Rule/Etiquette on hitting toward opponent at net?

Dartagnan64

Legend
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.
I don't think anyone intentionally goes at someone's face. That's generally low percentage. At least I've never met anyone that has done it intentionally. But I've taken lots of shots in the chest and belly. Stings a bit. But less than a squash ball or hockey puck.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I don't think anyone intentionally goes at someone's face. That's generally low percentage. At least I've never met anyone that has done it intentionally. But I've taken lots of shots in the chest and belly. Stings a bit. But less than a squash ball or hockey puck.
Lendl had a rep for going after the head/face. JMac has mentioned a similar experience vs Lendl. This was not a "chest shot". That did not appear to be his intent at all.
 

rkelley

Hall of Fame
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.

Couple of things:

- You don't wait to see if your opponent is going after you and then bail. If you're going to bail you need to do it BEFORE they swing.

- Lendl was standing on the baseline, which is a good distance, but he had one of the hardest fh in his day and all day to set up. Vitas should have expected some serious heat. Also Vitas was one of the best volleyers in the game in his day. Lendl doesn't want him up there and has no obligation to hit away from him. Lendl wants to make Vitas uncomfortable. Totally a legit play. Notice that Vitas didn't get mad. Part of the game and Vitas understood this.

- I was playing against an ex-college player in doubles. He got a couple of weak second serves from my partner to his fh and went right at me. Volleyed them for winners. I totally framed the first one but just acted like it was intentional. He stopped going at me.

- You're safe to get on court with me. These days I mostly just drill from the baseline, hit some volleys, and play a few points. Nothing competitive enough were it would be appropriate to go at you.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
Lendl had a rep for going after the head/face. JMac has mentioned a similar experience vs Lendl. This was not a "chest shot". That did not appear to be his intent at all.
Lendl would frequently hit at McEnroe. I remember McEnroe actually squatting down behind the net and sticking his racket head up above the net after he hit a weak volley because Mc knew Lendl was going to hit the pass right at him. There was no love lost between them during this time.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@rkelley
Lendl would frequently hit at McEnroe. I remember McEnroe actually squatting down behind the net and sticking his racket head up above the net after he hit a weak volley because Mc knew Lendl was going to hit the pass right at him. There was no love lost between them during this time.
Connors was no fan of Lendl's uber-aggressive antics either. JMac, Connors and others were not at all enamored with Lendl's headhunting styel of play;

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/sports/1982/09/13/the-open-champion-wears-combat-boots/895bd38d-a9a2-471d-b428-9ebafd9653de
.
 

Fintft

Legend
It won't make you very many friends, but if you are playing, say, a high school meet that you won't see that player that many times anyway, I'll still do it. I'm notorious for pegging the net man on returns (hard and flat, and usually going a mile out, which just adds salt to the wound ;) ).
I think it's technically sound to aim for the guy at the net with your passing shots, as that is a good target in your peripheral vision (since you "see the court with your shoulder" so to speak, if you "keep eyes at contact point through the contact").

Hey I gave a guy at the net a black eye, from ...behind the baseline. It was a tryout for the club's team.

The head coach ( at the time the city champion) used to defend half court at the net against my passing shots during my lessons (to benefit him of course) :D
 
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