Match approach against serial conscious determined foot faulter

FedGR

Semi-Pro
Hello all, I promise this is not another foot fault thread (or it might be exactly that :-D).

I was recently bumped up a level at the indoor winter league at my indoor club. It is unofficially named "4.5 and up" as most players either play or have played USTA 4.5 or 5.0, are past college players, some teaching pros, etc. The reason why I am mentioning this is because you won't see there any 20 year old college player hitting bombs left and right but also you won't see any hacks, cheats or players of lower level there. Everybody understands the game and it's rules. (Sorry if that sounds pretentious and elitist, it really isn't :):))

So, next week I am playing this one guy that I have played before and lost to. Very solid player and nice guy to talk to but tends to foot fault always. Well yeah...so? Everybody does. The problem is that not only the guy foot faults every single serve but he also does it by a lot as typically his whole foot is in the court when he makes contact with the ball. If he was stepping on the white line or even just a little bit inside I wouldn't really care but he is always probably a whole shoe length in the court.

I've told him of the foot-faulting before and I know that other players have as well but I saw him the other day serving and I was shocked. He obviously does it on purpose.I don't know if other players don't care or don't notice but that **** ain't gonna fly with me! :D:D He might be fun to talk to but a match is a match and I am not willing to give him that advantage in every single serve of his. Plus that ends up being another disadvantage on me as I end up focusing on his foot and not the ball!!

So... what is fair, logical and according to the rules that I can do? I believe foot fault is lost point on the server but maybe that is too much for recreational tennis? I don't want to be a δick to him but also don't want to be cheated on and not do anything about it!

Sorry for the long post, any ideas welcome....
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
Technically, per standard USTA rules, you can't call anything other than an obvious/flagrant foot fault and may only do it after notifying the player/warning them that they are doing it. After the warning, it is fair game to call it and it isn't loss of point, but just a fault of that serve. You are also to seek out an official to call it first, but I'm guessing that may not be an option in this case.

Things to consider are:

A) What is or isn't obvious/flagrant? It sounds like you are pretty sure it is in this case.
B) Is your game/returns going to be hampered by focusing on watching his feet to determine if his foot fault is obvious/flagrant?
C) While you are technically correct in following the rules and calling it, is it worth it to be "that guy"?


Here is the text from Friend at Court:

Calling foot faults. The receiver or the receiver’s partner may call foot faults
only after all reasonable efforts, such as warning the server and attempting to get an
official to the court, have failed and the foot fault is so flagrant as to be clearly
perceptible from the receiver’s side.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
I've never lost to someone because they foot faulted. I just razz them about it but I never call them on it. I figure enough shaming will get them to address it.
 

tennisisgood

New User
  1. Secretly video him
  2. Create a new email account
  3. Send video to him with the note:
Dear X,
A video for you from the club. We have noticed something in the video. It may be tempting to respond with "why don't you just say this to my face like a man?!". That is because we have observed that this has a 3-6% success rate.
A suggestion in remedying this affliction: video yourself until you have fixed it.
Best wishes (from behind the baseline),
Some Members

This shows him the error, let's him know that others are aware and watching, and offers a solution.
 

tennisisgood

New User
Additionally,
@schmke "If no official is available, the player may call flagrant foot faults."
But this is from a previous version of The Code and isn't in the recent edition (ex here and can be found elsewhere). It seems that the rule has changed to what you posted above.

I thought that The Code existed for non-officiated matches. Does anyone know if that is true?
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
Additionally,
@schmke "If no official is available, the player may call flagrant foot faults."
But this is from a previous version of The Code and isn't in the recent edition (ex here and can be found elsewhere). It seems that the rule has changed to what you posted above.

I thought that The Code existed for non-officiated matches. Does anyone know if that is true?
Ummm, the quote I posted was pulled directly from the 2019 Friend at Court (https://www.usta.com/content/dam/usta/officiating/2019 Friend at Court.pdf, page 39 #24), I don't think it is dated.
 

tennisisgood

New User

JW10S

Hall of Fame
I related this story in another thread, but back when I was in college and playing a doubles match in a big tournament (this was years ago when having umpires on every court was very rare, even in big NCAA events) played at a big complex. We were on the farthest court from the tournament desk and one of our opponents was obviously foot-faulting. After the 1st 2 points my partner pointed out that the guy was foot-faulting and that the TD was far away and walking there to get an official would delay the match. The guy continued to foot-fault the rest of the game. So then when my partner was to serve the next game he took the balls and started walking toward the net, when he was a few feet away from it he slammed the ball into the court and said '15-love!' The opponents asked 'what was that?' My partner said 'If you're going to foot-fault so am I'. The opponents were a little stunned but moved on to the next point and on the next point when my partner started walking to net again the opponent who was foot-faulting raised his hands and said 'OK, OK, I get it. You made your point.' From then on when he served he stood well behind the line and did not foot-fault for the rest of match. We ended up having a really good, competitive and fun match.

Players who foot-fault do it because they know they will get away with it--no one has the nerve to do anything about it so they continue to do it. If you don't do anything to stop them from foot-faulting you have no business complaining about it either as you are part of the problem.
 
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sredna42

Hall of Fame
I don't even understand how it could happen.

In platform, one's feet are both obviously grounded and not moving. In pinpoint, the front foot is grounded and you're just stepping the rear foot up to it to load and drive.

How does that front foot move into the court unless you're a cheat, or epileptic?
 

Adam233789

New User
I've seen this before, and I realized something. If the player who is foot faulting does not serve and volley, then the foot fault is no advantage to that player, even if it is technically against the rules. Therefore, I have learned to ignore it completely.

In fact, when I am playing someone who foot faults, and does not serve and volley, I use it against them. How? Well, when I hit my returns, I try to make the ball land deep by their feet because they end up in "no-man's-land" after the serve. I have been very successful using this tactic, and I don't worry about being "cheated." The way I see it, is that the player is cheating himself.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
Yours was up to date and correct.
I was noting that in a previous version of the code it explicitly states that one can call a flagrant foot fault without an umpire. But in the new version of the code this is not mentioned which makes me wonder if one can still do this.
Ahhh, got it. But the current language implies the same thing even if it doesn't use the old language. Here it is again (emphasis mine):

Calling foot faults. The receiver or the receiver’s partner may call foot faults
only after all reasonable efforts, such as warning the server and attempting to get an
official to the court, have failed and the foot fault is so flagrant as to be clearly
perceptible from the receiver’s side.

The part after what I bolded just states the conditions under which they can do it, so yes, it can still be done.
 

ShaunS

Semi-Pro
I don't even understand how it could happen.

In platform, one's feet are both obviously grounded and not moving. In pinpoint, the front foot is grounded and you're just stepping the rear foot up to it to load and drive.

How does that front foot move into the court unless you're a cheat, or epileptic?
They don't have a proper base, so their feet are moving in odd ways. I've seen guys "chase" a toss too, sliding forward to hit the ball. I figure if you're going to go after a toss that bad, I'm thrilled to see the awful serve that's coming.
 

kylebarendrick

Professional
A lot of people start with their front foot sideways, about a millimeter from the line. During their motion they rotate their foot (probably don't realize it) and cover the line.
 

yonexRx32

Semi-Pro
Hello all, I promise this is not another foot fault thread (or it might be exactly that :-D).

I was recently bumped up a level at the indoor winter league at my indoor club. It is unofficially named "4.5 and up" as most players either play or have played USTA 4.5 or 5.0, are past college players, some teaching pros, etc. The reason why I am mentioning this is because you won't see there any 20 year old college player hitting bombs left and right but also you won't see any hacks, cheats or players of lower level there. Everybody understands the game and it's rules. (Sorry if that sounds pretentious and elitist, it really isn't :):))

So, next week I am playing this one guy that I have played before and lost to. Very solid player and nice guy to talk to but tends to foot fault always. Well yeah...so? Everybody does. The problem is that not only the guy foot faults every single serve but he also does it by a lot as typically his whole foot is in the court when he makes contact with the ball. If he was stepping on the white line or even just a little bit inside I wouldn't really care but he is always probably a whole shoe length in the court.

I've told him of the foot-faulting before and I know that other players have as well but I saw him the other day serving and I was shocked. He obviously does it on purpose.I don't know if other players don't care or don't notice but that **** ain't gonna fly with me! :D:D He might be fun to talk to but a match is a match and I am not willing to give him that advantage in every single serve of his. Plus that ends up being another disadvantage on me as I end up focusing on his foot and not the ball!!

So... what is fair, logical and according to the rules that I can do? I believe foot fault is lost point on the server but maybe that is too much for recreational tennis? I don't want to be a δick to him but also don't want to be cheated on and not do anything about it!

Sorry for the long post, any ideas welcome....

Why do you play against the guy? Do you stand to earn money, prestige, ranking? Or do you play him because he's a nice enough person? If the latter, just forget about it. I used to play with a guy who took a big step in the court to serve. That was the only way he could serve and the only way he was able to participate. It bothered me at first, then I asked myself the former question and completely ignored the issue thereon.
 

FedGR

Semi-Pro
Technically, per standard USTA rules, you can't call anything other than an obvious/flagrant foot fault and may only do it after notifying the player/warning them that they are doing it. After the warning, it is fair game to call it and it isn't loss of point, but just a fault of that serve. You are also to seek out an official to call it first, but I'm guessing that may not be an option in this case.

Things to consider are:

A) What is or isn't obvious/flagrant? It sounds like you are pretty sure it is in this case.
B) Is your game/returns going to be hampered by focusing on watching his feet to determine if his foot fault is obvious/flagrant?
C) While you are technically correct in following the rules and calling it, is it worth it to be "that guy"?


Here is the text from Friend at Court:

Calling foot faults. The receiver or the receiver’s partner may call foot faults
only after all reasonable efforts, such as warning the server and attempting to get an
official to the court, have failed and the foot fault is so flagrant as to be clearly
perceptible from the receiver’s side.
A) It is very obvious, I know for a fact that other people have complained about it.
B) Definitely.
C) That's what I am trying to figure out! :-D :-D

I feel realistically best course of action is to tell him 2 times and if he keeps foot faulting I'll start calling them!
 

FedGR

Semi-Pro
I've never lost to someone because they foot faulted. I just razz them about it but I never call them on it. I figure enough shaming will get them to address it.
I would imagine so as well but nope!

Yup.

Or make sure you mention how you didn't think it was possible to dump a serve in the net when you start a foot in the court. Keep mentioning it in various iterations each time he clips the tape or double faults.
:laughing::laughing::laughing: hahahah that's a good one. I might as well do that!

That actually wouldn't work for me because it might throw off my rhythm and make my serve worse. My solution would be if he steps a foot inside the court, then any serve within a foot of the line is out.
Or any of his shots in general! :D

I did this once against a flagrant foot faulter who served and volleyed....I tossed the ball up, way into the court, ran up to the service line and spiked the ball into the service box. Message sent.
And it worked right away? Was their foot faulting on purpose?


  1. Secretly video him
  2. Create a new email account
  3. Send video to him with the note:
Dear X,
A video for you from the club. We have noticed something in the video. It may be tempting to respond with "why don't you just say this to my face like a man?!". That is because we have observed that this has a 3-6% success rate.
A suggestion in remedying this affliction: video yourself until you have fixed it.
Best wishes (from behind the baseline),
Some Members

This shows him the error, let's him know that others are aware and watching, and offers a solution.
I think that's a very civilized approach yet I am not sure it would work. He already knows he does it and he is not really willing to change.
 

FedGR

Semi-Pro
I related this story in another thread, but back when I was in college and playing a doubles match in a big tournament (this was years ago when having umpires on every court was very rare, even in big NCAA events) played at a big complex. We were on the farthest court from the tournament desk and one of our opponents was obviously foot-faulting. After the 1st 2 points my partner pointed out that the guy was foot-faulting and that the TD was far away and walking there to get an official would delay the match. The guy continued to foot-fault the rest of the game. So then when my partner was to serve the next game he took the balls and started walking toward the net, when he was a few feet away from it he slammed the ball into the court and said '15-love!' The opponents asked 'what was that?' My partner said 'If you're going to foot-fault so am I'. The opponents were a little stunned but moved on to the next point and on the next point when my partner started walking to net again the opponent who was foot-faulting raised his hands and said 'OK, OK, I get it. You made your point.' From then on when he served he stood well behind the line and did not foot-fault for the rest of match. We ended up having a really good, competitive and fun match.

Players who foot-fault do it because they know they will get away with it--no one has the nerve to do anything about it so they continue to do it. If you don't do anything to stop them from foot-faulting you have no business complaining about it either as you are part of the problem.
I agree with your statement 100%. I never cheat (not serena style) so I don't want to be cheated.

I don't even understand how it could happen.

In platform, one's feet are both obviously grounded and not moving. In pinpoint, the front foot is grounded and you're just stepping the rear foot up to it to load and drive.

How does that front foot move into the court unless you're a cheat, or epileptic?
Starts with his left foot right behind the line, throws the ball too far in front of him and walks towards it. Since he rotates, his right foot is all the way in and his left foot about half way in. I think his serve is self taught.

I've seen this before, and I realized something. If the player who is foot faulting does not serve and volley, then the foot fault is no advantage to that player, even if it is technically against the rules. Therefore, I have learned to ignore it completely.

In fact, when I am playing someone who foot faults, and does not serve and volley, I use it against them. How? Well, when I hit my returns, I try to make the ball land deep by their feet because they end up in "no-man's-land" after the serve. I have been very successful using this tactic, and I don't worry about being "cheated." The way I see it, is that the player is cheating himself.
So you give your opponent an advantage and hope that you will make it even by hitting an amazing return to their feet? What if the guy is a 6ft5 giant that hits flat 120mph body serves to you and that limits your ability to make good returns? While I see your point, I think what you are doing is risky business! And yes I agree, if you put it into perspective, he is the players that is cheating on himself. (and me)

A lot of people start with their front foot sideways, about a millimeter from the line. During their motion they rotate their foot (probably don't realize it) and cover the line.
That's not the case here! Guy really comes in the court when making contact with the ball.

Why do you play against the guy? Do you stand to earn money, prestige, ranking? Or do you play him because he's a nice enough person? If the latter, just forget about it. I used to play with a guy who took a big step in the court to serve. That was the only way he could serve and the only way he was able to participate. It bothered me at first, then I asked myself the former question and completely ignored the issue thereon.
He is one of the 14 people in this league so I need to play him. It will probably be 2-3 times by the time the league is over in May. So it's not like I call the guy to hit outside the league, it's competitive. I have also lost to him before but now I think I am able to beat him so I don't intend to make his life any easier.

No money are awarded. It is mostly bragging rights as winner of this league is considered No1 in the club. There are league rankings that are updated weekly on a display in the club so obviously there is prestige attached to that. You also get a trophy that you can put in your living room and brag to your friends! :-D:-D
 

yonexRx32

Semi-Pro
Approach the guy before the match and ask him how he thinks foot faults should be handled in the league. Discuss it with him in front of another member of the league. If he thinks they should not be called, take a step inside the court on each of your serves. Most people don't know they are doing it, others do it even when trying not to do it.
 

Chelsie1

Rookie
Approach the guy before the match and ask him how he thinks foot faults should be handled in the league. Discuss it with him in front of another member of the league. If he thinks they should not be called, take a step inside the court on each of your serves. Most people don't know they are doing it, others do it even when trying not to do it.
Very diplomatic!
 
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