How should I handle this cheating?

Hey guys, I played a set recently and my opponent had an interesting way of cheating. Basically, on my serve, after I would miss a first serve, he would always go and get the ball off the court and hit it back to me even when I clearly had a ball in my pocket and I was ready to serve my 2nd serve. I did not mind if he was hitting it back if the ball was in his court but he was getting the ball when it was way off on the other court or against the fence. I even told him "Hey I have a second ball" and he would still do it. I will not lie it got into my head and I dropped my serve when I was serving for the set, but I recovered and won the set on my next serve. What he was doing was causing a clear and obvious delay between my 1st and 2nd serve and I saw it as a clear way for him to try and get in my head and make me miss. Am I in the wrong for being frustrated? Was what he was doing "cheating"? And what should I do in the future?
 

Vox Rationis

Semi-Pro
You were not wrong for being frustrated. That sounds annoying. IMO, it’s not cheating unless it’s intentional. I always try to assume the best in people so I would have approached it as if he didn’t know. I would have directly told him to stop doing it as it’s interfering with my 2nd serve. If he argues I’d kindly explain it’s against the rules.

If he keeps doing it then it probably is intentional. That’s when you decide to just tolerate it and never play with him again afterwards or do something about it like serving when he’s gone as if he was ready. If you start claiming the point or even just claiming a first serve for the distraction it might make him think twice about it. Those are the more combative routes.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
Tell him, you must be giving the ball back to me because it was a let and I get a first serve again, otherwise, why would I need two balls? Say, next time you give me the first serve ball back, I'll just have to assume you still want me to have 2 serves.
 

Slicehand

Professional
he probably wasnt trying to cheat, but anyways you can tell him, hey man dont go for the ball, or just serve while hes going for the ball, if he gets confused, you just say, you must be ready to recieve when server is ready to serve, thats how it goes... and anyway i told you not to go for the damned ball, do we have a problem here eh? do we have a problem? i have a gun in my tennis bag and next time its your choice if you want a ball delivered or a bullet, lets see if you understand like this, what, are you tired? thats why you make me wait between serves,? WELL THATS YOUR PROBLEM, follow the rules goddammit, dont be rude ok? come on lets continue playing pal, no offense taken, non given
 

cha cha

Professional
We were playing a volleyball match on Saturday, and the opposing captain, who is an international referee, used his two allowed timeouts and proceeded to ask for a third and later a fourth one knowing damn well that he had no timeouts left.
Some people just cannot help being pathetic. What you do is handle is with graciousness, always.
 

RobS

Rookie
If it's happening repeatedly when the ball is totally out of play, I would just hit my 2nd serve in a normal rhythm as if you didn't notice he wasn't at the baseline. That may help him get the picture.
 
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Deleted member 776614

Guest
I thought the rules were more clear about this, but unfortunately they do give the receiver some leeway (what is 'a reasonable amount of time?):

21. WHEN TO SERVE AND RECEIVE
The server shall not serve until the receiver is ready. However, the receiver shall play to the reasonable pace of the server and shall be ready to receive within a reasonable time of the server being ready. A receiver who attempts to return the service shall be considered as being ready. If it is demonstrated that the receiver is not ready, the service cannot be called a fault.
 
Thanks for insight guys.. I just found the whole thing frustrating, and after the fact I kind of laughed to myself because it was silly how much he did it. I am competitive so I do tend to get fired up on the court haha, next time I will just quick serve him
 
I thought the rules were more clear about this, but unfortunately they do give the receiver some leeway (what is 'a reasonable amount of time?):

21. WHEN TO SERVE AND RECEIVE
The server shall not serve until the receiver is ready. However, the receiver shall play to the reasonable pace of the server and shall be ready to receive within a reasonable time of the server being ready. A receiver who attempts to return the service shall be considered as being ready. If it is demonstrated that the receiver is not ready, the service cannot be called a fault.
I was not sure about the rule either which is why I didnt tell the guy it was against the rules. Cause I had no clue. Although I do feel if an umpire watched they would say something
 
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Deleted member 776614

Guest
Thanks for insight guys.. I just found the whole thing frustrating, and after the fact I kind of laughed to myself because it was silly how much he did it. I am competitive so I do tend to get fired up on the court haha, next time I will just quick serve him

I was not sure about the rule either which is why I didnt tell the guy it was against the rules. Cause I had no clue. Although I do feel if an umpire watched they would say something
I would be frustrated, too. I feel like him getting the ball isn't playing to 'the server's reasonable pace of play.' The rule isn't clear enough to cost anyone points (in my opinion) but it is clear enough to have a conversation about it with him.

In one of Federer's return matches this year, he was talked to by the umpire about going for his towel between points as his opponent claimed it was slowing down pace of play.
 

Purestriker

Semi-Pro
You were not wrong for being frustrated. That sounds annoying. IMO, it’s not cheating unless it’s intentional. I always try to assume the best in people so I would have approached it as if he didn’t know. I would have directly told him to stop doing it as it’s interfering with my 2nd serve. If he argues I’d kindly explain it’s against the rules.

If he keeps doing it then it probably is intentional. That’s when you decide to just tolerate it and never play with him again afterwards or do something about it like serving when he’s gone as if he was ready. If you start claiming the point or even just claiming a first serve for the distraction it might make him think twice about it. Those are the more combative routes.
I agree. Annoying but I don't think it is cheating. Maybe more of a mind game if the opponent realized that it got to you.
 

Moon Shooter

Semi-Pro
I think you should get another first serve if it is as you describe. I think this is the rule:

"30. Delays during service. When the server’s second service motion is interrupted by a ball coming onto the court, the server is entitled to two serves. 40 THE CODETHE CODE 41 When there is a delay between the first and second serves: • The server gets one serve if the server was the cause of the delay; • The server gets two serves if the delay was caused by the receiver or if there was outside interference. The time it takes to clear a ball that comes onto the court between the first and second serves is not considered sufficient time to warrant the server receiving two serves unless this time is so prolonged as to constitute an interruption. The receiver is the judge of whether the delay is sufficiently prolonged to justify giving the server two serves."

So clearly the rule is saying if the ball he is clearing is on the court it is not sufficient time to warrant a second serve unless this time is "so prolonged as to constitute an interruption." But this guy seems to be going way off of you court to get balls and then hitting them back to you.

You said:
"he would always go and get the ball off the court and hit it back to me even when I clearly had a ball in my pocket and I was ready to serve my 2nd serve. I did not mind if he was hitting it back if the ball was in his court but he was getting the ball when it was way off on the other court or against the fence."

So we are not talking about a ball on your court and he is not just clearing the ball in fact he is getting a ball that was already cleared and then hitting it to you. That I believe would constitute an interruption. So I think it would be fair to say you can clear a ball that is on the court but if you hit it back to me I believe you are interrupting my second and will ask that you give me two serves again. He may repeat the last sentence "The receiver is the judge of whether the delay is sufficiently prolonged to justify giving the server two serves." But that seems to be talking about "the delay" of clearing a ball "on your court." It is not referencing him hitting balls at you at all. Let alone ones that are already cleared back at you or balls on other courts.

"The server gets two serves if the delay was caused by the receiver or if there was outside interference." Here his hitting the ball to you and forcing you to clear it on your side of the court is him causing the delay. So I think it would be grounds for you to get a first serve. Tell him he can clear a ball that is on the court or if he thinks it is a danger but not against the fence. But then he just needs to clear it and not hit it back to you because that is clearly an interruption and him forcing a delay for you to clear the ball.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
The rule is clear enough. It is reasonable to serve a second serve once it has been determined the 1st ball is not a danger to anyone. Any sooner than that is "quick serving" and the opponent has every right not to return it. Any slower than that and the receiver is not keeping pace and should be warned.

It is also in the rules that a returner should not return a first serve fault and that includes wandering back to retrieve it and send it back to the server. If a ball needs to be retrieved because its in a potentially dangerous position it should be picked up and pocketed by the player and returned after the point (or placed into a non dangerous spot like against the back fence).
 
I think you should get another first serve if it is as you describe. I think this is the rule:

"30. Delays during service. When the server’s second service motion is interrupted by a ball coming onto the court, the server is entitled to two serves. 40 THE CODETHE CODE 41 When there is a delay between the first and second serves: • The server gets one serve if the server was the cause of the delay; • The server gets two serves if the delay was caused by the receiver or if there was outside interference. The time it takes to clear a ball that comes onto the court between the first and second serves is not considered sufficient time to warrant the server receiving two serves unless this time is so prolonged as to constitute an interruption. The receiver is the judge of whether the delay is sufficiently prolonged to justify giving the server two serves."

So clearly the rule is saying if the ball he is clearing is on the court it is not sufficient time to warrant a second serve unless this time is "so prolonged as to constitute an interruption." But this guy seems to be going way off of you court to get balls and then hitting them back to you.

You said:
"he would always go and get the ball off the court and hit it back to me even when I clearly had a ball in my pocket and I was ready to serve my 2nd serve. I did not mind if he was hitting it back if the ball was in his court but he was getting the ball when it was way off on the other court or against the fence."

So we are not talking about a ball on your court and he is not just clearing the ball in fact he is getting a ball that was already cleared and then hitting it to you. That I believe would constitute an interruption. So I think it would be fair to say you can clear a ball that is on the court but if you hit it back to me I believe you are interrupting my second and will ask that you give me two serves again. He may repeat the last sentence "The receiver is the judge of whether the delay is sufficiently prolonged to justify giving the server two serves." But that seems to be talking about "the delay" of clearing a ball "on your court." It is not referencing him hitting balls at you at all. Let alone ones that are already cleared back at you or balls on other courts.

"The server gets two serves if the delay was caused by the receiver or if there was outside interference." Here his hitting the ball to you and forcing you to clear it on your side of the court is him causing the delay. So I think it would be grounds for you to get a first serve. Tell him he can clear a ball that is on the court or if he thinks it is a danger but not against the fence. But then he just needs to clear it and not hit it back to you because that is clearly an interruption and him forcing a delay for you to clear the ball.
Thanks so much, I will have to tell him next time we play, if we play that is. When he hit the balls back to me I would just let the ball hit the back fence to indicate that what he was doing was unnecessary and he kept doing it the whole match which told me that he was doing it as a form of gamesmanship to make me double fault.
 

mmk

Hall of Fame
The rule is clear enough. It is reasonable to serve a second serve once it has been determined the 1st ball is not a danger to anyone. Any sooner than that is "quick serving" and the opponent has every right not to return it. Any slower than that and the receiver is not keeping pace and should be warned.

It is also in the rules that a returner should not return a first serve fault and that includes wandering back to retrieve it and send it back to the server. If a ball needs to be retrieved because its in a potentially dangerous position it should be picked up and pocketed by the player and returned after the point (or placed into a non dangerous spot like against the back fence).
I haven't had the OP's problem, more along the bolded sentences above. When a fault goes past me I want to make sure that the ball is safe, but a number of guys are ready to serve as soon as the ball has gone past me. When I'm serving and hit a fault (way too often) if the ball isn't against the wall or side curtain, I always check with my opponent to make sure he is okay for me to serve.
 

McLovin

Legend
You guys need to scroll down the Code a little further as this is explicitly called out in item #40:

40. Stalling. Stalling violates the continuous play principle of the ITF Rules of Tennis. A player who encounters a problem with stalling should contact an official. The following actions constitute stalling:​
• Warming up longer than the allotted time​
• Playing at about one-third a player’s normal pace​
• Taking more than 90 seconds on the odd-game changeover or more than 2 minutes on the set break.​
• Taking longer than the time authorized during a rest period​
• Starting a discussion or argument in order to rest​
• Clearing a missed first service that doesn’t need to be cleared
• Excessive bouncing of a ball before any serve​
Stalling is subject to penalty under the Point Penalty System.​
 

Moon Shooter

Semi-Pro
Mclovin good point to bring in the general stalling rule. I think under the section I quoted he could say he gets first serve. Do you agree? I’m not sure he would get another first serve under your section. What do you think?
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
We were playing a volleyball match on Saturday, and the opposing captain, who is an international referee, used his two allowed timeouts and proceeded to ask for a third and later a fourth one knowing damn well that he had no timeouts left.
Some people just cannot help being pathetic. What you do is handle is with graciousness, always.
I thought the rule was that you lost a point if you called for a timeout after you've used yours up?
 

Arak

Hall of Fame
I’m usually very loud on the court and will express my displeasure in a blunt way at the first sign. People rarely repeat any offence.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
The right thing to do is probably politely explain to you opponent that doing what he was doing is against the code.

But that rarely works for me. (Maybe I am not polite enough)? I have better success imitating (and exaggerating) their behavior. See here:

 

socallefty

Legend
OP, don’t play him again and tell everyone you know about how this guy deliberately uses this stalling tactic. Make it difficult for him to get others to play socially against him. It is the only way to treat jerks.
 

ChrisG

Professional
You should ask him to not do it as it is bothering you, so you know if it’s intentional or not. If he keeps repeating it, go to an official or leave the court if it’s social play.
Recently I had to deal with a guy calling foot fault on most of my serves (on a clay court with blurred lines so it was impossible for him to actually know). Official didn’t do his job to actually referee, so he kept doing his thing, even when I was deliberately serving 1yard behind the line. It escalated to the point where he called out all my shots who were near a line. Had to quit in the middle of the 3rd set because I was about to punch him.
Ultimately you can do nothing against a cheater, but sometimes you can live with it if the annoyance is at a bearable level.
 

pabletion

Hall of Fame
Hey guys, I played a set recently and my opponent had an interesting way of cheating. Basically, on my serve, after I would miss a first serve, he would always go and get the ball off the court and hit it back to me even when I clearly had a ball in my pocket and I was ready to serve my 2nd serve. I did not mind if he was hitting it back if the ball was in his court but he was getting the ball when it was way off on the other court or against the fence. I even told him "Hey I have a second ball" and he would still do it. I will not lie it got into my head and I dropped my serve when I was serving for the set, but I recovered and won the set on my next serve. What he was doing was causing a clear and obvious delay between my 1st and 2nd serve and I saw it as a clear way for him to try and get in my head and make me miss. Am I in the wrong for being frustrated? Was what he was doing "cheating"? And what should I do in the future?
Just.... mention it?

"Sorry, whenever you go after the ball and toss it to me, Im falling out of my rhythm, so please dont toss it to me or go after it between my 1st and 2nd serve"


If they do it again after that, claim a 1st serve.
 

Matthew Lee

Professional
I find that people like him need to be told really clearly that they need to stop or else they'll keep doing it. I genuinely have no idea how you kept your mental focus.
 

Moon Shooter

Semi-Pro
Just.... mention it?

"Sorry, whenever you go after the ball and toss it to me, Im falling out of my rhythm, so please dont toss it to me or go after it between my 1st and 2nd serve"


If they do it again after that, claim a 1st serve.

I didn't realize it bothered people and I also didn't know the protocol, so I may have been guilty of something like this in the past. This seems like he knows better but just to make the record clear you may want to talk this through with him in a calm and polite way. I would never do this if I knew better especially in a practice match. In practice matches I always want the best game my opponent can offer and the last thing I want is them to get discouraged and stop playing. I suppose in league play I don't mind if my opponent hits a few more unforced errors than normal, but even there its more important to be known as a good sport than as someone that wins through dubious means and especially not from taking advantage of my opponents good nature.
 

zaskar1

Semi-Pro
Hey guys, I played a set recently and my opponent had an interesting way of cheating. Basically, on my serve, after I would miss a first serve, he would always go and get the ball off the court and hit it back to me even when I clearly had a ball in my pocket and I was ready to serve my 2nd serve. I did not mind if he was hitting it back if the ball was in his court but he was getting the ball when it was way off on the other court or against the fence. I even told him "Hey I have a second ball" and he would still do it. I will not lie it got into my head and I dropped my serve when I was serving for the set, but I recovered and won the set on my next serve. What he was doing was causing a clear and obvious delay between my 1st and 2nd serve and I saw it as a clear way for him to try and get in my head and make me miss. Am I in the wrong for being frustrated? Was what he was doing "cheating"? And what should I do in the future?
shark
sometimes people do things to annoy others without knowing, but in this case i think he was doing it to distract you
sounds like your opponent is exhibiting "gamemanship" which technically is not "cheating", but in my opinion, it is.
if this is competition, i would block it out and try not to be frustrated or call for a referee or umpire to "voice your concerns
about the opponents stalling and attempting to distract you".
pros do it all the time when they take a "medical" timeout to break the opponents momentum.
if its social, mention to him that it bothers you to "stall" and he should speed up play.
z
 
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