Should you challenge the referee? And, ten other questions for squash and tennis players…

In sports, rules have to be followed. But, etiquette is open to interpretation!
Ten questions for Squash & Tennis players

There is also conventional wisdom on how each game should be played. Occasionally, it makes sense to pause and wonder what would happen if you went against the grain. So, here are eleven questions for squash and tennis players that you may not get from your club pro.

Do you challenge the referee when you clearly feel that a call should have gone your way?

If you are good-natured and let doubtful calls go every time, you may not be doing yourself any favours. There is a reason that Jonathan Power and John McEnroe perfected the look of disbelief when calls didn’t go their way. While, the introduction of Hawk-eye and similar technologies have lessened the influence that tantrums on the court can have, it still is used effectively by many club players to sway decisions in their favour.

Remember, it is always the squeaky wheel that gets the grease!

If you picked up a low hard shot on the second bounce and the referee called it good, will you stop play and give the point away?

Technically, it is not your call, it is the referee’s.

But, referees are human and make mistakes; especially when they don’t have a clear line of sight to the ball. At the club level, it may make sense to admit to the double bounce. But, I would be surprised if the pros feel obliged to do any such thing.

If your opponent does not clear and the referee only gives you a “let”, will you prove your point by taking a shot that hits your opponent?

This is another tough one!

Personally, I would not. I would resort to challenging the referee on it. However, many people do chose to prove their point by taking the shot and earning the point. If you do chose this option, make sure that you do not do it on a turn-around shot.

If you are down one game and 1-9 in the second in a PAR 11 squash game, will you try to come back, or save your energy for the third game?

This is a tough one!

If you have the fitness, I would suggest trying to come back. Losing 11-1 can be bad for your morale as you go into the third game.

Do you play more aggressively when you play squash under the “hand-out” scoring format vs. the PAR format?

If you play the same game under the two formats, it’s time to stop and think. Under the hand-out system, you can be more aggressive when you are serving. You don’t run the risk of losing a point if your opponent wins the rally.

If you did not hit tin in an entire squash match, is it a good thing?

Most errors in professional matches are made when a player hits tin. If you never hit tin in a match, it would imply that you played safe and were not aggressive enough.

Have you won, or, lost more matches, after having led by two sets?

On reflection, I would say that I come out even on the above question. But there are some who are better at winning matches than some others. You may be a better player in many cases, but, can you win matches?

Do you take more risks when you are ahead?

It never hurts to put pressure on your opponent when you are ahead. The alternate option is to play safe and hold on to your lead. I would pick the former.

In tennis, if you served an ace which clipped the tape resulting in a “let”, would you try the same serve again, or go for something else?

I would say go for the same serve. While you can argue that the surprise element is lost, you can counter argue that your opponent expects you to do something else and the same serve would be unexpected.

If you didn’t make a single double-fault in an entire tennis match, is it a good thing?

I would argue that it is not a good thing. To me it means that you played safe by taking something off the second serve to keep it in play.

If you have a clean overhead shot in doubles tennis, and your best chance to win the point is to hit your opponent, will you hit away?

The right shot is to go for the opponent’s feet. Going for that shot would mean that you do run the risk of hitting the person’s body. Overhead shots are not soft; so, if you are on the receiving end of things, it is wise to stay out of the way of the shot than blaming your opponent for hitting you.

Clearly, the answers to the questions above would vary based on the situation and context.

Hopefully, now you have some perspective!

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2 comments for “Should you challenge the referee? And, ten other questions for squash and tennis players…

  1. Mitch Guthman
    February 28, 2015 at 6:43 PM

    Thanks for the interesting article. I have just a few quibbles on things where I have a slightly different perspective:

    1. Challenging the referee: Yes, a club player being referred by someone who is unsure of the rules or is much lower ranked, might pick up a couple of cheap points by bullying the ref. But, equally, he might lose some close calls that might have gone his way if he hadn’t antagonized the ref. Refs are only human and, along those lines, you might want to remember that there’s no such thing as an appeal in the amateur game.

    2. I was taught that calling your own ball down or in the tin is an essential part of the game of squash. Good sportsmanship is a part of game’s heritage. I think most people are honest and squash has always been a culture that promotes honesty and fair play.

    Beyond one’s personal integrity, however, there’s a more practical reason for being a clean player. If you get a reputation as a dirty player, referees will be much less inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt not only on double bounces and tins but on everything else. Seriously dirty players, professionals and amateurs alike, tend to get pushed out of the sport.

    3. I do agree that if an opponent isn’t clearing or giving you fair access to the ball, by all means call that to the ref’s attention. Politely and without arguing. But, yes, you certainly can call the ref’s attention to something that you think is wrong, especially if it’s not an isolated incident.

    On the other hand, beyond the virtues of good sportsmanship and the fact that we amateurs are playing squash for pleasure, you shouldn’t deliberately hit your opponent because if I’m referring (and I see it), the match will be over.

    • Dax Nair
      February 28, 2015 at 7:57 PM

      Mitch, Thank you for your comments! You have an interesting blog.

      Your points make total sense and should be the standard for all club players. I follow them.

      My argument is that being good-natured, and tolerant should not be perceived as some form of weakness that others can take advantage of.

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