Changing Your Mind

Jack Moter

You flip the racquet before warming up (which is the way it should be done), you make your choice to serve/receive/side/defer … but then, you change your mind.  Can you?

The Rule

Jack Moter writes, According to Friend at Court, “the coin toss should be done and choices made before the warmup.  If the warm-up is stopped and the players leave the court, the original toss stands, but new choices may be made by both players/teams.”

However, during the warmup, if either player/team decides that they have made the wrong choice (possibly because of the sun or wind), may they change their choice before the first point is played?

Example:  Before warmup, Team A won toss and elected to serve.  Team B chose south side.  Before first point is played, can Team B decide they want to start on the north side?

Like Playing Chess

This is a good question … and the situation has happened to me.  My belief is that it is like playing chess/checkers… the move is not official as you are moving your piece and placing it down; but stands when you take your hand off the piece.

In my opinion, you cannot make your choice and then change your mind after you start warming up into the sun/wind; or change your mind after you choose “side” and your opponents surprise you and choose to receive.  There is a brief time (two seconds? four seconds?) after you make your choice that you can say, “No, I mean ….”  And then “correct” your call.

That is what I think.  What do you think?

National Indoors

Congratulations to friend Don Long for winning a singles silver ball and a bronze in doubles with Evert Jonsson and Brent Abel (singles silver and doubles gold) at the National 70/75 Indoor Championships this week in Houston.

And deep in the results is the amazing Winder Bill, who had some great results + oh, yeah, Jimmy Parker won another gold ball in singles … what is that, something like 130 of them?!?!  For all the details, click HERE

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3 thoughts on “Changing Your Mind

  1. Given the quote from Friend in Court coming from Jack Moter, it would seem once the choice of side/ serving has been made it cannot be changed (at least unilaterally) unless the players leave the warmup and then have to come back. While that latter issue is not explained, I surmise it is referring to something like a rain or wind storm abruptly coming in while warmup is ongoing. If the players have to leave the court because of something like that, then it seems appropriate to allow the winner of the toss to reconsider because the circumstances that existed when the original side/ service choice was made may have changed.

    BUT, here is a more interesting question that I don’t know the answer to but have an opinion about: That is, what if both sides want to change their choices after the warmup is concluded but before the match starts, or one side wants to change but the other side does not object? We do things similar to this all the time in matches — even tournament matches with officials. For example, we decide to “play a let” when there is uncertainty over a line call. Or we stipulate that the score “must be” deuce because the server just served to the ad side and a number of points have already been played in the game but nobody on the court can remember the exact score.

    So, why should it be any different if all of the players agree to a change in the sides or service order before a match begins? Yes, it is technically inconsistent with the rule that such choices are supposed to be made before the warmup starts. But why would/ should it matter if the players themselves do not care? I submit that it should not matter but that is just my opinion. I don’t know of a rule or policy on this.

    Marty, i agree with you … if all agree to change, should be ok. george

  2. I agree generally except with playing a “let” in tournament play. It seems the theory that the ball is either “in or out” is correct and if a question arises in the callers mind the idea of I “cannot call it out applies”.

    Ralph, I agree that “let’s play a let” is usually a cop out. Thanks. George

  3. At the risk of over-thinking this issue: Scheduling the “coin flip/racquet spin” before the warmup leads, in some cases, to choices made on incomplete information. That’s why in most unofficiated matches, the players choose to make their choices after the warmup. For example, in a doubles match, you find out which opponent seems to have the stronger serve. You also might discover that one of your opponents is a lefty. And let’s assume that the lefty has the stronger serve. Given the opportunity, your team might use this information to make a choice to cause the lefty to either serve into the wind, serve with the sun in his face, or be the second on that team to serve. The insight gained during warmup allowed this strategy to be developed (unless you already are familiar with both opponents). So I favor a rule change to have the coin flip occur after the warmup, or if the rule is not changed, to allow a choice to be changed during/after the warmup before the first point is played.

    Jack, who would ever accuse you (or me!) of over thinking anything?! So if you choose sides after the warm up, who gets to choose sides FOR the warmup? And to play Devil’s Advocate, let’s say you start the doubles match and after the first return game, you “decide” you would be better off switching return sides with your partner. Let them do it? Thanks. George

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