Rules, Results, and Reality

Here are two interesting tennis rule issues from this week’s USTA Super Senior event at Sterling Oaks in Naples, results from there, and a look ahead to next week’s Category II at University Park in Sarasota.


#1 Mike Melnik reports that during his semifinal match, his team was serving at 5-4, 30-15. They won the point and one of their opponents slams his racquet to the court.

A watching referee calls: “Point penalty. Game and set.” New rule: no warnings, just the call and the penalty.

#2 Can you talk? Running for a drop shot, the opponent exclaims (intentionally), “I can’t get there!” You stop playing. He gets there and wins the point. Legal?

According to a nearby referee, the player is allowed to talk when the ball is coming to him and/or on his side of the court; but that example does NOT seem right to me. Could he also yell, “George, you are a #@!%$#!” as he hits the ball back?


Mike Melnik and his partner Larry Albritton went on to win that 65 doubles semi-final match and then beat Joe McAleer and Joe Spadaro in the finals (note: all four are part of our great, Wednesday doubles league).

Dick Valentine and Matt Davie (also of our Wednesday group) won the 70 doubles, 7-5, 6-1.

Pelican Bay Super Senior Gordon Hammes won the 75 singles.

After losing our first-round doubles match, Tom and I played in the consolation bracket. We played GREAT as a team (according to DeDe, we played and moved better together than she has ever seen us). We won the semis against a good team, 6-2, 6-0. And then yesterday, we won the finals against an even better team (Bob Boyson and Jack Moter), 6-0, 6-3.


Next week, we travel north to Sarasota. Tom and I have singles matches on Monday against unseeded players. If we win those, we will then both be eliminated on Tuesday.

Pessimism or reality? He would play #1 seed and former World #1 Jimmy Parker from Texas; and I would play #2 seed and former World #1 Hugh Thompson from Australia/Atlanta.

Then doubles would start on Wednesday.

For full Sterling Oaks results, click HERE.

For the Sarasota draws, click HERE.

4 thoughts on “Rules, Results, and Reality

  1. George – I wonder what the referee would rule had the running player said “I can’t get there” and his partner says “it’s going out”, but it lands in & they play the ball, but their opponents stopped playing when they heard “it’s going out”?

    “I can’t get there” sounds like conceding the point to me. A Fort Myers player routinely says “Oh No”, then always gets there. I felt distracted until I got used to it.

    Jeff – this was in someone else’s singles match; but the same opponent did the same thing in another match; so you have to believe it is intentional. In your other example, doubles partners frequently will yell to their partner “out” and the partner can then choose to listen and let it go, or play the ball. I think that one is legit. geo

  2. The rules are clear. Once the ball has left your racket you must remain quiet. If you speak and it is not a distraction to the other team, the ball plays. Once the opponent plays the ball there is no double jeopardy. You cannot play the ball then claim distraction. You can warn the other team that if they continue you will stop play and take the point. Players that don’t know the rule will get “pissed”, so beware.
    There is also a rule against intentional distractions that cover people saying your name or any comment directly at you.

    Bill – but the difference in this example is that the guys is running towards the ball on his side of the court and speaks. And, i am sure he would claim “he didn’t mean it as a distraction” (yet, he is known to do this again and again). george

  3. Most of us don’t play at a level with referees. Imagine that scenario without someone other than a player calling a penalty! Good for the ref, though, I say. Pitching a hissy fit on the penultimate point is certainly meant to change the rhythm and gain advantage by gamesmanship. That’ll teach him/her to control temper!

  4. Good luck in Sarasota. I am very familiar with Jim Parker as he was our Director of tennis @ Houston Racquet Club for many years. He is a great guy and an amazing tennis player as he has every shot in the book and stay’s extremely fit.

    Chuck – so, he should be an easy match for my partner! geo

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