October 29, 2009

The Double Bounce

During today's match, a dispute arose over the dreaded double bounce - did it or didn't it bounce twice before it was hit?

So here's the set-up:
  • My partner serves.
  • Our opponent returns.
  • My partner hits the ball back.
  • Our opponent, running in to the net, again hits the ball to my partner.
  • She again returns but says, at the same time, "That was a double bounce. The ball double bounced."
  • The opponent again hits the ball, this time hitting it out. Now she says, "It wasn't a double bounce and that's my call to make anyway. I make that call. But we lost the point anyway."
  • My partner then says, "No, no. You're right. It's your call. Let's play the point over."
So now we're all standing around trying to figure out what just happened. Or maybe it was just me that was trying to figure out what just happened.

Well, as I always say, let's look at the rules!  Official Rule of Tennis 24b states that a player loses the point if "The player does not return the ball in play before it bounces twice consecutively . . . ."  So, in our match, if the ball bounced twice before my opponent returned it, we won that point.

But who makes the call?  The Code says, in Paragraph 5, that "A player calls all shots landing on, or aimed at, the player's side of the net."  And in this double bounce situtation, The Code makes very clear, in Paragraph 20, that, "A player shall promptly acknowledge if . . . The ball bounces more than once in the player's court." So it was, in fact, our opponent's call and, when she said it didn't double bounce, we had to accept that.

Got it?  You lose the point if it double bounces before you return it.  But the double bounce call is yours to make.

Now here's the little twist where I think we actually could have claimed that point as our own.  The Code says, in Paragraph 33, that "A player shall not talk while the ball is moving toward the opponent's side of the court.  If the player's talking interferes with an opponent's ability to play the ball, the player loses the point."  So our opponent might have claimed that my partner's talking during the point ("That was a double bounce.  The ball double bounced.") hindered her ability to play the point and therefore we would have lost the point.  In fact, that's what I thought was going to happen.  But she didn't.  She continued playing and hit the ball out, making the whole double bounce thing moot!  She was actually right when she said, "But we lost the point anyway."

However, my partner is very, very nice and I know she felt bad for talking during the point so I don't blame her for offering to replay the point.  I wasn't going to argue about that with my partner.  And we ended up winning the point anyway.  I love playing with my partner!


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

October 27, 2009

Serena Now Available In Wax

Is it just me or does anyone else think this toss-off article on p. 16 in the November/December 2009 issue of Tennis magazine is more than a little weird?
Wax On: Serena Makes Madame Tussauds' A-List

Born in Michigan, raised in California, living in Florida, and now immortalized in New York. Serena Williams became the latest star to be sculpted in was at Madame Tussauds Times Square location just before the U.S. Open. She joins other tennis legends honored with wax figures, like John McEnroe, Maria Sharapova, Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King.

Why Serena and not Venus? "We had received an overwhelming number of requests to create a figure of Serena," says Tussauds general manager Janine DiGioacchino, "coupled with comments she made when she visited our museum in London about always wanting a wax figure of herself."

According to DiGioacchino, sculptors spend a couple of hours measuring and photographing a celebrity's body and collaborating on how the figure should be posed and clothed. Williams donated the iconic pleated denim skirt, black midriff tank and sneaker-boots she wore at the 2004 U.S. Open.

When Williams saw her sculpted self this summer, she gushed, "It's awesome. I've always wanted to kiss myself." Since Madame Tussauds allows visitors to touch the wax statues, museum goers now have that option as well.
I'm just saying I'm picking up some kind of "tone" from this piece and it doesn't seem very flattering to Serena or her wax figure.


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

October 26, 2009

Tennis Lets - Get It Right!

This actually happened to me a few years ago and I am finally willing to talk about it because I just saw it happen again in a match I was watching.

I was serving in a match and was holding two balls in the shorts under my skirt. During play of one point, a ball fell out of my shorts and was rolling around my feet at the baseline (I know, I should have been up at the net). I was well aware that I'd dropped that ball but kept on playing. After the point was over and won by my partner and I, one of the opponents said, "Where did that ball come from?" referring to the stray ball I'd dropped. I said I had dropped the ball and my opponent responded with, "Well, you caused a let so you lose the point."

I was shocked and, since I'd only been playing a few months, had no idea how to respond or what the rule on lets was. So - here's the painful part - I agreed and gave them the point!

And that's why you should know your tennis rules. If I knew anything at all about lets at that time, I'd know that Rule 23 of the Official Rules of Tennis tells you about lets and says that, "In all cases when a let is called, except when a service let is called on a second service, the whole point shall be replayed." So, had my opponent properly called a let when I dropped a ball on my side of the court, the right thing to do would have been to replay the point. My bad for just giving up the point (I'm still cringing over my timidity back then!).

But was she right when she called a let after we had finished the point? Definitely not. Rule 24 discusses situations where you lose points and gives this comment on a similar situation in USTA Comment 24.3:
If a player's hat falls off during a point, may the opponent stop play and claim a let? Yes. The opponent's immediate request should be granted. A let should not be granted after the point nor should a request from the player who lost the hat.
While I dropped a ball and not a hat, the situation is pretty darn similar. Had my opponent immediately called a let during play, we could have replayed the point. But she should not have waited until the point was over to call a let just as I could not have called a let because of a situation I myself had caused.

So what should have happened? Nothing. The point should have stood. I couldn't call a let and my opponent shouldn't have waited so long to call a let. And did I bring this up when I saw the same thing happen to someone else recently? Not until after the match was over. See, I'm now also very familiar with "The Code" which states in Principle 17 that, "Spectators never to make calls. A player shall not enlist the aid of a spectator in making a call. No spectator has a part in the match."

The take-away lesson here? Learn your tennis rules so you don't get taken advantage of!


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

October 19, 2009

Tennis Snack Fix: Tennis Team Cheese Salsa

While this is not a recipe blog per se, food can be an important part of any tennis match (see, for example, the very popular Tennis Fixation post Quick Tennis Fix of the Day: Eat Something!) Maybe your team has to provide snacks as part of the league you're in. Maybe you're having a tennis team party and want something yummy to eat between sets (or during, I'm not judging). Maybe you just found a really great recipe that's worth sharing.

Well, I came across this one for "Tennis Team Cheese Salsa" in my The Dinner Doctor cookbook by Anne Byrn and it sounds like a winner. And I don't think it should be limited to serving at tennis matches. I'm pretty sure my family would agree that this is an acceptable dinner-time meal.


2 cups pres-shredded Mexican or taco cheese blend
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 can (4.5 oz.) chopped green chiles, drained
1 can (2.25 oz.) sliced black olives, drained
1/2 cup chopped scallions (from about 4), green part only
1/4 cup bottled Italian salad dressing, plus mor if needed
Tortilla chips, for serving

Place the cheese, tomatoes, chiles, olives, and scallions in a large glass mixing bowl and stir to combine. Pour the salad dressing over the cheese mixture and stir until all the ingredients are moistened, adding more dressing if needed. Serve at once with tortilla chips. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Serves 12 (makes 4 cups).


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day '09: Climate Change

Today is Blog Action Day - a day for bloggers throughout the world to unite and wield their "blogging" power by discussing one topic important to everyone. And this year that topic is Climate Change.

Climate change and tennis? What's the connection? You know that everything you do has some kind of impact on the environment. Even your tennis game has an effect. So here are some easy choices you can make to ensure that your tennis game is as "green" as possible.

1.  Kick the plastic water bottle habit.  That's right.  Instead of drinking from plastic water bottles or disposable styrofoam cups at matches, bring your own reusable water bottles from home.  Set the example and encourage others to do the same.  And if your team is providing the water, make sure to use plastic bottles and recycle them.  Avoid throw away cups at all costs!

2.  Recycle your tennis balls AND tennis ball cans.  We've talked about this one here at Tennis Fixation before:  Recycling Tennis Balls and It's A Tennis Party!  I've also found a great company that actually takes old tennis balls and "refurbishes" them into practically new tennis balls.  Check them out at rebounces.com.  There are plenty of ways to use those old tennis balls and cans.  Make sure these things are happening at the matches in which you're playing.

3.  Put your old tennis shoes to good use.  You know its important that your tennis shoes be in good shape to keep you moving well out on the court.  So what to do with those old shoes?  Besides wearing them to garden in or to wash the car, consider giving them to Nike. Nike has developed a great recycling process for grinding up old shoes and using the resulting material in tracks, playgrounds and other athletic surfaces. Supposedly the foam midsole of your shoe can be ground up and used to surface a tennis court! Find out the details and see how you can participate at their website:  www.nikereuseashoe.com. And find out if its time for new shoes by checking out this post:   Quick Tennis Fix of the Day:  New Shoes!).  

4.  Ride your bike to the courts!  OK, I live in Houston and I'll admit, this would be a big challenge for me to undertake.  But I did just get my bike tuned up.  I did get a rack put on the back of it that I can bungee cord my ball hopper onto.  And I have ridden down to my neighborhood courts with my son to hit some balls.  I haven't yet taken a ride over to my club to play a match which is really pathetic on my part since my club is probably a less-than-15-minute bike ride away.  I resolve to ride my bike to a match next week, however, and do my small part to have a positive impact on climate change.


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

October 14, 2009

Gear Tips for 10 Common Player Types

 I just came across this great post on the Tennis magazine website analyzing what kind of gear you need for your playing style:  Gear Tips for 10 Common Player Types.  These tips are great because they're not just for upper level players.  After reading this you'll realize anyone can benefit from playing with the right racquet and the right strings.  Here's an example appropriate for plenty of players I know and play with:
The Fun & Fitness Combo
This 3.0 doubles team will tell you tennis is mostly a great way to stay in shape, and a lot more fun than “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” with Richard Simmons. They enter the club tournament every year just to support the program, but don’t go home and kick the dog when they lose in the first round. Their racquets are pre-strung Wal-Mart specials.
Ferguson: “They may not care about winning, but they’ll get a lot more fun and exercise out of tennis if they can prolong their rallies. They should start by looking at premium game-improvement high-tech racquets with light weights, head-heavy balances, thick beams and oversized heads that will provide more depth and help keep them in the point longer. They don’t need to use expensive gut, but a good playable synthetic string like Babolat Excell or Prince Synthetic Gut should do nicely, strung in the middle of the tension range for a blend of power and control.”

Check out the complete post by clicking on this link:Gear Tips for 10 Common Player Types . And, speaking of racquets and strings, check out this great Tennis Fixation tip for keeping your racquet in shape and ready to play: Quick Tennis Fix of the Day: Time to Restring!

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October 12, 2009

It's Just Common Tennis Etiquette!

Playing tennis is a lot of fun. But if one player in your group won't follow the most basic tennis etiquette, a fun experience can quickly become unpleasant. So what are the rules of "tennis etiquette"? Well, we here at Tennis Fixation have considered the most common rules and posted them just for you. Just click on any of the post titles below to find out how to play tennis in a fun and well-mannered way.

October 10, 2009

Tennis Elbow (Part 2) - How To Treat It

So you think you've got tennis elbow - what now?

The good news is that tennis elbow can usually be treated by non-surgical means. To reduce pain and inflammation, these things often work:
  • Rest and avoiding any activity that causes pain in the tennis elbow area (yes, that may mean taking time off from playing tennis!)
  • Applying ice to the sore area
  • Taking anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen
  • Getting cortisone injections to the affected area
Once your pain is relieved, you may need to start physical therapy.  More specifically, you need to strengthen and stretch the muscles in your arm, especially in your forearm.  Activities or motions that aggravate your pain should be avoided and this may mean, finally, learning proper stroke technique to prevent re-injury.  Use of a "counter-force" brace, that wraps around the arm and applies pressure just below the elbow can often help.

Fortunately, 90 to 95% of tennis elbow sufferers will get relief from just following these conservative steps.  And for the 5% of people who require surgery, 80 to 90% of them will get relief from their injury.

And what about my fear of having tennis elbow myself? I'm pretty sure, after all of this research, that I don't have tennis elbow!  And now that I now all about it, I plan on keeping my arms in good shape and hopefully avoiding ever becoming a tennis elbow victim.


© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

October 8, 2009

Tennis Elbow (Part 1) - What Is It?

My right arm is bothering me.  And I'm worried - do I have tennis elbow?  Do I have some of the precursory signs of tennis elbow?  How do I make sure I don't have it and I don't get it?  What do I do if I'm starting to get it?

So many players I know have tennis elbow or have had it that I'm just waiting to get it myself. According to WebMD, tennis elbow can affect as much as 50% of all tennis players at some point in their career!  It is more common in men than women (surprise!) and most often affects people ages 30 to 50 (although you can get it at any age).

Tennis elbow is an over-use injury and is frequently caused because a player is using the wrong equipment or technique. Specifically, according to www.sportsinjuryclinic.net, tennis elbow can be a result of:
  • A poor backhand technique
  • A racquet grip that is too small
  • Strings that are too tight
  • Playing with wet, heavy balls
(I would like to know who exactly is playing with wet, heavy balls.)

Tennis elbow can't be diagnosed by a blood test or by x-ray. The way to know you have it is by the type of pain you are feeling and the symptoms you are experiencing. So what are the most common symptoms of tennis elbow?
  • Pain slowly increasing around the outside of the elbow
  • Pain that worsens when shaking hands, squeezing objects or squeezing a tennis racquet!
  • Pain that increases by stabilizing the wrist or moving it with force, like when lifting, opening jars, using tools or handling utensils
So what do you think? Do you have tennis elbow? Do you think you might get it?

Tune in to Tennis Fixation's next post when we find out what to do if you have tennis elbow and how to avoid getting it (or re-getting it) in the first place.

© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

October 6, 2009

Tennis Thoughts: Paramhansa Yogananda on Tennis

"Learn to be calm and you will always be happy." - Paramhansa Yogananda

It's not just a way of life. It's a way to play tennis!

For example, here's the match I played last Friday:

Lost the first set, 2-6. Went to the bathroom between sets. Won the second set, 6-3. Immediately started super tiebreaker in lieu of 3rd set as required by this league. Lost tiebreaker 2-10. Lesson: I should have taken another bathroom break after the second set.

Why? Because then I would have calmed down and focused on what I needed to do in that tiebreaker. I really felt rushed and hurried in the tiebreaker, like I couldn't quite get control of what I was doing or what was happening on the court.

Playing calmly, with focus, is probably the most important thing I can do and I'm pretty sure it's the most important thing any tennis player can do in a match. I have a few techniques I use to calm myself (breathe, talk to my partner between each point, tie my shoes, take a bathroom break!!!). I just need to consciously apply those techniques constantly during my matches.

So today, when I play tennis, which I am off to do in about 15 minutes, I will work on playing calmly and with focus. And I'll see if that doesn't give me better results.

© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved