect that ball that rolled few yards from the court.

I know it is a First World Problem - but if I play with someone many, many years my junior, and I have to collect all balls at every changeover I have the urge to say something - and it is not going to be a nice thing....
Then just say it, because it sounds like you're playing with a lazy D-Bag anyways...so what's the risk..they won't play you again..good.
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
Credited comment. Assume that the world around you is a bunch of belligerent imbeciles and enjoy the rare moment when proven wrong.
I like to think of it as dealing with things (people) as they are and not being angry that they aren't otherwise.
 

Kalin

Legend
I always pick up balls on my side on changeovers and yes, I expect my opponent/partner to do the same on his side.

What ticks me off are non-servers who treat the third ball like it's a precious family heirloom and keep it in their pockets while I continuously chase the one loose ball in order to have two to serve.
 
Whatever is at my convenience. If the balls are on my way to the changeover, I'll pick them up and hand them to my opponent. If not, then he can go get them himself.

If my opponent blasts a ball after the point is over and it strays elsewhere, I'm definitely not picking that up.
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
It is a pleasure to play with a guy that is on the same page as you with these types of things. I played nearly every Sunday morning with the same guy for about 7 years until he moved this past summer. For example, I knew he liked to have 2 balls when serving. If he served a let for example, he knew I had the other ball in my pocket. He didn't even move for the one he just hit, just looked to me and waited for the ball. But we just handled the "administration" of a tennis match very well together to keep the game moving and not annoy the other guy. He's an engineer and just very comfortable in his own skin (as am I). No silly head games.

In contrast, I've played with guys that don't want the third ball and serve a let. I'll hold up the ball and even call out that I have the third. They won't look up and won't acknowledge me. They'll slowly go pick up that ball wherever it ended up, even though I know they heard me and know that I have the third ball. Then they'll look annoyed as if I wouldn't give them the third ball, when its clear they orchestrated the whole thing because they want to be annoyed (much like you see people do things when driving to "catch" other people in "mistakes" so they can be annoyed and mutter about all the bad drivers). These guys probably complain to their other partners that I'm a jerk that holds on to the third ball like its a precious family heirloom, lol.

I find the mental hangups and the little tit-for-tat type games people like to play interesting. I don't get emotionally involved in them whether on the tennis court, driving, etc. Some people (and that number is increasing) like to be angry and need to find someone to be angry with. They get angry at basically anything. If they can't find something to be angry with, they work to invent things. You're not going to reason with them. You just have to accommodate them (or get into a pi$$ing match with them, whichever you prefer).
 
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SoBad

G.O.A.T.
It's rec tennis, you're out there to exercise. Be happy when presented with an opportunity to move around more while picking up balls.
 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
Whatever is at my convenience. If the balls are on my way to the changeover, I'll pick them up and hand them to my opponent. If not, then he can go get them himself.

If my opponent blasts a ball after the point is over and it strays elsewhere, I'm definitely not picking that up.
I appreciate your honesty - but you are exactly the person I would have a problem with :)
See, if the balls are NOT on your way to the changeover you would not pick them up. Now imagine that your opponent did pick up all balls on his side, whether they were on his way to the bench or he had to actually walk out of his way to collect them. Assuming he is to serve now, he has the ball(s) he collected on his side, but now he needs to go and also collect ball(s) on what used to be your side - because you could not be bothered to collect the balls that were not conveniently located for you.
I would have no problem if it was agreed that everyone collects the balls on the side he is on AFTER the changeover. Or if it was agreed that everyone collects the balls on the side he is on BEFORE the changeover. Which is why I've asked what the etiquette is.
If there's no 'etiquette' than we are going to end up exactly with the scenario we just analyzed here. I'm a bit surprised that you do not see a problem with your behavior....

Now, if a player intentionally hits the ball in anger so it ends up way out of the play area - sure, he can go and pick it himself every time. But that is not the usual scenario I'm interested in.
 
I appreciate your honesty - but you are exactly the person I would have a problem with :)
See, if the balls are NOT on your way to the changeover you would not pick them up. Now imagine that your opponent did pick up all balls on his side, whether they were on his way to the bench or he had to actually walk out of his way to collect them. Assuming he is to serve now, he has the ball(s) he collected on his side, but now he needs to go and also collect ball(s) on what used to be your side - because you could not be bothered to collect the balls that were not conveniently located for you.
I would have no problem if it was agreed that everyone collects the balls on the side he is on AFTER the changeover. Or if it was agreed that everyone collects the balls on the side he is on BEFORE the changeover. Which is why I've asked what the etiquette is.
If there's no 'etiquette' than we are going to end up exactly with the scenario we just analyzed here. I'm a bit surprised that you do not see a problem with your behavior....

Now, if a player intentionally hits the ball in anger so it ends up way out of the play area - sure, he can go and pick it himself every time. But that is not the usual scenario I'm interested in.
Umm... It's a courtesy, not a rule. If they're on the way, I'll get them.

When you play a tournament and the courts have enough fencing/barrier surrounding it, each individual courts are basically separated courts where the balls won't stray. For example, an indoor facility. And no one would pick up the balls on a changeover.

And I can care less, they're still on the court we're playing on. And if you're going to ask me to walk to the opposite corner, away from the centrally placed benches/chairs, I'll point you to where the balls are, over there in the corner where you may or may not have inadvertently smacked over after a point is over.

Play a match, don't be a diva and start s*** where there weren't any to begin with. I'm your opponent, not your damn ballboy.
 

stoo

Semi-Pro
I always pick up the balls regardless of where they are and will hand them to my opponent on the changeover, even if they're not on my side of the net. I'm not gonna run to the other side of the court and pick them up for my opponent, but I have no problem walking out of my way to collect them. I don't expect that courtesy in return, but if they do or don't return the favor.... meh. I just think it's good sportsmanship.
 

tennis_ocd

Hall of Fame
Up to server to collect and account for three balls. Those in my possession get left on BL if leaving serving court. If we're going to serve after change over I collect balls on my side as I leave. This has never crossed my mind in years of tennis.

There might be an issue over who chases the crushed OHs that fly over the fence but even then I'm there for exercise and don't mind the walk during change overs.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Best one I saw yesterday.....
Good bud of mine, playing singles, with a singles set next court, immediately stops play on the OTHER court when one of his balls heads over there, by yelling .."watch the ball", watch out for the ball..... EVERY time, even if the ball is along the backwall or up at the net. Totally annoying to me, sitting on the sidebench watching.
Then, when the other court hit's a ball to his court, he totally ignores it, even when it's sitting in the exact middle of his court, service line deep, dead center, and goes on with the point, even starts to serve. I yell out there's a ball on court.
I just couldn't believe it.
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
Up to server to collect and account for three balls. Those in my possession get left on BL if leaving serving court. If we're going to serve after change over I collect balls on my side as I leave. This has never crossed my mind in years of tennis.
Same here. Although I would add that if I'm playing someone who always presents me with the balls after he's served and we're changing sides, I'll probably do the same. My default is your approach, but I'll go the extra distance if the other person is intent on going down that road.
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
I appreciate your honesty - but you are exactly the person I would have a problem with :)
See, if the balls are NOT on your way to the changeover you would not pick them up. Now imagine that your opponent did pick up all balls on his side, whether they were on his way to the bench or he had to actually walk out of his way to collect them. Assuming he is to serve now, he has the ball(s) he collected on his side, but now he needs to go and also collect ball(s) on what used to be your side - because you could not be bothered to collect the balls that were not conveniently located for you.
I would have no problem if it was agreed that everyone collects the balls on the side he is on AFTER the changeover. Or if it was agreed that everyone collects the balls on the side he is on BEFORE the changeover. Which is why I've asked what the etiquette is.
If there's no 'etiquette' than we are going to end up exactly with the scenario we just analyzed here. I'm a bit surprised that you do not see a problem with your behavior....

Now, if a player intentionally hits the ball in anger so it ends up way out of the play area - sure, he can go and pick it himself every time. But that is not the usual scenario I'm interested in.
I agree with @Say Chi Sin Lo.

On a changeover, I only pick up balls that are (reasonably) on my way to the bench. That's what my opponent normally does too. Then we pick up the other balls after the changeover (whichever side they happen to be on).

It would be really odd to expect my opponent to pick up a ball in the corner of his side if he just lost a net point and was standing 2 steps from the bench, don't you think?

So what is the etiquette on picking up balls on changeover? Or do I leave the balls on my side wherever they are, but when I do go on the other side I pick that single ball that is on my side now, and pass it to the opponent?
I guess this is what I most often do and what I most often see done. Most people only pick up balls from the side they are leaving if they are close to them. But I don't think too many people think about it in terms of formal rules.
 

babolatstar

Rookie
It's a mind game haha.
Like majority of what people are saying "pick up the ones along the way". And if you go on a side of the court that has the 3rd ball just collect it and send it back to the server. If the opponent sends a ball way off course few times then you have the right to tell them to fetch the 3rd ball on your serve. If they a dick about it then there is no reason you should be hitting with them.
 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
Up to server to collect and account for three balls. Those in my possession get left on BL if leaving serving court. If we're going to serve after change over I collect balls on my side as I leave. This has never crossed my mind in years of tennis.

There might be an issue over who chases the crushed OHs that fly over the fence but even then I'm there for exercise and don't mind the walk during change overs.
Same here. Although I would add that if I'm playing someone who always presents me with the balls after he's served and we're changing sides, I'll probably do the same. My default is your approach, but I'll go the extra distance if the other person is intent on going down that road.
I agree with @Say Chi Sin Lo.

On a changeover, I only pick up balls that are (reasonably) on my way to the bench. That's what my opponent normally does too. Then we pick up the other balls after the changeover (whichever side they happen to be on).

It would be really odd to expect my opponent to pick up a ball in the corner of his side if he just lost a net point and was standing 2 steps from the bench, don't you think?


I guess this is what I most often do and what I most often see done. Most people only pick up balls from the side they are leaving if they are close to them.
But I don't think too many people think about it in terms of formal rules.
well, as you can see from quoted posts from tennis_ocd and navigator, it is actually not unreasonable to have players picking up balls on his side before going to the bench no matter how close or far they are.

I have no issues with any of the proposals: you pick all the balls on your side and take them with you or leave it at the baseline - depending who is going to serve, or the to-be-server needs to collect all three balls, or to-be-server collects the balls on the side he is on AFTER changeover - any 'etiquette' is fine.

What I do have problem with are cases where folks use a given particular 'etiquette' when it is convenient for them, but a different one when that different one is convenient. For example: if the balls on player's side happen to be close to the bench - he collects them and gives them to me (if I'm about to serve). But if the balls are not conveniently located for him - he expects that I go and get them after the changeover.

Now if I always use the 'etiquette' that I collect balls on my side before the changeover than at all times he gets the balls that were left on my side AND sometimes, in addition, he never bothers to collect any balls - because the ones on his side were 'not on his way' and there's nothing to collect on what is his side now after changeover.
Not a big deal by any means.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
If there on the way I will take care of them; otherwise the guy heading to that side can get them. To me this is just irony; you're playing a sport that requires a lot of moving. It's like the people who drive to play tennis who drive around hoping for a parking spot right in front - or walk onto the courts and cut through courts that other people are playing on because they're too lazy to walk to another door.

I remember someone whining once about me not getting the balls before I left the end of a court for a change. Really enjoyed beating him. People like him are probably shocked when people don't want to play with them.
 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
If there on the way I will take care of them; otherwise the guy heading to that side can get them. To me this is just irony; you're playing a sport that requires a lot of moving. It's like the people who drive to play tennis who drive around hoping for a parking spot right in front - or walk onto the courts and cut through courts that other people are playing on because they're too lazy to walk to another door.

I remember someone whining once about me not getting the balls before I left the end of a court for a change. Really enjoyed beating him. People like him are probably shocked when people don't want to play with them.
fair enough. So for you it is perfectly acceptable if your opponent picks up all the balls on his side before every changeover (because that's what he thinks is reasonable/expected), no matter how far or close the balls are, while you would only collect the balls that are close to you on your side? You don't see the irony of your 'laziness example' you have given above?
 
Then shut the hell up, pick up the balls if they happen to be in a distant corner but still on your court. You sprint at least a mile or two in a singles match. And you're crying about walking a few yards or so?

If the person beamed the balls to another court and refuses to get the them, then yeah. Go at him/her. But the balls just happened to lay there from normal play, there's no need to make a big deal out of it.

Stop asking people to get you balls, towels, water, burgers, and just play tennis.
 
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r2473

G.O.A.T.
well, as you can see from quoted posts from tennis_ocd and navigator, it is actually not unreasonable to have players picking up balls on his side before going to the bench no matter how close or far they are.

I have no issues with any of the proposals: you pick all the balls on your side and take them with you or leave it at the baseline - depending who is going to serve, or the to-be-server needs to collect all three balls, or to-be-server collects the balls on the side he is on AFTER changeover - any 'etiquette' is fine.

What I do have problem with are cases where folks use a given particular 'etiquette' when it is convenient for them, but a different one when that different one is convenient. For example: if the balls on player's side happen to be close to the bench - he collects them and gives them to me (if I'm about to serve). But if the balls are not conveniently located for him - he expects that I go and get them after the changeover.

Now if I always use the 'etiquette' that I collect balls on my side before the changeover than at all times he gets the balls that were left on my side AND sometimes, in addition, he never bothers to collect any balls - because the ones on his side were 'not on his way' and there's nothing to collect on what is his side now after changeover.
Not a big deal by any means.
Then in your language, the etiquette is to pick up the balls on your side after the changeover. But it's nice to pick up balls as you are walking toward the bench.

Personally, I'm not a stickler for hard rules on something like this. It's more about if each player is being a good guy or a jerk. I think you can be a jerk by being overly lazy and by being over bearing. You seem to err on the latter side, but that could just be your tone in this thread.

At any rate, in the end, don't forget it's a social game.
 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
Then shut the hell up, pick up the balls if they happen to be in a distant corner but still on your court. You sprint at least a mile or two in a singles match. And you're crying about walking a few yards or so?

If the person beamed the balls to another court and refuses to get the them, then yeah. Go at him/her. But the balls just happened to lay there from normal play, there's no need to make a big deal out of it.

Stop asking people to get you balls, towels, water, burgers, and just play tennis.
a what?? I've started the thread because I do pick up balls on my side. It was you yourself that stated that you do not do that if it is inconvenient for you. To quote your own post...

Whatever is at my convenience. If the balls are on my way to the changeover, I'll pick them up and hand them to my opponent. If not, then he can go get them himself.

[...]
and why are you so angry in the first place?
 
a what?? I've started the thread because I do pick up balls on my side. It was you yourself that stated that you do not do that if it is inconvenient for you. To quote your own post...



and why are you so angry in the first place?
Because I don't stand for people who think they're entitled for me to go out of my way to get them their balls. Seriously, if they're only the court, then they can get them themselves. Or they can just serve with what they have if they're that lazy.
 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
Then in your language, the etiquette is to pick up the balls on your side after the changeover. But it's nice to pick up balls as you are walking toward the bench.

Personally, I'm not a stickler for hard rules on something like this. It's more about if each player is being a good guy or a jerk. I think you can be a jerk by being overly lazy and by being over bearing. You seem to err on the latter side, but that could just be your tone in this thread.

At any rate, in the end, don't forget it's a social game.
Thanks for your comments. By no means there's any 'rule' so there's no point about being a 'stickler' here. I'm not suggesting that the etiquette is to pick up balls on my side after the changeover. I would feel wrong if I did just that - but the opponent actually collected balls before the changeover and left them nicely at the baseline, while I did not collect the ball on my side before the changeover.
 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
Because I don't stand for people who think they're entitled for me to go out of my way to get them their balls. Seriously, if they're only the court, then they can get them themselves. Or they can just serve with what they have if they're that lazy.
fair enough. Let me ask you the same question I've asked @West Coast Ace:
So for you it is also perfectly acceptable if your opponent picks up all the balls on his side before every changeover (because that's what he thinks is reasonable/expected), no matter how far or close the balls are, while you would only collect the balls that are close to you on your side? You don't see the irony of your 'laziness example' you have given above?
 
fair enough. Let me ask you the same question I've asked @West Coast Ace:
So for you it is also perfectly acceptable if your opponent picks up all the balls on his side before every changeover (because that's what he thinks is reasonable/expected), no matter how far or close the balls are, while you would only collect the balls that are close to you on your side? You don't see the irony of your 'laziness example' you have given above?
Did I ask my opponent to pick up the balls? No.

Just because my opponent decides to do it, I'm not obligated to follow suit. Nor should my opponent expect it vice versa. It's a non-issue. There are bigger things to worry and stress over during the course of a match.

If you're stressed about where the balls are, then you're not in the match. Get your mind straight.

Would I be appreciative of my opponent getting me the balls, on the way or out of the way? Yes of course. But if s/he expects me to do it as well, homie please. Let's continue our match.
 
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r2473

G.O.A.T.
I would feel wrong if I did just that - but the opponent actually collected balls before the changeover and left them nicely at the baseline, while I did not collect the ball on my side before the changeover.
I think that's where your problem might be. I think you are the guy picking up the balls before changeover and leaving them nicely on the baseline and expecting everyone to conform. I we were playing, I probably wouldn't adopt your etiquette as I think it quite inefficient most often. No real reason to walk to the back fence to pick up balls before changeover, when my opponent will be walking back there soon anyway to either serve or receive. In fact, I'd probably get a bit angry after a while at how much time it was taking you to pick up balls that would be steps away from where I will soon be.

For me, it's all about what is most efficient. My engineering friend and I were both on the same page with this idea. Not only on changeovers, but most of the time. It's rare to find another person that thinks so similar to how you do (I wish he was my wife, lol). With other people what's important is (perceived) fairness. I can understand that, but I don't subscribe to it. It's not a big deal for me to pick up most of the balls in a match if that's what seems to work the best that day and make the match move along.

However, if I noticed you getting angry, I'd probably start picking up the balls and laying them on the baseline. My number one goal in social situations is to avoid conflict and have fun, so I often find myself doing what the other guy wants if it appears important to him.
 
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sureshs

Bionic Poster
I think that's where your problem might be. I think you are the guy picking up the balls before changeover and leaving them nicely on the baseline and expecting everyone to conform. I we were playing, I probably wouldn't adopt your etiquette as I think it quite inefficient most often. No real reason to walk to the back fence to pick up balls before changeover, when my opponent will be walking back there soon anyway to either serve or receive. In fact, I'd probably get a bit angry after a while at how much time it was taking you to pick up balls that would be steps away from where I will soon be.
That is exactly how I look at it. But I once played mixed dubs where the opposing woman would gather the balls and place them in a neat triangle at the middle of the baseline, and glare at us when we did not do the same.
 
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