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WTA • Charleston • Volvo Ladies Tennis Open • A Real Battle In The Qualies

Four former champions feature in the #VolvoCarOpen singles draw. Can 2017 winner Daria Kasatkina defend her crown? – Photo by @VolvoCarOpen via Twitter.

 

 

By Craig Cignarelli

 

After thirty years of coaching, today I learned something new. I am here in South Carolina at a WTA event. During Charleston’s final round of qualifying, two players battled for almost three hours in front of a very partisan crowd. In this town, patriotism is a priority and the opportunity to support an American athlete comes with flags and hot dogs and a lot of Chevrolets in the parking lot.

 

Deep into the third set, match momentum had shifted five or six times. The players reached 4-4 30-30. Inside the clubhouse, players gathered around to watch the match feed. Elite players know this is when they can learn a lot about their colleagues. How do they handle pressure points? Where do they serve at big moments? What patterns come into play in critical situations? Getting this information can pay off this week or even years down the road. Thus, the growing crowd.

 

Ten balls cross the net and one player hits a high deep ball to push the opponent back. The opponent retreats slowly, reaches back to hit a heavy forehand reply, and hits the linesperson instead of the ball. The linesperson made no attempt to get out of the way.

What is the call?

 

The chair calls the point for the other girl (the one who hit the high ball). After rage and frustration, the supervisor enters the scene to explain. As long as the linesperson stays in position, if the player hits the linesperson and doesnt make the shot, they lose the point. In this case, the player had no way to take the ball on the rise and her only play was to back up. She actually had no way to play the shot without hitting the linesperson. Loss of point, score advantage to the opponent, and eventually the match. Absolutely brutal. Because the crowd was unaware of the rule, they let everyone know how they felt about the injustice. We heard four letter words tossed like horseshoes and umpire taunts worse than a World Cup Soccer game overcome by hooligans.

 

Lesson: The code of conduct ensures players play fairly and with great sportsmanship. Apparently, not all of the rules comply.

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