Are you sure?

Here are two interesting issues around line calls.

First, a former tennis pro friend of mine in New Hampshire insists the “new USTA guidelines” state you should NOT ask “Are you sure about that line call?” or “Do you have a mark?”

I have not heard or read anything that supports that; but he said that he got the directive in writing from the USTA. I disagree with the concept… how else can you politely challenge and errant (or intentional) line call?

Has anyone else heard of this?

The second involves a bold step by one referee at the US Open this past week. The TV announcer (John McEnroe?) praised a heavy-set and bald referee (who I have not seen before) for his call on awarding the point to a server after a “Chase Review” reversed a call.

Here is the situation: the serve is hit, the returner misses the return, the linesman calls “Out,” the server challenges, the review shows the ball was in, and they almost always play a Let and start over.

This linesman said on two occasions, “No, the call was made AFTER you missed the return of serve; so the point goes to the server.”

I agree.

P.S. On Davis Cup… Sam Querry and Big John played tough today; but the US is now down 0-2. Assuming the Bryants come through in doubles on Saturday (Tennis Channel at 8 am ET), is it possible that Isner can beat Ferrer and Querry can beat Almagro? Doubtful.

4 thoughts on “Are you sure?

  1. I think wiffing on a serve that is ruled out, no matter when the call is made should not go against the returner-because the ball was out. Although it seems his intent was to return the serve,it was an out ball-how can the umpire accurately judge his intent? Maybe he wiffed as a practice swing, knowing the ball was out. Sounds far-fetched but it WAS out and his racket never touched it. What if the serve hit the back fence without bouncing,there was no audible call and the returner swung his racket? Was his intent also to return that one? Very interesting question, George.
    Robert … Not sure of your scenario above, when i say “miss the return” i mean the returner hit it, but out; so the one I saw had the serve being GOOD and the server won the point. George

  2. George,
    The return “missed” means swung and missed or hit it out? Believe Robert thinks you meant he wiffed. Then the “linesman calls Out”–you mean the serve, right? In any case, somewhat confusing.
    However, if the server hits, ultimately, a good serve and the returner cannot return it safely, I agree with you that the point should be awarded to the server and not played over.
    Keep up the good work! Phil

    Phil … You got it! George

  3. One premise of all of this is eliminate replaying points, as that creates a slippery slope. That stuff around returns seems vague and the examples cited aren’t clear to me — then again, it’s quite rare for recreational players to have umpires.

    As far as the phrase “Are you sure?” goes, I’ve always thought that phrase was a bunch of crap. And yes, I’ve asked it but probably less than five times in 40 years of match play. Are you sure? Please, give me a break. And to be asked it by some cagey recreational player with his hat and his T-shirt and his sunscreen is pretty lame too. Take the calls as they come and I suppose after 2-3 that seem suspect, go ask for an official. I swear, when I’ve been asked that question I’m tempted to see, “You know, I wasn’t, but it’s my call. 30-love.”

    The only thing worse than “are you sure?” is “how did you see it?” wherein the opponent doesn’t have the nerve to make a call but wants the other guy to cheat himself. Utterly lame.

    Are you sure? How did you see it? Enough, enough.

    Joel – I hear what you are saying; but i have, in fact, played matches where the opponent admits they are not sure and/or checks the mark only to find that my shot was good! So, when I play you at Newk’s, be prepared to hear it! 🙂 george

  4. I’m with Mr. Drucker on this one. Despite the lack of honor too often displayed in recreational Tennis, I still believe it to be a “Gentlemen’s game”, and strive to play accordingly. In fact, I haven’t allowed my juniors to question calls-ever, even when they were obviously getting hosed. I’ve dried a few tears, but helped to instill the point that life isn’t always fair and we have to deal. I will be in the front row when George and Joel square off. Should be a barn burner.

    Jim and Joel – One of the ‘contributing factors’ is that you two play mostly hard court matches, while i played almost exclusively on HarTru, where there are usually very clear marks (that would solve any questionable call). george.

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