Premature Evaluation

What happens if you are running for a shot and you say something that distracts/hinders your opponents.  Is it OK or a hindrance?

“Nice shot!”

I was playing a doubles match and one of my opponents hit a sliced drop shot.  I started to move towards; but thought I couldn’t get there and said, “Nice shot!”  But the ball bounced up higher than it was supposed to; and I lunged and got it back.

But my opponents had both stopped playing because of what I said; and my shot went easily by them for a winner.

The “no talking rule” says that I CAN talk as the ball is coming towards me (but not as it is going the other way); but could my words be construed as a hindrance?

“I can’t get it!”

A similar situation happened to me playing a singles tournament match vs. a known “gamesman.”  I hit a drop shot and as he was running towards it, he said, “I can’t get it!”

I stopped playing … and he got to it and dropped it back over the net for a winner.

Now, in the first example, my exclamation was purely unintentional; but I am sure in the second example (based on many other examples with this player) that his was INTENTIONAL.

Does that make a difference and what should the ruling be??

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3 thoughts on “Premature Evaluation

  1. Easy – if a reasonable interpretation (intended or not) is a communication to your opponent indicating capitulation – point over – it is like an out call on ball that is in, loss of point.

    Winder, sounds logical. thanks, george

  2. I’m a “talker” – largely as a means of dealing with my nerves whilst playing, as I’m also a known “choker”. Beer also helps.

    So, I have lots of experience with my noise causing problems. I would consider both of your examples to be “hindrances”, and, if I had made either of those utterances, I would have offered the opponent the point, asking if my actions had caused a hindrance. I’m also aware that my “talking” can be considered “gamesmanship”, and have attempted to curtail it, though seldom totally successfully. I *do* try to be quick to offer hindrances if any of my noises seemed to distract an opponent. Mostly I’ve just learnt that I’m going to get on certain types (all?) of players nerves. 🙁

    I understand how one could see the two instances as differing in “intent”, but it seems to me that the “result” of the action – stopping play – would be the determining factor.

    I can also see how certain non-verbal actions could be misleading to an opponent, and maybe less clear as to their being a “hindrance”. For example, I recall once casually half volleying a ball near the baseline back in a manner suggesting that I thought the ball was (going to be?) out. I don’t really recall whether I then acted “surprised” that it hadn’t actually landed out, or even whether I immediately moved back to a ready position. I *do* recall that my opponent/friend stopped play and was *pissed* when I announced that the ball was in and that I had played it and hadn’t made an overt indication that the ball was out, whatever my “body English” had implied. 🙂 Don’t remember whether I took the point or not. He always beat me, anyway. 🙂 Thought it might be fun for discussion.

    Oh, and that reminds of *another* related situation. Was kind of surprised that it caused an opponent consternation. His team had lobbed us and, as my partner was casually chasing it down (I think we both thought it was going out), I suddenly yelled “it’s good!”. He lobbed it back and, when the opponent blew the overhead, climbed my butt about hollering about the goodness of the previous lobbed. I merely apologized, as I didn’t understand that it could have caused a problem. 🙂 This player has also accused me of playing “pu**y” tennis because I always announce the score prior to serving. 🙂 OCD can be terribly misunderstood. 🙂

    Kevin, on your several points …
    * Intent, you are right, probably makes no difference (did my hat blow off or did i knock it off … still a hindrance)
    * Reading body language — your opponent’s problem, not yours
    * Calling it good – again, perfectly ok and your opponent’s problem
    * Announcing the score – rules require it and not enough players do it … resulting into “what is the score?” debates.
    thanks, george

  3. My eyesight isn’t so good nowadays George – I thought for a moment when I read your heading that you were referring to a different kind of premature excitement ! Surely not on a tennis court ?! Just as well I suppose that I carried on reading. Now I need a cold shower !
    The short answer I suppose is less talk, more action !
    Happy New Year

    So Howard, you don’t suppose my headline was intentionally close, do you?! george

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