Walking onto a booked court - what is the correct 'etiquette'?

My partner and I walked on the court at our 6pm time. The guys continued to play a few points....which is fine. We still had to take off our sweats, etc, and I don't really mind when guys finish out a game or a tiebreak or whatever.

Well, we are ready and they haven't stopped. It is probably 6:05. Then the big, rather cocky guy looks at me and asks, "Do you guys have this court at 6"?

What exactly do you say to something like that? I thought about saying, "Golly no. We just came to watch ya'll play cuz we'd herd you's so good".

But its always the same. Everyone acts like you breached some ettiqute and are stealing THEIR COURT when you come in for your court time.

On a side note, I really hate when people put all of their crap (bags, racquets, coats, shoes, water bottles, etc) on the benches. This ain't a clay court folks. It's OK to put your stuff on the ground. Most of us like to use the bench for sitting on during changeovers and between sets. My partner and I pretty much always end up sitting on the ground because the guys on the next door court have so much crap on the bench on our side that there is no room to sit (they leave their side clean so they can sit down).
 
.......and there are a few jokers that will walk on the court 10-15 mins. early and just sit on the side getting ready, stretching, etc.

"You know it is only quarter till right"?

"Oh ya. Keep playing. I'm just going to do some stretches and get ready. I just wanted to watch you guys hit for a while. Don't let me bother you".
 
If your partner has not arrived, don't go on the court, you have no one to play with and will be depriving four people of playing. Once your partner arrives, stand quietly by the gate until they notice you--they'll know you're there. It's customary at nice clubs, where people are civilized, to offer to allow people to finish their game. If they are players, they will not drag it out but will end the points quickly. If your're at a mediocre club, minimally let them finish their point. If, you walk onto a court I'm on, while a point is being played, just because the big clock on the wall says it's yours, I'll never speak or play with you again.
I'll agree with most of this actually. If my partner isn't there, I'll wait off the court for him to arrive and let the guys keep playing. When he does arrive (or if it is "the big clock on the wall" says the court is now mine), I'll wait for the point to be finished and walk on the court. I really won't mind if you finish out your game. Afterall, I still have to get ready for a few minutes.

On the flip side, as you say, the guys on the court should play the points rather quickly and be getting ready to vacate (so they shouldn't need to hunt around for balls for 5 minutes or something).
 
I was in school at MSU and UM (it changed names from one degree to the next) and also worked in Memphis from 1983 to 1994. I only remember playing with people I already knew on the indoor courts--a couple of fellow students and a couple of faculty members at UM. We often played at both the outdoor and indoor courts at Leftwich tennis center near campus usually. When were you there?

I think you're right about the age thing. Both young and old players are capable of acting considerately or being arrogant jerks.
Belonged to what was then Wimbleton Sportsplex, just off I40 near Bartlett. But with league and tournament play (3.5 and 4.0 level), probably played just about everywhere one time or another between 1986-98. Also served 2 terms as prez of Memphis Tennis Association, so I got around the tennis city quite a bit. Was Stephen Lang at Leftwich when you played there? He's a good friend.

Small world. I'm also an MSU grad; my degree reads U of Memphis, but that's only because I had it redone when the first one got lost in a move sometime.

You still around Memphis?
 
Belonged to what was then Wimbleton Sportsplex, just off I40 near Bartlett. But with league and tournament play (3.5 and 4.0 level), probably played just about everywhere one time or another between 1986-98. Also served 2 terms as prez of Memphis Tennis Association, so I got around the tennis city quite a bit. Was Stephen Lang at Leftwich when you played there? He's a good friend.

Small world. I'm also an MSU grad; my degree reads U of Memphis, but that's only because I had it redone when the first one got lost in a move sometime.

You still around Memphis?
Wow, that is a small world, I had forgotten about Wimbleton Sportplex but I think I may have been a member there once upon a time however I don't remember it having indoor tennis courts. I remember usually played racquetball there or working out in the big open area.

I don't remember Stephen Lang but I have trouble remembering names of people I met last week, much less in 1993. I left Memphis in 1994 after I graduated but my younger brother and his family live there and my wife still works for FedEx and goes back there for work frequently so I still have some connections to the city.
 
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No, no, no.

We are playing. They walk up to the curtain. We motion them across. They do not need to cross (and so should have been waiting in the lobby). Instead, they are simply intruding on the court time we paid for and interrupting our play.

Call me crazy, but it seems to me that if you are not entitled to the court until 2:00 then you should not bother the people who are playing. It is up to them to decide what to do with their last five minutes, not you.

The other thing is this: They don't get to decide whether we start a new game or not. If we start a new game, it is with full knowledge that we may not finish it. Their job is to wait until 2 pm, then wait until the conclusion of the point in progress, then interrupt. If we are in the middle of a game, they should say the court is theirs and that's that.

Also, in our area we play timed matches. These gentlemen had no idea where we were in our score. Interrupting someone five minutes early could cost them the chance to finish out the crucial game.

So wait in the lobby until it is time for you to take the court.
Maybe they thought you looked like the type of people who would start another game with twenty seconds left on the clock?
 
Because they were not entitled to the court at 1:55. They were entitled to it at 2:00. It is rude rude rude to interrupt play early.

If it is rude to interrupt, then why are these idiots interrupting?
Did they actually interrupt you?

Nothing wrong with quietly waiting courtside. You chose to pause to ask them a question.

It took all of 10 seconds. Not the end of the world.
 
No, no, no.

We are playing. They walk up to the curtain. We motion them across. They do not need to cross (and so should have been waiting in the lobby). Instead, they are simply intruding on the court time we paid for and interrupting our play.

Call me crazy, but it seems to me that if you are not entitled to the court until 2:00 then you should not bother the people who are playing. It is up to them to decide what to do with their last five minutes, not you.

The other thing is this: They don't get to decide whether we start a new game or not. If we start a new game, it is with full knowledge that we may not finish it. Their job is to wait until 2 pm, then wait until the conclusion of the point in progress, then interrupt. If we are in the middle of a game, they should say the court is theirs and that's that.

Also, in our area we play timed matches. These gentlemen had no idea where we were in our score. Interrupting someone five minutes early could cost them the chance to finish out the crucial game.

So wait in the lobby until it is time for you to take the court.
Them arriving 5 min early is a very minor issue.

This concept in tennis culture that it’s impossible to play while others stand courtside is embarrassing for the sport.

No other sport is so fickle (except golf).

I understand getting upset at obnoxious/loud people courtside or even playing next door. But if someone is standing there quietly watching, it’s harmless.
 
Where I play they sound a bell at the 50 minute mark which gives us 10 minutes to finish up and be ready to vacate for the next group. At the hour another bell goes off. If no one shows, we drag our feet, sitting on the bench, chatting etc, but if people are at the curtain we skidaddle.
 
No other sport is so fickle (except golf).
i remember playing golf with this woman who could not tee off if anyone was anywhere near her peripheral vision. Had to have everyone standing directly behind her. Then the following week I played with another golfer, man this time, that couldn't tee off if someone was standing directly behind him. Golfers can be a strange crew.
 
Your money, your court. Letting them finish the point is customary then they have to skidaddle. Especially old men waste more of your paid time gathering up their belongings. After all’s said is done they’re as well have gone in your wallet and taken out $6 since court time is expensive.


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at the appointed time precisely, step on the court, walk up to the bench, set your bag on the bench (hah hah) and take your racket out

1. Allow them a one point "winner takes the game" point.
2. They can advance scores to determine who won the set.
3. If they are truly tied (split sets, advancing score equals 6-6), allow them a second point, one point super super tiebreaker for the match.

two points isnt gonna kill anybody.

two more points isn't gonna kill anybody. asking them to wait in the lobby, nah. polite for them to be quiet until exactly their allotted time. If they don't, I would say something very "chair umpire sounding" like, "Quiet please".
 
Had a new one the other day:

Our time had expired, but we keep looking around and don't see anyone waiting at the gate or even nearby watching so we just keep playing. Sometimes people no-show for courts. Well, about 10 minutes over, the front desk lady comes out (who we know well) and says, with a roll of the eyes, that the people who have next are inside and complained to her that we were over our time. They asked her to ask us to leave.
All they had to do was come stand by the gate and we would have immediately ceased playing and ceded the court.
 
Did they actually interrupt you?

Nothing wrong with quietly waiting courtside. You chose to pause to ask them a question.

It took all of 10 seconds. Not the end of the world.
Yes. They actually interrupted us, and for no good reason.

As I said in my post *eight years ago,* this particular facility required you to walk across every court to get to the outer courts. So if someone walked to the curtain and stood there expectantly, it is usually because they want to cross and are letting you finish a point in progress. Then they step lively to get to their court. Manners.

Those who are not waiting to cross -- that is, those who have the court next -- do not come out early and lollygag by the curtain. The reason is that it interrupts the players because they will assume the reason for this is that the people need to cross. Not to mention the self-doubt that has to be resolved: "Becky, did the horn blow?" "No, I didn't hear anything. You reserved it until 4, right?" "Yeah, we have five more minutes, so I don't know what these clowns are talking about." It has nothing to do with their watching us -- people watch others all the time.

That is why players wait in the lobby until it is time for them to take the court.

Since I'm here, I will tell you another story, more recent and from a different facility.

We were playing doubles on the court closest to the lobby, which has a glass viewing area. We had about five minutes remaining according to the big clock on the wall. My former teaching pro was teaching on the next court. Well, these two men walked on five minutes early and said we had to get off. They said the custom is for players to vacate five minutes early to allow everyone to pack/unpack their gear. They were quite insistent, as we were. So there was a standoff.

Until my pro said, "Hey, these ladies have the court until 2, so you can't come out until two. The amount of time it will take you to unpack is the same time it will take them to pack." The guy left. He was such a bully, but the only way he was getting me off that court early was to throw me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.
 
"the only way he was getting me off that court early was to throw me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes."

My parents went to see 7 brides for seven brothers on their honeymoon and 9 months later I came to be. You might want to rethink that statement. (j/k)
 
Our club has a posted policy where you cannot enter the courts until your actual court time. You have to stay in the lobby until then. On the flip side, when your time is up, your time is up. No finishing games. Because of this, I've never seen any issues occur over court time.
 
At our club, there are only two entrances to all four courts. From the changing rooms end, there's a door with a window.
I think everyone except one or two of the old malcoordinated guys watches for a break in play before stepping out. Hurry across, and repeat the same process at the gate separating C1 from C2. Repeat if you're going to C3.
Nobody goes to C4 because that's the almost exclusively the coach's territory. Sometimes you've got kids walking across to the toilets but they're generally not intrusive.
Likewise nobody crosses C4 onto C3, 2, or 1 from the carpark. Almost nobody.

Well, we do have one annoying woman who will cross courts 3 or 4 times an hour, but maybe she only does that to annoy certain people.
 
Most places I’ve been to have a loud bell. You just wait behind the curtain until it rings. If it rings during a point wait for someone to hit in in the net or out, then walk on. Haven’t had any issues.


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Yes. They actually interrupted us, and for no good reason.

As I said in my post *eight years ago,* this particular facility required you to walk across every court to get to the outer courts. So if someone walked to the curtain and stood there expectantly, it is usually because they want to cross and are letting you finish a point in progress. Then they step lively to get to their court. Manners.

Those who are not waiting to cross -- that is, those who have the court next -- do not come out early and lollygag by the curtain. The reason is that it interrupts the players because they will assume the reason for this is that the people need to cross. Not to mention the self-doubt that has to be resolved: "Becky, did the horn blow?" "No, I didn't hear anything. You reserved it until 4, right?" "Yeah, we have five more minutes, so I don't know what these clowns are talking about." It has nothing to do with their watching us -- people watch others all the time.

That is why players wait in the lobby until it is time for them to take the court.

Since I'm here, I will tell you another story, more recent and from a different facility.

We were playing doubles on the court closest to the lobby, which has a glass viewing area. We had about five minutes remaining according to the big clock on the wall. My former teaching pro was teaching on the next court. Well, these two men walked on five minutes early and said we had to get off. They said the custom is for players to vacate five minutes early to allow everyone to pack/unpack their gear. They were quite insistent, as we were. So there was a standoff.

Until my pro said, "Hey, these ladies have the court until 2, so you can't come out until two. The amount of time it will take you to unpack is the same time it will take them to pack." The guy left. He was such a bully, but the only way he was getting me off that court early was to throw me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.
Oh the horror... self doubt!

With 5 minutes to go, you should be cleaning up your belongings and winding down. Not trying to squeeze in one last meaningless point.
 
at the appointed time precisely, step on the court, walk up to the bench, set your bag on the bench (hah hah) and take your racket out

1. Allow them a one point "winner takes the game" point.
2. They can advance scores to determine who won the set.
3. If they are truly tied (split sets, advancing score equals 6-6), allow them a second point, one point super super tiebreaker for the match.

two points isnt gonna kill anybody.

two more points isn't gonna kill anybody. asking them to wait in the lobby, nah. polite for them to be quiet until exactly their allotted time. If they don't, I would say something very "chair umpire sounding" like, "Quiet please".
What world do you live in? Around here court time is $40-60 an hour. F all that. Bell rings, finish the point and move b**** get out the way!


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I played at an indoor club where there was a big clock marking the changeover time and you paid by the hour. A new manager came in who'd been a world class player, Wimby, etc., and had managed exclusive clubs. In his introductory bulletin he said to let players finish their game. I recall once Tod Martin approaching a court I was playing on, and he waited until our point was over to walk behind the fence--that's class!
 
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Ronaldo

Talk Tennis Guru
What world do you live in? Around here court time is $40-60 an hour. F all that. Bell rings, finish the point and move b**** get out the way!


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Hard to cop an attitude when, through USTA League play, known most players at least 20 yrs. And what did you learn in kindergarten?
 
Are talking about league matches or private court hour time? League match okay finish a point or two it’s only $16. But if I’m paying $50 I want my full hour. Maybe it’s a kindergarten attitude, but in return I am always packed and off the court at the end of my hour.


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Yikes. I'm glad court time doesn't cost that much around here.

The city owned/private run courts that allow you to make reservations charge $4 per person for 2hrs.
 
Oh the horror... self doubt!

With 5 minutes to go, you should be cleaning up your belongings and winding down. Not trying to squeeze in one last meaningless point.
If you need five minutes to "wind down" and "clean up your belongings," you should maybe bring fewer things to the court.

It is as rude to interrupt a court with five minutes to go as with 55 minutes to go. I'll break it down for you:

**Do not knowingly interrupt people who paid for a court unless you have a really good reason. "No reason" is not a good enough reason.**
 
Jeepers, that sounds nice, I wish the rates were that low where I lived. But it's a matter of courtesy and respect for other people; the rates are beside the point. Don't walk on to someone else's court before their time is up and when your time is up, leave. I have no idea why basic courtesy is so difficult for some people.
 
I'm astounded by the sense of entitlement some people have. If you booked the court until 7:30, then at 7:30 it's no longer "your" court.
If there are people waiting for their reservation, you should finish the point at the most, and leave the court immediately.

I sure am glad I never ran into someone who is entitled to enough to think the people who have actually reserved the next slot are obligated to wait for the game/set being played to finish. :X3:
 
Our club has a posted policy where you cannot enter the courts until your actual court time. You have to stay in the lobby until then. On the flip side, when your time is up, your time is up. No finishing games. Because of this, I've never seen any issues occur over court time.
Finishing the point is fine.
Finishing games is just not practical. Games can go on forever.
 
Basically just follow the Golden Rule. Do to others what you want done to you. When my time is up, my opponent and I are already done the last point, sipping some water, and letting the next players have the court. There is no, oh hold up, let’s start one more point, this is Wimbledon going on here!

Just as I expect those before us to vacate in a timely fashion.


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I, too, had no problems with Memphis people honoring indoor court time. Where and when did you play there? Perhaps we crossed racquets. :)

P.S. Why does everyone assume that "old" people (I refuse to use that offensive other term when talking about a fellow human) are the offenders? I assure my friend Cindy and anyone else here that as old as I am, I still move pretty good. And I also know when it's tmie to leave the court. Peace, brothers and sisters.
Because it IS always players 50 and above who are offenders. Stereotypes are always built on truths. Even if they have finished their last point old ladies and men take a lot of time at the bench chitchatting, putting their warmup suits back on and going several minutes into the next person’s paid court time. If there is a young person before me they just grab their bag and leave.


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I will have started a colony on Saturn by then, tennis courts and all. So I will be getting old and retiring there. Thanks for your concern.


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You are correct. Overcorrect at 7:32. If they needed/wanted more time they should have booked (and paid for) more court time.

People are rude. 7:30 means OFF the court at 7:30 and not finish a point or two, pick up balls, towel off, change sneakers and saunter to the exit.
 
Yea, my friends and I book for an hour a half so we can at least get a set in the right way. Very rude to try and snag 5 minutes of the next peoples’ court time at this price.


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