Saturday, September 13, 2014

Is It Time For A Clothing Update?

A Big 12 football coach recently shared that one of the biggest drawing points for today's athletes are the types of uniforms that they wear--and football certainly seems to have made that transition!  These are just a few of the more colorful uniforms around the country.

Even Oregon can't match this one.

Might get a little confusing at Kyle Field.

A picture is worth a thousand words--or dollars...

Even the refs are getting in on the changes!

Since colors are now sweeping the country (and everyone seems to like it), perhaps its time for tennis officials to explore updating our color schemes.  Here are just a few of the modern day options...

Might be a good option for winter wear but probably not too good in the Texas sun.

Definitely lends color to the officiating scene.

We'll leave this one up to your own thought processes...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Congratulations To One Of Our Own--Angel Martinez. The New Women's Coach At Texas Wesleyan


Through the years one of my favorite officials in the Metroplex has been Angel Martinez.  He always had a smile, did a good job, and was supportive of fellow officials and now we get to congratulate him as he was named the new Women's Tennis Coach at Texas Wesleyan.

Congratulations Angel and best wishes for a winning season!  Here is today's writeup about Angel's new position:

FORT WORTH, TX:  Texas Wesleyan University Athletic Director Steve Trachier announced today the hiring of Angel Martinez as head women's tennis coach.  Martinez, who built a tremendous record at Grapevine High School, is tasked with bringing back a program at Texas Wesleyan that has been inactive since 2002.  The Lady Rams will begin play in the 2015-16 season.

"We are incredibly fortunate to have Coach Martinez join our athletic department," Trachier said.  "He is one of the most respected high school tennis coaches in the state.  He led a storied tennis program at Grapevine High School for many years, and I am positive that he is the right person to start and direct our women's tennis program."

Martinez brings 31 years of coaching experience at the high school level to Texas Wesleyan.  At Grapevine High School he built a state powerhouse and nationally respected program.  Prior to taking over at Grapevine in 1999, Martinez worked at Cedar Hill High School for 15 years.

"I am extremely excited to be here at Texas Wesleyan," Martinez said.  "It was a hard decision because we are ranked number one in the state right now, but I think that shows my commitment to this great opportunity.  I believe we can do great things here at Texas Wesleyan."

In his high school coaching career, he built a record of 622-101 with 18 District Championships.  He has coached 326 All-District selections, 28 District Players of the Year, and 102 Regional Qualifiers.  In 2002-03 he was named Wilson/TTCA 5A Coach of the Year and Fort Worth Star-Telegram Coach of the Year.  He was named USPTA Texas High School Coach of the Year in 2005, 2009, and 2013, and was named USTA Starfish National Coach of the Year in 2009.

Martinez is a graduate of UT-Arlington and holds a USPTA Elite Pro Certification.

Monday, September 08, 2014

US Open Men's Singles Final--Cilic Awesome, Watching Paint Dry, & Michael Chang's Cap

2014 Men's Open Singles Champion

MICHAEL CHANG (Nishikori's coach)
Showing off the new "tucked ears" look.

Today marked the conclusion of the 2014 US Open--and Marin Cilic was awesome!  He won the finals by defeating Kei Yishikori 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in one of the most lopsided finals in years.

To say that the final was anti-climactic would probably be the understatement of the year.  I found myself missing Djokovic and Federer but soon realized that there may be a new day dawning in men's tennis--but only time will tell on that one...  Somehow I doubt that these two will soon replace the "Big 4."

The highlight of the afternoon was rotating between watching some paint dry and checking out Michael Chang's ears as they were tucked in his new cap.  Not a day with much excitement to say the least.

The one good thing to come of the men's and women's finals (other than huge paydays for the winners) was the fact that the line officials were 100% correct on every questioned call.  That's awesome and they are to be congratulated.

Now that the Open is over and done with, its time to turn our thoughts and attention to more important things like training new officials and figuring out what to do with parents at USTA junior events.

Good luck to everyone in the days to come!

Martina Navratilova's Engagement

In case you missed it, here is an account of Martina's proposal and engagement announcement at the US Open this past weekend:

"Game, set, proposal!  Martina Navratilova is engaged after popping the question to her longtime girlfriend Julia Lemigova at the US Open in NYC on Saturday, Sept. 6.

Navratilova, 57, wore an all white ensemble as she got down on bended knee to ask the Russian model in a suite at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Dressed in a black pencil skirt and sleeveless top, 42-year-old Lemigova? looked utterly shocked as she raised her (now!) engagement hand to her mouth.

"I have been waiting for the right time to ask Julia to marry me," the nine-time Wimbledon champion later told the crowd on the big screen, via Daily Express. She added: "I thought this was the right place and the right time to pop the question and thankfully I got a yes."

Navratilova also tweeted about the next chapter. "Thanks everyone for your good wishes," she wrote. "I am very happy, so is Julia and our whole family."

Navratilova came out as gay in 1981 and has been dating Lemigova since 2006. Lemigova has two daughters from a previous relationship."

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Good Day For The Americans At The US Open

SERENA WILLIAMS won her 3rd US Open singles title in a row as well as her 18th Grand Slam Title (tying her with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova with 18).

The BRYAN BROTHERS won their 6th US Open Doubles title as well as their 100th career title.

Friday, September 05, 2014

John McEnroe Evaluation: "Horribly, badly bungled."

Peng Shuai in distress in her singles match at the US Open.

Following the officiating fiasco in the match between Caroline Wozniaki and Peng Shuai, John McEnroe made an evaluation and said the USTA leadership "horribly, badly bungled" the situation--and perhaps anyone in their right mind or any sense of tennis rules, would have to agree.

While I realize that pro rules differ from anyone else on earth, there was no excuse for today's mess.  Here is the timeline of what happened:

Match score:  Wozniaki leading 7-6 and 4-3 with the score 30-30.

*  Peng took 50 seconds between the deuce point and the ad point without any penalty from the chair official.

*  Peng stopped play after the ad point (which she lost) and it was 42 seconds before the trainer came to the court.

*  2 minutes and 50 seconds elapsed before Peng was led from the court.

*  4 minutes elapsed before the chair official announced that Peng was being evaluated.

*  5 minutes and 40 seconds elapsed when the chair official announced that Peng would be taking a 3 minute Medical Time Out.

*  10 minutes and 37 seconds elapsed before Peng came back to the court and was ready to play.

At this point, no time violations, warnings, or point penalties had been given.

*  Following the playing of a couple of points, the score was again deuce.  Peng again stopped play and the trainer and a bunch of others came on the court to console her.

*  After 1:27 it was finally announced that Peng was retiring.

There aren't sufficient words in the English language to describe this officiating fiasco.  In this instance, we will be just quote John McEnroe again--HORRIBLY, BADLY BUNGLED.

Where Oh Where Has All The Money Gone?

Ever wonder where all the USTA money goes?  Check out the NYT article below and it might help answer your questions--or maybe raise even more...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

USTA Junior Tennis--Maybe Adoption Is An Option...


Just finished a day working the 16 year old boys in a USTA tournament--and what a day it was!  Only gave one code for racket abuse but had to caution a Dad about coaching and then the other official had to remove the Dad from the center for screaming at his son after the match was over.  Overall, a good day though.

I was very impressed with the good behavior of the boys.  They were all very respectful and very competitive at the same time.  Of course with 16 year olds there is an excess of testosterone everywhere.

I did find it interesting that the following sign was posted in the hallway:


We have a 15 year old male human that is available for immediate adoption.  Today would be best but we could wait until tomorrow.  Here are his statistics:

*  Eats constantly and drinks a gallon of milk a day.
*  Has an allergy to bath water.
*  Has all his shots and has been wormed.
*  Bites but not often.
*  Has an allergic reaction to any advice given by his Father.
*  Has very large feet. 
*  Tends to pass gas in public on a regular basis. 
*  Has good clean teeth. 
*  Plays well with others as long as he is winning. 
*  Will download porn if not watched carefully. 

If interested, please contact the parents at 000-0000.  We would love to give him to a good home (and the sooner, the better.)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Chair Training Begins August 26th

Cameron Nash of Dallas on his first day of training.

For those who are interested, chair training will begin next Tuesday (August 26) at 4:00 p.m. at Highland Park High School.  The training program is offered to any certified official who would like to be trained in doing chair work.  The only requirement is that the official be a certified official.

The training will be conducted during live match play and will feature chair work the entire time.  There will be an instructor nearby for all matches.

Here is the training schedule:

August 26        4:00 p.m.       Highland Park HS
September 9    4:00 p.m.       Highland Park HS
September 20  9:00 a.m.       Highland Park HS
September 23  4:00 p.m.       Highland Park HS
September 30  4:00 p.m.       Highland Park HS
October 3        4:00 p.m.       Highland Park HS
October 8        8:30 a.m.       Highland Park HS
October 9        4:00 p.m.       Highland Park HS
November 7     TBD             SMU Women's collegiate tournament
November 8     TBD             SMU Women's collegiate tournament
November 9     TBD             SMU Women's collegiate tournament

If you are interested, please contact Randy McDonald at 214 796 7402 or

Sunday, August 10, 2014

How Much Collegiate Cheering Is Too Much?

Without question the loudest crowds are at the University of Georgia.

Its doubtful that anyone wants a collegiate crowd to be like a Wimbledon crowd.  They would all leave from boredom!

Probably the best educated crowds at the University of Oklahoma.

Baylor University is famous for the ledge where players can stand and cheer on their teammates.  People come from near and far to hear the lady spectator who can deafen a whole stadium.

TCU is widely acclaimed for their festive atmosphere!  Nothing like tacos and pizza at a tennis match.

The University of Texas tears down the old to bring in the new.  

One of the most controversial areas in collegiate tennis is the issue of crowd behavior.  There are endless discussions of how much is too much and how much should the officials permit and when should they try to control the crowd behavior.

There are already specific rules in place but the officials still have quite a bit of latitude when it comes to crowd behavior.  How tightly a match is officiated is usually up to the referees but referees are also given specific directives by the athletic directors and conference offices.  That which people think is a black and white issue isn't always so easy to facilitate...

This coming year there is already discussion among coaches and players about crowd control and whether the tennis crowds should be more like football and basketball games.  Crowds pretty well run the gamut of excitement in Texas and Oklahoma but I would be hard pressed to say that they are out of control.  I think the basic issue is "information and training" for the crowd to be appropriate for a tennis match.  If you have ever done a night match at the University of Oklahoma you will find that they usually have one of the largest crowds in the Big 12--but also the most educated and well-behaved crowds.  They are lively to say the least but I've never seen them exceed the boundaries of what is appropriate in college tennis--and that standard is because of the individual coaches and their "teaching and training" of their individual crowds.  Just like a tennis team, the crowd tends to take on the personality of the coach.

There is not a venue is tennis that is more exciting than a collegiate dual match!  You've never really experienced "tennis" until you've been at Baylor and heard their female loudspeaker or at TCU when the tacos are cooking and fans are fellowshipping.  The word "exciting" barely covers the atmosphere when Oklahoma and Texas play a night match.  Its even a privilege to be down at A&M in the shadow of Kyle Field for a night match with all of their fans cheering their team on to victory.

Loud and raucous is good at a tennis match and especially in a collegiate match.  Noone wants to see a player, coach, or official ridiculed or harrassed so there has to be some boundaries somewhere.  Perhaps the best solution is for the coaches and/or athletic directors to write up some very specific guidelines for crowd behavior and then we as officials can enforce whatever level of participation they deem appropriate.

Hopefully all of this will happen around collegiate tennis before January, 2015...

Just got this picture in today of the A&M crowd.  The caption should read:

There is a lot of horsing around in the A&M crowd.


Steve Moore of Texas A&M Corpus Christi sent in this letter.  It is worth reprinting...

Fellow coaches,
As we all know, it has become a top priority of our athletic directors that all sports maximize fan turn out. This is also vital to lifting college tennis to the high level we belong. We have all worked very hard at getting crowds at our matches. As we see crowd numbers increase, we have now reached the point where clear cut fan rules are needed that everyone can count on- players, fans, coaches, umpires. We cannot expect fans to come to matches if we legislate them into a box. We also do not want to continue hearing 27 different variations and versions of what the crowd can or cannot do. We need consistency we can count on, for everyone.  This way we know what to expect whether at home or on the road, with an experienced umpire or rookie. This also gives us the best opportunity to achieve three key objectives: please our athletic directors with large crowds, give our players a great student -athlete experience of a Davis Cup atmosphere with an engaged fan base, and make matches as fun as possible so fans keep coming. I have spoken with countless College coaches who agree strongly. The proposal is for three clear cut rules for fan behavior that we can all quote and count on:
1.      Fans can never be personally demeaning to a player.
2.      Fans can never use foul language or swear at a player.
3.      Fans can never interrupt play by cheering during the point.

   Outside these three rules, fans can do whatever they want, just like a volleyball game or basketball game- sports we compete with to attract fans. Fans are not allowed to swear at players or be demeaning or ugly at those events either. Sometimes those who cross those lines must be removed. We must, however, get rid of silly, unenforceable, fan detracting  rules such as no dialogue with a player, nothing can ever be said to a player or the crowd is bothering a player. This makes us more of a country club atmosphere than a college sports atmosphere. I also believe our players are mentally tough enough to handle a more engaged crowd so long as its never ugly or demeaning. The benefits of a large, engaged fan base far outweigh being occasionally annoyed by a rowdy crowd. Please consider this change to the current ITA College Tennis Match rules.

Steve Moore
Director of Tennis, Texas A&M- Corpus Christi
ITA Texas Region Chair

Friday, August 08, 2014

When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go!

This little tennis story is hard to believe but it comes first hand from a friend of mine who had this happen to him recently on a court at the Highpoint Tennis Center in Plano, Texas...

Seems that my friend (who is 55) was playing doubles with three even older guys.  He was preparing to serve and noticed there was a puddle of water up at the net right in front of his doubles partner.

He told him "the court has a wet place so watch out."  The older gentleman replied, "It was me.  I had to go."

Such is tennis life in the fast lane...

(Don't be offended--just enjoy the humor of the moment.)

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Dictator or "Friend at Court". You Decide What You Will Be...

Quote from the 2014 Friend at Court:

Q.  What is a tennis official?

A.  A person who helps ensure that any given tennis match is conducted under the fairest possible conditions.  So, ideally, the official is a "friend at court," helpful to the players and the spectators.

Quite an interesting quote and perhaps one that should be given to some of our USTA referees around the country.  Now that the summer season is in full swing, we hear constant reports of bad (and good) referees all over everywhere.  Not that all reports are bad or untrue, but the sad fact exists that we have some referees who have trouble distinguishing between being a "friend at court" and being an inflexible referee who wreaks havoc of players and spectators alike.

Consider the following examples from around Texas:

*  A well known lady referee in Texas has the nickname "feminazi" among players and spectators for her aggressive and dominant officiating style.

*  A referee chased a dad into the parking lot to chastise him for disobeying rules.  When asked about his behavior, the referee said, "I had to show him who was boss."

*  In a ZAT tournament the parents of both players were sitting next to the sideline fence watching the match.  Noone was coaching or causing any problems but the referee strutted up and said, "You have to move.  There is a three foot rule regarding parents sitting next to a fence."

*  In a women's doubles match both teams were putting their equipment and supplies down in a shaded patio that adjoined their court and had open and free access from the court.  Both teams agreed to do so and were having a great match.  The referee quickly came to court and said they could not use the shaded area and made all four of them sit out on the court in the sun with no shade available.  He told the players that there was a rule forbidding what they were doing.

These are just a few of the accounts that come from tournaments every week--and its time for some of our referee to reign in their behavior.  It is beyond this writer to understand why a tournament director would hire a referee that shows such utter disregard for players and spectators alike.  The saddest thing to witness is a referee who is constantly abusive and rude to everyone in the tournament.  Some simply seem to labor under the need to assert their authority and penalize anyone who questions them.

What is the solution?  More training?  If that were so, some of the greatest offenders should have been cured years ago.  More pay?  Money won't change a thing.  Having lunch provided?  Not hardly.  Most of these referees already have their lunch provided by the tournament director.

Basically the best solution would be for the tournaments not to hire them...  We (and the tournament directors) know who the worst referees are and its time to change it--for the betterment of the game and the players and spectators.

Here are some helpful hints for a referee with a dictator complex:

*  Remember you are there to facilitate fair play and help the players and spectators have an enjoyable experience.
*  You aren't king (or queen) of anything so don't act that way.
*  Remember that you aren't always right.
*  The people  you deal with are fellow humans and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
*  Don't run around just looking for something or someone to code for something real or imagined.
*  Don't make up rules to suit your own agenda.  Lots of people have a Friend at Court and can check your accuracy and integrity.
*  Just be nice.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Rule Changes For 2015

Just read this article this morning:

DI Tennis Committee recommends changes to reduce length of matches

The Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee, in collaboration with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and the United States Tennis Association, is recommending several changes to reduce the length of championship matches.

The ITA is also adopting these format changes for its regular-season matches. All recommendations made by the committee must be approved by the Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet, which is scheduled to meet Sept. 9.

David Benjamin, the executive director of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, was pleased that a collaborative approach was taken with the goal of enhancing the sport.

“The ITA has worked closely with the NCAA tennis committee and the USTA on this most important issue,” Benjamin said. “We look forward to continuing to work together to promote and grow the sport of college tennis.”

In the team championships, three doubles matches will be played with no-ad scoring, with each match consisting of one set to six games. A tie-break will be played at 6-all.

Following a 10-minute intermission, six singles matches will be played with no-ad scoring, with each match consisting of a best two-out-of-three with tiebreakers at 6-all. In addition, there will be no warm-up with an opponent once the players have been called to the court for the start of the match.

As in the past, the matches will be played “clinch/clinch” -- when the doubles point is clinched, the remaining doubles match is stopped. And in singles, once the team match has been clinched, any remaining singles matches will be stopped.

For the individual singles and doubles championships, all matches will be played utilizing no-ad scoring. In doubles, matches will consist of the best two-out-of-three sets, with a match tiebreak in lieu of the third set.

To read the article in its entirety please go to:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chair Training About To Begin! Come And Join Us...

This year's CHAIR TRAINING begins on August 26th and we already have a good group of people registered for the program.  This training offers any official a start toward working chairs at all levels of tennis officiating.  Those who successfully complete the training program will be eligible to begin collegiate work in January and for participation in the Chair Academy in May.  Those who complete the training have a great inroad with the ITA coordinators in Texas and Oklahoma and the training is open to all who would like to attend.

For the first time, the Chair Training has been expanded to include collegiate matches.  Be sure to check out the dates below!

Here are the requirements for the training program:

*  You must be a certified USTA official.
*  You should have a good working knowledge of the USTA and ITA rules.
*  Each training session usually lasts about 2 hours and you will usually get to chair two matches.
*  You will be required to wear a UIL shirt which can be purchased for $20-$25 for the UIL matches and an ITA shirt for the ITA matches.
*  There is no pay for the training time but it will afford you invaluable experience and special consideration by ITA and UIL coordinators.

Listed below is the schedule for training (you do not have to commit to every match but can come for training when it suits your schedule):

August 26         4:00 p.m.     UIL matches
September 9     4:00 p.m.    UIL matches
September 20   9:00 a.m.    UIL matches
September 23   4:00 p.m.    UIL matches
September 30   4:00 p.m.    UIL matches
October 3         4:00 p.m.     UIL matches
October 8         8:30 a.m.     UIL matches
October 9         4:00 p.m.     UIL matches
October 31       4:00 p.m.     ITA matches
November 1     9:00 a.m.     ITA matches
November 2     9:00 a.m.     ITA matches
November 7     4:00 p.m.     ITA matches
November 8     9:00 a.m.     ITA matches
November 9     9:00 a.m.     ITA matches

If you are interested in participating, contact Randy McDonald at 214 796 7402 or

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

ITA Version Of The Bryan Brothers--The Warren Brothers!

David & Daniel Warren
Rice University

The past two weeks have produced some of the best ITA tennis in the state as the Metroplex has hosted the UTD tournament and the UTA tournament.  Not only did we get to see some exciting tennis we also got to see a unique brother combination for doubles in the Warren brothers (David and Daniel) from Houston and Rice University.

In the UTD tournament, David won the singles title and then he and Daniel won the doubles title.  This week at the UTA tournament, they again won the doubles title and David finished second in the singles.

Not only do these brothers make a great doubles team they are also a credit to tennis in general and ITA tennis specifically.  Congratulations to two fine young men.  May you both go far in your tennis careers.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Chair Training Begins In August

One of the questions I am asked most frequently is, "How do I get to do chairs?"  Well, doing chairs in collegiate matches is one of the most exciting aspects of tennis officiating--but it requires training before you are ever asked to do a chair.  There are tons of chair opportunities in Texas and the Metroplex so we are working with the other ITA coordinators in Texas to offer CHAIR TRAINING here in Dallas beginning this August.  

The chair training will be on court training in real match situations with a qualified instructor by your side the entire time.  Training will be offered in every aspect of a match and offers a great opportunity for you to be considered for ITA work beginning in January, 2015.

All training will take place at Highland Park High School during their high school dual matches.  Highland Park is unquestionably the elite high school program in America so their matches will offer great on-court experience.  

Here is what is required to participate in the training program:

*  You must be a USTA certified official.
*  You should have a good working knowledge of the USTA rules.  A good understanding of ITA rules
     would also be helpful.
*  Each training session usually lasts about 2 hours and you will usually get to chair two matches.
*  You will be required to wear a UIL shirt which can be purchased for $20.
*  There is no pay for the training time but it will afford you invaluable experience in order to be considered        by ITA coordinators.  

Listed below is the schedule for training (you do not have to commit to every match but can come for training when it suits your schedule):

August 26         4:00 p.m.
September 9     4:00 p.m.
September 20   9:00 a.m.
September 23   4:00 p.m.
September 30   4:00 p.m.
October 3         4:00 p.m.
October 8         8:30 a.m.
October 9         4:00 p.m.

If you are interested in participating, contact Randy McDonald at 214 796 7402 or

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Equal Pay At Wimbledon--You've Got To Be Kidding!

$3,000,000 Prize Money For Each Winner

Novak Djokovic and Petra Kvitova
Men's & Women's Singles Champions 2014

After the thrilling and competitive men's final at Wimbledon, the discussion soon turned to the equal prize money ($3,000,000) that is awarded to the men's and women's singles champions.  Since this is quite an interesting and hot topic, we might consider a few pertinent facts in this discussion.

*  Is it equal pay for equal pay?  Not hardly considering the women play best of three sets and the men play best of five sets.  In the final, the women played for 55 minutes and the men played for well over 4 hours.

*  Is it equal pay for equal drawing power?  No way considering the lack of interest and attendance at women's events. 

*  Is equal pay the product of the emphasis on diversity?  Probably so. 

*  Is equal pay right and fair?  Guess the answer is in the eye of the beholder--as is beauty. 

Just for further consideration and after searching for a comparable field of consideration--GOLF--here is the breakdown of the golf prize money at the US Open:

US Open Men's Winner:  $1.44 million
US Open Women's Winner:  $585,000

Not to offend anyone and knowing that this is politically incorrect, perhaps its time that Wimbledon (and the US Open Tennis Tournament) give a little thought to reality.  Of course, if they were to make any changes they would be sued in today's politically correct world.  Maybe the answer would be to pay them for "minutes played" in each match...

We would welcome your thoughts on this unique and interesting topic.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

And The Champions Are Crowned!

Vasek Pospisil & Jack Sock

Novak Djokovic

Petra Kvitova

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Equal Punishment For Equal Participation?

On an average day in an average Texas public school if you are caught fighting, both participants are suspended--regardless of who initiated the fight.  Doesn't seem to be the case at Texas Tech.  Check out the story below...

Texas Tech women’s basketball player Amber Battle has been suspended from competition for the entire month of November after her role in a fight Saturday at the school’s student recreation center, athletic director Kirby Hocutt and women’s basketball coach Candi Whitaker announced Friday morning in a news release.
Battle admitted to initiating first contact in a fight during a pick-up basketball game last week with incoming Texas Tech football player Nigel Bethel II.
Bethel was dismissed from the team Sunday after reportedly punching Battle in the face and forcing the Lady Raider to have surgery.
“During a pickup basketball game on June 28, I was involved in an incident with Texas Tech football player Nigel Bethel,” Battle said in a statement.  “I initiated the first contact and I take full responsibility for my actions.  I want to take this time to apologize to Nigel, the Texas Tech community, my teammates, coaches and fans.  Nothing I can say can truly repair the harm I have already caused.  I did not represent the Double T like I am supposed to and I promise to hold myself to a higher standard from here on.”
The news release states “Texas Tech Athletics does not tolerate violence against women.”

Their view is abundantly clear but the question still remains:  Do they tolerate violence against men or just punish it differently?

Was It A Virus Or What? Here's Martina's Opinion

All eyes were glued to Serena Williams when she and Venus went on court for their doubles match--and the sight wasn't pretty.  Serena was stumbling around and nearly incoherent in her speech and the explanation was that it was a "viral infection."  Here is Martina Navratilova's response:

No less an authority than Martina Navratilova has said what many are thinking about Serena Williams’ bizarre breakdown Tuesday at Wimbledon.
After Williams stumbled around the court for three games of a doubles match with sister Venus, badly bobbling her tosses and blundering through four hideous double faults when it was her turn to serve — this after a 13-minute medical break before the match even started — Serena retired with what she called a “bug” and “viral illness.”
“I think virus, whatever they’re saying it was, I don’t think that was it,” Navratilova told ESPNw. “I think it’s clear that’s not the case. I don’t know what it is, but I hope Serena will be OK.”
Though Navratilova did not go as far as to suggest what she thought “it” was — something chemical? a Richie Tenenbaum moment? — the nine-time Wimbledon champ was baffled Serena even made it on the court in her distressed condition.
“It’s the most inexplicable thing of all that she was clearly in no state to play a match and that with all the people around her, that they didn’t stop her from getting on the court,” Navratilova said.
“The coach said he hadn’t seen her for two days. He didn’t know anything. How can you be a coach and not know anything? That’s wrong. And Venus was just kind of there. You don’t know what’s going on, but virus was not it, that much is clear.”
Serena posted a kind of recovery photo to Instagram on Wednesday.

Monday, June 30, 2014

How Would You Rule?

We just got this one in and thought it would be a good topic for discussion:

A doubles player hit the ball over the net and because of the spin and wind, the ball came back to their side before the opponents hit the ball.  However, instead of the ball bouncing, the doubles team that originally hit it over the net, volleyed it back to the team that never hit the ball.  Who wins the point?

How would you rule on this one???

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

We've Come A Long Way Baby--Or Have We?

There are those who would say we have "come a long ways baby" when its comes to modern day tennis.  That might be so when it comes to rackets and the new power game but not so sure when it comes to clothing (or lack of it).  The new ESPN magazine came out this month with pictures of Venus Williams and Tomas Berdych that might make even a nun blush...

John McEnroe at his finest.

Rod Laver showing his matchless style and grace.

Venus Williams showing most everything.

Tomas Berdych showing off his new racket.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Joke Of The Century: McEnroe Wanting To Get Rid Of All Officials

Thought all of our readers would enjoy reading this article.  Probably the joke of the century!

John McEnroe—to put it mildly—never quite saw eye-to-eye with the umpire during his tennis-playing days. If the image of him berating officials and smashing rackets has dimmed in your head, here’s a quick refresher on his pretty epic bad boy ways. McEnroe has since given up the baseline for the broadcasting booth on tennis' biggest stage and has refashioned himself as an outspoken reformist ambassador of the game. Now, in what is part mission statement and perhaps part wishful thinking, McEnroe has a plan to boost tennis’ sagging popularity: “Do away with the umpires and linesmen completely,” he says.
While that may sound anarchic—and it is, really—McEnroe thinks it could inject some new energy into the game. Sort of like a reality TV version of Gladiator meets Wimbledon. Here’s what Johnny Mac has in mind, via the Guardian:
“You’d have a system where the players would call their own lines. All of a sudden things would get a whole lot edgier. But you could challenge it. Say the guy was, like, blatantly cheating and you challenge, people would be, like: ‘Boo!’ People would get way more into it. And then you’d be, like: ‘See this guy? This guy is such a cheater!’ It would be unbelievable for tennis, I promise you. The problem is, there’s no way in hell they’ll do it. But I guarantee you that tennis would be like 30% more interesting.”
“You can’t just stand on your heels and do nothing,” McEnroe said. “We’ve got to keep trying to do things, in my opinion, to grab fans."

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

What An Awful Experience! Watching PowerShares Men's Tennis

Future star of the PowerShares tour.

Just when I thought listening to Martina Navratilova and Mary Carillo devastate a tennis broadcast would be the worst experience of my week, I experienced something even worse tonight!  I tuned in to the PowerShares senior men's tennis event...

Jimmy Connors (fat, slow, and in long pants) and John McEnroe (with his usual dynamic and disgusting personality) were playing singles and it was a massacre of tv time.  There are men their age in Dallas who would beat them into oblivion.  Connors was so overweight that he couldn't chase down a ball but they were quick to point out that he has had two hip replacement surgeries.  Maybe they should have warned the patrons before they bought their tickets.

I managed to make it through 11 minutes of this fiasco and then went to watch Big Bang Theory.  A few minutes later I thought I would check back to see if Connors was still alive and breathing and was treated to watching Pat Cash limp through a set against a huge and overweight Ivan Lendl.

Not sure who thought up this tour but I pity anyone who buys a ticket to watch these old has-beens play tennis.  I guess I'm guilty too since I wasted 19.5 minutes of my life watching them on tv.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Good Old Martina--Feminist To The End


Just finished watching the Sharapova-Murugula match and after enduring the screeching by both players on every point, I also had to listen to the oft-biased commenting by the illustrious Martina Navratilova and Mary Carillo.  Here are some of the examples:

*  Martina kept harping on the fact that Sharapova was taking too long between serves.  Then she so aptly pointed out that "the men go over the limit all of the time and its never called on them."  Not to let a sleeping dog lie, she then said, "if they are going to enforce on the women all the time, then they need to enforce it on the men too."  Of course, Mary Carillo was quick to point out that Sharapova had been going 30 seconds           between every point when she was serving in that game.  Thankfully there was total silence from Navratilova at that point.

*  After a change over and the players came back on the court, Mary Carillo said "welcome back to our match where Maria Sharapova, just like Rafael Nadal, is being illegally coached and taking too long between points."  At least the tv crews showed Sharapova's coaches coaching her between points so that helped Carillo's credibility.

*  Both Carillo and Navratilova said that if the chair umpire called a time violation after the warning on a first serve that Sharapova would only lose the first serve and could then serve the second serve.  Perhaps in pro tournaments (where players basically get away with everything) this is true, but not in USTA nor ITA is that true.  It would be a point penalty on the second time violation.

*  Navratilova was interrupting her rant about female players being over-penalized to say that Sharapova was taking too long between serves and that is a "code violation."  Interesting interpretation but wrong.

At least watching a match with these two commentators is interesting.  Maybe we should mail a Friend at Court to Martina this week...

The saddest part of it all is that if the players are taking too long and receiving illegal coaching, then it is the fault of the OFFICIALS and not the players.  The players will do what we let them get away with and everyone knows they aren't going to penalize their stars.

Monday, June 02, 2014

How Would You Rule? A Player Saying "Bounce-Hit" As She Struck The Ball

In the women's national junior college tournament in May we encountered this unusual situation:

In a singles match, player A would say, "Bounce. Hit" as every ball landed in her court.  Player B complained that her "Bounce-Hit" statement sounded like she was calling the ball out and was disrupting play.  Players on the adjacent court also complained that she was interfering with their play by her constant "Bounce-Hit" outbursts.

How would you rule?

The roving official ruled that a player can say anything they want when a ball is coming toward them and this was backed up by Player A's coach that said, "We are from Florida and our officials told us that she could say anything she wanted to as long as the ball was coming toward her."

I was the referee for the tournament and was not called to the court in this instance to make a ruling; but had I been called, I would have ruled that she could not say "Bounce-Hit" before every ball for the following reasons:

1.  She did not say "Bounce-Hit" before every ball.  Just on most occasions.
2.  Her outbursts were confusing the opponent.
3.  Her outbursts were disrupting play on the adjoining courts.
4.  Finally, there is this ruling in the Friend at Court on page 51:

"34.  Talking when ball is in play.
         *  Singles players should not talk during points."

How would you have ruled?

Be sure to note the following in the FAC on Page 51:

"34.  Talking when ball is in play.
        *  Talking between doubles partners when the ball is moving toward them is allowed.
        *  When talking interferes with an opponent's ability to play a ball, it is a hindrance."

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Invitation To "The Gathering" For All ITA Officials

"The Gathering”

June 7, 2014

Come and join us for the 2nd annual “GATHERING.”  It is an informal reunion type meeting of ITA officials who are interested in improving collegiate officiating and enjoying some quality time together.


·        Start time is 2:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

·        Location: 4505 Turnberry Court, Plano, TX (Home of Mark and Terry Gatzki)  For those who wish to spend the night, there are local officials who are willing to house you in their homes.  Requests are required by using the contact information below.

·        Dress is casual and focus is on lots of food, fun, and fellowship.

·        Swimming pool and bbq.   Water volleyball for those who are more athletic.

·        Cost is $10 per person to cover cost of bbq and drinks.

·        “Bring Your Own Bottle” format if you would like alcohol.

·        Open to all ITA officials and their spouses or significant others.

·        Reservations are required.  You may register by emailing Randy McDonald ( or Terry Gatzki ( or texting 432 528 7389.