Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to play with a tournament official

Kristianne Bontempo | Towpath Tennis Employee | Online Shop Manager 


We've had another successful year at the Akron Open thanks to all the players and volunteers who participated. We had quite a few exciting matches filled with fist pumps, dives, and un-returnable winners. However, despite having the majority of our matches running with not so much of a hiccup, there were some courts that had a little different outcome. There were questions on scores, tiebreakers, and rulings from double bounces, foot faults, to nicking a ball in the air.  Luckily there's always a tournament official on hand to settle any disputes but we'd like to review how to utilize an official and what to do when there isn't one around. 
 
All USTA sanctioned tournaments will have a roaming official, meaning they will move from court to court and assist when needed. However, what many players don't realize is that when you have an official on your court and you're hoping for an overrule on a call or a clarification on a rule, you have to request for one. So if you're wondering about a line call that your opponent called out, ask the official what they saw.
 
On the other hand, if you're in the middle of a match and you have a discrepancy or question when the official is nowhere nearby, what do you do? Two things, stop play and signal for a spectator to get an official or wait on the court until one comes around. If you decide to play on after openly questioning the call, warn your opponent that you will be requesting an official to overlook the match.
 
Remember, playing a match with an official on your court is actually a good thing--unless of course if you're knowingly cheating. An indication in the quality of any tournament is if there is an official around keeping order on the courts. Imagine them as a supportive teammate and if they make an overrule or call against you, you may question it but listen to what they have to say and most important--DO NOT argue. We can all appreciate the benefit of having a tournament official so at the end of your match, don't forget to thank them for their time.


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