How to deal with intentional delay during a match?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Skycat, May 20, 2007.

  1. Skycat

    Skycat Rookie

    May 23, 2005
    OK, here's my story.

    Recently I had a match with this newcomer to my club, and I got so annoyed that he took too much time between the points.
    I just had one set match with him, which I lost because I lost temper:sad: , and during the match he might have re-tied his shoe laces for about 3~4 times and it takes millions years for him to get ready to receive.

    What makes worse is that he even took a walk around the baseline and wasted about 30 seconds between his first and second serve when his first serve called out.

    What does the rule book say on a situation like this, if it does?
    What could I do to speed up the match?
    Should I just keep myself calm and do not lose temper?:confused:

    Any input is appreciated!:-D
  2. Matt_MS

    Matt_MS Rookie

    Apr 30, 2007
    You're allowed 20 seconds between points.

    I've found myself doing this as well, if I have noticed my opponent getting angry about it (in a tournament), because then they get to overhitting, and it keeps going, which is good for me.
  3. Mad iX

    Mad iX Semi-Pro

    Mar 5, 2007
    Australia 3195
    When he's getting ready to serve, keep looking at your watch. Make sure he knows it too. If he takes more than 20-30 seconds then give him a warning.
  4. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

    Apr 29, 2007
    One thing that Brad Gilbert suggests in this situation is as soon as he's done stalling then you can stall on him. The point is you shouldnt have to wait around until he decides he is ready, make him wait until you are ready.

    Maybe you have a shoe that needs tying, maybe both (dont want to trip after all), and those darn strings always need straightning.

    Plus it's fun, after he goes thru all that and he's finally ready to play the point, you can do the same thing to him.

    This isnt really a tennis solution but it's a human behavior solution. Most people act this way because everyone basically lets them. They become the guy that "stalls" when he plays, everyone deals with it so he'll keep doing it. Dont put up with it, and since he's affecting your game, make sure that he might as well have a miserable time as well. (and maybe he'll take the hint to speed it up a bit)

    Also if he's new to the club he may not fully understand the rules. It doesnt hurt to let him know that it's generally rude to stall between points, and when you are serving he is supposed to play at your pace. You might as well try to train him now before all the other club players get to him.
  5. Bodacious DVT

    Bodacious DVT Semi-Pro

    Jan 10, 2007
    when you try to speed up the match, you start to make mistakes. thats his goal.

    I suggest you read Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert. like JavierLW said, you can delay him back and cause him to speed up. you can also call him on a delay if he takes over 25(?) seconds inbetween points and 10 inbetween 1st and 2nd serves.
  6. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

    May 31, 2006
    I agree - this 'solution' is indeed more likely to be effective than any other at a local comp or tournament level when the refs are unlikely to pull out stopwatches!

    You're right - and indeed, that's the reason the world number 2 keeps doing it!
  7. Skycat

    Skycat Rookie

    May 23, 2005
    Thanks a lot for the advice!:-D

    Last time it happened I just didn't know what to do. So I forced myself to play the points in bad situations.
    I'll keep what you guys said in mind and be ready next time.

    And as recommened, I should read "Winning Ugly" sometime soon.:-D
    Thanks again!
  8. Ripper

    Ripper Hall of Fame

    Nov 22, 2005
    "Where Moth & Rust Destroy"
    "How to deal with intentional delay during a match?"

    With violence :mad:
  9. eagle

    eagle Hall of Fame

    Sep 16, 2004
    Kona, Hawaii
    Yep, I normally give them a taste of their own medicine.

    And I make it a point they realize what I'm doing. :)

  10. boojay

    boojay Hall of Fame

    Jul 22, 2006
    The Pillars of Creation
    take a washroom break every 3 points
  11. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2005
    Big Canoe, GA
    If your opponent is slowing down the match when it's his turn to serve, just let him. Don't get mad about it and don't do something to get even. Although there is a time limit, there's really not a lot you can do about it. Just be at the baseline ready to receive. You can joke about how slow he is to yourself, to relieve the tension.

    On the other hand, if he's delaying things on YOUR serve, that's totally different. He should play at your pace, as long as it's reasonable. Basically, when I'm ready to serve I just walk up to the service line, go through my routine (which includes a quick glance to see that my opponent is somewhere in the general vacinity of his service line), then I hit my serve. The exception would be when my opponent takes a long time to get to the service line to receive, and in those cases I sometimes wait at the line dribbling the ball, or I wait back by the fence.
  12. origmarm

    origmarm Hall of Fame

    Apr 25, 2007
    I would mention it if he takes more than about 15-20 seconds, something along the lines of "are you ready?" the first time.
    If he persists, just serve it if he's in about the right place and make him say "I wasn't ready", highlights it.
    If it still carries on, warn him about it straight out
    If he still does it, start doing it back
    Can you tell this used to be a bit of a problem for me with two or three guys at the club :)
  13. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

    May 8, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    I have used the stall the staller plenty of times, and it works. When they start that stalling, by walking around, toweling off, tying shoes, I do it right along with them, like I am stalling too, so they aren't sure if I want to slow down even more than them. The minute I see them start that fiddling around, I take a walk myself, jack around with my shoe, move leaves around, move strings...and then if they are a real jerk about the stalling by overdoing it--- I wait until they are just about to serve, then hold up my hand, and say I am not ready (something in my eye). It's very obvious.

    I don't have to do this often, and it sucks to do it at all. After a bit, if that isn't working, I'll just call him to the net, and tell him he is stalling on purpose, and we speed it up or call it a match. If he has any decency, he will comprimise some.

    See...I repspect my opponent as much as I can, and I expect the same courtesy. It's ok if he is a litte slow sure. But the excessive stuff, you may be able to deal with with a little discussion.

    However, DO NOT let them get you mad, because if you get really mad, they have pulled it off. It's a game...know what is going on here.

    I have had opponents start the 'I am hurt' broken wing business too. Afting listening to them loudy complain point after point when I am on a roll with the forehand winners, I have offered many times to just stop the match, and lets go home. I have never yet had one guy take me up on that one. They want to play, and they want to win. I have said many times, if you want to play, then lets play, if not, lets go home and play when you are not hurt.
  14. 103xStateChamp

    103xStateChamp Rookie

    Apr 4, 2007
    If someone ties a shoe I get really mad if it's on my serve. I serve at my own pace and dont take 20+ secs between points if there not ready too bad I play a fast pace game.
  15. Telley1

    Telley1 New User

    Apr 14, 2007
    I thought it was that the server got to serve at his own pace? Whenever that happens to me, I will either say something like "You finally ready" "Maybe you should get some new laces" or I will stall him right back.
  16. AngeloDS

    AngeloDS Hall of Fame

    Apr 1, 2005
    The hardest thing is to stay focused -- the mind can wander easily in matches. Choose a spot on your racquet, take deep breathes and rub and concentrate on that spot.

    For me, I rub that spot while I wait.
  17. richw76

    richw76 Rookie

    May 10, 2007
    This post was hilarious. It reminded me of this kid in high school. He lost the first set 3-6.... went on a "bathroom break". Dude didn't come back for almost 45 minutes. He actually ended up winning in 3. It can work but I would never do it.
  18. HellBunni

    HellBunni Rookie

    Apr 13, 2006
    if you are serving,
    can't you show them the ball, indicating you are about to serve. then serve.
  19. richw76

    richw76 Rookie

    May 10, 2007
    I believe as long as they are in the general service area you can serve, unless their back is turned. I need to look at the rule book ;-)
  20. Taxvictim

    Taxvictim Semi-Pro

    Mar 20, 2007
    Wake County, NC
    Rule 21: "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."

    USTA Comment 21.2: "Once ready, can the receiver become unready? The receiver cannot become unready unless outside interference occurs." [Remember when Henin held up her hand right when Serena was serving?]

    USTA Comment 21.3: "May the server hit the serve just as the receiver looks up after getting into the ready position? No. The receiver is not ready until the reciever is in the ready position and has a second or two to make eye contact with the server."

    But what about a second serve? Can the receiver become unready again? Let's look at

    USTA Comment 21.7: "What happens when the server observes that the receiver appears to be ready and hits the second serve in, but the receiver makes no attempt to return it? The Server wins the point if the receiver had no reason for not being ready; if the receiver was not ready because of something within the receiver's control (broken string or contact lens problem), then the server gets two serves; and if the receiver was not ready because of some reasonable factor such as clearing the errant first serve or a ball from an adjacent court, then the server gets one serve. If the time to clear the ball from the adjacent court is so prolonged as to constitute an interruption, good sportsmanship requires the receiver to offer the server two serves."
  21. Skycat

    Skycat Rookie

    May 23, 2005
    Thanks for quoting the rule book, Taxvictim!

    As stated in Comment 21.3, the receiver needs to have an eye contact with the server in order for the server to excute a serve, but in my case, the guy would just take as much time as he wanted without looking at me.

    I now think I should learn to control myself first and not lose temper, and pull my version of counters like many others advised in this thread, when the same thing happens next time.

    I think all the things mentioned in this thread really helpe me a lot.:)
  22. ttwarrior1

    ttwarrior1 Professional

    Apr 18, 2005
    this might sound funny, but do exactly what he does to you. Do it back to him and see if he says anything. Have fun with this guy and play different. Do alot of spins and drop shots

Share This Page