Filed by Mallory Carra
High school tennis is different from what you see on TV. Its not Wimbledon, and its not the U.S. Open.
Sure, the serves are tough and the balls are lime green, but its much more laissez-faire.
You never know when a match officially starts. The players keep score for themselves no refs, public address announcers or line judges. With at least six matches going on at once, coaches are torn between them all.
You do know when it ends because youll see the players shake hands, but who won? You cant really tell. Theres no announcement or victory dance. The match just ends and the players go their separate ways, sometimes to their respective cars to go home.
But first, they each tell their respective coaches the match score. Since they may have only seen a little bit of the match, the coaches take their players word for it.
This goes all the way through NCAA. Nobody has chair umpires unless you play a USTA tournament with a chair umpire, Soddy-Daisy coach Greg Howard said. There are no line judges accept in the pros, so you have to call your own lines on your side and you have to keep score. If theres any kind of scoring dispute, they have to settle it or come get us. Its hard to play and keep an eye on the line. Thats difficult, but its goes up into SEC, NCAA play, you have to call it. There are occasional problems with that. I always tell my players its a good lesson in character.
Red Banks Glen Wagner said its just part of the sport.
Any sport that doesnt make money and tennis is one of them you cant afford officials or linespeople, Red Bank coach Glen Wagner said. Its called a gentlemens sport, and it really has to be. I tell my kids that sometimes youll play people who will say the wrong scores or make bad calls, but lifes too short. I tell them not to let it affect the rest of their game and keep playing. Theres really not a whole lot we can do.
And the players dont mind it all that much. Red Bank junior Daniel Siller, an exchange student, said he also played this way in his native Czech Republic.
Every one can be wrong or have a bad call. I really just trust people. I think tennis is fair, he said.
In a tough and tiring match, keeping score can get tough and confusing, Soddy-Daisy freshman Megan Whaley said.
You can be in a big point or rally you can just get like so tired and completely lose your focus and you cant even remember your score, she said. So youre waiting for the other person to go the other side of the court or sometimes youll actually have to ask them, Do you remember the score? It makes you feel weird that you actually have to ask them because sometimes theyll be rude, and say its your job to do it.
So, it could be like 40-30 and the other person could turn it around and say 30-40. I try to keep track of my score and all the points, just to keep from that.
Tennessee high schools score tennis matches by pro set, made up of the eight games. Scoring in the Chattanooga Rotary tournament, which started Friday at Baylor, GPS and McCallie, will be in the manner of Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and other USTA matches: Its best-of-three sets to six games. Just like on TV.
E-mail Mallory Carra at firstname.lastname@example.org