Common Court Courtesies

Naples tennis friend, Jack Lease highlighted some of his pet peeves on tennis Common Court Courtesies that some people

Jack Lease
don’t follow:

• Returning loose balls – Don’t pick up a loose ball and send it back to the server in any fashion, sometimes it is not even hit in the direction of the server and it forces him to chase the ball down. In my mind the ball should be returned to the server courteously preferably on one bounce
• Who brings the balls – Bring a new can of balls to every match and be ready to open them when “it’s your turn.”
• Warmup – Don’t hit winners during warmup.
• On the changeover – Pick up the balls on your side and leave on baseline or hand over to opponent.

I agree with all of Jack’s; but on the last one… I prefer the balls are left at the baseline and NOT brought in on the changeover. They frequently get left there when you walk back on the court.

In addition, I would add:

• Announce the score – When the server gets ready, he should announce the point score every time.
• Don’t announce the score – The opponent(s) should give the server a chance to announce the score and not do it themselves – especially when it is something like 15-40.
• Walking on the court – Even if it is “time,” players should allow the people on the court to finish their point and see that someone is waiting, rather than just walking on the court and announcing, “Time’s up!”

Our game has real class; so we should all do what we can to keep it that way.

Do you have any to add to this list?

11 thoughts on “Common Court Courtesies

  1. Very good, but don’t get me started.

    Further re returning loose balls: make sure the person you’re returning the ball to — either your partner who’s serving, or the opponent on the other side — is looking in your direction and ready to receive the ball.

    Another — if you MUST have a conversation on court, come up to the net and do it quietly. The people on adjoining (or distant!) courts shouldn’t have to listen to you.

    Marc – I AGREE … loud court talkers should be stopped! geo

  2. one of my pet peeves is people not shaking hands over the net. either slapping hands or in the last year fist or even elbow as they are scared of catching a cold…..give me a break…. wash your hands

    Gail: Guilty. geo

  3. I have run in to one of the most annoying problems in a National Tournament and the Florida Closed. The problem is a partner giving an actual swing lesson in the middle of a game loudly and way beyond the time to continue play between points. It is condescending and rude. Simple instructions are ok but an all out lesson is ridiculous. You know “watch the ball” or ” a ball down the middle never goes wide.

    Returning serves hard back at the server when the ball is out by several feet is a huge annoyance. Many times this return comes back into the court delays play. This usually occurs with the guys that don’t play many tournaments and just don’t know.

    All in all these are rare but when they occur they tend to stand out.

    See you at Longboat George.

    Bill – tks. yes, hope to see you across the net in the second round of dubs! geo.

  4. These are all very good. Would add one more: when it’s time to practice serves, players should not use this limited time to practice ripping back returns of YOUR practice serves!
    Then, after they’ve done that, they want some practice serves for themselves.
    Go figure!

  5. i thought of another one: people on the next court who leave their “stuff” all on your side of the cross-over area.

  6. Excellent, but a few more pet peeves, some more obvious than others:
    * Needless to say, do NOT cross onto somebody else’s court to retrieve your ball, get to another court, leave, etc. in the middle of somebody else’s point.
    * Similar to the above, but slightly different, do not stand on the side of your court tapping your feet or, worse still, saying something like “excuse me” or the trite “little help” to ask players on another court to retrieve your ball when the other players are still in the middle of their point. Wait until their point is over.
    * On indoor courts, when the ball from an adjacent court flies over the separation screen, do not try more than once to hit a lob back over the screen to return the ball — which will also have to be perfectly hit to avoid striking the lights and is, in my opinion, a harder shot to hit than a backhand overhead and only slightly less difficult than a between the legs shot to hit consistently. In fact, some of the best players I know cannot hit this shot. If you fail on your first try with this shot, be courteous and walk over to the screen, lift if and hand the ball properly to the player on the next court.
    * In social doubles, when you can see that one or both players on the opposite team is not as good a player as you are, do not blast every shot at them at Mach 2, try to decapitate the net person, hit your serve at Mach 7, or otherwise try showing off how good you are by hitting the ball greatly in excess of the other teams’ ability. For one thing, you will not impress anybody but yourself — everybody else on the court will think you are an egotistical lout. Instead of this boorish behaviour, just play steady tennis. Go for your winners when the opportunity presents itself but don’t overdo it. There is ONE exception to this rule. When the other team is inferior but fails to recognize that and says anything that sounds like trash talking, then by all means make sure you nearly decapitate them on the next point just to show them what you are capable of but go back to steady non-flashy play right afterward unless they continue the trash talk.
    * When the opposing player/team asks you to clear a ball before the point begins, do so and do not argue with him/them that it does not bother you. You are not the only person on the court. If the ball bothers your opponent/s, then clear it.
    * Do not ever, ever, ever insist on playing “first one in” when your opponent wants to practice his/her serve in warm up. In my opinion, “first one in” should be abolished entirely. The time to warm up all of your strokes, including the serve, is in warm up — not during the match. I will occasionally play “first one in” when I am playing doubles with a group for whom that is the convention, but if somebody else prefers to warm up their serve during warm up, then everybody should do it then and nobody should ask or insist on playing “first one in”.
    * No matter how good you are (or think you are) do not EVER stop in the middle of a game and proceed to give tennis instructions to your partner (in doubles) or, worse still, your opponent. It is massively condescending to do this, especially if your advice is unsolicited. If your doubles partner asks you something like “why am I hitting all my forehands wide,” then quietly tell him what you think is going on when you discuss strategy between points, but make sure he is really asking your advice before insulting him by offering advice that was not sought.
    * When you arrive at a court a little earlier than your reservation, do not walk on the court before your exact time and do not otherwise stand on the sidelines or at the back of the court making noise and distracting the players until their time is up.
    * As a corollary to the above, when you are playing and your time is up and the next players have arrived to play at their reserved hour, stop. Do not insist on playing out the game that your are currently in. If may be ok to ask the next players if you can complete one more point if it is truly game point. But if that point fails to complete the game, then stop play and do not insist on playing any more points unless the waiting players say it is ok. They paid for their court time just like you did.
    * When your match is over and another group of players has taken over your court, clear your things and walk away from the court ASAP. Do not dawdle and do not stand there having a conversation with your opponent/s while the new players are trying to warm up.

    Marty – you are The King of the Responders! tks – geo

  7. Wow, you guys are thorough! I could only think of one more common courtesy that I’d like to see more of, and that is showing up on time! Personally, when I set up a time to meet someone at the courts, I like to be a little early. But quite a few of my hitting partners show up five or ten minutes late. By the time you warm up, a half hour can be gone.

    Mike – I agree. and warming up two on one doesnt do it for the two! geo

  8. More:
    – Ball on the next court: if a ball rolls onto your court, HOLD it until the point is over on the court it came from.
    – Ball on the next court: if one of your balls goes onto an empty next court, it should only be retrieved during the game if the server is ok with the delay; otherwise, wait till he is done serving (that’s why we have three balls to play with).

  9. Another one: After you win a match, your opponent says, ” I would have beat you BUT………”. Instead of just saying, “Nice match you played well.”

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