Proper Shoes?

running shoesDuring one of the tournament singles matches, one player (who was being beaten soundly at the time) objected to his dominant opponent’s “illegal shoes” and actually quit the match (one game from losing).

What is the rule?

The player complained that his opponent was wearing running shoes and he was digging up the court. I thought that it was just a court maintenance issue and up to the club; but here is the ruling from Friend at Court:

Shoes. A player may not wear shoes that mar or damage the court

Now, if we can only get rid of those bright yellow/orange/green shoes too!!!

A couple of years back, my good friend Tom McCune was playing one of the very few cheaters in the senior tour and was being hooked and harassed all throughout the contentious match. And one of this guy’s crazy “complaints” was that Tom’s Bolle sunglasses were illegal. Of course, that was ridiculous.

Are there any other “illegal” clothing to worry about??

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3 thoughts on “Proper Shoes?

  1. George, I did not know this, and it is interesting that there is a Friend at Court entry on this. I would have thought it is too obscure to be mentioned.

    I can say that, at the grass court tournaments that I have played in the Northeast, the clubs universally have a rule banning so-called “grass court shoes.” Although I can imagine the reason is they don’t want their courts torn up for other competitors let alone the club members when the tournament is over, this always strikes me as odd because, after all, what could “grass court shoes” possibly be made for if not to play on grass courts? I assume the shoe manufacturers have other means to stay in business.

    Also, some may remember the US Open finals match in 1969 when Rod Laver was looking to secure his second Grand Slam and he was playing (and losing to) Tony Roche on a slippery grass court. The story goes that he had a pair of grass court spikes in his bag and got permission from the Chair to use them. Rochey chose to wear regular sneakers because, apparently, the spikes were hard to play in. See The rest, as they say, is history.

    Marty, yes, i guess the special grass court shoes have spikes on them. thanks, george

  2. Even at our age some folks still cannot deal with losing and must find some excuse no matter how absurd.
    I understand that character is pretty much determined by 6-8 years of age. I tend to believe that from some personal observations. I was playing a fellow that I have been competing against since childhood a couple of years ago and late in a 3rd set he called a break point winner out that was clearly good. I let him know in no uncertain terms that we were not going to have that this day

    Ron, Life is too short (to play with cheaters). george

  3. Illegal shoes? The primary issue to me is respecting the club and it’s courts that allows us to compete. For the TDs and clubs to carve out senior tournaments cannot be taken for granted. Most of the pros at these clubs can make more money and have happier members by teaching lessons instead of accommodating us. Too many times I have seen and played against players who ignore the grass court tournament rule about no grass court shoes. The courts do get torn up more by these shoes.
    Shoes that are designed specifically for clay (Har Tru) court play have an all herringbone pattern. Nubbed running shoes obviously are inappropriate and make divots with no advantage that I see. Courtesy and common sense as usual should be the standard.

    Winder, yes, players often forget what the club gives up to host a tournament! thanks, george

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