Which is the Mark?

Now that the pros are into the clay court season, the old line call disputes are happening again.  But there are things that can be done to reduce/eliminate them.

Use HawkEye

The tennis traditionalists have ruled the day and are NOT using the Hawk Eye (or similar camera-aided systems) to solve a disputed line call.  Instead, the chair umpire climbs down and runs to the line to look at a mark and make their decision – which is frequently still challenged by the losing player.

Granted, the computer-camera system is not perfect either; but the players have come to accept its “verdict” on in/out and saved a lot of useless discussion time.

Clear Old Marks

OK, if you are NOT going to use the cameras, why don’t the ball kids come out on every change over and use their feet to erase all marks that are close to a line?  That way, at least the player and the umpire will have much less confusion as to “which is the right mark?”.

How About Us?

And while we senior hackers are playing, why don’t more people simply erase marks that are close to the lines; so they too can make better, more accurate line calls?

What do you think?

Hip Surgery Update

On Friday, I was able to meet with Dr. Zehr, who does the front/anterior hip replacement surgery … and was accepted/approved to move forward!  And… we now have a replacement surgery date in just TEN DAYS of May 9th!!

Thanks to all friends who have urged me to …

  • Get it done as soon as possible and,
  • Get it done using the dramatically less invasive front/anterior approach.

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10 thoughts on “Which is the Mark?

  1. Good luck with the surgery, George. Will you be in New Hampshire this season? If so, do you have any idea when? We will be up for stretches in Vermont and, whether you can hit a ball or not, it would be great to get together.

    FYI, the Chris Lewit Tennis Academy, which is only about a mile and a half down the road from us in Londonderry, will be having a high level men’s open prize money doubles tournament in late July on its two red clay courts. The tournament is expected to attract top 200 – 300 level ATP players, college players, and the like. While obviously not a tournament for old guys to play, this was a great event for the locals to watch last year and I expect it will be the same this year. What’s better than sitting back in your lounge chair surrounded by beautiful scenery, eating some BBQ, popping open a beer, and watching some world class doubles being played on red clay only a few feet away?

    Marty. We will be going up to New Hampshire when I can manage the three day drive, but will surely be there for July, August and half of September. Would be great to visit. Thanks. George

  2. George,

    Good luck with the surgery. With your high fitness level, I am sure your will recover quickly. Larry

    Larry, thanks! George

  3. George: When I was Referee for the Volvo International in North Conway, NH, from 1975-1985 on red clay, I used a process I first saw in Japan.

    At almost every changeover the ballkids would softly sweep on each side of the sidelines and baselines and service lines with a kitchen broom, thus removing all old marks and also leaving a little residual dusting of clay on the line itself so a line ball would make a clear mark. This worked like a charm!! Sean Sloane

    Sean, so why isn’t it done now?? George

  4. Good luck to our Tennis Ambassador on his new hip! I expect you to be faster than all of us by the fall.

    Dave, anything will be better than the way i am now! thanks, george

  5. George,
    Prayers for a successful procedure and a speedy recovery. Looking forward to seeing you at 100% in October.

    Brian, thanks for the good wishes and looking forward to running in October! george

  6. george. as you know, im a big advocate of circling the mark on close calls. to me, it’s about trust. in a tournament, when an opponent (who you do not know) calls a ball out that is right at the line on a big point, and then casually walks away, it creates distrust. your thought, at
    the time is, “didnt that ball hit the line?”.
    if, however, he circles the mark he sees with confidence, it reassures me. and, i can always check out the mark on changeover.
    good luck next week. keep us all in the loop.

    Joe, that is exactly how i feel… if they don’t circle, that says to me they either don’t have a mark or don’t want me to see it. thanks, george

  7. Speedy recovery. You make tennis a better sport.

    Anthony, thanks for both! george

  8. George, good luck with the surgery. Emmo will be looking for you in October. Broke my wrist playing in January, and damaged my spleen in a fall 2 weeks ago. Maybe time to quit trying for the Charlie Hustle Award (Na, just kidding, if I think it is in reach, I’m going for it).

    Dave, i have a NH friend who is like that and i keep telling him to learn to just say, “Nice shot.” george

  9. Implied obligation to circle the mark – another point of view – I had the good fortune to watch Fred Kovaleski compete (All – American at William and Mary and over 70 gold ball winner). His real life in the CIA competing undercover in middle east tennis tournaments was the model for Robert Culp’s role in “I Spy” with Bill Cosby.
    He made calls (and I never saw an incorrect call) and never showed any interest in the opponent’s reaction – if he was questioned, he would say the ball was out and continue on to the next point. If his opponent made a close call and was explaining it, he quickly said “in or out?” and moved on without being interested in further discussion. My amateur psychological analysis was that he 1) had no insecurity about what his opponent might think – his obligation was to make the right call and he did – he did not worry about what was in his opponent’s mind, worrying whether his opponent might not think he was a good guy making good calls ( I know I care, have a need for my opponent to understand I am a good guy and make good calls but see that part of that comes from insecurity, needing reinforcement). His total focus on competing certainly had a part in his exceptional winning percentage.
    Social tennis of course has more of an obligation for the participants to ensure good feelings including the interaction on close line calls.
    Just giving a real life example of the opposite of circling marks as good concept.

    Winder, and he could probably whip your butt if you challenged his call! thanks, george

  10. Good luck with your new hip ! One other little thing I noticed : Make sure they measure both your legs before cutting you . ( most everybody has one leg a bit longer than the other ) I had my April 1st surgery date in San Diego but still came to Florida in January and played the tournaments . There I found a Doctor with a great rep, I thought , who could do it by the middle of February ! Cool ! I could be back playing a month sooner ! So I actually went through the whole prep process in Sarasota before finally choosing to getting my hip done in Grossmont Hospital in San Diego . ( my wife convinced me to wait , and it only cost me like $26 with Medicare and a good supplemental ) Only the San Diego people measured my legs before the surgery . Just information. As you have mentioned , the Anterior way is the best . It takes 6 weeks to stop using a cane , as I remember . Funny thing : I went in for a checkup about 5 1/2 weeks after my surgery , and was just a bit worried as I still needed my cane . They checked me and said , ” You won’t need the cane much longer . ” Sure enough 2 days later , no more cane … He told me , ” No restrictions . ”

    Bob, yes, this Doc not only checks hip alignment before surgery, but DURING surgery too! Glad to hear you are on the mend. george

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