Real Tennis Players - Like You! - Asking For, and Offering, Advice on the Sport They Love
Player to Player is USTA.com’s regular feature in which everyday tennis players are given a forum to ask advice on the sport they love – and their fellow players will dish out advice. We’ll post a number of the best responses we receive to our question of the week.
Player to Player:
This week's question from Evan:
Has anyone found a way to enjoy tennis without aggravating a lower-back disc problem? I know I should not serve, but could I do an abbreviated serve motion, or should I just not play tennis at all? What gym machines are safe to use? Only the stationary bike and treadmill? Is jogging OK? Would love to get some advice from others who have had this problem.
Please share your thoughts by e-mailing Player@USTA.com and include your name and hometown.
Got a question of your own? Send that along, too!
READ OTHER PLAYERS' ADVICE
Last week's question from Mary:
(Please note: There's no need to send additional responses to this question.)
Recently, my son played a match, and the dad of his opponent was watching and was verbally abusive to my son. Not only did he call him a cheater, but he verbally abused him on a personal level. When my husband calmly confronted him, he loudly continued his abuse. Now the two boys, who were once doubles partners, are antagonistic towards each other. Is there any rule that penalizes a parent who verbally abuses and badmouths his child's opponent?
From Bill, New Haven, Conn.:
Where was the tournament director in the midst of this situation? Neither spectators, parents, nor coaches are able to make line calls -- only the players themselves. The parent of the victim should have notified the tournament director and given him a chance to observe what was going on. Were both players making correct line calls? If one was not, then a line judge should have been placed on the court. Were there neutral witnesses to the alleged verbal abuse by the one parent? Then, if the facts were correct, the abusive parent should have been summarily directed off of the tournament grounds and a report sent on to the sectional USTA office.
From Robert, Honolulu:
You better believe there are rules for this. Out here in Hawaii, we have had problems with poor sportsmanship with players, parents and other family members getting into the act.
Your officials and the tournament director should have been made aware of the situation immediately. But, after the fact, you can lodge a grievance with your local USTA office. I think that you should contact them immediately and report this other gentleman and his bullying tactics. If you wait, your son's tennis time will slip by, and this guy will continue this with other families, too.
Even out here in the Aloha State, we have had to deal with poor sports, on and off the court. You are not alone in this.
From Coach Poppie, Palm Bay, Fla.:
Yes, there are rules and codes governing this conduct. More importantly, it’s how your player deals with this type of situation. Parents getting involved with another parent courtside is not in the best interest of their players. The opponent’s father must have some influence over his son. Most boys that are close and are put in this type of situation would feel embarrassed and would blow off a loud-mouth dad. However, continued antagonistic behavior towards each other means the issue is not being dropped. Now is the time for the betterment of the game and your players' well being to make amends between you folks. Find a way to step up and put an end to this, or it will haunt all of you, interfering with your enjoyment of the game and what little time as parents you have with your players. Make Peace not War. Learn Practice Play.
From Nestor, Florida:
The answer to your question is yes. A parent can not only be penalized, but his son can also be sanctioned and even banned from competition. What you are describing happened to my son two times during his junior years in Florida. The procedure after an occurrence like the one you are describing is simple: begin a formal complaint with the tournament referee, and if no result is obtained, you can keep moving up the chain of command with a formal complaint. In my case and in both instances, the parents were banned from attending further competition, and written apologies were given to my son. If further occurrences happened, the son would have suffered more detrimental consequences. My advice is to not let this go unnoticed and to file a complaint.
From Eric, Santa Rosa, Calif.:
If he was personally insulting to your kid to this abusive degree, then I would bet it was not his first offense. It should be his last, if you can just document it.
The caveman approach of hitting him in the nose would be satisfying but would send the wrong message, since you might get arrested. Use your cell phone or another hi-tech device to record his words and, if possible, video his bad act. Tennis officials at any tourney will now know both his face and his offensive modus operandi. It is their help that you need, since it is not a criminal act. In order to get some help from them, you need more than hearsay evidence.
If you cannot manage recordings as a best direct evidence approach, then get a witness or, best, a notary public to certify a statement from any other person who has seen or heard this guy using abusive language to any junior player. If he ever does this again, he should be banned from attending.
Good luck. This abusive guy needs to be sent a stern message to grow up.