When you have a close call against you on a clay court match, I believe it is proper etiquette to politely ask, “Do you have a mark?” and your opponent should oblige by looking, confirming, and circling it. But HOW he circles it could be indicative of its correctness.
Two times in the last two years of tournament play, I have gone through the sequence above and have my opponent indicate the “out” mark by running his racquet – not around the outside of the mark and line – but through the space (or lack thereof) BETWEEN the mark and the line!
(The photo is a simulation of what I am writing about and is not as close to the line as the real marks were).
One of the two times it happened, as I walked to the net to look at the sideline mark, my opponent erased it with his foot – a violation of the Code.
So what do these actions say about the call? I believe it is true guilt over making a bad call and “destroying the evidence.”
Another “violation” in my opinion is the player who ignores your request to have him look for and confirm the mark, by his simply dismissing your concern with, “Oh, it was way out.” And walking away.
Chuck Kinyon and I played a tournament match last month when the opponent called a ball out on the sideline and both of us immediately questioned him on the call, asking him to check the mark. His response? “Oh, I really didn’t see it (!#$@!); so you can have the point.”
What do you think?
Before coming up to Sarasota, Naples tennis friend Spike Gonzales looked at my draw and the possibility of playing his Buffalo, NY friend Tom LaPenna… and he said, “George, he is a mirror image of you and will gut it out till the end.” And that is who I played today.
Before the match, I said to DeDe that I will have to play a lot of serve/volley and short points to keep the match short; otherwise I will run out of gas from my 2.5 hour match yesterday with Dan Garrick.
I followed my game plan and was able to jump out to a “commanding” 4-1 lead; but as you know, no lead is safe and Tom clawed and cut-shotted his way back to 5-5.
I was able to break him and serve for the first set at 6-5, 40-15 (two set points). Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, he really raised his game and he won 11 of the next 14 points… breaking me and taking the tie breaker in a first set that took well over one hour!
In the second set, I tired some and lost a step and he was serving at 4-1, 30-love when he missed an easy forehand. I turned to the fence and said to DeDe and my life-long friend Steve, “Remember that point.”
With the words of Roy Emerson rattling in my brain again: “Overdue your footwork now, Blue.” I was able to win three consecutive points and set myself up for a game-winning overhead into the open court. But I missed it and all the air went out of my balloon.
I did win one more game; but Tom took the match 7-6, 6-2 in two hours.
For the link to the tournament website, please click HERE
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