Thursday, May 12, 2016

Tennis Partner Etiquette

Tennis is a great sport. A student told me he thought tennis was a lot more fun than running. "Of course," I said, "You never see a runner with a smile on their face."

But you know, tennis is not always fun, especially if you are having a bad day. Your returns are not working. Your serve "sucks." And you miss an easy shot that would have won your team the game.

What do you do?  Well, some players will invite others to take their place, and just sit out.  If you are over the age of 50, and you are playing at capacity, there's nothing  wrong with sitting out.  In fact I encourage it.  It's better to take a break. Sit out and play another day.

There's an acceptable way of stepping off the court when you're having a bad day, or heaven forbid, your not feeling well.

While others might disagree, I would first: "communicate with my partner," and maybe say something along the lines of : " I'm not feeling well," Partner, would you mind if I ask (Joe Blow) to fill in.  I'm not myself it seems?" 

I think asking someone to fill in for you without discussing with your partner the circumstances of your desiring to stop play, or "quit," or whether your partner has an objection, is unfair to your opponents who have put together a team, and trying to win the match, and disrespectful to anyone who agree to accept, or play with you as a partner (Maybe your partner and Joe Blow don't get along); this is especially true if you implied the day before: "Whether the player would be available for the weekly match, and they told you yes."

Finally, and after the match, whether you, as the new partner, was on the winning team or not, common courtesy, in my opinion, would suggest that after the last point of the match, regardless of how badly you played, you would seek out and thank your partner, whether selected, or chosen for playing with you rather, rather than rushing to the net to  "fist bump" your opponents, and have to have your partner seek you out to  "Thank you!" before he shakes hands, or "fist bump" with your opponent.  But hey, that's just me.  Like most winners know: "It's lonely at the top."

Tennis as you can see is not all fun and games, but it can be with the right attitude among players.

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