Archive for February 24, 2013

Part 2 – The Code: Making Calls

page 46 of 2011 Friend at Court
5. Player makes calls on own side of net. A player calls all shots landing on, or aimed at, the player’s side of the net.
6. Opponent gets benefit of doubt. When a match is played without officials, the  players are responsible for making decisions, particularly for line calls. There is a  subtle difference between player decisions and those of an on-court official. An official impartially resolves a problem involving a call, whereas a player is guided by the unwritten rule that any doubt must be resolved in favor of an opponent. A player in attempting to be scrupulously honest on line calls frequently will keep a ball in play that might have been out or that the player discovers too late was out. Even so, the game is much better played this way.
7. Ball touching any part of line is good. If any part of a ball touches a line, the ball is good. A ball 99% out is still 100% good. A player shall not call a ball out unless the player clearly sees space between where the ball hits and a line.
8. Ball that cannot be called out is good. Any ball that cannot be called out is considered to be good. A player may not claim a let on the basis of not seeing a ball. One of tennis’ most infuriating moments occurs after a long hard rally when a player makes a clean placement and an opponent says: “I’m not sure if it was good or out. Let’s play a let.” Remember, it is each player’s responsibility to call all balls landing on, or aimed at, the player’s side of the net. If a ball cannot be called out with certainty, it is good. When a player says an opponent’s shot was really out but offers to replay the point to give the opponent a break, it seems clear that the player actually doubted that the ball was out.
9. Either partner may make calls in doubles. Although either doubles partner may make a call, the call of a player looking down a line is much more likely to be accurate than that of a player looking across a line.
10. All points are treated the same regardless of their importance. All points in a match should be treated the same. There is no justification for considering a match point differently from a first point.
11. Requesting opponent’s help. When an opponent’s opinion is requested and the opponent gives a positive opinion, it must be accepted. If neither player has an opinion, the ball is considered good. Aid from an opponent is available only on a call that ends a point.
12. Out calls reversed. A player who calls a ball out shall reverse the call if the player becomes uncertain or realizes that the ball was good. The point goes to the opponent and is not replayed. However, when a receiver reverses a fault call on a serve that hit the net, the server is entitled to two serves.
13. Player calls own shots out. With the exception of the first serve, a player should call out the player’s own shots if the player clearly sees the ball out regardless of whether requested to do so by an opponent. The prime objective in making calls is accuracy. All players should cooperate to attain this objective.
14. Partners’ disagreement on calls. If one partner calls the ball out and the other partner sees the ball good, they shall call it good. It is more important to give opponents the benefit of the doubt than to avoid possibly hurting a partner’s feelings. The tactful way to achieve the desired result is to tell a partner quietly of the mistake and then let the partner concede the point. If a call is changed from out to good, the principles of Code § 12 apply.
15. Audible or visible calls. No matter how obvious it is to a player that an opponent’s ball is out, the opponent is entitled to a prompt audible or visible out call.
16. Spectators never make calls. A player shall not enlist the aid of a spectator in making a call. No spectator has a part in a match.
17. Prompt calls eliminate two chance option. A player shall make all calls promptly after a ball has hit the court. A call shall be made either before the player’s return shot has gone out of play or before an opponent has had an opportunity to play the return shot. Prompt calls will quickly eliminate the “two chances to win the point” option that some players practice. To illustrate, a player is advancing to the net for an easy put away and sees a ball from an adjoining court rolling toward the court. The player continues to advance and hits the shot, only to have the supposed easy put away fly over the baseline. The player then claims a let. The claim is not valid because the player forfeited the right to call a let by choosing instead to play the ball. The player took a chance to win or lose and is not entitled to a second chance.
18. Let called when ball rolls on court. When a ball from an adjacent court enters the playing area, any player on the court affected may call a let as soon as the player becomes aware of the ball. The player loses the right to call a let if the player unreasonably delays in making the call.
19. Touches, hitting ball before it crosses net, invasion of opponent’s court, double hits, and double bounces. A player shall promptly acknowledge when:
• A ball in play touches the player;
• The player touches the net or opponent’s court while a ball is in play;
• The player hits a ball before it crosses the net;
• The player deliberately carries or double hits a ball; or
• A ball bounces more than once in the player’s court.
The opponent is not entitled to make these calls.

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my questions and reasoning

At 9-6, the third set super tie break. (The super tie break is playing in lieu of a third set due to time constrain. The first party to win 10 points lead by two wins the set hence the match.) My team has the match point and my guy was serving and the point became contentious.

The opposing team wrote to the Coordinator:

During the tiebreak, the player from Great Neck hit a ball, which was audibly called wide by our male player.The Great Neck team countered that an “in signal” had been made by our female player, which both players from our team immediately said was not the case. Our female player had to jump out of the way of the ball and explained that she was unable to make any call because while in mid air was unable to see where the ball had landed and had deferred to the player that was watching the spot of the ball.

My guy wrote that I forwarded to the Coordinator:

This was the following rule and why I ended the game:

All line calls must be made clearly and immediately. If there is any doubt, the ball is good. (A ball that is 99% out, is  still 100% in). When an out call is corrected, the point is given to the opposing team. Unless invited by the opposing team,
players may not cross to their opponent’s side of the court to check a mark.

Giselle and I were at the net and Giselle hit a volley very wide. The ball takes a funny bounce on the line, the guy calls it out and the girl misses the ball. I was watching her and the line and she immediately gives a flat palm signalling good. The guy becomes very loud arguing that he called it out. Nobody was disputing him but the girl then changes her mind and said he called it out. If she had called it out immediately then I would have moved on to serve again for match point. I never made a call, I was just watching for her reaction for missing the ball. I ended the game on the principle that she was in doubt and changed her call because her partner became extremely loud about it. Keith kept yelling at me but I told him to question his partner. After a few minutes of this, we walked to the bench and I said the match is over. I was trying to enforce the rule above but if she was going to change her mind and change her story then she has no integrity.

1) We did not argue over any points in the game and I gave away 3 questionable calls in their favor
2) It was my serve for match point at 9-6, there was no pressure and no reason to cheat.

The rule by the 2011 Friend at Court:

  • 6. Opponent gets benefit of doubt. … any doubt must be resolved in favor of an opponent.
  • any doubt must be resolved in favor of an opponent.
  • 14. Partners’ disagreement on calls. If one partner calls the ball out and the other partner sees the ball good, they shall call it good.
  • 15. Audible or visible calls. No matter how obvious it is to a player that an opponent’s ball is out, the opponent is entitled to a prompt audible or visible out call.

My questions:

  1. Does the was unable to see where the ball had landed equals doubt?? If it is, then the following rulings are mote.
  2. Does the was unable to see where the ball had landed equals disagreement?
  3. which team gets the benefit of the doubt, my team who challenged or opposing team who made the call?

This is dispute happened at the match point, worthy arguing. If it were during the match, a disputed point would not have mean an out come of the match, not too obvious anyway.

The Coordinator’s rule (2012.12.27, file 22416):

Question is raised regarding the female player on the Blue Point team making a call of good. The Great Neck player is stating that the call was made with a hand gesture, not verbally. The Blue Point player claims she did not make any hand gestures. Opposing views that are hard to dispute as I was not there and this is being based on a gesture only. Had the Blue Point player said “good” or “nice shot”, we would have a decisive call. I dont feel that the movement of a persons hand which is being disputed by that person is enough of a call.
The one thing in the email from the Blue Point captain and from the Great Neck player that is in agreement by both, is that the Great Neck team refused to continue play at 9-6 in the super tie break. ..
It is my decision that the court be awarded to the Blue Point team.

The coordinator talked about walking off the court rather than addressing the disputed point?? The fact is, my player admitted that he has considered the match was over. There should not have been any ‘walking off the court’ situation. Correct?

Committee’s rule (2013.01.09, file 22408):

In response to your grievance submitted on December 27th, we have given careful consideration to the issues you raised and have decided your grievance will not be upheld.
Tennis comes with a bloodline of sportsmanship that few other sports can match. We are all entrusted to make our own line calls, even in championship matches. A fundamental principle of tennis calls for competitors to give the benefit of the doubt to their opponent when unsure about a close line call.
As your players stated, the line call was the only questionable call in the entire match. Rather than give their opponents the benefit of the doubt your players walked off the court ending the match and thereby resulting in a default.

Ok, the Committee addressing the disputed call. I agree on give the benefit of the doubt because I gave and received plenty. But in this case, which team should get the benefit of the doubt?

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