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

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.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
32:30 in video below is how Agassi used to handle it :)

nice.
I have a club-mate that bounces the ball a bunch. Then he catches his toss once or twice. And he does that nearly on every point. Sometimes I believe it was a bad toss. But many times I think he wants to see where I'm positioning myself on ROS as he'll look down the court as soon as he catches the ball.

Drives me nuts.
 

SavvyStringer

Professional
One that's too low, too far in front, behind you, etc
Sorry, Sarcasm didn't convey. I honestly can't remember the last time I caught a toss or didn't hit a "bad toss." Bad toss for me means I hit the ball anyway then complain about how I should have caught it.
 

Powderwombat

Semi-Pro
Not sure why it's so difficult unless it's really windy, to toss the ball up a little and hit it. I see guys catching 30% of their tosses and it's like...how hard is it. Can't you throw a ball?

You know what else is annoying? These people with herky jerky service motions. Like I'm trying to time my split-step here...stop walking around the baseline and your weird ball toss and front-on serve. Get a proper service motion would you please.
 

Cloister

Rookie
Not sure why it's so difficult unless it's really windy, to toss the ball up a little and hit it. I see guys catching 30% of their tosses and it's like...how hard is it. Can't you throw a ball?

You know what else is annoying? These people with herky jerky service motions. Like I'm trying to time my split-step here...stop walking around the baseline and your weird ball toss and front-on serve. Get a proper service motion would you please.
That's the problem - they "throw" it instead of tossing it. Chuck from about waist high and a good chunk of the time it sails off one direction or another, or is too high/not high enough. They never learned a proper tossing motion.
 

Bagel Boy

Rookie
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.
It's also possible that was gamesmanship on his part..i.e. he saw your toss trouble and attempted to contribute to the alien invasion. Good on your for ignoring it and carrying on.

The thing about tossing and serving is that after all the solo practice, you now have to perform in front of an audience (- the aliens?). Try exhaling and imagine yourself on the practice court for a split second before you toss.

I've never been annoyed by anyone taking as many tosses as they like, I figure I'm getting rest and I don't want to win or lose points off someone's weak stuff. Anyone complaining about you doing so, likely has bigger problems with his game than your toss attempts.
 

EddieBrock

Professional
It's also possible that was gamesmanship on his part..i.e. he saw your toss trouble and attempted to contribute to the alien invasion. Good on your for ignoring it and carrying on.

The thing about tossing and serving is that after all the solo practice, you now have to perform in front of an audience (- the aliens?). Try exhaling and imagine yourself on the practice court for a split second before you toss.

I've never been annoyed by anyone taking as many tosses as they like, I figure I'm getting rest and I don't want to win or lose points off someone's weak stuff. Anyone complaining about you doing so, likely has bigger problems with his game than your toss attempts.
Thank you. If anything I think it helped me to have him back there because it gave me a chance to spend more time breathing and trying to loosen up and practice the toss before he came back.

I practiced again yesterday and am going to try and practice a few more times before my next match. One positive takeaway from the match is that I was able to get the serve under control, but the damage to my confidence was done for that match. I had to serve in a match tiebreak with everyone from both teams watching and I was able to keep my toss under control and didn't miss a 1st serve.

For what it's worth I've been doing shadow swings/tosses around my house whenever I get a chance and am trying to figure out how to mentally stay calmer so this doesn't happen again.

Do the rules really allow him to go back against the back fence as long as he wants? He knows I'm ready to serve and I would think that walking to the back fence and just standing there would break the 20 second rule between points.

The other thing is my partner only had like 3 bad tosses the whole match and he still did it to him
 
Do the rules really allow him to go back against the back fence as long as he wants? He knows I'm ready to serve and I would think that walking to the back fence and just standing there would break the 20 second rule between points.
The rule is play is at the pace of the server not the receiver.

Putting the ball in front of the racket is NOT as easy as it sounds. I term it a PLACEMENT and not a "toss". To be consistent requires a straight arm, the palm facing up and the ball securely on the tips of the fingers. RFed starts with his toss arm down at his inner thigh centering his balance at the maximum range of motion. His release/placement of the ball is when his shoulder touches his chin--maximum range of motion again. It's all very consistent--scientific repeatability. It takes a lot of practice and control of one's NERVOUS SYSTEM to achieve this degree of consistency but it can be done if you know what you have to do and practice it.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
This is just my hot take, but I think rec players move way too much during the service motion. It’s easy to see why so many struggle with the toss, since so many toss the ball and then move quite a bit for some form of a slide up to the baseline for a pinpoint stance serve. It’s too much moving after the toss for an amateur athlete to have a consistent contact point with the ball. Many at 4.0 and below would be better off with a platform stance serve.
 

r2473

Talk Tennis Guru
32:30 in video below is how Agassi used to handle it :)

Exactly what I was thinking about was this match.

I actually think Kucera was doing it on purpose to a certain extent. This is one way to freeze a good returner.

I actually did the Agassi thing to a guy in a tournament a long time ago. He had a weak serve and I started out just hammering returns. Then he started catching his toss several times. Impossible to return. You start to move forward as he tosses only to have him catch it. Then you do it all again and he catches it again. After a while, your return rhythm is gone.

So on my serve, I caught about 10 in a row. Then 5. Then 0. Then 10 again. With most tosses I’d just throw it up and keep staring at him, not making any move to serve at all.

Ya, it’s damn annoying to play a guy that catches his serves over and over.
 
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tonylg

Hall of Fame
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.
When I clicked on this thread I could hear the words "Sorry mate" in my head.
 

SeeItHitIt

Professional
What level tennis? I mean I can see how the vaunted among us (4.5, 5.0) would have no time for such trivial pursuits as waiting for a second toss after a catch, but come on - a 3.5-4.0 match isn’t exactly Division 1 (or II or III or...) even after a successful serve!

Wondering if the opponent would have been annoyed if every forehand you hit flew to back fence, or If every backhand you hit bounced on your side of court before finding the net....
 

onehandbh

Legend
I'm the exact opposite. I have a horribly inconsistent toss and still every toss.

Sometimes my toss is so bad that I almost have to be an acrobatic contortionist to hit it. Opponent's probably thinking, "no way he's going to hit that toss..."
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
I kept wanting to say something obnoxious about practice servi8ng more, better warm-up, or why play for points at all if one can't serve consistently well? However, I started thinking about higher ball tosses. Then stumbled on this: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308662084_The_toss_of_the_professional_and_the_competitive_tennis_player_serving_from_the_ad-court

Then this thread: https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/highest-ball-toss-when-serving.553803/

Then stumbled on this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3445225/
 
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DBH

New User
I kept wanting to say something obnoxious about practice servi8ng more, better warm-up, or why play for points at all if one can't serve consistently well? However, I started thinking about higher ball tosses. Then stumbled on this: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308662084_The_toss_of_the_professional_and_the_competitive_tennis_player_serving_from_the_ad-court

Then this thread: https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/highest-ball-toss-when-serving.553803/

Then stumbled on this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3445225/
In that last article, it's funny that they blurred out the players' faces even though the pictured players are very well-known, and almost any tennis fan would recognize nearly all of them despite their faces being blurred.
 

Flootoo

Rookie
I'd rather receive a second serve, play the point and lose that point, than win a point through my opponent double faulting. Normal points, not set-points obviously.
Just like I'd rather lose a good match, than win one on foot-faults and double faults. Same for volleyball- my serve placement is great, but I don't really want to win more than two points in a row by placing the serve well and having that entire team standing still watching it. I want to play, not just to win one-rally points.
When I play tennis I'm less of an ******* than in real life (not much of a challenge).

Preparing to serve only takes a few moments, and restarting after an errant toss means that it would have been a lame serve anyway. Excellent- now a good serve is coming up. I'd rather defend against a good serve, than smash a weak one.

So putting pressure on your opponent while they're serving just isn't my style. Some players will do things of varying subtlety to put you off. What this guy did was hijack three other people repeatedly to make a childish point. He did it in an particularly aggressive and arrogant way. I wouldn't even partner someone like that. I like to think I'd walk off if it was a singles match. He's obviously got a pressing engagement he'd rather be at.

Have I played worse players? Have I won 6-0? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Not particularly. I like to think I did everything to make sure that the other players had every chance to play their best tennis.
Gamesmanship isn't my style. Where do you draw the line? Ball tampering? Mentioning the war? Arranging for his car alarm to go off in the middle of a match?
 

tavarua

New User
I heard Mac commentating one night, and he said that he wishes they would change the rule on this. He says, you get two toss's per serve. Its up to you if you want to swing at it, but if you don't, its a fault! Ha! "He says we need to speed up the game".
 

AlexSV

Rookie
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.
I think you're good.
 

r2473

Talk Tennis Guru
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.
This is pretty smart of your opponent. It allows him to reset and prepare to make a good return. Regardless if this is gamesmanship on your part or not, the tendency for the returner is to get flat footed. To not split step. To not get ready to return.

The other nice thing is, normally it’s the returner that gets frustrated. But if the returner goes back to the fence and resets, not only will he stay ready to return, but it might also frustrate and throw off the server. Which seems fair to me.

I’m going to have to remember this idea myself when I run into a “serve toss catcher”.

Basically, whenever something “different” is done, it messes with rhythm. This is what a pusher understands. This is what a serve / volley player understands. But these are ways to mess with your opponents timing that are clearly within the letter AND spirit of the rules. Catching your toss multiple times also messes with your opponents rhythm. And while this is certainly allowed within the letter of the rules, it most certainly goes against the spirit of the rules (and is considered gamesmanship).
 
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