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Handling Cheating and Gamesmanship In Tennis
Monday, December 1st, 2008
by Alexander Claussen

You and your opponent just walked out on the court. You warm-up, and the match starts. You start off the match with an error in the net, and a “C’mon, right here,” rings in your ears. You let it go. Next point, your opponent says loudly the same phrase just as you begin your ball toss. You double-fault.

It is one thing if your opponent is trying to pump himself up, but I don’t think this is the case. During the many years of my playing of tennis, I have encountered players whose strategies heavily rely on this concept, gamesmanship (and cheating too).

And of all the cases I have encountered, it wasn’t the actual acts of gamesmanship that won the match, but the overreaction of the victim player.

If you are an active player, you’ve probably experienced players like this many times. Whether it’s stalling, questioning every line call, or like the example presented above, we all need to learn how to handle gamesmanship that leads to on-court meltdowns and ultimately the match.

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