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Charlie Garfinkel’s Racket Sports: Tennis dos and don’ts

Are you guilty of the following tennis no-no’s?

• Constantly berating your doubles partner: Are you the type of tennis player who constantly makes derogatory remarks or gestures if your doubles partner misses a shot or is not playing well? I can guarantee that your phone will not be ringing off the hook to play in the future.

• Never complimenting your opponent or partner: You don’t have to compliment your opponent on every good shot that they make. However, never acknowledging a good shot could give you the reputation of being a poor sport; especially if you are losing the match.

• Showing up late: It’s very annoying to most of your opponents. This is especially true if you belong to one of the private clubs when you have to pay for court time. Think about it. Most matches in singles and doubles last anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. If you show up ten minutes late and want to warm up for another 10 minutes you are wasting your opponent’s time and will cause great hard feelings by constantly doing this.

• Never bring new tennis balls when it is your turn: In many singles and doubles groups each player is given a written schedule of playing times and who should bring new tennis balls each time. Some players are notorious for not bringing new tennis balls. When they are not included in the next playing session they often wonder why – never thinking that bringing tennis balls when it is their turn would be a reason for not being in the group.

• Not calling a sub if you can’t play: If you can’t play (unless it is an emergency), find a replacement.

• Telling you what to do when you are going to hit a shot: There is nothing more disconcerting than having your doubles partner yell to you as you are running to hit a shot, “Hit the ball down the line!” Or, “Lob over their heads!” You are probably thinking “I watch television and the players are always talking to each other.” That is true. However, they mostly talk to each other before or after a point is played, not during the point.

• Playing doubles with a new partner in a tournament when you are a defending champion: It is an unwritten rule that if you have won a doubles tournament the year before, you should play with the same partner the next year to defend your title. There are some players who always look to find the best partner they can get even if their prior partner is available. Of course, if your prior partner is sick or hurt, it is fine to ask someone else to play. However, if you only want to win and spurn you winning partner from the year before, I can guarantee that you will have great difficulty finding many players to play tournaments with you once they are aware what you are doing.

• Dropping a long-time tennis friend due to injury: At a local club a few years ago, a group of ladies were best friends on and off the court. They had been playing as a group for more than 20 years. Unfortunately, one of the players had major surgery on her knee. It was evident that she was a shell of her former self when she started playing again. Unbelievably, the women dropped the ailing player from the group after a month because she could no longer play at the level she was at. Needless to say they had great difficulty finding another player to join their group after that fiasco.

• Always dispute line calls: Everyone misses a line call now or then. However, in most cases, you must respect an opponent’s call, even if you disagree.

• Keeping your cell phone on during play: It’s annoying and inconsiderate.

Yellayi victorious

Yashna Yellayi, a former WNYer, and outstanding tennis player, moved with her family to Boca Raton, Fla., about a year ago where she has been playing and training.

Two weeks ago Yellayi and her doubles partner, Rosie Garcia Gross (New York City), won the USTA Girls’ National 14’s Doubles Clay Court Championships in Plantation, Fla.

They defeated sisters Mae and Christine Canete (Venice, Calif .), the No. 1 seeds, 6-2, 6-3, in the finals.

Yellayi also reached the quarterfinals of the singles before losing to No. 1 seed and eventual winner Christin Canete, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.


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