Rule/Etiquette on hitting toward opponent at net?

#51
Sorry to hear about the injury Systematic. I have a big inside out forehand flat drive and in my early days hit a lot of players. We all have an obligation as sportspeople to avoid seriously hurting anyone whilst at the same time playing tough tennis.
Sadly, just discovered that this thread is over 11 yrs old and most of the posters involved are long gone. Even @Jonny S&V has not been around for nearly 3 months
 
#53
I hit a pregnant lady at the net once and she went down. I felt terrible.

Does anyone have any views on whether pregnant women should play competition tennis ? .. is it dangerous to both unborn baby and unfair to opposition players ?
 
#54
I hit a pregnant lady at the net once and she went down. I felt terrible.

Does anyone have any views on whether pregnant women should play competition tennis ? .. is it dangerous to both unborn baby and unfair to opposition players ?
You're not a doctor, I'm not one either. That should be between her and her pediatrician.

If your opponent is diabetic, don't hit hard to their left side. No, I'm kidding. The player shouldn't have to make these medical assessments all the while playing tennis. The game is hard enough without adding medical considerations to each opponent. That is their responsibility. And if they feel they should get special treatment, they should state so at the beginning of the set, not leave it as a puzzle for laypeople to figure out.
 
#55
@Jonny S&V


I have experienced permanent eye damage from ball impacts. Retina partially detached and significantly diminished near-vision focus (permanent). Lucky that I did not have full detachment of the retina. That would have required expensive surgery. The near vision in my dominant eye is now much worse than my non-dominant eye. More difficult to read books, phone/tablet displays and computer screens. TV viewing not a problem tho'. A blow to the jewels will smart for a while but it is rarely permanent damage.
^^This is why I don't aim at someone's head; I don't care if the match is on the line. I'll go at less vulnerable body parts.

I did hit someone in the head once but A) I was lunging and didn't have a lot of control; B) he fortunately had turned around and I hit the back of his head.
 
#56
I hit a pregnant lady at the net once and she went down. I felt terrible.

Does anyone have any views on whether pregnant women should play competition tennis ? .. is it dangerous to both unborn baby and unfair to opposition players ?
Well, at least you won the point. :D

I don't think much of people who put themselves in such a situation and then get mad at me when something happens.

For example, what if I hit a drop shot and she falls over trying to retrieve it? Is that my fault? Should I have avoided hitting such a shot? That's starting to get ridiculous.
 
#58
Well, at least you won the point. :D

I don't think much of people who put themselves in such a situation and then get mad at me when something happens.

For example, what if I hit a drop shot and she falls over trying to retrieve it? Is that my fault? Should I have avoided hitting such a shot? That's starting to get ridiculous.
Yeah. Know your limitations and play accordingly, can't put obligations on the opponent. I don't mean to hit anybody deliberately but if you get stuck like a deer under the headlights at the net, you're a target. If you don't know how to defend yourself at the net, better don't do daredevilry, don't come in except on a putaway and stay back in doubles. If you are going to be the netman, then learn to weave out of the path of the incoming pass and block it with the outstretched racquet, maybe slightly closed face to bring it down. It is what I do and I haven't got hit on the head ever since I learnt to. That way, you even have the chance to win the point or at least keep it alive if you do manage to put it in.
 
#59
If a pregnant lady had a miscarriage as a result of being hit it could be life damaging to all concerned.
I agree completely but then don't play tennis in that condition or else let people know you're only up for gentle rallying. If you say you are fine and want to compete and then later on you say you lost your baby because of the opponent, that's very unfair imo.
 
#61
Yeah. Know your limitations and play accordingly, can't put obligations on the opponent. I don't mean to hit anybody deliberately but if you get stuck like a deer under the headlights at the net, you're a target. If you don't know how to defend yourself at the net, better don't do daredevilry, don't come in except on a putaway and stay back in doubles. If you are going to be the netman, then learn to weave out of the path of the incoming pass and block it with the outstretched racquet, maybe slightly closed face to bring it down. It is what I do and I haven't got hit on the head ever since I learnt to. That way, you even have the chance to win the point or at least keep it alive if you do manage to put it in.
Sometimes, though, the net person simply doesn't know what they're doing: maybe they're a singles player who never comes to the net who got drafted into playing doubles, for example. In that case, I can't really blame them for being a deer in the headlights; I'll do my best to hit around those people.
 
#62
Sometimes, though, the net person simply doesn't know what they're doing: maybe they're a singles player who never comes to the net who got drafted into playing doubles, for example. In that case, I can't really blame them for being a deer in the headlights; I'll do my best to hit around those people.
I would as well. But if you don't know how to duck, you might still get hit and then I cannot be responsible for that. And if it's a tournament, I am not going to have mercy. Don't get up there if you can't volley. In all cases I would of course apologise unhesitatingly and check on them. And down here, I have never had anyone come and tell me I was wrong to hit them.
 
#63
I rarely go at the net person because I pretty much only play socially anymore. If you're trying to drill someone in social dubs, you might need an attitude adjustment.

That being said, in high school I had a teacher who loved to call me stupid. Consistently hitting him with overheads while he tried to distract me was always a TON of fun
 

MisterP

Hall of Fame
#64
@Jonny S&V


I have experienced permanent eye damage from ball impacts. Retina partially detached and significantly diminished near-vision focus (permanent). Lucky that I did not have full detachment of the retina. That would have required expensive surgery. The near vision in my dominant eye is now much worse than my non-dominant eye. More difficult to read books, phone/tablet displays and computer screens. TV viewing not a problem tho'. A blow to the jewels will smart for a while but it is rarely permanent damage.
How long ago did this happen? Has the vision improved at all over time?
 
#66
Lady I played with this past summer was in her third trimester playing 8.0 mixed. Crazy IMO, but she’s German so not much bothers her. Awesome net game.
Well...if she can do it and knows what she is doing, it's all good. The problem is with cases where people overestimate their threshold and unfortunately that is all too common.
 
#68
You should prepare something to say in case you hit a player in the eye and they get a detached retina. According to tennis rules you can do that. Include that. But the other player could get a permanent eye injury. Say something about that. What is the percentage of balls that don't go where the hitter intends them to go. ? Always have a quick automatic 'sorry' ready.

Do you know about vitreous degeneration? About in the 50s to 70s for most people, the vitreous of the eye, which is attached to the retina, comes loose and separates from the retina. While this is occurring over a period of weeks or months(?), the retina is more vulnerable to tearing especially if the head gets hit. Maybe you want to especially consider the age and reduced reaction times of your opponent. ?

I'd would hate to always remember that I injured somebody's eye if I would have won the point just with another shot choice.

In another situation - I had just read that eye injuries in tennis often occur after the point when somebody smacks the ball for no reason. I was playing indoors and a point ended. A guy on the other side, who was an ex semi-pro or other serious ex baseball pitcher, decided to blast one. I was walking in front of him at the net and his shot hit me square in the temple area about 2-3 inches from my eye. It was a very high pace shot. I let him and everybody else in the facility know what I thought of what he did. If my head had been turned the ball was at the height of my eye. I had my head turned to the side by chance.

There is only one guy in my tennis club, so far, that goes for the opponent and he hits hard.................
Well I guess I better be more careful. Most of the time the shots are volleyed back and I take another crack at it. Never hit anybody yet, guess I was lucky.
 
#70
How long ago did this happen? Has the vision improved at all over time?
Trauma to my dominant (right) eye happened back in the mid 90s. So it's been more than 2 decades. Nearly 25 yrs now. No, the near vision problem never got better. In fact, it's gotten worse. In part, cuz of the natural aging process, near vision in both eyes re not what it once was.. But, the right (dominant) eye continues to be much worse than the left. For far and mid-distance viewing/alignment, my brain still defers to my right eye. But, for close up, acuity/focus, the right eye is pretty much useless.

The partial detachment resulted in some amazing light flashes. At first I thought they was periodic flashes of lightning. But no one else was seeing them. After a while, I noticed that the light flashes were nearly-full rings of light (perfect circles with a small gap). I noticed that I only saw the rings of light when I turned my head suddenly. After a couple of weeks, the rings were less complete -- more like partial arcs of light. More that 2 decades later I see the light flashes only occasionally (when it's dark) -- but now the flashes are only small sliver of light.

Every once in a while (1 to 3x a year), I get ocular migraines. No headaches associated with the migraine but I do see jagged visual disturbances in part of my visual field. Typically last 10-20 minutes. Not sure if these events are a result of my eye trauma or not. It could just be a result of a combination of stress, physical exercise and fluorescent lighting.
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MisterP

Hall of Fame
#71
Trauma to my dominant (right) eye happened back in the mid 90s. So it's been more than 2 decades. Nearly 25 yrs now. No, the near vision problem never got better. In fact, it's gotten worse. In part, cuz of the natural aging process, near vision in both eyes re not what it once was.. But, the right (dominant) eye continues to be much worse than the left. For far and mid-distance viewing/alignment, my brain still defers to my right eye. But, for close up, acuity/focus, the right eye is pretty much useless.

The partial detachment resulted in some amazing light flashes. At first I thought they was periodic flashes of lightning. But no one else was seeing them. After a while, I noticed that the light flashes were nearly-full rings of light (perfect circles with a small gap). I noticed that I only saw the rings of light when I turned my head suddenly. After a couple of weeks, the rings were less complete -- more like partial arcs of light. More that 2 decades later I see the light flashes only occasionally (when it's dark) -- but now the flashes are only small sliver of light.

Every once in a while (1 to 3x a year), I get ocular migraines. No headaches associated with the migraine but I do see jagged visual disturbances in part of my visual field. Typically last 10-20 minutes. Not sure if these events are a result of my eye trauma or not. It could just be a result of a combination of stress, physical exercise and fluorescent lighting.
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Wow. I get those. I believe they call them silent migraines with aura. It’s very rare. Most migraine sufferers have pain so we are “lucky” in a way. Mine start with some blind spots appearing somewhere in my vision. Then I will start to see some strange geometric patterns that sort of swirl and flicker. Gets stronger over the course of about 15-20 mins. If I go to a dark room and close my eyes I still see it but it gets better more quickly.

And I actually had eye trauma (dog kicked me directly in the eye in bed in the middle of the night) but I can’t remember if that was before or after the migraines started. That injury very definitely did cause persistent “floaters” in that eye that I can see anytime I’m in a bright setting.
 
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MisterP

Hall of Fame
#72
I would think her balance/center of gravity would be thrown off; I'd be more worried about a subsequent fall than her getting hit with a ball.
That was our concern. She’s really strong. Her mobility was definitely hampered but she said it was the pain in her knees and back that eventually caused her to stop playing (somewhere close to 9 months <facepalm>)
 
#75
Wow. I get those. I believe they call them silent migraines with aura. It’s very rare. Most migraine sufferers have pain so we are “lucky” in a way. Mine start with some blind spots appearing somewhere in my vision. Then I will start to see some strange geometric patterns that sort of swirl and flicker. Gets stronger over the course of about 15-20 mins. If I go to a dark room and close my eyes I still see it but it gets better more quickly.

And I actually had eye trauma (dog kicked me directly in the eye in bed in the middle of the night) but I can’t remember if that was before or after the migraines started. That injury very definitely did cause persistent “floaters” in that eye that I can see anytime I’m in a bright setting.
Yeah, I used to get a lot of floaters for a while. Could very well have been due mostly to the eye trauma. The semi-circular (and arc-like) light flashes were definitely are result of eye trauma. The ocular (optical) migraines were different. They may or may not have anything to do with my eye trauma. One of my sisters told me what the jagged/geometric patterns were called. Don't believe that she had any blows to her eyes as I did. Lack of sleep, stress, exercise and certain types of lighting appeared to bring it on for her (as well as me).
 
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MisterP

Hall of Fame
#76
Yeah, I used to get a lot of floaters for a while. Could very well have been due mostly to the eye trauma. The semi-circular (and arc-like) light flashes were definitely are result of eye trauma. The ocular (optical) migraines were different. They may or may not have anything to do with my eye trauma. One of my sisters told me what the jagged/geometric patterns were called. Don't believe that she had any blows to her eyes as I did. Lack of sleep, stress, exercise and certain types of lighting appeared to bring it on for her (as well as me).
Yes, heredity. My mom gets them too. But I never started getting them until I was in my late thirties. And is always associated with bright lights. First time was in a restaurant under very bright table lights. Second time was on a tennis court that had the lowest lights I’ve ever seen. I barely made the drive home that night.
 
#77
Brad Gilbert says it is the net players responsibility to get out of the way. He suggested running to the alley and turning sideways and looking away.

If I am at net and I decide to try to stay in the point, I think it is my responsibility if I get hit. But, if my opponent is smashing a shot high ball, I usually turn away.

It is acceptable to hit toward the net player. I really don't think I am trying to hit anyone in my mind but I do target that area. I tend to target bigger areas and not aim at anyone's body. I also will try to keep my shot low if I have a good angle to do that and not hit high at anyone's head. If I am hitting a groundstroke, I don't have any reservations about hitting at someone but again my though process isn't I am going to hit them. I am just hitting either to their feet with a topspin groundstroke or trying to beat a weak volleyer with pace.
 

rkelley

Hall of Fame
#79
I don't get this attitude that players should not hit at other players (competitive match). Go for it. Nail the dude. If he can't deal with it shouldn't be there.

Come at me all you want. I know what I can handle. At least I know I'll have a crack at the volley. If I see a short overhead go up in front of me I either back up if I think I can handle it or I move out of the way.

Fundamentally a net player as no right to stand up at the net clogging up all of the good hitting lanes and expect that his opponent will hit around him.

When I see pros get mad about this I just roll my eyes. It's so stupid.
 
#80
Every once in a while (1 to 3x a year), I get ocular migraines. No headaches associated with the migraine but I do see jagged visual disturbances in part of my visual field. Typically last 10-20 minutes. Not sure if these events are a result of my eye trauma or not. It could just be a result of a combination of stress, physical exercise and fluorescent lighting.
Get these too, good to know i'm not alone. Thought they were flashbacks due to all the motion. Usually last about 2-5 min, once maybe twice a year. Slight headache after. Have had a lot of head trauma as a kid and as a hack mountain biker. Usually in morning not always under bright light although the event introduces a type of flashing light.
 
#81
I don't get this attitude that players should not hit at other players (competitive match). Go for it. Nail the dude. If he can't deal with it shouldn't be there.

Come at me all you want. I know what I can handle. At least I know I'll have a crack at the volley. If I see a short overhead go up in front of me I either back up if I think I can handle it or I move out of the way.

Fundamentally a net player as no right to stand up at the net clogging up all of the good hitting lanes and expect that his opponent will hit around him.

When I see pros get mad about this I just roll my eyes. It's so stupid.
Not the way to make friends & influence ppl. Remind me to never step on the court with you. 2 permanently damaged eyes are enough for me, thank you. While my eye trauma events were actually (tennis) accidents and not a result of headhunters, eye/bodily injury could very easily result from the practice of headhunting. I love competitive tennis and being challenged by opponents but draw the line at purposely pegging players above the knees. If I wanted to risk damage to the face (or other sensitive parts), I would have taken up prize-fighting.

I have no problem hitting an overhead or volleying/driving a ball at at opponent's feet but I see no reason for hitting a high-speed ball after their head or mid-section. There is pretty much always one or more other options for hitting a winner or eliciting a weak reply than resorting to aggravated assault. If you don't have the control to hit a ball at a player below the knees, then maybe you have no business blasting a ball at an opponent at all.

We had one player that would play with us semi-regularly. But after a while, he started headhunting. He would run in to take an easy sitter at the back service line and blast it at 80 mph, yes 80 mph, at the head of the net man directly in front of him. He told him that this was not cool, but that didn't stop him. We stopped asking him to play. None of us were earning huge sums of money playing tennis for a living to risk injury from this style of play.

Lendl, who had quite a reputation as a headhunter, was not well-liked on the tour at all. His high-speed blast at the head of Vitas Gerulaitis (post #75 GIF), is something he was known for. JMac and others had been the victims of such assaults by Lendl. Recall Andy Murray complaining about headhunting by other players. But then he took on Lendl as a coach. Evil Ivan turned Andy to the dark side.
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rkelley

Hall of Fame
#82
Where in my post did I advocate HEADHUNTING - i.e. hitting a head height ball that would be out if it didn't strike an opponent? I don't do that, and while it's a legitimate play I'm not a fan. Again though, you want to go for my head, do it. If I can get out of the way then you have just given me the point. If I don't think I can get out of the way then I'll turn my back our go below the net.

At the end of the day I have no right to take up an offensive position on the court and expect my opponent to play around me.
 
#83
If you get hit by a ball from a serve return or baseline ground stroke, you are playing in the wrong league and you probably need to drop down a level.
The Bryan brothers get hit by serve returns and baseline ground strokes. Rarely, but it happens.

If you play aggressively at the net with people who can hit, you're going to eventually get tagged. The key is to stay aware and actively protect your eyes and other vital parts.
 
#85
The Bryan brothers get hit by serve returns and baseline ground strokes. Rarely, but it happens.

If you play aggressively at the net with people who can hit, you're going to eventually get tagged. The key is to stay aware and actively protect your eyes and other vital parts.
True. But with regard to recreational play, if a 4.0 can hit you with a ball from behind the baseline, you probably shouldn’t be playing with 4.0s.
 
#86
True. But with regard to recreational play, if a 4.0 can hit you with a ball from behind the baseline, you probably shouldn’t be playing with 4.0s.
The danger from being hit at 4.0 tends to be serve returns when your partner has a weak 2nd serve or when shots land short and the player can hit at you from well inside the baseline.

I tend to like being targeted as I normally think I have the advantage in getting the put-away volley, but sometimes the opponent is too close and ducking or blocking is the only safe option.

I normally won't go after the net man beyond hitting at the feet in social doubles. In competitive matches, I might hit it at the net man if really desperate, but I never head hunt.
 
#87
The danger from being hit at 4.0 tends to be serve returns when your partner has a weak 2nd serve or when shots land short and the player can hit at you from well inside the baseline.

I tend to like being targeted as I normally think I have the advantage in getting the put-away volley, but sometimes the opponent is too close and ducking or blocking is the only safe option.

I normally won't go after the net man beyond hitting at the feet in social doubles. In competitive matches, I might hit it at the net man if really desperate, but I never head hunt.
Inside the baseline is a different story, of course. But if the opponent is behind the baseline that is plenty of time to react if you are at the same skill level.
 

jhick

Professional
#88
Get these too, good to know i'm not alone. Thought they were flashbacks due to all the motion. Usually last about 2-5 min, once maybe twice a year. Slight headache after. Have had a lot of head trauma as a kid and as a hack mountain biker. Usually in morning not always under bright light although the event introduces a type of flashing light.
I've gotten them too. Usually at work when staring at a computer monitor all day.

As far as the original post, most guys at the 4.5 level try to hit low over the net and away from the net player, but there were a small number of guys who would employ the hit as hard right at you, usually as an intimidation tactic. One guy in particular was a body builder physique guy who hit extremely flat and his strategy was to continually go right at the net guy high and hard.
 
#89
There are generally two locations for an overhead smash to be directed: 1) Angled away from any deep players and 2) Forcefully downward bouncing over everybody's head to the back fence. If a net player forcefully inserts himself into those spots, he is asking to be struck.

I rarely hit anyone on smashes. I've definitely hit the net guy on reflex volleys and half volleys but that usually doesn't leave a mark. If I hit a guy with a drive volley I'll apologize since those sting. I never apologize for hitting a net player with a groundstroke. In that scenario, he's had more than enough time to size up the situation and make a "business decision" if he wants to. My goal when playing people with weak second serves is to get the net guy standing at the baseline.
 
#90
Where in my post did I advocate HEADHUNTING - i.e. hitting a head height ball that would be out if it didn't strike an opponent? I don't do that, and while it's a legitimate play I'm not a fan. Again though, you want to go for my head, do it. If I can get out of the way then you have just given me the point. If I don't think I can get out of the way then I'll turn my back our go below the net.

At the end of the day I have no right to take up an offensive position on the court and expect my opponent to play around me.
Quite a bit of this thread, prior to your post, has been about headhunting and about directing overheads at net players. You had said that you "don't get this attitude that players should not hit at other players". Since you did not qualify your statement, it appeared that you might be advocating headhunting (given the prior discussion). Note: In the GIF shot where Ivan Lendl has drilled the ball at the head of Vitas (and knocked him to the ground), Ivan's shot could very well have stayed in if it hadn't hit Vitas or his racket.
 

rkelley

Hall of Fame
#92
Quite a bit of this thread, prior to your post, has been about headhunting and about directing overheads at net players. You had said that you "don't get this attitude that players should not hit at other players". Since you did not qualify your statement, it appeared that you might be advocating headhunting (given the prior discussion). Note: In the GIF shot where Ivan Lendl has drilled the ball at the head of Vitas (and knocked him to the ground), Ivan's shot could very well have stayed in if it hadn't hit Vitas or his racket.
I don't advocate headhunting, but I stand by my statements on the attitude. If you're close enough to your opponent where they can take a shot at your head and you can't get out of the way, then it's YOUR problem. MOVE. If I see a sitter overhead go up in front of me, I move off court or duck below the net. If my partner is serving sitters, I play back (unless the returner is a weak player).

I expect an opponent will go at me if that's the best shot. If I think I can handle it I stand in, if I don't think I can handle it I bail.

Help me to understand why the net player shouldn't yield the court when they see that they're not going to be able to handle a body shot, or even a head shot?

Sorry Vitas, but you came in on a weak shot and Ivan drilled you. I personally wouldn't go for the head, but I'd drill you in the gut if I thought that was the best shot. You're a professional athlete for goodness sake. Next time check your pride at the service line and turn your back when you know you've set up a sitter.
 
#93
On a closely related issue, hitting your partner with your racket.

I played with a guy for two years in a group of 5 or 6 men, indoor block time.

One guy had been reasonable in all ways and I liked him.

A lob went up between him and his partner. Next thing, his partner was down. As the partner stood back up blood was dripping off his head. I don't think that I have seen anything like that before in over 40 years of tennis. I tried to imagine what had happened. Did the guy that hit him not know that his partner was near-by? Was his partner visible? When I hit an overhead I think that I have always been aware of where my partner is. I still don't understand how that happened. The more basic rule of not wanting to injure anyone is there for everyone isn't it?

Did that guy decide that the point was the priority? Tuesday night doubles.............

What were Shapovalov's thoughts and priorities when he hit the ball full force and broke the bones in the umpire's eye socket? Very fortunate that the umpire's retina was not injured.
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/v...ace-to-hand-great-britain-davis-cup-win-video

 
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#94
I don't advocate headhunting, but I stand by my statements on the attitude. If you're close enough to your opponent where they can take a shot at your head and you can't get out of the way, then it's YOUR problem. MOVE. If I see a sitter overhead go up in front of me, I move off court or duck below the net. If my partner is serving sitters, I play back (unless the returner is a weak player).

I expect an opponent will go at me if that's the best shot. If I think I can handle it I stand in, if I don't think I can handle it I bail.

Help me to understand why the net player shouldn't yield the court when they see that they're not going to be able to handle a body shot, or even a head shot?

Sorry Vitas, but you came in on a weak shot and Ivan drilled you. I personally wouldn't go for the head, but I'd drill you in the gut if I thought that was the best shot. You're a professional athlete for goodness sake. Next time check your pride at the service line and turn your back when you know you've set up a sitter.
Nope, still not getting on the court with you. I don't have any good eyes left to sacrifice. Balls can sometimes cross the net in excess of 80 mph. The fastest humans move about 20 mph with a visual reaction time of 3/20 of a second -- often, not enough time to MOVE out of the way when you finally realize that your opponent is actually going after your head. Note: 150 ms is a world-class (simple) visual RT. Many amateurs have a simple visual RT of 250 ms or slower. Auditory RTs can be somewhat quicker but a choice (complex) visual RT is quite a bit slower than a simple visual RT.

Vitas' shot was not really all that weak. Fairly deep (middle of NML) with decent/moderate speed. Lendl definitely had other aggressive (winning) options than going after Vitas' head. Lendl had gone headhunting against JMac and others on the tour. Don't think that he got invited to too many parties. There are almost always other offensive or winning options available.

 
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#95
Not the way to make friends & influence ppl. Remind me to never step on the court with you. 2 permanently damaged eyes are enough for me, thank you. While my eye trauma events were actually (tennis) accidents and not a result of headhunters, eye/bodily injury could very easily result from the practice of headhunting. I love competitive tennis and being challenged by opponents but draw the line at purposely pegging players above the knees. If I wanted to risk damage to the face (or other sensitive parts), I would have taken up prize-fighting.

I have no problem hitting an overhead or volleying/driving a ball at at opponent's feet but I see no reason for hitting a high-speed ball after their head or mid-section. There is pretty much always one or more other options for hitting a winner or eliciting a weak reply than resorting to aggravated assault. If you don't have the control to hit a ball at a player below the knees, then maybe you have no business blasting a ball at an opponent at all.

We had one player that would play with us semi-regularly. But after a while, he started headhunting. He would run in to take an easy sitter at the back service line and blast it at 80 mph, yes 80 mph, at the head of the net man directly in front of him. He told him that this was not cool, but that didn't stop him. We stopped asking him to play. None of us were earning huge sums of money playing tennis for a living to risk injury from this style of play.

Lendl, who had quite a reputation as a headhunter, was not well-liked on the tour at all. His high-speed blast at the head of Vitas Gerulaitis (post #75 GIF), is something he was known for. JMac and others had been the victims of such assaults by Lendl. Recall Andy Murray complaining about headhunting by other players. But then he took on Lendl as a coach. Evil Ivan turned Andy to the dark side.
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I agree more with you than not. But, even Federer hits lots of passing shots at the net player. I've seen him go directly at the net player dozens of times. And, when Federer is passing from behind the baseline and the opponent is close to the net, Federer's pass is frequently above the waist of the opponent. I don't think Federer is thinking "I am going to hit him in the eye" but I do think he is trying to jam the net player with pace. I don't really have a problem even in local league play with this as long as your aren't trying to hit anyone in the face.
 

dman72

Hall of Fame
#96
I've never aimed at someones head playing tennis. I'm not sure I've ever aimed a shot even head height period... when someone is at the net..it's either a skimmer or a lob high enough to clear them. To me it's a "nickname for Richard move" in rec tennis. Hit somebody in the eye because your are a jerk aiming at the head intentionally, ruining their vision. Great move. Whose to say a few years later they don't get you coming out of your house with a baseball bat? Just saying....is it worth it?
 
#97
It's fair game when you're at the net. I remember going to a men's night mixer once and I was about 3 feet from the net. Opponent wasn't far from the net either and blasted a shot right at me. I had to protect my baby maker and got a reflex shot back, but back to him. He fired at me again and again I had to protect my ability to have kids in the future. I believe the next shot went somewhere that he nor his partner couldn't get to. He just stood there looking at me dumbfounded that i could get that lucky twice. I just had a big grin on my face. Also happened again a few years later at a meetup group. Same kind of shots, same result. I never took it personally, just saw it as my opponent trying to hit the best shot (in their mind) possible. I used to do it at a club I was once at. If I was returning and my opponent was right on top of the net I'd go right at them. Sometimes I missed, sometimes they missed the volley. But I wanted to send a message to them. If I was more successful they'd back off, if I wasn't I'd return elsewhere. I did get tagged in the head once on accident and it knocked me down. Opponent apologized and checked if I was ok. I got up, told him I was fine and went back to playing. Wound up winning the match. I have an opponent now who will hit at me or anybody if we're at the net. I expect it from him. Sometimes he jams me good, sometimes he misses, but I don't worry about it. If, however I accidentally tag him when he's at the net I then jokingly tell him that what goes around comes around. He knows he can't complain, we laugh about it and move on.
 
#98
I agree more with you than not. But, even Federer hits lots of passing shots at the net player. I've seen him go directly at the net player dozens of times. And, when Federer is passing from behind the baseline and the opponent is close to the net, Federer's pass is frequently above the waist of the opponent. I don't think Federer is thinking "I am going to hit him in the eye" but I do think he is trying to jam the net player with pace. I don't really have a problem even in local league play with this as long as your aren't trying to hit anyone in the face.
Ok, but have never seen Federer hit a shot at a net opponent quite like Lendl has. Have seen a few rec players directing a Lendl-like shot at an opponent tho'. If once cannot make such a play w/o going after a player's head, intentionally or not, perhaps they have no business attempting such a dangerous shot.
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MisterP

Hall of Fame
#99
I don't advocate headhunting, but I stand by my statements on the attitude. If you're close enough to your opponent where they can take a shot at your head and you can't get out of the way, then it's YOUR problem. MOVE. If I see a sitter overhead go up in front of me, I move off court or duck below the net. If my partner is serving sitters, I play back (unless the returner is a weak player).

I expect an opponent will go at me if that's the best shot. If I think I can handle it I stand in, if I don't think I can handle it I bail.

Help me to understand why the net player shouldn't yield the court when they see that they're not going to be able to handle a body shot, or even a head shot?

Sorry Vitas, but you came in on a weak shot and Ivan drilled you. I personally wouldn't go for the head, but I'd drill you in the gut if I thought that was the best shot. You're a professional athlete for goodness sake. Next time check your pride at the service line and turn your back when you know you've set up a sitter.
That was Lendls philosophy. Nobody invited you to come to the net.

In professional sports this kind of thing happens and I don’t know that there’s a lot we can do about it. In rec tennis there is absolutely no excuse for hitting the ball at someone’s face. Sometimes a body shot is the right shot. But never high.
 
Vitas' shot was not really all that weak. Fairly deep (middle of NML) with decent/moderate speed. Lendl definitely had other aggressive (winning) options than going after Vitas' head. Lendl had gone headhunting against JMac and others on the tour. Don't think that he got invited to too many parties. There are almost always other offensive or winning options available.
Vitas' shot put the ball back to the middle and Lendl was on the Baseline not behind it so ti was a weak shot. Any pro inside the baseline is going to rip the ball. The safest shot when ripping the ball from the middle is back over the middle where the net is lowest. Lendl made the high percentage play and Vitas should have been prepared for it.
The other reason for Lendl to make that shot is to deter Vitas from serve and volleying so aggressively. All it takes is one of those types of passing shots and you are coming in a little more slowly the next time.

So while Lendl had some other options, the option with the best instant and future impact was to go straight at Vitas' chest. He could have won the point with an excellently placed topspin lob but when your forte is your FH, why get too outside your comfort zone? And when you know Lendl can absolutely rip a FH, why are you standing right in front of him?

I don't consider anything hit from the baseline as head hunting. The opponent has adequate time to determine his risk. Smart folks would have bailed at the sight of Lendl winding up. Vitas' was being too competitive and put himself at risk.
 
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