Returner going to the back fence and delaying after I caught the toss

EddieBrock

Professional
During my doubles match my toss was really shaky and I had to catch a fair number of tosses. Obviously I wish I didn't have to do this and can understand how this can be annoying for the opponent, but in my last match after a bad toss the returner started turning around and walking to back fence and just standing there with his arms against it for like 10 seconds and then coming back every time I'd catch a toss. Aren't you supposed to play at the server's pace? He also did this with my doubles partner who didn't have that many bad tosses.

It didn't bother me that much since it gave me a chance to catch my breath and try and loosen up, but I was curious if what he was doing is legal.
 

Cloister

Rookie
Sounds perhaps a little excessive, but he’s entitled to enough time to fully reset to receive after a caught toss. Played enough people who would immediately re-toss that forcing a slowdown becomes necessary.
 
Excessive, but he was sending a message of his annoyance...practice that toss, noodle arm, palm up, shoulder to the chin, ball on tips of fingers, pinky finger fully engaged at end of the kinetic chain, spot the ball.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Excessive, but he was sending a message of his annoyance...practice that toss, noodle arm, palm up, shoulder to the chin, ball on tips of fingers, pinky finger fully engaged at end of the kinetic chain, spot the ball.
Seems like a patient opponent after about 5 I'd just walk off the court and leave you there to practice your toss until you were ready to actually play in a competitive setting
LOL ... obviously you two don't play much in windy conditions. Yes, practice ones' toss but with gusty winds no practice in the world will overcome what the wind will do to it!
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
If you cannot simply toss a ball in the air a few feet in a consistent manner, then you need to get off the court and go practice. Sure, an odd bad toss here and there is no big deal, but numerous times is excessive and unnecessary. Your opponents are not there to help you practice. If you need practice, book a court on your own time or hire a teaching pro for a lesson.

IMO, a bad toss that you don’t hit or that you catch or whatever, should count as a fault. There have been rules proposed on this but never passed. The toss is part of the service motion. At the very least, there should be a serve clock.
 

Ronaldo

Talk Tennis Guru
Prepare to toss the ball, then don't let it go. Look up to see what the returner is doing. Drives them batty.
 
My opponent being unable to toss the ball for a serve......wouldn't cause me any problems. I would not lose focus and I certainly wouldn't walk off the court, lol, I'm not James Bond or something with so much going on in my life I can't survive a few re-tosses. lol, that's too funny, walk off the court.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
LOL ... obviously you two don't play much in windy conditions. Yes, practice ones' toss but with gusty winds no practice in the world will overcome what the wind will do to it!
I grew up playing tennis in a very windy place. Still hit every toss. Just learned to toss lower. People need to quit throwing the ball 12 feet in the air so they aren't so affected by elements.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I grew up playing tennis in a very windy place. Still hit every toss. Just learned to toss lower. People need to quit throwing the ball 12 feet in the air so they aren't so affected by elements.
Here I disagree. And I almost always agree with you.
I need to catch a bad toss perhaps once in a singles match, but usually never. My toss is dialed. It is not 12' in the air.
On terribly gusty days ... I am not going to chase a toss and serve poorly. Ridiculous.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Here I disagree. And I almost always agree with you.
I need to catch a bad toss perhaps once in a singles match, but usually never. My toss is dialed. It is not 12' in the air.
On terribly gusty days ... I am not going to chase a toss and serve poorly. Ridiculous.
How many of those tosses at what intervals is the issue. Doing it frequently is cheating.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
How many of those tosses at what intervals is the issue. Doing it frequently is cheating.
On a normal day like I said, perhaps 1 in an entire singles match.
On a day with gusts 30-50 mph ... It is going to happen at least once per service game.

I do not think the rules state anything about "frequent toss catching" as a form of cheating. Therefore not cheating. Uncool, and under regular weather conditions it should happen rarely ... but not cheating.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
On a normal day like I said, perhaps 1 in an entire singles match.
On a day with gusts 30-50 mph ... It is going to happen at least once per service game.

I do not think the rules state anything about "frequent toss catching" as a form of cheating. Therefore not cheating. Uncool, and under regular weather conditions it should happen rarely ... but not cheating.
Once per service game is too much.
 

Ronaldo

Talk Tennis Guru
On a normal day like I said, perhaps 1 in an entire singles match.
On a day with gusts 30-50 mph ... It is going to happen at least once per service game.

I do not think the rules state anything about "frequent toss catching" as a form of cheating. Therefore not cheating. Uncool, and under regular weather conditions it should happen rarely ... but not cheating.
If I truly had this problem, I would retire!
 

CosmosMpower

Hall of Fame
LOL ... obviously you two don't play much in windy conditions. Yes, practice ones' toss but with gusty winds no practice in the world will overcome what the wind will do to it!
LOL I live in TX it's 30 mph wind right now, I can still toss the ball well enough to hit a serve without catching it over and over.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
LOL I live in TX it's 30 mph wind right now, I can still toss the ball well enough to hit a serve without catching it over and over.
That's because you are from Texas and therefore a sandbagger.
Straight winds yeah... I am good ... giant gusts, I struggle.
 

Cashman

Professional
I have no issues with someone who catches the odd toss, especially when it’s windy, but I expect someone to be hitting their first toss the majority of the time even in gusty conditions.

I frequently play by a beach that is subject to strong southerly winds, and it is not that difficult. You wait for any unpredictable gusts to pass, then toss low and slightly wide to compensate for the prevailing breeze.

Of course, your serve still suffers - but that is just how it is in those conditions. We are all in the same boat and need to keep the game moving.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I either catch a lot of tosses or catch no tosses. I am inconsistent regarding inconsistent tosses.

Sorry not sorry if it bothers you. Maybe work on your mental strength so it doesn't bother you so much?

Cindy -- being provocative because she is bored today
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
I either catch a lot of tosses or catch no tosses. I am inconsistent regarding inconsistent tosses.

Sorry not sorry if it bothers you. Maybe work on your mental strength so it doesn't bother you so much?

Cindy -- being provocative because she is bored today
It’s not about it bothering the opponent. It’s about cheating and gamesmanship.
 

Cashman

Professional
It’s not even about gamesmanship. It’s about general politeness.

There is a reason Pat Rafter apologised every time he caught his toss - it’s bloody annoying for the other player to get set for the start, then have their opponent baulk them.
 

Ronaldo

Talk Tennis Guru
It’s not even about gamesmanship. It’s about general politeness.

There is a reason Pat Rafter apologised every time he caught his toss - it’s bloody annoying for the other player to get set for the start, then have their opponent baulk them.
Balk, nice
 

EddieBrock

Professional
It’s not even about gamesmanship. It’s about general politeness.

There is a reason Pat Rafter apologised every time he caught his toss - it’s bloody annoying for the other player to get set for the start, then have their opponent baulk them.
Could the opponent have walked to the back fence every time Rafter caught his toss?
 

Cashman

Professional
Could the opponent have walked to the back fence every time Rafter caught his toss?
Rafter was known for having an erratic toss, but even so he didn’t do it THAT often.

You haven’t really said how often you were catching your toss. If it’s once every few games, no big deal.

If every time I’m setting up to receive there’s like a decent chance you’re not going to hit it - that’s pretty frustrating. It’s like being a sprinter and having to deal with multiple false starts.
 

Max G.

Legend
Hah, yeah, I'm definitely in that state. Right now I probably end up catching my toss every few points. It goes in streaks, too - sometimes I end up catching multiple tosses in a serve.

I definitely feel bad about it, and I'd definitely rather not - inconsistent tosses definitely make my serve way less consistent, and I'm working on it.

Definitely still not going to hit bad tosses, though.
 

TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
I would ask are you taking more than 20 seconds to serve the ball? If so, you're in the wrong and it's a time violation. If you're serving within the allotted time, it's annoying but not illegal what you're doing. It throws of the pace of the game when someone can't toss and serve the ball. It shows a lack of skill and confidence, but it's certainly not against the rules. As far as your opponent waiting at the back fence, yeah that was a clear sign of annoyance and frustration. Annoyed or not, your opponent is not allowed to disrupt your service routine no matter how flawed it might be. What he could have done was count to 20 and see if you were in violation and then called fault. Going to the back of the fence and waiting was actually unsportsmanlike.

I played against a guy one time and no kidding he bounced the ball 15-20 times. Initially I was in my ready position and then I started to just wait until he got to bounce 10-14 before I got down in my ready position. Yeah it was annoying, but it wasn't against the rules because he would serve before the 20 seconds was up.
 

chic

Semi-Pro
During my doubles match my toss was really shaky and I had to catch a fair number of tosses. Obviously I wish I didn't have to do this and can understand how this can be annoying for the opponent, but in my last match after a bad toss the returner started turning around and walking to back fence and just standing there with his arms against it for like 10 seconds and then coming back every time I'd catch a toss. Aren't you supposed to play at the server's pace? He also did this with my doubles partner who didn't have that many bad tosses.

It didn't bother me that much since it gave me a chance to catch my breath and try and loosen up, but I was curious if what he was doing is legal.
As people said above, they're just frustrated and signalling that to you.

I wouldn't normally do this, but have definitely done similar things when they catch the toss and don't give me time to reset/ walk back before retossing (I step into my splitstep and splitstep forward usually).

If you're finding yourself having to catch, maybe make sure they have time.
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
I've played against people who catch the toss, then quickly just toss again and serve, before you can shuffle back and re-set.

Maybe the bloke felt you were doing this to him? Setting him up to quick serve him.
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
If it doesn’t bother your serve, doing multiple tosses is a great tactic. It makes it really hard to return effectively.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
During my doubles match my toss was really shaky and I had to catch a fair number of tosses. Obviously I wish I didn't have to do this and can understand how this can be annoying for the opponent, but in my last match after a bad toss the returner started turning around and walking to back fence and just standing there with his arms against it for like 10 seconds and then coming back every time I'd catch a toss. Aren't you supposed to play at the server's pace? He also did this with my doubles partner who didn't have that many bad tosses.

It didn't bother me that much since it gave me a chance to catch my breath and try and loosen up, but I was curious if what he was doing is legal.
32:30 in video below is how Agassi used to handle it :)

 
LOL ... obviously you two don't play much in windy conditions. Yes, practice ones' toss but with gusty winds no practice in the world will overcome what the wind will do to it!
I have one of the best serves on the planet--a good toss puts the ball in front of the racket, no higher, no lower--the higher you toss the ball the more susceptible it is to the wind.
 

NoQuarter

Rookie
I've got such an erratic toss that I've just stopped catching and will go ahead with the serve no matter where the ball is. I now have guys telling me that they thought that I would catch my toss and not serve...thus, they were not ready to return. Works both ways I guess.....
 

TennisOTM

New User
There's a big difference between an opponent who is legitimately struggling with errant tosses and someone who is catching tosses as some kind of purposeful trickery / gamesmanship. In the former case, they are probably serving poorly so just take advantage and get your breaks. They are probably more annoyed with themselves than you are at having to reset. In the latter case, I can see why someone would want to play some gamesmanship of their own.
 

EddieBrock

Professional
I would ask are you taking more than 20 seconds to serve the ball? If so, you're in the wrong and it's a time violation. If you're serving within the allotted time, it's annoying but not illegal what you're doing. It throws of the pace of the game when someone can't toss and serve the ball. It shows a lack of skill and confidence, but it's certainly not against the rules. As far as your opponent waiting at the back fence, yeah that was a clear sign of annoyance and frustration. Annoyed or not, your opponent is not allowed to disrupt your service routine no matter how flawed it might be. What he could have done was count to 20 and see if you were in violation and then called fault. Going to the back of the fence and waiting was actually unsportsmanlike.

I played against a guy one time and no kidding he bounced the ball 15-20 times. Initially I was in my ready position and then I started to just wait until he got to bounce 10-14 before I got down in my ready position. Yeah it was annoying, but it wasn't against the rules because he would serve before the 20 seconds was up.
Honestly I don't think I'm taking more than 20 seconds to serve. I walk up to the line, bounce the ball once, then attempt to serve. If the toss is bad I catch it, say "sorry" and then go back to the same motion. It's not just that he goes to the back fence, but that he turned around and put his arms up against it like he's going to give the fence a hug. When he came back I showed him the ball to make sure he was ready. If I messed up the toss again he'd go back and we'd repeat the whole process again.
 

EddieBrock

Professional
There's a big difference between an opponent who is legitimately struggling with errant tosses and someone who is catching tosses as some kind of purposeful trickery / gamesmanship. In the former case, they are probably serving poorly so just take advantage and get your breaks. They are probably more annoyed with themselves than you are at having to reset. In the latter case, I can see why someone would want to play some gamesmanship of their own.
It definitely wasn't gamesmanship on my part. My heart rate was racing and I was really wanted to serve well. I got so nervous it was like I wasn't in control of my service motion and I was extremely annoyed since I had been practicing my toss/serve the previous 2 days and had been serving extremely well. I tried hitting the bad tosses and double faulted 3 times in a row to lose the game. So after that I promised myself to not hit any more bad tosses. After a few more I got my serve under control and only had them every few games. When I did have the bad toss the guy would do what I described.
 

sovertennis

Professional
Catching an errant toss should be considered a fault. It is very irritating and is a form of cheating.
This rarely occurs, but I find myself in complete agreement with Suresh. When I am in charge of the world*, the point will begin when the ball leaves the server's hand--if he/she catches the toss, it will be a fault. Please note that there will be other changes, but please don't worry just yet...

*Suresh will be second-in-command because he knows stuff that I don't.
 

sovertennis

Professional
It definitely wasn't gamesmanship on my part. My heart rate was racing and I was really wanted to serve well. I got so nervous it was like I wasn't in control of my service motion and I was extremely annoyed since I had been practicing my toss/serve the previous 2 days and had been serving extremely well. I tried hitting the bad tosses and double faulted 3 times in a row to lose the game. So after that I promised myself to not hit any more bad tosses. After a few more I got my serve under control and only had them every few games. When I did have the bad toss the guy would do what I described.
Eddie, Eddie, Eddie. You have a responsibility to the other players on the court to at least be competent. The level of incompetence ("I wasn't in control of my service motion"? Really? Was your central nervous system taken over by aliens?) that you've described should make you stay off the court until you can avoid playing toss and catch with yourself and accomplish the very. very basic task of tossing a tennis ball into the air and hitting it with your racket.

RE: your demonstrative opponent who tried to find solace at the back fence? Probably a bit egregious, but I can understand his frustration.
 

SavvyStringer

Professional
During my doubles match my toss was really shaky and I had to catch a fair number of tosses. Obviously I wish I didn't have to do this and can understand how this can be annoying for the opponent, but in my last match after a bad toss the returner started turning around and walking to back fence and just standing there with his arms against it for like 10 seconds and then coming back every time I'd catch a toss. Aren't you supposed to play at the server's pace? He also did this with my doubles partner who didn't have that many bad tosses.

It didn't bother me that much since it gave me a chance to catch my breath and try and loosen up, but I was curious if what he was doing is legal.
What's a bad toss?
 

EddieBrock

Professional
Eddie, Eddie, Eddie. You have a responsibility to the other players on the court to at least be competent. The level of incompetence ("I wasn't in control of my service motion"? Really? Was your central nervous system taken over by aliens?) that you've described should make you stay off the court until you can avoid playing toss and catch with yourself and accomplish the very. very basic task of tossing a tennis ball into the air and hitting it with your racket.

RE: your demonstrative opponent who tried to find solace at the back fence? Probably a bit egregious, but I can understand his frustration.
My last 10 league matches I've had the toss under control. I took me one game to get it under control this time. You're saying I have a responsibility to stop this from ever happening again before I can step onto the court? Should Rafter or Kucera have not been allowed to play?

It did feel like my central nervous system had been taken over by aliens in that 1st game.

What's funny is that the guy who went to the back fence had some bad tosses too and double faulted giving us multiple breaks. Even though he hit the toss should I have asked him to stay off the court until he fixes his toss? In fact, I've played a bunch of opponents who have trouble with their toss and catch them.

Is there a certain number of bad tosses when the player should be banned from playing tennis? How long should the ban last?
 
I walk up to the line, bounce the ball once, then attempt to serve.
It did feel like my central nervous system had been taken over by aliens in that 1st game.
Rec players are in too much of a hurry to get their serve off, I bounce three times, any more then that and I feel like I'm delaying play and taking too much time. In reality, pros bounce the ball many more times. I recall watching Marin Cilic having a bad toss day and counting a record 28 bounces before he served, including one that ricocheted off his foot requiring him to start all over. Watch the pros and see how many times they bounce before serving and you'd be surprised. They are getting their nervous systems back in control between points so they can coordinate their toss accurately.
 

EddieBrock

Professional
Rec players are in too much of a hurry to get their serve off, I bounce three times, any more then that and I feel like I'm delaying play and taking too much time. In reality, pros bounce the ball many more times. I recall watching Marin Cilic having a bad toss day and counting a record 28 bounces before he served, including one that ricocheted off his foot requiring him to start all over. Watch the pros and see how many times they bounce before serving and you'd be surprised. They are getting their nervous systems back in control between points so they can coordinate their toss accurately.
Wouldn't that be considered a delay of game? I used to just walk up to the line and serve, but started bouncing the ball in the past few years. You think I should keep bouncing the ball until I feel like I'm relaxed? My heart rate is through the roof when I'm trying to get the toss to work.
 

TennisOTM

New User
It did feel like my central nervous system had been taken over by aliens in that 1st game.
Yeah I have felt that, and it's a well documented but poorly understood phenomenon, sometimes called the yips. Lots of pro athlete examples across many sports. There is even medical information about certain forms of it:


Sounds like you are trying your best to work through it - there's no one right answer how to deal with it. If your solution is within the rules then do what you have to and try not to worry about the opponent's reaction (easier said than done).
 
Wouldn't that be considered a delay of game?
Pros have a 25 second time clock and bounce the ball many more times than typical rec players. Watch some tennis on TV and count their bounces, usually many more then three, one bounce is nothing and rec players have no serve time clock running down.
 

Ronaldo

Talk Tennis Guru
Why do you need to bounce a ball when you practice a hundred or more balls and never bounce once?
 
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