Tournament player Winder Bill writes, “In the just completed Super Tier II in Morristown, NJ, Bill Bruder and I played the 65 doubles finals against players who I know to have high character quality. We had a ferocious (and very fun match) with two unfortunate incidents.
“After winning the 1st set, we were down in the 2nd set but fighting back with my serve 2-4 add in. I hit a 2nd serve ace down the tee that I ‘know’ hit 1/4 of the line (serving Aussie). They called it out, double fault. And I knew it was in.
“I questioned the call and they showed a mark that I ‘knew’ was not close to being the correct mark. I told them it was not the mark, the mark on the line was the right mark; and they shrugged, double fault. I was upset but felt the proper procedure had been done and played on.
The Second Time Around
“On 15-40 match point for us with them serving, their 2nd serve down the tee landed and my partner and I both called it out.
“Knowing it was close and the hugest of points, I never took my eye off the mark, walked up to it, circled it and checked to make sure it did not hit the line. It was out by less than 1/2 inch but clearly out.
“They questioned the call vehemently. “I know it hit the line!’ etc., etc. I tried to explain (a mistake according to my partner) that just like their call on my serve, if I am confident in my call and have the mark without having to go look for a mark, their absolute confidence my call is wrong does not matter. I am going to stay with my call.
“My question? How do you salvage the good spirit that is lost in that controversy? Again, my opponents are class acts and there is no question about their sincerity. We all know players who will do wrong things in order to win a match but these guys do not!”
Winder, in my opinion, if your opponents were questioning the interpretation of the mark, you could call over a referee to decide; but if they are challenging WHICH mark you are circling, it is up to the players on the court.
Other than the “rules,” it comes down to human relations and trust. I agree with your partner that citing their earlier controversial call only makes it seem more like “pay back.” I would have just reiterated that you were sorry they disagreed, but both you and your partner were very confident that was the correct mark.
If those seniors were also “adults,” they would have to accept it and move on.
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