Saturday, November 07, 2015

How Would You Rule: Ball Hitting The Roof Indoors

Beautiful new indoor facility at SMU.

We recently got a phone call from a local pro asking for a ruling about a ball hitting the roof of an indoor facility during play.  It gives me a great opportunity to share a picture of the new indoor facility at SMU and also give you an opportunity to share your wisdom about tennis rules.

NOTE:  The following event did not occur at SMU but at a country club facility in Dallas.


In an unofficiated indoor ladies doubles match, team A hits a lob which goes extremely close to the roof and may or may not have hit the roof.  Both teams agree that the contested call happened as the ball was directly above the net so it was not at one end or the other.

Team A says their ball did not hit the roof and Team B says that it did.  

How would you rule and who has the authority to make this call?  Here are your choices:

A.  Team A has the authority to make the call since they hit it and the lob is good so they win the point since Team B stopped play to claim the point.

B.  Team B has the authority to make the call since the ball was coming toward them and they win the point since they say the ball hit the roof.

C.  Play a let since noone can be absolutely sure the ball hit the roof or who has the authority to make the call.

D.  Since both teams were mad and arguing with each other and disrupting play on adjoining courts, default both teams.

Let us know how you would rule...

Monday, November 02, 2015

Interesting Results From Fees Collected For Tournaments That Are Cancelled

We just finished our poll that asked the question about what should be done with entry fees when the tournament is cancelled due to weather.

Here are the results:

71% said that 75% of the entry fee should immediately be refunded to the participant.

21% said that there should be no refund.

7% said that the participant should receive a 50% discount for their entry into the next tournament.

Quite interesting don't you think?

Acupuncture During A Medical Time Out? Legal or not???

I was privileged to do some chairs at the Masters Tournament in Austin this past weekend and came across a scenario that I thought would be perfect for the blog...

Player A takes a medical timeout during his singles final.  During the MTO his wife did acupuncture on his elbow.  She then repeated the procedure during the 10 minute break between the second and third sets.

Here is the rule from the FAC:

Page 111 (E, 4):
4.  Non-treatable medical conditions.  Plays may not receive a medical timeout or treatment any time during a match or a warm-up for the following medical conditions:

c.  Any medication condition requiring injection (other than insulin injection), intravenous infusion, or supplemental oxygen.  A player who receives any injection, intravenous infusion, or supplemental oxygen, except under circumstances specifically authorized by USTA Regulations, shall be immediately defaulted.

The ruling at the tournament was that acupuncture is not an injection and is therefore permitted.

Do you agree or disagree?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What Do You Do With A "Same Gender" Doubles Draw???

Married or not, its still men's doubles.

The most recent news coming out of the USTA is that we must now allow "same gender" doubles in our tournaments.  That's all well and good and so politically correct that it is breathtaking.  After all, our goal is life is to always be politically correct isn't it???

With the advent of this new division there are all kinds of questions that come to mind.  Without sounding like an outright bigot, I thought we might want to explore some of these questions before we jump wholeheartedly into this fiasco.  Here are some of the questions:

*  If we are going to have same gender doubles why not call it what we have always called it and that is "men's doubles" and "women's doubles."

*  How are you going to tell same gender doubles entrants that they have to be gay or lesbian and be married to play in this division without being accused of sexual harassment or worse?  They can't be just dating or having sex together--they have to be married just like straight people.

*  Are we going to try to get "same sex married people" to play in the husband/wife divisions?  Can't you just see that happening?  No man/woman married couple is going to stand for having to play two men who are married to each other.

*  If you are going to have "same gender doubles" then you must specify "same gender women's doubles" and "same gender men's doubles" because you sure can't mix the two.

*  We are told not to ask for proof that the teams are married to each other since we don't ask heterosexual couples for proof of their marriage.  That's all well and good but I see some huge problems on the horizon...

*  What do you do with a transgendered person wanting to play same gender doubles with the women?  I guarantee you that two women, whether they be lesbians or straight, are not going to put up with a "former man" playing in their division.

*  There will be a shout of joy among the men when a transgendered person who was formerly a woman wants to play in the men's same gender doubles division.

Now that I have probably offended most of America, here is my suggestion for the whole issue:

Throw the term "same gender doubles" out the window and just play men's and women's doubles.  Noone cares whether you are straight or gay.  Just play the game...

Of course this comes with one special thought and warning:  what are you going to do with the transgendered and in which draw are you going to place them?

That's a question for another day but one that deserves our thought and consideration...

Monday, October 26, 2015

Tournament Get Rained Out? What Should Be Done With Your Entry Fee?

The infamous "vanishing entry fee" after a tournament is cancelled.

I just returned from attending the Texas Section Tournament Director/Referee workshop (which is required for all tournament directors and referees of tournaments where the TD has not attended) and we had an interesting discussion about a prevailing question around the state of Texas:  If a tournament gets cancelled because of weather, what happens to your entry fee?

There is nothing more frustrating to a player or a player's parents to be told after a tournament has been cancelled that the tournament will be keeping their entry fees and there will be no refunds.  To say the least, this is not good for customer relations and customer satisfaction...

The discussion today involved a bunch of TD's and a bunch of referees so it was enlightening to say the least.  Throughout the discussion it was pointed out that the TD/tournament shouldn't lose money but then neither should the entrants see their entry fee simply disappear into the TD's pockets.  Since there was obviously no agreement on what should be done, here are some factors to consider when deciding this issue:

*  How much did the TD pay for balls, awards, and officials.  Of course they can always use the balls and there is no expense for officials if the tournament is cancelled in advance of the start time.  Judging from some of the awards that are given there isn't a lot of money expended on awards these days.

*  How much did the TD pay for renting courts for different sites.  This is a non-issue if the tournament is cancelled because of inclement weather.

*  How much should the TD be reimbursed for his time.

*  What was the amount of the entry fee?  Fees vary greatly throughout the state of Texas.

Here were some of the suggested remedies:

*  The TD should refund 50% of the entry fee to the entrant.

*  The TD should let the entrant enter the next tournament for free.

*  There should be no refund at all.

*  There should be a percentage of the entry fee returned directly to the entrant.  If this happens it would be good if the percentage was the same throughout the state.

*  The entrant should get a 50% discount at the next tournament sponsored by the same TD.

To say there is FOOD FOR THOUGHT would be a vast understatement!  Be sure to take the poll on the upper right of this page so we can check out what people think.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Welcome To The World Of UIL Tennis

Fall is the time for team tennis in the UIL and things are running fast and furious these days...

Consider the dual match from yesterday.  In UIL dual matches the teams play a total of 19 matches (6 boys singles, 6 girls singles, 3 boys doubles, 3 girls doubles, and 1 mixed doubles) with the first team to reach 10 declared the winner.  Yesterday's match began at 3:45 p.m. and concluded at 9:45 p.m. last night!  Seems that the match began at a site with no lights so when it got dark and they were only at 6-1 in the match, it was time to move to a lighted site--and that takes time!  Congratulations to the official and the site director that made the best of a lengthy situation...

At another match a parent met the official at the gate when he arrived and asked, "Have you measured the nets yet?  I have a great eye and can tell you from here that courts 1 and 2 and 3.5 inches too high and courts 3 and 4 are 2.5 inches too low."  The official graciously listened to the concerned parent and then said he would measure the nets.

In hindsight, I would say make the parent a "junior official" and then encourage the parent to get there early for every match and measure every net in sight...

UIL district tournaments continue this week and then there are area tournaments next week so the excitement and good tennis should continue.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Cat Fight City (aka Women's League Tennis)

CAT FIGHTS are a common sight in the feline world.

Sadly, cat fights are all too common on a tennis court.

There are a lot of valuable life experiences that we all have and we should try to learn as much from them as possible but there's one life experience everyone (especially tennis officials) should have before they die--and that is a WOMEN'S LEAGUE TENNIS MATCH!

Every Thursday morning in Dallas,  every court in town is booked for women's tennis and its quite a sight to see!  Arguments about everything under the sun abound on every hand so its no surprise that any experienced officials avoids women's league matches like the plague.  You can stand nearly anywhere in a tennis center and hear the arguments about the score, line calls, and whatever else they can think up.

I'm sure I will catch some heat for publishing this but its time for the women's leagues to clean up their act and quit fussing and feuding like the Hatfields and McCoys...

Monday, September 28, 2015

An Offer Too Good To Refuse

After a plane ride home in the bad weather and an hour long wait for my luggage, its good to be back home from the USTA Texas Sectionals Tournament in glorious Beaumont, Texas.  Our Dallas team had a great run and finished second to the Houston team.  Good luck to the Houston guys when they get to nationals.

After every tournament you can look back and enjoy some of the SPECIAL MOMENTS that you have experienced.  I had a couple that I thought might bring a little humor into our reader's lives...

In our semi-final match with the Beaumont team, we were up 6-1, and 4-1.  The Beaumont team obviously didn't like each other and you could tell there was much internal stress in their doubles relationship.  When the Beaumont player prepared to serve, he asked me the score and I said, "We're up 6-1, and 4-1."  He smiled and said, "Would you settle for 5-0?'  After this OFFER THAT WAS TOO GOOD TO REFUSE, I said "For sure!"  As he prepared to serve he called out the score:  love-five and then proceeded to hit four serves into the fence.  Game, set, and match...

After the match was over, he said, "I couldn't wait to get away from this stupid doubles partner of mine."  Perhaps there is a divorce on the horizon...

The second event was after we had defeated our opponents from Austin in the semi-finals.  We had defeated them 6-1, 6-0 and as I offered my hand to shake hands with one of the Austin players, he just slapped it away and walked off.  I asked his partner what was wrong with him, he said, "He's just mad that you are a referee and are playing in the tournament."  Not sure how he found out I was a referee but I guess some people think we're supposed to know all the rules of tennis but never play the game ourselves...

So much for an eventful weekend in Beaumont, Texas...

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Disgraceful Attack On Referee And Even Worse Defense Of Their Actions

Video of the physical assault on the football official.

Assistant coach, Mack Breed, who directed the players to assault the referee.

UPDATE (9-24-15)  The Dallas Morning News published an update this morning.  Notice that the coach said he "should have handled the referee himself."  Hopefully his suspension will be long.

Here's a follow-up story that came out on 9-23-15.  Obviously the coach was at fault along with the players.  The referee should file criminal charges against them all.

By now most of America has read about and seen the video of two San Antonio high school players physically assaulting a referee during their Friday night football game.  The players were suspended from the football team and placed in an alternative school "pending investigation."

Assault charges should have been filed...

Here is their defense from an article in today's (9-19-15) Dallas Morning News:



"A San Antonio football coach directed two players to strike a referee during a game because of missed calls that had hurt the team, players said Friday during a national broadcast.

During an appearance on ABC's Good Morning, America, Michael Moreno and Victor Rojas also repeated earlier claims that the ref had used racial slurs.

Moreno said he regrets hitting Robert Watts and wants to apologize.  Rojas said he was just doing what he was told.

They were suspended from the Jay High School football team in the aftermath of the game early this month at Marble Falls.  The Northside School District moved them to an alternative school as investigations into the incident continue.

Video from the September 4th game shows Rojas blindsiding Watts and Moreno diving on top of him.  Watts was the umpire on the defensive side watching a play along the line of scrimmage.

The players didn't name the coach Friday.  The school district has suspended assistant coach Mack Breed pending an investigation.  Attempts to reach Breed for comment were unsuccessful.

Rojas alleged at one point Watts told a Hispanic player to, "speak English, this is America."  The soft-spoken Rojas couldn't explain why he targeted Watts, only saying he was following instructions.

Moreno contends that the ref used a racial slur directed at a black player.  The teenager also said that at the last moment he realized the gravity of what he was about to do and softened his blow on Watts.

"That's not who I am" he said.  "Underneath the helmet and pads, I'm really a great kid."

Watts has denied using inappropriate language.

His attorney, New Jersey lawyer, Alan Goldberg told The Associated Press on Friday that the game video shows a crime was committed against Watts and now the perpetrators are blaming the victim for their actions.

Goldberg also said that civil action is being considered."


Since this is an obvious physical assault, do you wonder why criminal charges have not been filed and nothing has been done by the UIL?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Tennis Players Have Politicians Beat When It Comes To Hair

Much has been said politically about Carly Fiorina's hair.  She was greatly offended and deeply wounded by Trump's comments--yet, she was quick to criticize Barbara Boxer's awful hair.

Carly with the "liberated look."

Carly's comment about Barbara Boxer's hair was, "My God, have you seen that hair?"

Bjorn had a great look a long time ago.

Everybody thought Andre's hair was so cool--until we found out that it was fake...

Most women really don't care what Feliciano Lopez' hair looks like...

This hair hasn't moved in years.

We're glad James Blake shaved his head.

Not many women can even grow this much hair in one lifetime!

At least she's saving money by not having her hair done at all.

Just saving the best for last...  Pure class!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Have We Run Out Of Qualified American Officials At The US Open?

2015 Men's Champion--US Open

What an awesome tournament the US Open was this year!  From the drama of Serena's quest for a Grand Slam to the domination of the men's tour by Novak Djokovic, we saw it all.

That was until the men's final last night when we saw Eva Asderaki-Moore from GRE in the chair. The resounding question would have to be:  Have we run out of qualified American officials to chair our own men's national championship match?  Notwithstanding that she was a female doing the men's final (and actually did a good job according to the ever present John McEnroe), you can be sure something like this never would have happened at Wimbledon.  No foreign official (male or female) should ever chair the finals at the US Open.  Its our tournament so let's keep it that way...

It seemed like the only story coming out of the Open was Serena and more Serena--that was until she gave us perhaps the greatest choke in the history of women's tennis.  She won three of the four Grand Slam tournaments this year--but then, so did Novak Djokovic!  And he did it with major competition in every one of the slams and defeated top 5 players with regularity.  Serena couldn't even win against a bunch who never win and certainly aren't in the top 5 of anything.

Its time to give Novak his due.  He is a great champion!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Root Of The Problem--Where Does It Lie?

We've all seen collegiate football coaches screaming at officials--what kind of seed does this sow among fellow coaches, players, and fans?

A parent screaming at a defenseless child is probably the worst example of "out of control" behavior.

The Bible tells us that the love of money is the root of all evil (and that might even hold true in the problems with out of control coaches, players, and fans) but we might need to delve a little deeper to find out what is causing this huge problem...

In no way would I excuse the behavior of the out of control players on the football fields, soccer fields, and tennis courts, but I think we need to also realize that children will mimic the behavior they see when they are growing up.  A good strong example of integrity and honesty will usually yield the same in our children and likewise a bad example will produce bad fruit.

Kids today are taught by coaches that are out of control and sadly, sometimes by parents that are equally out of control.  If the problem is going to be solved it is going to take some very strong corrective action and that action needs to begin with the coaches and parents.  Sadly, we have all experienced the wrath of an offended coach or parent but sometimes we neglect our duties as officials in the face of this onslaught.  Officials who are verbally attacked usually go into a shell and do nothing or get overly officious and start coding everything in sight.  We have to learn to develop a calm attitude and deal with the issues at hand.

There is an age old truth about collegiate tennis teams and it is this:  A team will take on the personality of the coach.  Therein lies the problem in a lot of our collegiate matches today.  When a coach is totally out of control and screaming and ranting and raving at everyone in sight, what do you think their player is going to do?  Act just like his coach...

Here are some suggestions for what ails us:

*  As officials we have every right to be respected by players and coaches.  If they verbally attack us personally then we need to get the courage to immediately issue a coach's warning.  This warning will usually put an immediate end to those attacks.  If not, then give them a point penalty and remove them from the facility.

*  Coaches need to develop the integrity to treat officials fairly and with respect.  There are only a very few who attack officials on a regular basis and everyone in the tennis world knows who they are.  Its time for fellow coaches and conference offices to begin to demand integrity and good behavior from their coaches.  If they don't behave--then suspend them.  It is always a joy to go to a university where you know the coach has integrity and will behave like an adult so why not make that the norm and not the exception?

*  League offices are going to have to be supportive of their referees.  How many times have you seen a referee who did the right thing get hung out to dry by those above him because they are afraid of the coach, parents, or athletic director.  Umpires always know if their referee, coordinator, or league office has their back...

We have a very serious problem on our hands and its going to take some courageous steps to fix it.  Its time for those steps to be taken.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fans & Players Out Of Control--Its Time To Do Something!

Millions of Facebook readers watched with horror at the actions of two young football players as they physically assaulted a referee during their Friday night football game--and now, people are finally realizing that something needs to be done about fan and players' behavior in all sports--not just football.

It was just a couple of years ago that an irate player took a tennis official's cell phone and threw it over a two story building and we regularly hear of confrontations between parents, players, and officials in the tennis world.

Crazy fans and parents abound and the vast majority are there to have a good time and enjoy the sport they are watching--but there are a few that ruin everything for everyone.

Tennis officials frequently discuss the issue and wonder what to do...  The UIL in Texas is still debating about what to do with the two players who assaulted the referee, their coach, and their team so the decision is not an easy one to make.  Just because its a difficult decision doesn't mean we don't do anything at all!  The UIL has huge powers to penalize offenders but sadly, politics often take precedence.  We had an incident a couple of years ago in which we had a high school match in which parents were verbally abusing officials and police officers had to be called to remove the offending parents.   A player on one team verbally abused the opposing coach with obscenities and at the district meeting the offending coach said, "Nothing happened.   The referee made it all up"--and they believed it!  This is in spite of an assistant athletic director testifying that she was at the match and everything happened exactly as it had been reported...

So, what do we do?  Here are some suggestions for tennis officials:

*  Always maintain a calm demeanor when dealing with irate parents, players, and coaches.
*  Meet with coaches before matches and spell out how offensive actions will be handled.
*  Immediately report any incidents of unruly or disruptive behavior.
*  Check out the facility and know where the exits are.
*  Do not be afraid to call the police if a situation gets out of hand.
*  Be fair and unbiased in your decisions.
*  Do not let a parent, player, or coach abuse you in any way.  This is simply not permitted.

Check out the links below.  The first is a link to the video of the football game in which the referee was assaulted and the second is an article in today's Ft. Worth Star Telegram.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Chair Training Opportunities Begin August 25th

There is only one way to becoming a good chair official and that is TRAINING and lots of it.  If you want to advance in USTA or ITA chair opportunities you need to avail yourself of as many training opportunities as possible.

Our annual CHAIR TRAINING begins on August 25th and is open to any certified official who would like to do chairs.  The training takes place at Highland Park High School during their dual matches and each trainee will be given individualized instruction by experienced chair officials while chairing a match during dual match competition.  The training program will also open the doors to doing chair officiating during the spring season at SMU and UTA and UNT.

Here are the requirements and facts of the training program:

*  Be a certified USTA official.  ITA certification helps but is not required.
*  No chair experience is required.
*  You will get to chair at least two (and sometimes three) complete matches during each dual match.
*  You do not need to commit to work every match.  You can choose those that best fit your personal schedule.
*  Must purchase a UIL officials' shirt to wear while chairing matches.  Your purchase can be made when you commit to the training program.
*  There is no pay for the training and no charge for enrolling in the training program.  The goal is to give you valuable training to enable you to work in the spring.

Listed below are the dates for training:

September 8 (3:30 p.m.)
September 11 (3:30 p.m.)
September 12 (1:00 p.m.)
September 18 (3:00 p.m.)
September 22 (3:30 p.m.)
September 25 (3:00 p.m.)
September 29 (3:30 p.m.)
October 16 (3:30 p.m.)
October 17 (9:30 a.m.)

For those who have excelled in the training program, you will also be given an opportunity to further your training at the following collegiate tournaments:

October 9-11  SMU Women's Tournament
November 6-8  SMU Women's Tournament

If you are interested in participating in the training program, contact Randy McDonald at 214 796 7402 or email at

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Ten Commandments For Blog Trolls

INTERNET TROLL:   A person who posts inflammatory or inappropriate messages or comments online for the purpose of upsetting other users and provoking a response.

Since we seem to have an abundance of blog trolls (see definition above) lately, I thought I would publish a list of the "Ten Commandments For Blog Trolls."  If you are one--pay attention or your comments will never be published.

Definition of a blog troll:  a person who posts inflammatory or inappropriate messages or comments online for the purpose of upsetting other users and provoking a response.


1.  Thou shalt not mention the predominant conference in Texas by name.

2.  Thou shalt not disparage another official by name if you are not willing to sign your own name.

3.  Thou shalt not insult the blog owner if you are not willing to sign your own name to your comment.

4.  Thou shalt not disparage any person who is not now the same sex to which they were born.

5.  Thou shalt not post comments that disparage Texas and/or Oklahoma officials since everyone knows they are the far superior officials in America today.

6.  Thou shalt not post comments that name certain female officials in Texas by name.

7.  Though shalt not make any comments that pertain to any university that comes into contact with the Brazos or Trinity rivers.

8.  Thou shalt love the USTA with all your heart and mind and soul.  

9.  Thou shalt not disparage any team in the SEC, Big 10, or Pac 12 conferences.  

10.  Thou shalt send a personal picture of yourself if you want to be sure that your blog comment is published.

News From The ITA

Much has been written and said about the ITA/USTA relationship.  Here is the latest from the ITA:

August 7, 2015

Dear Colleagues:

High level officiating is an important component of the success of college tennis. The ITA is most appreciative of your commitment to the sport that we all love.

I am writing to you as a follow-up to the e-mail dated August 4, 2015 that F. Skip Gilbert, USTA Managing Director of Professional Tennis Operations & US Open Tournament Manager, sent to you - to offer both some clarification as well as updates.

In mid-May, about six weeks prior to my July 1st start date as the new CEO of the ITA, David Benjamin and I were asked to join a phone call with the USTA's Skip Gilbert and Kurt Kamperman, the USTA's Chief Executive for Community Tennis. On that call Mr. Gilbert informed David and me of the USTA's decision "to no longer support the ITA officials program in the same manner that they had in the past." This was the first that the ITA had been told by the USTA that the USTA would no longer continue its longstanding certification program of ITA officials. 

On July 1st Erica Perkins Jasper (our new ITA Chief Operating Officer) and I committed to make the current and future direction of college tennis officiating an immediate top priority for the ITA. In this regard, a few updates:

(1)   On Wednesday July 8th, while in White Plains, NY to meet with senior leadership of the USTA, I also met briefly with Skip Gilbert - at which time we mutually agreed that it is critically important for all ITA officials to re-certify with the USTA by December 31st of this year, in order to be fully certified through 2016.
(2)   Erica is already working with Anthony Montero and Jane Goodman to establish an ITA Officials Task Force. This group will work on developing the officials' curriculum and the organization of the ITA certification/recertification process that will start in 2016. By later this Fall we will have a concrete and comprehensive action plan in place.
(3)   The ITA team is excited about the possibility of bringing new benefits to ITA tennis officials coupled with their future ITA certification.

Please let me close where I began, sharing the belief of the ITA that outstanding and highly committed college tennis officials are both part of the strong foundation of our sport as well as a key to a thriving future. Please be on the lookout for updates about the future, as our planning process evolves. We are committed to:  (1) creating and implementing a well-conceived and far-reaching plan that will lead to much success moving forward; and (2) keeping you informed throughout the process.

Yours sincerely,
Timothy Russell
Chief Executive Officer

Saturday, August 08, 2015

New Penalty For Bathroom Break--Default!

One of the joys of having a tennis officials blog is that I get emails from all over the country telling me about "strange and unusual" things that tennis officials are doing--and this weekend is no exception!

I got a call last night telling me about an official at a tournament here in Texas.  Seems that a 4.0 woman was going to take a bathroom break and was carrying her racket with her while she left the court.  The official quickly informed the woman that if she took her racket with her on a bathroom break that it is an IMMEDIATE DEFAULT!

Oh well, guess its time to go back to the drawing board...

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Today's Interesting Announcement: What Does It Really Mean?

Skip Gilbert of the USTA came out with an interesting announcement (printed below).  Kind of brings up more questions than answers...  What are your thoughts?

ITA Certification
USTA Officiating Department is in the process of creating a new curriculum structure along with newly defined certification levels and evaluation processes to better support and develop all officiating disciplines (Chair, Line, Referee, Rover, Umpire, etc.).  Due to the differences between USTA/ITF sanctioned events and ITA Rules and Regulations, the ITA and the USTA have decided to take a close look at how the relationship between our organizations will operate in the future. 
Please note: Anyone interested in working ITA events in 2016 needs to re-certify in 2015.  Please contact your district or section chair of officials for any schools that may be remaining in your area.  In addition, for anyone who was not able to attend an in-person school,  the details of a webinar school are posted on the NUCULA event listing. If your section has approved the webinar for certification, you may make yourself available(please see note in the event listing).

The Facts of Life (Tennis Officiating Style)

One of the most thankless jobs in tennis officiating is the job of "match coordinator" and now that it is nearly time for the spring assignments to start coming out, that job has new meaning and focus.  Here are some things to remember when the assignments come out:

*  Don't count everyone else's assignments and compare them to your own.  This will only create headaches for everyone concerned.

*  Many times a coordinator will make assignments based on an official's ability to be part of a team when they are working a match.

*  If you got more than one bad eval last year that probably means you will get fewer assignments (or less stressful ones) this year.

*  Keep in mind that the pay is the same for men's and women's matches so don't pull out the crying towel when you don't get a bunch of men's assignments.  Besides, the stress level is usually less for a women's match (but not always).

*  Remember that coaches have the ear of the coordinators.  You may not like it, but its a fact of life.

*  Some coaches keep files on officials.  Another fact of life you need to remember but it sure would be fun to read through those files.

*  Only one coordinator in Texas gets paid for doing the job so don't be too quick to criticize.

*  Always remember that you don't know how many officials signed up for the match.  There are times you have 20 people sign up for 6 spots so someone is going to be left out.

*  Remember that some conferences pay more than anyone else and that's why people wait until their assignments come out before committing to anything.

*  Try not to cancel out of too many previous assignments after you have gotten the big conference assignments.

*  The SEC pays as good as anyone in the nation so turn your eyes toward College Station, Baton Rouge, and Arkansas if you want to branch out.

*  There are times that a coordinator has to match up coaches, players, and officials according to their personalities and job performances.  Just like some coaches and players are hard to get along with, there are some officials that make life miserable for everyone.

*  Don't threaten the coordinator with a lawsuit if they don't give you enough matches.  This has already been done in Texas and it didn't work out well for the official.  She no longer works collegiate matches...

*  If you and the coordinator don't get along well don't even begin to think you will get a ton of assignments.

*  Be thankful for the assignments you get and then do the very best job you can do when spring rolls around.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Diversity Has Arrived In Texas

Reprinted from USTA Texas Section News:

There are three organizations throughout Texas that have given LGBT members an outlet to be themselves while playing the sport of tennis. These organizations meet to play the sport, but it’s more than that. They not only spread acceptance within the sport but provide help for outside organizations.
The organizations, some of which have been running for over 20 years, also provide their members with life long friends and companions.
The Oak Lawn Tennis Association was founded in 1979 by a group of friends who enjoyed tennis. This organization was the first to support gay and lesbian tennis activities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. OLTA and similar groups began hosting the Texas Open. In addition, for the past two years, funds raised from the Texas Open, have been donated to CURE, an organization that provides healing to developing countries around the world.
“We have several success stories ranging from beginning players winning club awards…winning the Texas Cup competition in 2012 to several members winning tournaments at all levels on the GLTA tour,” said OLTA executive director Richard Chaney.
Also in Dallas, Sets in the City is a lesbian tennis organization founded in 2012 by Mary Sherman. Although a new club, SITC has around 150 members and welcomes lesbians of all ages, disabilities and skill levels. The organization meets every Friday afternoon to play tennis and round-robin matches, afterwards retiring for dinner and socializing.
“We view the primary purpose of Friday nights as introducing new players to the game and giving the group as a whole an opportunity to re-connect,” says SITC member Kathy Wise.
SITC sponsors 3.0 to 4.0 USTA and Metro teams and coordinates mixed doubles with their counterpart, OLTA. Success for SITC has been abundant, such as a 3.0 player being ranked No. 5 in Texas, their doubles team winning statewide and GLTA tournaments, and a rookie 2.5 Lone Star Team winning the championship with Sherman captaining the team.
Relationships have also flourished from this organization, from girlfriends and wives to lifelong friends, all supported within the SITC organization.
Founded in 1980, the Houston Tennis Club is a non-profit tennis organization that welcomes all players of all race, gender, and sexual orientation that play at any level. HTC hosts events like HOUTEX, an international GLTA tennis tournament held annually on Veterans Day weekend, where funds are donated to local LGBT organizations. Besides tennis activities, HTC hosts social events such as Fun Charity Tournaments and Happy Hour.
USTA Texas commends these organizations for their successful efforts in the tennis and LGBT community. It is with organizations like these that give players of all backgrounds the confidence to be themselves and feel included in the tennis community.
“Any organization that helps people feel comfortable and gives people a common bond (tennis) in the LGBT community is important,” said USTA Texas diversity and inclusion coordinator Veronica Nicholls.
USTA’s support for LGBT rights has reached new heights this Pride Month. USTA has announced that they participated in the 2015 New York City and San Francisco Pride Parades in June celebrating the LGBT community.
Along with their appearance, the tennis organization has also announced their partnership with award-winning global provider of mobile event applications Double Dutch to bring people the “LGBT Tennis Network.” This free social media app is a networking tool for LGBT tennis players to connect with fellow players, friends, family and allies.
Tennis Hall of Famer and activist Billie Jean King applauded USTA for its participation.

Time For Our Tennis Family To Pray For Luke Siegel

Luke Siegel, son of former Texas Tech men's tennis coach Tim Siegel, was critically injured in a golf cart accident a few days ago.  He is currently in the intensive care unit of the hospital with serious head trauma.  Many of us have had the privilege of working with Tim over the years as he led the Tech Red Raiders to many successful seasons so I know you will all want to lift up Tim and Luke in your prayers.

If you would like to help financially, a fund has been established at the link below:

Monday, July 27, 2015

August 8th: Tennis Officials River Raft Trip

All tennis officials and their friends are invited to come and join us for the TENNIS OFFICIALS RIVER RAFT TRIP on August 8th.

Here is the information for the trip:

Date:  August 8, 2015
Location:  New Braunfels, Texas
Departure time:  9 a.m.
Cost:  $16/tube and $25 per person for raft.

Rafting the river in New Braunfels is always an exciting experience--and its even better when shared with friends!  If you are interested in going, please contact Randy McDonald ( as soon as possible.  We already have a good group signed up to go so be sure to get in on the fun as soon as possible.

Friday, July 24, 2015

That Was The Week That Was...

Just about the time you begin to think you have seen everything in a tournament, something new pops up to burst your bubble.  That's the way it was this past weekend in Texas...

First, there was the woman who escaped from the hospital in her hospital gown, climbed the tennis center fence, and was wandering aimlessly through the tournament site.  Eventually the tournament was host to four police cars, two ambulances, and one firetruck just to subdue and restrain the errant woman!  Welcome to Texas...

Second, after a singles match when the boys were shaking hands at the net, Player A reached out to "hug" the other player but in reality he was grabbing him around the neck and pulling him close to say, "I'm going to kick your ___.  Let's go to the parking lot right now and I'll kick your ___ for you." Sadly, the roving official was not close enough to view the incident but I'm sure it will make its way up the chain to the proper authorities.

In today's world, nothing is surprising...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Parent: One Bleeding Nostril Is A Different Body Part Than The Other Bleeding Nostril

Thought you would enjoy hearing this one from a USTA junior tournament this past weekend.

A young boy developed a nose bleed and was given a bleeding timeout.  The bleeding was stopped and the boy continued play.  A while later his nose began to bleed again and he was denied another bleeding timeout.  His father indignantly said, "He was bleeding from the left side the other time and this time its from the right side and that's a different body part."  The parent was also quick to point out that he was a physician and he knew the body parts.

Needless to say, I am glad he's not my physician.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Football Season Is Nearly Here! First SEC Rankings Announced

Fall weather isn't quite here but the start of football season is on the horizon.  Check out first media pre-season poll for the SEC.  Should be an interesting year.  Can't quite figure out how Alabama is ranked first in the SEC West but Auburn is picked as the SEC Champion.

SEC West:
1.  Alabama
2.  Auburn
3.  LSU
4.  Arkansas
5.  Ole Miss
6.  Texas A&M
7.  Miss. State

SEC East:
1.  Georgia
2.  Tennessee
3.  Missouri
4.  South Carolina
5.  Florida
6.  Kentucky
7.  Vanderbilt

SEC Champion:
1.  Auburn
2.  Alabama
3.  Georgia
4.  LSU
5.  Ole Miss
6.  Arkansas
7.  Texas A&M
8.  Tennessee
9.  Miss. State
10.  Florida

*  Only SEC Media Poll results will be printed on this blog.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Welcome To The Land of Crocodile Tears and Remorse For The Loss of The Big 12

It is with much sadness and regret that we must pen this final blog post remembering the days of glory and fun in the Big 12 Conference.  I looked for an appropriate crocodile shedding great tears but was unable to find a willing participant; therefore, this lone sad eye will have to do.

Due to some new changes in the Big 12 Conference policy we will no longer to be able to write anything (good or bad) about any Big 12 team.  This includes not just tennis teams but any other Big 12 team.  Sadly, that means we will no longer be able to congratulate the conference champions and/or any Big 12 team that wins any post-season honors in the NCAA.  This greatly grieves me since three now-to-be-unmentioned teams did quite well this past year and some of the men did quite well in the NCAA individual tournament.  Hopefully those who do well in the future know we honor and respect them all but sadly, must remain silent.

On the bright side, we will continue to write blog posts about any other university in America and about any good officiating stories and questions we encounter in any locale other than the Big 12.  In fact, I have already washed my University of Georgia shirt and have ordered some new Texas A&M shirts to wear in this coming year...  Its hard to change my spots but I'll give it my best effort!

Sadly, I think our readers will miss a lot of good stories in the days to come.  We have surely had some great days in the past few years...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hail To The King And Queen

Novak Djokovic & Serena Williams

Wimbledon Men's Singles Champion

Wmbledon Women's Singles Champion

Saturday, July 11, 2015

You Cannot Accuse Wimbledon and London Of Not Being Diverse

In honor of being the "most diverse Grand Slam Tournament", London and Wimbledon have gone all out this year.  Check out some of the new changes this year...  With the spirit of diversity in the air, just imagine what the US Open is going to be like in New York City.  London ain't seen nothing yet!

The latest thing in women's panties and look especially good with the "all white" look at Wimbledon this year.

Not to be outdone, the men also have a special tennis shoe designed just for the occasion.

Two of the more illustrious tennis fans as they walk the streets before the finals.

Last (but not least) is this pair of matching boys.

Friday, July 10, 2015

New Guidelines For Our Tennis Officials Blog

Due to some changes in policy in the Big 12 Conference there will no longer be any blog posts that contain anything about any Big 12 team in any sport.

We will however continue to post about issues that affect officials and any other collegiate team other than a Big 12 team.  There will also be no comments published that pertain to any Big 12 team in any form or fashion.

Thanks for your understanding.

Randy McDonald

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Could It Be True?

Here is an article from USTA Today.  Kind of interesting and thought-provoking...

It’s a practice probably as old as the game itself: coaching from the stands. It comes in many forms: subtle nods, a shifting of a hat, a wink or sometimes out-and-out verbal instructions. The procedure itself is illegal. The enforcement of said legality is a gray area that gains more scrutiny by the year.
The accusations have dogged Rafael Nadal since he arrived on the worldwide tennis scene, if you even want to call them accusations. If you watch his Uncle Toni during a match, you can see him and Nadal often make eye contact and I doubt it’s to bird dog Kate Middleton when she’s in attendance. Andy Murray talks to his box as much as he talks to the press. And at this Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic is fending off claims that his coach, former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker, has been coaching too and, therefore, cheating.
Becker didn’t help things when he admitted that “[we] have our ways” of signaling to Djokovic “to tell him it’s good or it’s bad,” a direct admission of coaching.
Both players have responded this week because, with the British press, everything is magnified at Wimbledon. Djokovic has been uncharacteristically testy when asked the question, saying that if he hasn’t been called for a violation on court, then he shouldn’t have to answer for it in the media. Nadal had a calmer, more rational response, though an ironic one given that the player he defeated before this press conference plays without a coach.
“It’s an old regulation. It was logical many years ago because some players had coaches, and others didn’t, so this was protection for those who didn’t have coaches, But now everybody has a coach so today I don’t see any player in this circuit who doesn’t have a coach so it’s rather absurd that everyone pays for a coach to help him and then when you need him the most you can’t talk to him.”
Who’s right? Are they cheating? Are they not? What should be done? In regular WTA events, after all, coaches are allowed to come on the court, just not in Grand Slams.
Well, the players are cheating by the letter of the law. But when umpires refuse to enforce the rule, then it’s like jaywalking or, in tennis terms, the time violations that are called so infrequently and arbitrarily. Therefore, it’s Nadal who has it pegged. Banning coaching from the box is an outdated rule and one that nobody enforces anyway. It’s like pitchers putting Bullfrog on their caps or batters using too much pine tar or 
quarterbacks deflating footballs or professional teams making contact with free agents before the 12:01 a.m. deadline. It’s widely practiced, oft discussed and almost never enforced.
Here’s my suggestion: Don’t let the coaches come on the court, don’t let players go to the box for a sidebar, but short of holding up Chip Kelly-esque signage, allow a little communication between the pair. It makes things easier, it clears up any confusion and, let’s be honest, if a player needs a tip of his coach’s cap to let him know to stand back farther on the return of serve, then he’s not winning many matches anyway.