“Don’t Sit Down!”

It is a hot day and you just finished a long first set … took a break … and then played the first game of the second set and are crossing over again.  Can you or your opponent sit down on this change over?  NO!

TV Time Out

The same player who wrote about the too-short five-minute warmup writes, “This makes no sense for Senior Tennis — or for that matter any tennis other than the pros.’

“For those who don’t know the history, the no-sit down rule after the first game of each set was implemented to keep viewers on TV from leaving after the first game to go do something else.   Does it make any sense for Senior tennis?  Ridiculous question unless maybe it’s being televised (I’m still waiting for my TV debut).”

I agree with the writer… many of us are playing senior tennis for our HEALTH; so why endanger your health over a silly rule?  (By the way, I usually do not sit down on any changeover… I find that I stiffen up if I do!).

What do you think?

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5 thoughts on ““Don’t Sit Down!”

  1. I don’t think even us Seniors should need a sit-down after the first game unless mutually agreed with our opponents for health reasons, eg on a very hot day or after an unusually long first game. Many of the pros are behaving outrageously, milking time delays as much as they can, eg the Spanish King of Clay & the blond Russian lady (you know who I mean) !
    I believe they used to schedule 5 matches per day at Wimbledon on most Courts in the good old days & without tie-breaks. That was because the players got on with it just as the rest of us still do with or without TV cameras – the sooner we’re done, the sooner we can enjoy a cold beer !
    Happy New Year George

    Howard, and a Happy New Year to you! george

  2. In a USTA league match, we lost a close first set, then won the second set as one opponent was getting tired and slowing down. We went into the match tiebreak, and he sat down after the first point, and again after point # 5. I stated the “no-sit-down” rule; and he ignored it. No official, nor neither team captain was present. This was “outright cheating”, but it did not matter to him. Fortunately, we won the match. The rules are there; let’s play by them, or get them changed. As George stated, there is no sit-down after the first game of any set; and there i s no sit-down during a tiebreak of any sort. If the set ends on an even number of games, like 6-4, 7-5, you can stop and take a two-minute break; then go back out to the same end of the court for the first game of the next set. There is no sit-down after the first game of the next set.
    Wendall Walker, Clearwater/St.Pete

    Wendall, when someone is in as great physical condition as you…. george

  3. Happy New Year George!

    I always read your newsletters and thanks for doing this–they are fun, enjoyable, and educational. Thank you for helping build the spirit and culture of senior tennis!

    But I have to say that you’re off base on this one. Please, please, please it’s time to get over this very good rule change dudes!

    This rule change to no longer allow a sit down or normal change of side break after the first game of a set is brilliant and long overdue. It makes total sense for beginners, tennis professionals, and seniors of all ages. Even if there are health issues this rule makes sense. Maybe there should be a rule that allows a rest after every game for the 90’s or 95’s, but for us young bucks in the 85’s and younger can handle this rule easily.

    The way tennis is played, two consecutive games can be shorter than one game and one game can be longer than two games. It’s just the way things go in the great sport of tennis. After a substantial rest we can certainly handle three games without a longer break. So many times in the old days the first game would go fast with new balls and both players getting warmed up, and then sitting down is so weird.

    The biggest issue you missed the boat on is that this new rule (actually it was made many years ago) is coupled with an even more important and positive rule change. We can now sit down after the first set is over, even if it’s an even game score. In the old days if we lost the first set on an even score we were then forced to start the next game without even a break or a change over. This new rule allows players to collect our thoughts and prepare for the second set, and thank heavens.

    This part of the rule means that before every first game of the set there is a substantial sit-down break to rest, recover, and analyze your strategy. It also means that before every first game you have had a significant time to rest. Playing one game and then resting again makes no sense. After one game, a player still has time to walk to the other side, change the score card, and grab a drink and towel off standing up on the game change.

    From my point of view I feel like I’m often playing people who don’t know the rules, forgot the rules, or don’t care. So often I have to say to my opponent that there is `no break after the first game’. Wait, what? Once my opponent thought I was saying that no service breaks were allowed after the first game! 🙂

    And to finish my year off with another strong opinion i need to say loudly that hitting an underhand serve is perfectly fine! As a player and coach I encourage this option for the following reasons:

    1. It’s legal so why not?

    2. It’s certainly ethical even though most people don’t do it and consider it `bush’. Why is serving underhand `bush’ or even `underhanded’. I don’t get that.

    3. I have been in a situation where on bad serving days my opponent is taking my somewhat weak kick serve and crushing it. After this happens a few times I try something new like an underhand serve. Generally, but not always, this makes a difference and gets my opponent thinking or even angry at me???

    4. Hitting a legal serve is no worse than hitting a two-handed backhand, a topspin lob, a drop shot, a wide slice serve, or a low toss. (who would hit a low toss serve?) 🙂

    5. When serving on a really sunny side an underhand serve can be the best option.

    6. I’ve had students hit underhand serves successfully in competition when they lost faith in their serve which many of has have experienced.

    7. And the element of surprise is certainly fair game. Or should we say in advance, “Just so you know I’m going to hit a drop shot this next point”, or” I’m going to serve and volley on this serve just so I don’t surprise you.” 🙂

    8. It takes skill to hit an underhand serve. with practice I’ve hit several winning underhand serves that have won me important points. Is there something wrong with that?

    I look forward to seeing your responses to see what I may be missing so we can have a fun and meaningful conversation!

    Happy New Year to all my senior brothers!


    PS Full disclosure: I have a comedy routine called the `The 57 Legal Serves’ that I do that demonstrates a wide variety of unusual and colorful serves. Some of you might question their legality. Go ahead sue me! 🙂 I think you’d all be amused.

    Laury, some really great points! As I wrote earlier, I normally don’t sit down ANYTIME during a match. But I also do like the new break after every set to calm your mind and develop a winning strategy. On the underhander, it is much like a drop shot in many ways (both with pros and cons). Thanks for sharing your thoughts. George

  4. Happy New Year – best wishes for an entertaining, injury free year of tennis
    I like the no sit, short break after 1st game and the break at end of set even on even games.
    What changed for me going right to playing after warming up – the warm up and then 3 straight games without a break might be a little too much except I now take a break in between the end of warm up and the start of 1st point. Not a long break but it helps for me. Legal and appropriate?
    Once again on underhand serve – absolutely OK UNLESS it is a quick serve. Some people who never would quick serve overhanded (obviously inappropriate ) seem to think a quick serve underhanded is OK. The returner should know the serve is coming whether overhanded or underhanded serve.
    See you in Naples at the first winter series tournament, the doubles only tier III – should be fun!

    Winder, i also “go to the towel” after the warmup and before the first game. see you soon. george

  5. It seems most prefer not to sit down. Laury is right in that an additional 30 seconds of sit down was added depending on the number of games the set takes. However, my point is what are we trying to achieve here? To speed up play? From my experience most players while standing up take a minute or so to towel off, drink, etc. and then change sides. So what difference does it make whether you sit down or stand up during that minute. Are we really trying to be so tough that regardless of age , you must stand up! It sounds like we’ve added a conditioning requirement. To me who cares whether you stand up or sit down as long as it takes the same amount of time.

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