In praise of apologizing after hitting the net cord

SouthernCourts

Semi-Pro
Let's get one thing out of the way: Most of us aren't *truly* sorry after we hit the net cord and get a cheap point. Our gut reaction is almost universally elated, especially if it's a big point, and while there may be a select noble few who regret that they won the point with more luck than is normal, these people are few and far between and there should be no pressure to emulate them.

That said, I see a lot of arguments on here that apologizing is stupid, or hypocritical, or unnecessary, and I wanted to voice my disagreement. The fact is that for every secretly happy person after a net cord point, there's one across the way who feels cheated. Maybe they're majorly irked because they have a bad attitude and a victim complex, or maybe it's just a minor sense of "crap, that's unlucky." In any case, it's a feeling of injustice, and it's not unjustified—if the ball had gone into the net, they would have won the point, and if it had gone clean over the net, the outcome is unknown. They only lost because of what amounts to a fortunate error on the part of their opponent...it's really no different than framing a winner.

For that reason, I like the apology for the way it at least acknowledges the situation. It doesn't take anything more than a raised hand, and it tells your opponent, "I get it." We could even take the word "sorry" out of the equation, and think of it more as a small piece of shared understanding that nips some bad feelings before they can grow.

Tennis can be ultra competitive even on the lower levels, and it's a very personal game not just because you win or lose on your own (in singles), but because your opponent is trying to pick you apart, exploit your weaknesses, and reduce you to jelly just in the run of the match. There's plenty of tension and disappointment to go around, and in situations where luck inserts its ugly head into the proceedings, a small gesture to mitigate some of that negativity is the sign, in my opinion, of a good sport and a true mensch. I'll always raise a hand or a racket on a net cord, a frame winner, or even a relatively lucky point, like if I stick out my racket on a smash and accidentally hit a perfect lob to the baseline. This may make me sound pompous or old-school, but at its best tennis has an almost unconscious integrity that I like, and I think the net cord apology is in the spirit of the ideal game.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
acknowledges the situation
The reality is that it's never an apology, it's an acknowledgement of good fortune travelling your way. If you were truly sorry, you're offer to replay the point.

I raise my hand for net cords, outside edge of line shots, and frame winners. I'm neither elated or apologetic in those instances but relieved I got some good fortune and acknowledge to my opponent I was lucky. It's nothing more than that but it does make the opponent feel better if you let him know you realize you got away with one.
 

ncgator

Rookie
The reality is that it's never an apology, it's an acknowledgement of good fortune travelling your way. If you were truly sorry, you're offer to replay the point.

I raise my hand for net cords, outside edge of line shots, and frame winners. I'm neither elated or apologetic in those instances but relieved I got some good fortune and acknowledge to my opponent I was lucky. It's nothing more than that but it does make the opponent feel better if you let him know you realize you got away with one.
Does your opponent raise their hand or apologize for your net shots that clip the top of the net and fall back on your side? It’s part of the game, you win some and you lose some, and neither warrants an apology.
 

mucat

Hall of Fame
I never care for apology for net cords either by me or opponent.
It is a perfect shot with a combination of luck and skill (like any other shots), what there to apologize?
 

winchestervatennis

Hall of Fame
The reality is that it's never an apology, it's an acknowledgement of good fortune travelling your way. If you were truly sorry, you're offer to replay the point.

I raise my hand for net cords, outside edge of line shots, and frame winners. I'm neither elated or apologetic in those instances but relieved I got some good fortune and acknowledge to my opponent I was lucky. It's nothing more than that but it does make the opponent feel better if you let him know you realize you got away with one.
Do you raise your hand to acknowledge your opponent’s unforced error?
 
I am in no way elated when I win a point on a net cord. I will always put my hand up, not so much as an apology as much as it is just an acknowledgment that I didn't earn that point. Definitely don't get butt hurt or anything if my opponent doesn't do it, but there's a 1:1 correlation with gaping assholes and people who don't put a hand up on a net cord, so that's usually the least of my worries with them.
 

Rosstour

Hall of Fame
The funny bit is that by the time the winner of the net-cord point raises the hand, the other guy is usually looking away and asking for the towel already. It's just a courtesy IMO but I don't see an issue with it.

When it happens with my main hitting partner there is no apology. I might say "You lucky motherf***er" or one of us will laugh, as he wins 90% of the net-cord points in our matches.
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
I always view the apology as an acknowledgement that I "got lucky" and "didn't deserve to win the point as a result of that shot" (maybe I ultimatedly did deserve to win the point and would have, but didn't need the net cord to do it, or maybe I got sh*t lucky all around). The net cord though does go both ways often, so it's kind of just a "fact of life" - as others have said - sometimes it's in your favor, sometimes it's in theirs.

What I'd rather see in terms of acknowledgements is the little hand raise for the shanked ball that comes over in a totally nonsensical way after popping up off the frame of my opponent's racquet, barely clears the net, and then proceeds to bounce in a totally random direction because it a) had no other pace, b) went a different direction than they were swinging, and c) has 2394098 RPMs on it (in that random spin direction). I'd like an acknowledgement that this was a happy accident and a "lucky" shot instead of the "I totally meant to do that garbage" look... When I hit such a shot, I do acknowledge it verbally with something like "Jeez, what a garbage shot I hit there, sorry about that!" or "Well that was dumb luck!"

I realize that everyone hits these shots unintentionally all the time, so it's just the way it goes - and I wouldn't be too upset if there were never any apologies either - I just figure that as long as we're being honest...
 

speedysteve

Legend
We all apologize / raise hand in traditional tennis.

Playing fast four rules singles club sessions every week we've kind of evolved in a joking rejoice / do a mock celebration instead! Especially on a serve netcord ace (there are no netcord re-serve in fast four tennis).
This is a group of people who know each other well and play every week.
Might be different and more formal with stranger opponents.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

tennytive

Professional
The worst is hitting a great approach, getting to the net for an easy put away only to have the ball hit the tape and pop over your racket for a "passing" shot.
In ping pong we say we're sorry… that we can't do it every time.
 

SavvyStringer

Professional
Let's get one thing out of the way: Most of us aren't *truly* sorry after we hit the net cord and get a cheap point. Our gut reaction is almost universally elated, especially if it's a big point, and while there may be a select noble few who regret that they won the point with more luck than is normal, these people are few and far between and there should be no pressure to emulate them.

That said, I see a lot of arguments on here that apologizing is stupid, or hypocritical, or unnecessary, and I wanted to voice my disagreement. The fact is that for every secretly happy person after a net cord point, there's one across the way who feels cheated. Maybe they're majorly irked because they have a bad attitude and a victim complex, or maybe it's just a minor sense of "crap, that's unlucky." In any case, it's a feeling of injustice, and it's not unjustified—if the ball had gone into the net, they would have won the point, and if it had gone clean over the net, the outcome is unknown. They only lost because of what amounts to a fortunate error on the part of their opponent...it's really no different than framing a winner.

For that reason, I like the apology for the way it at least acknowledges the situation. It doesn't take anything more than a raised hand, and it tells your opponent, "I get it." We could even take the word "sorry" out of the equation, and think of it more as a small piece of shared understanding that nips some bad feelings before they can grow.

Tennis can be ultra competitive even on the lower levels, and it's a very personal game not just because you win or lose on your own (in singles), but because your opponent is trying to pick you apart, exploit your weaknesses, and reduce you to jelly just in the run of the match. There's plenty of tension and disappointment to go around, and in situations where luck inserts its ugly head into the proceedings, a small gesture to mitigate some of that negativity is the sign, in my opinion, of a good sport and a true mensch. I'll always raise a hand or a racket on a net cord, a frame winner, or even a relatively lucky point, like if I stick out my racket on a smash and accidentally hit a perfect lob to the baseline. This may make me sound pompous or old-school, but at its best tennis has an almost unconscious integrity that I like, and I think the net cord apology is in the spirit of the ideal game.
If it's a tight match I'll apologize but don't really mean it. If it's one of those days where everything is going my way and I'm absolutely blasting my opponent, I'll apologize and mean it.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Do you raise your hand to acknowledge your opponent’s unforced error?
I rarely raise my hand. I do thank them for letting me off the hook.

Does your opponent raise their hand or apologize for your net shots that clip the top of the net and fall back on your side? It’s part of the game, you win some and you lose some, and neither warrants an apology.
It's not an apology. It's an acknowledgment of good luck. And some have indicated to me it was bad luck when the net cord goes the wrong way. Unless it's my wife, in which case she cackles at me mercilessly and kisses the net cord.
 

Mr.Lob

Legend
It's a stupid tradition with its roots in the earlier kinder gentler years of tennis. When tennis was a gentleman's game. Now, in the days of racquet smashing, foul language, time delays, take MTO's, tantrums, threats of physical harm to opponents and linespeople... it serves no purpose. It s hypocritical false dawn to how the game is actually played. Thank you.... and have a good day.:alien:
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
Again, I don't think it's about being "sincere" with regret that you got a lucky break - I think it's acknowledging that you got lucky, period. Nobody expects you to be remorseful that you got lucky. I don't expect my opponents to be remorseful if they get lucky - I do think it's a cordial way to acknowledge it though.

I probably do go overboard apologizing for other things though... for example, if I volley a ball that accidentally hits someone (even their feet/legs) or is even very close to hitting them, I'll apologize - mostly I do this in mixed though if I volley it too close to the woman - but that's because I don't want to be "that guy" that ties to intimidate women physically. Meanwhile if there's a guy who has been kind of a d**che - questioning calls made in good faith or other clear busher tactics, no apology will be forthcoming when I hit it at them. I prefer this absence of an apology for the very pointed message it sends.

Comparative anecdote: in my younger days of being a baseball pitcher, after about age 13 or so, it was EXCEEDINGLY rare for me to accidentally hit a batter (I can only recall it happening twice). However, I hated bunters - even the college fields I played on were often kind of poorly groomed, so a bunt not only had the potential effect of surprise and all the usual things, it often had the issue of fielders (the pitcher included) running through potential mine fields of sh*tty field conditions to get to the ball. Lots of pitcher's mounds had terrible potholes from lack of proper groundskeeping, making them difficult to get down off of in the event that I had to field a ball. Often the infield around home plate was chewed up, or the grass was extremely shaggy to slow balls down and/or snag cleats and so forth... Meanwhile, I am a lefty and I had a darn good pickoff move to first, so I wasn't afraid to put you on base if there was nobody else on. I had a fair to middling chance to pick you off if you ventured off the bag, and there was also the possibility of a double play, so I wasn't afraid to hit a batter to make a point. If you squared around to bunt on me I was throwing it right at the center of your chest - and I wasn't apologizing when I hit you.
 
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TagUrIt

Professional
I started a thread similar to this a while back and kind of the same answers from everyone. Some people could careless, some people are apologetic, and others well...

I’ve been on both sides of the netcord (as we all have) being kind and equally brutal. I always raise a hand to acknowledge I got lucky, I’ll even do that on a mid-hit winner. I think it’s just good sportsmanship.
 

WhiteOut

Rookie
last night's opponent had a big, flat, accurate blast of a first-serve, and was generally consistent enough to either go for the same serve on 2nd, or roll in a high-bouncing kicker out wide. i noticed on the 2nd serve kicker, he would s/v (i was returning deuce), so my play was to loop a forehand at a sharp angle, to either pass him wide, or drop right about the service line so he had to pick it up off his feet as he came in. this generally worked pretty well and i got him about 2-3 times.

on about the fourth time he tried this, i absolutely framed my return...the kind of shank you can hear three courts away...pure trash...and it wound up basically travelling as a perfect top-spin lob right over his head, and as he watched it trail over his head and into the corner, i heard him say 'are you kidding me'?! nevertheless, he said nice shot...i said BS, that was pure trash! sorry man! and all we could do was just stand there and laugh...

to me that's one of the things that make this game so interesting...it's a soul-crusher...what are you gonna do? laughing is better than crying...and the beer is still cold...
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
last night's opponent had a big, flat, accurate blast of a first-serve, and was generally consistent enough to either go for the same serve on 2nd, or roll in a high-bouncing kicker out wide. i noticed on the 2nd serve kicker, he would s/v (i was returning deuce), so my play was to loop a forehand at a sharp angle, to either pass him wide, or drop right about the service line so he had to pick it up off his feet as he came in. this generally worked pretty well and i got him about 2-3 times.

on about the fourth time he tried this, i absolutely framed my return...the kind of shank you can hear three courts away...pure trash...and it wound up basically travelling as a perfect top-spin lob right over his head, and as he watched it trail over his head and into the corner, i heard him say 'are you kidding me'?! nevertheless, he said nice shot...i said BS, that was pure trash! sorry man! and all we could do was just stand there and laugh...

to me that's one of the things that make this game so interesting...it's a soul-crusher...what are you gonna do? laughing is better than crying...and the beer is still cold...
The I hit those I just look at my opponent and say, "Just the right amount of frame on that one"
 
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