Whose Job Is It?

The player runs in to get a drop shot and ALMOST gets there; but it bounces twice before it is hit over the net.  Whose responsibility is it to call “Not up” or “two bounces”?

Shame on Maria?

Former Dartmouth tennis coach Chuck Kinyon says in Maria Sharapova’s second round match at the US Open that happened and NOBODY made the call.  The replay showed that the ball did bounce twice and John McEnroe (of all people) blamed the chair umpire for not calling it; but should the blame be on Ms. Sharapova?

The rule states that the player should make the call on themselves – and we hackers often do (or, our doubles partner does for us); but the pros have come to rely on the lines people and chair umpires to make the calls.

And the many of the chair umpires have stopped doing their jobs of over-ruling what looks like a bad line call by the lines people, making the players stop play and make an official replay challenge.

Defaulting on Honor

I once got into a very heated argument with a friend who insisted in an officiated match, he never overrules the line call – even if it is in his favor and he knows it is a wrong call.  My position was that you still have the responsibility to CORRECT the call that was in your favor (by a lines person or by your opponent) if you clearly saw it the other way.

What do you think… who is doing their job and who not??

“Man Down on Court” … update

From Mark Wirth, who “went down” at Newk’s … “Here is an update on my health issue.  Since Newk’s, I have gone to the cardiologist twice for follow-up tests.  The first day was for another EKG and physical exam.  The second day was for an ECG and stress tests.  I am awaiting the final results for all but based on my discussions with the cardiologist he was looking at this as a one-off as all looked normal with my tests.  The fact that my episode was not accompanied by any dizziness, nausea, chest pains, or shortness of breath and only lasted a couple of minutes was very positive in his eyes. I am feeling good and have started playing again this weekend.  That has helped me start to feel normal again.”

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6 thoughts on “Whose Job Is It?

  1. Glad to hear that friend Mark Wirth is feeling better and is back to playing tennis. Quite a scare for those of us on and near his court at Newk’s when it happened.

    As for the issue of calling double bounces on oneself, I am not sure the present rules at the pro level even allow a mechanism for a pro to call such a ball on him or herself in a completely officiated match, despite the fact that the USTA’s rules do require it at the amateur level. (See my comment about Jack Sock below for what I mean by this.) That is an issue that could be debated, or maybe somebody more familiar with the ITF rules can elaborate on what are the actual pro rules on this.

    However, expanding the topic a bit, I think the pros should have a responsibility to call balls on EVERY shot where a linesman or the chair umpire makes a mistake in favor of a player and the benefited player knows it was a mistake, and I would support a rule change (if one is necessary) to allow this in pro matches.

    I seem to recall Jack Sock calling a line against himself in a match against Leiyton Hewitt a year or two ago when the linesman and chair umpire blew it. (Jack actually told Leiyton to challenge the call, as I recall, which was the only way apparently for the players procedurally to overrule the chair.) My estimation of Jack Sock went up a thousand percent when I saw him do that, and I think this is true of many of his fans. I now cheer for Jack in virtually every match that he plays, not only because he is so personable and such a fun player to watch but also because he showed himself to be a true sportsman with that gesture.

    However, over the years, I have only seen gestures like this happening in a handful of other pro matches. Specifically, I think I remember that John McEnroe (of all people!) hit a shot into the stands to concede when a couple of bad calls had gone against Bjorn Borg back in the early 1980s. And Mats Wilander famously insisted on replaying match point in the semi-final of the French Open 1982 against Jose Louis-Clerc because Clerc complained about a call, even though the chair umpire had already called the match in Wilander’s favor. I think that Courier and Nadal have also done something similar a few times in their pro careers.

    I am sure there have been other examples with the pros, but they are rare. I wish they were not so rare. It endears the pro athletes to the fans and shows that, despite so much money and prestige being at issue, at least some of them have integrity and fairness.

    Marty, the sad thing is, in most pro sports, the players try to “sell” the call in their favor, even knowing they are wrong. Think of the baseball player who holds the ball up in his glove (knowing he has trapped it) or the football player who claims he didn’t do whatever he is being flagged for; or the the basketball players who “flop” when touched. Sad commentary and poor example for kids. george

  2. I was going to severely criticize Sharapova, then I saw the beach pic you posted and decided to let it go.

    John, she does have some redeeming qualities! 🙂

  3. Honesty should rule over everything. The player who hits the double bounce knows. If a partner sees a bad call by his partner he should just be honest. Seems pretty simple to me.

    Dave, somehow simplicity doesn’t always rule. george

  4. It is the chair umpire’s call. He or she blew it. In the chair’s defense it is, in most instances, the most difficult call that one has to make. In defense of the player, 99% of the time they are positive that they made contact before the second bounce. There are few times that the “not up” is obvious.

    Gerry, thanks for your “official” point of view. george

  5. The “coming at you rule”. Ball coming at you and takes 2 bounces before you hit it – your call. You hit ball and it bounces on your court prior to crossing net and reaching opponent – his call.

    Bob, i did not know that! thanks, george

  6. George – In light of all the “harassment/predator” news stories, I am shocked you would use the young Maria Sharapova to drive traffic to your blog! A photo of the more relevant (to our age group) and still lovely Racquel Welch would be more appropriate LOL ….I am glad your friend is doing better!

    Mark, we may be getting older, but we can still THINK younger. george

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