The Fauxpology: why do it?

John Newcombe

You hit a cross-court forehand that would have been a probable winner, but it clips the top of the tape and dribbles over.  You raise your hand and say , “Sorry.”  Are you really?

John Newcombe Says…

You don’t see LeBron James “apologize” when he gets a favorable bounce off the rim or any golfer when his putt rims around the cup and falls in.  Newk calls what tennis players do a “Faux-pology” and is something you shouldn’t even bother with.

Killer Overheads

Or you have a sitter at the net in doubles and you drive it at your opponent.  Do you say “Sorry”?  Did the defensive lineman say “Sorry” to Tom Brady when he drove him to the ground on a perfectly legal quarterback sack?

Tennis is a game of grace, honesty and tradition; but Newk thinks this one can be stored with white tennis balls and all-white outfits.

What do you think?

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16 thoughts on “The Fauxpology: why do it?

  1. Whenever I have “good luck” or a “favorable bounce”, my usual response (to the world) is, “I’m grateful”.

  2. I never say I am sorry anymore. However, if I am friendly with the opponent, I might say something snarky like “Just like I planned it.”

  3. I forgot to include this: But, if a ball that I hit has inadvertently hit an opponent, I will normally apologize and let him or her know I did not mean it ….. except in some limited cases when I did mean it.

    Marty, i agree… that is what i do. george

  4. George, my thoughts are when you stop being nice to someone we are heading in the wrong direction. A hands up sorry also means I’m glad it didn’t fall back over on my side. I for one do not like the way some football players and basketball players and some tennis players act while playing.

    OhioJack, i HATE the after-tackle dance! george

  5. I usually say “Sorry, well, not that sorry!” But Newk is correct-I am not sorry at all–generally thrilled, actually!!

  6. However, I do think that the ritual of the apology is sportsmanlike in a way and dignifies the game overall.

  7. I think it’s just fine to hold up your hand and note the moment. But I wouldn’t call it an apology. I think we’re simply acknowledging that we benefited from an accident — an event clearly not the product of intention. That’s all.

  8. If I nail a volley into my opponents crotch or sternum, I normally raise a hand in peace. I can’t help it, I’m a child of the 60’s!

    Jim, but was it on purpose? george

  9. One of the many joys of senior tennis is by far most of us put sportsmanship and manners on a high pedestal still. Sorry is still okay, and yes Howie, sorry!

  10. It’s a way of saying I got lucky, but I’m not sorry!

    And I’m pretty sure that Marty has never hit anyone “inadvertently”!!!!!!

  11. Responding to Jeff Sands: I can honestly say that, during the vast majority of times that I have wound up striking someone with a tennis ball, I really did not intend to hit that person with the ball. Of course, I must admit that I have occasionally hit shots that might have a greater propensity to strike a person than others — like rifling a return of serve straight at the net man’s head or chest on a weak serve in doubles. But is it my fault the net man may have lead feet and/or the reflexes of a cow in that kind of situation? I contend that it is not.

    Except for my friend, Bob Weber. Bob and I have a several decades old tradition that the first one between us who manages to hit the other with the ball gets bragging rights until the next tennis match. Over the years, I have received many bruises from Bob, but I have also inflicted many bruises on him too. If I did not like and respect Bob and his game so much it would not be so much fun to play dodge ball with him on the court. However, I repeat… this is the exception to the rule.

  12. I forgot one anecdote: During the early days of Tennis Fantasies, one year Bob Weber and I were on the same team — the Musclemen. Back in those days, Ken Rosewall was physically present as our coach. Bob and I were on opposite sides of a doubles set during the Monday team practice and, as usual, we were trying to knock each others’ head off with the ball whenever we got a chance. We were deriving great joy and pleasure from doing this …. laughing at and trash talking each other almost as much as we were playing seriously in the set. Muscles — ever the gentleman — was standing at the side of the court watching us go at it with a look of sheer horror on his face. Finally, I guess he could not stand saying nothing any longer. He asked, “I thought you guys were friends?” Whereupon, Bob responded with something like, “We are, Ken. You should see how we play with opponents that we don’t like.” At that point, Muscles could not stand it any longer and walked away to watch another court. To this day, I don’t think he ever understood.

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