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Autographs & Pictures
by Players on Tour
Autographs and pictures taken with the "tennis star" are important to spectators, fans, and children. These souvenirs become nostalgic memorabilia. Seeking autographs and pictures adds to the excitement of attending a sporting event. Most players realize its importance in terms of perpetuating enthusiasm for the game of tennis. However, there are inappropriate times to ask for autographs and photographs. The players' very precious private time should not be invaded.
Awareness and appreciation for the players' private time is important, but sometimes difficult to determine. TENNISWIZARD.COM has taken a poll between many players on the ATP and WTA professional circuit. With this information, we have compiled a list of annoying and irritating moments with spectators and fans. Hopefully, this list will help the spectator with etiquette concerns.
1. Do not approach a player while he/she is seated in a restaurant, or anytime the player is eating. There is an exception to this. Usually it is alright to ask for an autograph if the player is seated at a bar.
2. When the player is having a day or evening out with a "date", do not interrupt for pictures or autographs. This will embarrass both the player and the companion, and may cause both to feel uncomfortable. It is, definitely, an invasion of privacy.
3. Do not stop a player within twenty minutes of his scheduled match.
4. Obviously, during a match one should never seek autographs. Nevertheless, you would be surprised to know that some people attempt to get autographs during a match. This not only disrupts the match, but is a security problem as well.
5. Never ask for autographs and pictures taken with the player when he/she is jogging, stretching, or other off-court training session.
6. After most practice and training sessions, the player pauses to stretch. This is a necessary part of the training routine and must not be interrupted or serious injury may incur. Do not interrupt during these stretching exercises no matter how great an opportunity it appears to be.
7. Do not ask for autographs while the player is actually practicing on a practice court. Practice court time is scarce and practice sessions are carefully scheduled and timed. The player needs to use every minute wisely, or he may miss an important step in his training and preparation.
There are appropriate times when most players feel comfortable and willing to give autographs and have their pictures taken alongside their fans. Here is a list of times you may feel at ease in asking your favorite tennis star for an autograph or picture.
1. After the player finishes with a match. This is the official designated time for approaching a player. It is always expected and usually acceptable by the players.
2. A good opportunity for autographs and pictures is while the player is waiting for a ride to or from the courts. This can, actually, flatter the player and create a positive, happy mood.
3. Another good opportunity to seek your autograph, is after a practice session. Be sure to wait until after the stretching exercises are finished, as well.
4. If you notice a player on the airplane or in an airport, it is acceptable to approach. If the player is trying to get much needed sleep on the airplane, avoid any requests.
5. An interesting and appropriate way to obtain an autograph is to tip a waiter to ask for an autograph when delivering the bill. Do not approach a player, yourself, in a restaurant. This is an invasion of their private time. Waiters in restaurants can feel okay about requesting autographs and pictures, after the meal is finished. Players accept this from the waiter, but they do not accept other customers approaching them when they are having their meals or enjoying the companionship of a friend.
7. If you see a tennis player after a movie or other entertainment event, it is acceptable to ask for autographs and pictures.
8. Another important consideration should be mentioned. Some players do not enjoy having their pictures taken directly after playing a match. Their minds are usually still on their performance and they may find this an annoying interruption. Others feel sweaty and dirty after a match, and may feel uncomfortable being photographed in this condition. A more appropriate time for photos with star players, is at the time they emerge from the locker room.
9. Another good time is when the players are arriving at the tournament site well in advance of their matches.
10. Autograph signing booths are your best and safest opportunities for anyone to get the much wanted pictures and autographs.
There are a few players who refuse all requests by fans. These players want no part of souvenir giving. This is the player's prerogative. This prerogative needs to be respected. In refusing these fans, some players may appear to be rude. Most of the time they are, merely, hurting themselves. However, there are other factors to consider, please respect these wishes.