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How to Challenge a Call

When you feel that your opponent made an incorrect call, it's important to know the rules regarding how to correctly challenge that call. The protocol is pretty clear on this:

"Player/s makes calls on their side of the net. A player calls all shots landing on, or aimed at, his side of the net. 

Questioning the line call - A player may ask his opponent about his call by the query: “Are you sure of your call?” There shall be no further delay or discussion. If the opponent reaffirms that the ball was out, his call shall be accepted. If the opponent acknowledges that he is uncertain, he loses the point." When an opponent delays in making the call or when they say " I think it was out" that is a sure sign of doubt and the ball should be called in. 

Furthermore, the challenger is NOT to cross the net to the opponent's side of the court unless invited, nor are they to call their coach/pro/captain to arbitrate or enter the courts at any time. The coach/pro/captain are not to make any calls from the sidelines, they can only observe. It is the players responsibility to resolve. 

Line Calls in Competitive matches or Tournaments: 

  1. For competitive matches, players should request a neutral line judge or one that they all agree on. 
  2. The line judge will not over rule line calls made unless asked to do so by the player/s.
  3. If no line judge is available, you have two choices, if the opponent continues to make poor calls, indicate that the match will be played under protest and that it will be appealed. Or, simply pack up your belongings and walk off the court, but make sure the match is protested as it is important that the league/tournament directors are made aware of players who continually make poor line calls. 
Knowing the protocol of challenging a call is important to avoid arguments and maintain an atmosphere of courtesy on the court.

NOTE: Players who consistently make bad line calls from match to match suffer from "tennis anxiety" caused by a fear of losing to players perceived to be of lower skill or ability. It is a defence mechanism used to compensate for their lack of skill. Either that or they simply have poor eyesight, in which case, they should defer the call to their partner or as a last resort, their opponents. 

"I love the winning, I can take the losing, but most of all, I love to play". Boris Becker


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