Calling Line Judges in Club Tennis

When talking to non-tennis friends, they are always shocked to hear that competitive club tennis is unofficiated given that so much rides on line calls to win/lose a point. Very few competitive amateur sports work on the honor system as tennis does.

That being said, of course a team can call a line judge at any time during a match if they think are receiving bad calls. But how effective is calling a line judge? At a regular season match, line judges are made up of one teammate from each team – probably not the most objective people to make line calls. And at USTA tournaments, the officials only come for a few points and then typically leave to cover other courts that may be having issues.

So why call a line judge at all? At GST, we feel a line judge should only be called when you’ve had three egregious calls. We are not talking about close calls on the back of the baseline that you, from the other side, cannot possibly see accurately. We mean ones where your net person can see the glaring error – at least three times. In other words, it has to be obvious. Club tennis should be fun and competitive – not a game that is always contentious and mean-spirited.

That being said, sometimes opponents will call a line judge on your team, just to get in your head or disrupt your momentum. Quickly realize that’s what the opponents are doing and do NOT let it make you angry or feel guilty. Take a deep breath and keep focused on the next point while the line judges are assembled. Stay calm and ignore any drama from the other side.

If you have to have line judges, take advantage of the benefit. One of the best things in having them is that now everyone will be making the best calls they can because people are watching. It’s basic human nature to feel even more pressure to do what’s right when people are watching and literally judging you.

If you are someone who doesn’t cheat (and we assume all GlamSlammers are in this category), then you have nothing to worry about. The key to it is to as always stay focused on your game and strategy for beating the pants off of anybody who needs to play mind games to win a USTA match. That’s the greatest reward.