Gamesmanship is name of the game in tennis [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Gamesmanship is name of the game in tennis

griffin_230
07-04-2007, 04:10 AM
By Glenn Moore:

When a woman's gotta go, she's gotta go. Except that when Serena Williams
was offered the chance to take a "comfort break" in her remarkable
third-round match against Daniela Hantuchova at Wimbledon on Monday night
she suddenly did not need to go after all.

Williams' selective need to visit the bathroom has prompted allegations of
gamesmanship. Some critics have even suggested she also faked the calf
injury that added such a dramatic air to her victory.

The last charge is ludicrous. Williams' yelp of pain, and her collapse to
the turf, was obviously genuine. That she only wanted to go for a toilet
break when her opponent was about to serve (which is no longer permitted),
and not when she was about to serve does seem more Machiavellian.

If so it was hardly a new development, nor even an extreme one. Forget the
strawberries and cream, "oh I say, anyone for tennis?" image of the nation's
most middle-class pastime. At its professional heart, lawn tennis is as
devious as any other sport. This is a sport where many players, of all
levels, keep a copy of Brad Gilbert's Winning Ugly in their kit-bag, a book
which devotes 63 pages to "mind games, psyching out and gamesmanship".

Nick Bollettieri, the legendary coach and Independent columnist, has seen
most of the tricks in his half-century in the game. "There is no way on this
earth that Serena's cramp had anything to do with gamesmanship," he said.
"Her calf was swollen like a grapefruit. As for the toilet break, I don't
know. It's a thin line. I'm sure she needed the bathroom, and I can accept
that as she took control of the match, she wanted to stay on court.

"There was` more obvious gamesmanship in Rafael Nadal's match with Robin
Soderling. Nadal was playing with his pants, pulling up his socks, bouncing
the ball 30 or 40 times or something ridiculous. Then Soderling was
mimicking Nadal."

Many in the game feel Nadal's timewasting is gamesmanship. Players are
supposed to play at the speed of the server, but Nadal dictates his own
tempo. So does Maria Sharapova who, between every point, turns to the back
of the court, fiddles with her racquet strings, then deigns to serve or
receive. It would be a bold player who served regardless to someone of the
stature of Nadal or Sharapova.

The men can only take toilet breaks at the end of a set. But that is also
open to abuse. Eyebrows were also raised at the eight-minute break Feliciano
Lopez required after losing the fourth set against Tim Henman. The delay
broke Henman's rhythm and Lopez won the fifth.

The use of Hawk-Eye challenges, and injury time-outs are other potential
sources of gamesmanship but, adds Bollettieri, "in a historical context,
this is Mickey Mouse stuff compared to the great gamesmen. I mean Jimmy
Connors, John McEnroe, Ilie Nastase. Now that was gamesmenship, and the
crowds loved it. McEnroe always questioned the umpire. Connors had rages of
terror. And it was all controlled. Nastase just glared at everybody. These
guys knew what they were doing."

McEnroe has admitted many of his outbursts were calculated to upset his
opponent, while even the joking antics of a Nastase, or Henri Leconte, can
have the same effect. As for Connors, in Winning Ugly Gilbert recalls an
encounter in a Chicago tournament.

In the final set Gilbert, with match-point on Connors' serve, hit a winner.
He recalled Connors was "so mad stuff was coming out of his nose and he was
spitting at the mouth". Indicating a supposed mark he screamed abuse at the
line judge and umpire. To Gilbert's shock and horror the umpire suddenly
announced an overrule. Gilbert, to no avail, protested. He failed to win
another point as Connors won the match.

This appears closer to cheating than gamesmanship, the art of which was
first defined (and labelled) in Stephen Potter's 1947 book, Gamesmanship:
The Art of Winning Games Without Actually Cheating.

Potter describes how to interrupt an opponent's flow, or distract him,
ideally while appearing sporting. Thus, though fidgeting while your opponent
addresses the ball at the tee-box is unsporting, asking loudly for quiet so
your opponent can concentrate appears sporting but achieves the same effect.

But surely golf, the game in which players police themselves, is clean?
Downright cheating is extremely rare but gamesmanship occurs, albeit more
often among club players than pros.

The most notorious incidents have tended to come in the Ryder Cup, perhaps
because players become more emotionally involved. The American stampede
across Jose Maria Olazabal's line at Brookline in 1999 is perhaps the most
infamous event but that could be put down to the heat of the moment. Eight
years prior the animosity between Paul Azinger and Seve Ballesteros included
the American calling the Spaniard, who had coughed throughout the round,
"the King of gamesmanship".

This was gentle compared to the 1969 match at Royal Birkdale. A fourball
pitting Bernhard Gallacher and Brian Huggett against Dave Hill and Ken Still
became confrontational as early as the first green. Huggett told both
opponents off for their movement and positioning. On the next green Still
loudly ordered his caddie not to hold the flag for Gallacher. The quartet
simmered until Hill missed a putt at the seventh and holed out only for
Gallacher to note he had putted out of turn. Still replied: "You can have
the hole and the goddamn Cup."

On the eighth Gallacher, in a brilliant exposition of Potter's dictum about
appearing to be sporting, while actually being unsporting, conceded Still's
putt. This denied Hill, who was in position to win the hole, a chance to
read the line. Eventually Hill allegedly told Gallacher: "If you say one
more word I'm going to wrap this one-iron around your head." The Americans
won on the 17th. Hill refused to shake hands with the referee.

Such behaviour is "just not cricket", except cricket is hardly exempt. If
appealing when the batsman is not out, or claiming a grounded catch, is
really cheating, bowlers going off for a breather after a long spell, or
creating footmarks for their spinners, are more akin to gamesmanship. Then
there is sledging, a technique calculated to break an opponent's
concentration. Even administrators indulge, deliberately creating wickets to
suit their side's attack.

Other sports are similarly affected. Footballers habitually appeal for a
throw-in, or corner, when they know the ball went out of play off
themselves; some "dive" in an attempt to hoodwink referees. Gamesmanship -
or cheating. And what of the dark arts of the rugby scrum?

How, too, do we categorise the more infamous shunts in Formula One? When
Alain Prost drove Ayrton Senna off the track at Suzuka in 1989, and Michael
Schumacher crashed into Damon Hill at Adelaide in 1994, in both cases
ensuring they took the Championship, were they showing gamesmanship, or a
reckless disregard for safety?

Such acts make Serena Williams' request look mild. Besides, Hantchukova
should have had the steel to ignore her.

"In pro sports, small margins matter, so players use any advantage within
the rules, gamesmanship included," Bollettieri concluded. "But the bottom
line for any pro is get the job done. If you're good enough to be out there,
you have to be strong enough, focused enough, to think only of the ball, the
point, the match. Block distractions out and they're not going to hurt you."

http://sport.independent.co.uk/tennis/article2733202.ece

Svetlana.
07-04-2007, 04:25 AM
Unfortunately, more and more people support cheating in sport. And it seems to be ok for players to get away with things. Nobleness and class is not supported anymore :sad:

R.Federer
07-04-2007, 05:25 AM
The loo stuff was certainly gamesmanship-style, seeing as she didn't want to go just as she got the momentum.
If anyone thinks that her yelp, stationary play, and enlarged tensed calf were acting, that's just crazy.

thesupreme
07-04-2007, 09:11 AM
Serena was genuinely hurt, its disgusting to suggest otherwise.


But lets get real, if that was me and i had a very slim chance of winning, i'd personally use every tactic within the rules to keep myself in the tournament and towards history. Yes its unsporting, i admit but that cant be helped sometimes. Its very nieve and spectatorish to be all moral and say that you wouldnt in their shoes....be honest.....

Henin holding her hand up & cheating Williams out of a serve a few years ago was a shocker though, lol!

Linque
07-04-2007, 09:51 AM
I am 100% honest in saying that I wouldn't resort to dirty tactics if I were a pro sporter. I'm also glad that there are players who think the same way I do.

Not all do though, which is obvious. The only naive thing is to presume that everybody would display sportsmanship. There's nothing naive in being honorable yourself. It's obnoxious to presume that other people can't be more honorable than you on a playing field.

There's nothing wrong with not approving unsporstmanship behaviour. People are allowed to prefer honor over effectivity.

Action Jackson
07-04-2007, 09:52 AM
If a player is good enough then they don't need the antics.

laure xxx
07-04-2007, 10:10 AM
Unfortunately, more and more people support cheating in sport. And it seems to be ok for players to get away with things. Nobleness and class is not supported anymore :sad:

I hate all this yearning for the past, and "in the good old days" crap. Does anyone seriously think it was any different then?

Apemant
07-04-2007, 10:50 AM
Unfortunately, more and more people support cheating in sport. And it seems to be ok for players to get away with things. Nobleness and class is not supported anymore :sad:

'Honor' is the word you were searching for. Yes, there is no honor today at all, but curiously enough, I'm not sure honor ever existed in the first place. Maybe honor was always just something to brag about in public. Maybe being 'honorable' was only something that people strived to be publicly acknowledged as. But being honorable within, does it matter? Did it ever matter? I'm not sure. I dig deep within myself and I'm still not sure. Does integrity matter even if noone knows about it? Or it is all just vanity, as the old saying goes?

The Pro
07-04-2007, 10:56 AM
I think people find the William's sisters a bit histrionic, so they get suspicious of their actions. I remember their first Wimbledon final the commentators even thought they may be fixing it.

It was totally ridiculous of course, but sometimes the way they go on they don't do themselves any favours.

TFan1156
07-04-2007, 11:10 AM
'Honor' is the word you were searching for. Yes, there is no honor today at all, but curiously enough, I'm not sure honor ever existed in the first place. Maybe honor was always just something to brag about in public. Maybe being 'honorable' was only something that people strived to be publicly acknowledged as. But being honorable within, does it matter? Did it ever matter? I'm not sure. I dig deep within myself and I'm still not sure. Does integrity matter even if noone knows about it? Or it is all just vanity, as the old saying goes?

It matters. Following the dictates of conscience is always better than smothering it with justifications. Just an all around better way to live and sport past and present has been full of great champions that were courteous and straight up, in spite of the McEnroes, Conners, Nastases, etc. that Brad Gilbert chooses to focus on...

Neely
07-04-2007, 12:41 PM
If a player is good enough then they don't need the antics.
True, but on the other hand also: if a player is good enough (which includes all departements) the opponent can do whatever they want and he still wins the match.

celia
07-04-2007, 04:08 PM
I am 100% honest in saying that I wouldn't resort to dirty tactics if I were a pro sporter.

That's easy to say when you are NOT a pro player. At that level, you have to find ways to get into your opponent's head. Mind-fucking is part of any sport and to get to the top you have to either learn how to do it well (like Nadal), or learn how to be impervious to it (like Federer before Nadal moved into his head).

Apemant
07-04-2007, 04:34 PM
It matters. Following the dictates of conscience is always better than smothering it with justifications. Just an all around better way to live and sport past and present has been full of great champions that were courteous and straight up, in spite of the McEnroes, Conners, Nastases, etc. that Brad Gilbert chooses to focus on...

Umm, like I said, it definitely matters to 'appear' honorable (for how long it will matter, we'll see :devil: ). While I wondered if it mattered to be honorable within - as opposed to being honorable only when there are witnesses. Some people go great lengths to defend their image of being honorable within (in the past, it was mandatory: you couldn't afford losing your 'honor' in public), even if they are actually corrupted to the bone. In that sense, I would actually prefer the likes of McEnroes etc - because at least you know who you are dealing with.

Read Dostojevski when you find time - if you didn't already ;)

Clara Bow
07-04-2007, 04:46 PM
Unfortunately, more and more people support cheating in sport. And it seems to be ok for players to get away with things. Nobleness and class is not supported anymore :sad:

Gamesmanship has been around for ages. Bill Tilden and Suzanne Lenglen were very prone to taking time outs just to preen themselves when it suited them to change the match dynamics. There is all of this call for the good old days- but I am not sure if there ever was this idyllic time in tennis where there was no gamesmanship and everything was sunshine and flowers. I don't see how there is a lowering of class in the game right now in comparison to any time that I have watched it since 1980. With players- there will always be gimmicks. It just seems to me- at least imo- that nowadays there is this idealized vision of the past that from what I can see did not exist.

WF4EVER
07-04-2007, 05:16 PM
I believe Serena was genuinely hurt but after that long break I also expected her .

I found her argument for a bathroom break to be reasonable , despite the fact that she had been in the locker room all along before the warm-up.

What was alarming was that after arguing fervently for a bathroom break because she had had to drink so much fluids to alleviate her condition, the umpire had to remind Serena after she had broken Hantuchova, that she wanted a bathroom break just a game before.

That was gamesmanship, IMO. I mean needing to take a piss real bad is something you have little control over and unless Serena pissed herself on the court and nobody saw she was definitely playing some games there.

There is another instance recently where I found her actions questionable but to be honest I can't remember the circumstances.

cmurray
07-04-2007, 05:34 PM
True, but on the other hand also: if a player is good enough (which includes all departements) the opponent can do whatever they want and he still wins the match.

Agreed. Connors was the king of gamesmanship. He'd intentionally get US crowds cheering as loudly as possible to throw his opponent off. Yes well...this is tennis.

Action Jackson
07-05-2007, 06:14 AM
True, but on the other hand also: if a player is good enough (which includes all departements) the opponent can do whatever they want and he still wins the match.

Just remember that when you bitched about Gonzalez aiming a ball at Hewitt at the net.

Lucky, where I play we have ways of handling cheats and gamesmanship antics, not always pretty but effective.

yomeK
07-05-2007, 06:27 AM
Serena was hurt. :shrug: Who knows how badly she had to go. There are times when I want to pee (even take a crap for that matter) and I can manage to hold it in. it's evident that she didn't want to go that badly. She had the momentum at 4-2. Perhaps she didn't want to break it. It frustrates me when people criticize continuously and carry-on as if they're the most modest people in this world. Don't act as if you wouldn't utilize gamesmanship. Especially when the moment is as big as it is. :o

TFan1156
07-05-2007, 09:47 AM
Umm, like I said, it definitely matters to 'appear' honorable (for how long it will matter, we'll see :devil: ). While I wondered if it mattered to be honorable within - as opposed to being honorable only when there are witnesses. Some people go great lengths to defend their image of being honorable within (in the past, it was mandatory: you couldn't afford losing your 'honor' in public), even if they are actually corrupted to the bone. In that sense, I would actually prefer the likes of McEnroes etc - because at least you know who you are dealing with.

Read Dostojevski when you find time - if you didn't already ;)

I totally agree. :)Yea, have slacked off my reading, will pick up the Russian again, has been years..

drf716
07-05-2007, 09:50 AM
i tend to forget cheaters but not those big-time ones like henin and hewitt

celia
07-05-2007, 12:41 PM
I believe Serena was genuinely hurt but after that long break I also expected her .

I found her argument for a bathroom break to be reasonable , despite the fact that she had been in the locker room all along before the warm-up.

What was alarming was that after arguing fervently for a bathroom break because she had had to drink so much fluids to alleviate her condition, the umpire had to remind Serena after she had broken Hantuchova, that she wanted a bathroom break just a game before.

That was gamesmanship, IMO. I mean needing to take a piss real bad is something you have little control over and unless Serena pissed herself on the court and nobody saw she was definitely playing some games there.

There is another instance recently where I found her actions questionable but to be honest I can't remember the circumstances.

The problem with drinking so much liquid is that you can't always empty it in one go and sometimes your bladder soon fills up again. I have personally experienced having to go shortly after having gone, as a result of taking in a LOT of liquid. I guess I assumed that that may have happened for Serena. I think it's unfair of people to accuse her of essentially taking advantage of her injury. But at the end of the day there is a huge difference between this and what Henin did in the hand-up incident. That was plain old cheating.

Neely
07-05-2007, 12:51 PM
Just remember that when you bitched about Gonzalez aiming a ball at Hewitt at the net.
Maybe that was the case at some time of more than 20k posts and if you're here for such long time like me, but I hopefully didn't say that this was forbidden, is gamesmanship/cheating, or that it was the fault the Hewitt lost the match because even for Hewitt what I said above applies here, too.

jasmin
07-05-2007, 12:57 PM
I swear it's obvious why Serena is picked on. Whatever.

ReturnWinner
07-05-2007, 03:01 PM
Fakevic is the biggest exponent of this practice
There is a good article about this "art" in wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamesmanship

Jogy
07-05-2007, 03:05 PM
Fakevic is the biggest exponent of this practice
There is a good article about this "art" in wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamesmanship
"I can't breathe, help me I do net getting air" I need a timeout! and then lets his opponent wait for many minutes over legal timeout
"I hurt my shoulder, I can't serve! Timeout!"

raeesa301
07-05-2007, 04:14 PM
Serena was hurt. :shrug: Who knows how badly she had to go. There are times when I want to pee (even take a crap for that matter) and I can manage to hold it in. it's evident that she didn't want to go that badly. She had the momentum at 4-2. Perhaps she didn't want to break it. It frustrates me when people criticize continuously and carry-on as if they're the most modest people in this world. Don't act as if you wouldn't utilize gamesmanship. Especially when the moment is as big as it is. :o

I agree with you. I think the Williams sisters are pretty fair when it comes to gamesmanship. Another reason for the delay could be that if she went to the bathroom during the change over it wouldn't interfere with the time period. It was damn funny when she said "I never have to ask to go to the bathroom":haha:

alfonsojose
07-05-2007, 04:19 PM
Lucky, where I play we have ways of handling cheats and gamesmanship antics, not always pretty but effective.

Send cheaters to my bedroom :drool:

The_Nadal_effect
07-05-2007, 04:27 PM
Send cheaters to my bedroom :drool:

:lol: Such a dog!

alfonsojose
07-05-2007, 04:46 PM
:lol: Such a dog!
:dog:

Svetlana.
07-05-2007, 06:19 PM
I agree with you. I think the Williams sisters are pretty fair when it comes to gamesmanship. Another reason for the delay could be that if she went to the bathroom during the change over it wouldn't interfere with the time period. It was damn funny when she said "I never have to ask to go to the bathroom":haha:

Serena uses her tricks on players like Daniela, but she rarely does it to Henin or others player with a strong character. She's smart and understands that her "drama" would not have an effect on Henin at all, so there is no reason to play games because there are not going to work.... But with pretty girls there is drama all the time. :baby: :baby: :baby:

r2473
07-05-2007, 06:51 PM
Umm, like I said, it definitely matters to 'appear' honorable (for how long it will matter, we'll see :devil: ). While I wondered if it mattered to be honorable within - as opposed to being honorable only when there are witnesses. Some people go great lengths to defend their image of being honorable within (in the past, it was mandatory: you couldn't afford losing your 'honor' in public), even if they are actually corrupted to the bone. In that sense, I would actually prefer the likes of McEnroes etc - because at least you know who you are dealing with.

Read Dostojevski when you find time - if you didn't already ;)

Or read Plato's Republic.

celia
07-05-2007, 10:53 PM
"I can't breathe, help me I do net getting air" I need a timeout! and then lets his opponent wait for many minutes over legal timeout
"I hurt my shoulder, I can't serve! Timeout!"

There is an older woman in my league who swears up and down that she can't breathe. She takes these LONG delays whenever we are playing. Because she is old, no one penalises her blatant time violations. Needless to say, I have NEVER beaten her. She slices my butt off the court. :lol:

Shabazza
07-05-2007, 11:15 PM
There is an older woman in my league who swears up and down that she can't breathe. She takes these LONG delays whenever we are playing. Because she is old, no one penalises her blatant time violations. Needless to say, I have NEVER beaten her. She slices my butt off the court. :lol:

Slice is EVIL!!!

GlennMirnyi
07-06-2007, 01:03 AM
"I can't breathe, help me I do net getting air" I need a timeout! and then lets his opponent wait for many minutes over legal timeout
"I hurt my shoulder, I can't serve! Timeout!"

A Diva Roids fan talking about Djokovic. Talk about a glass house.

NYCtennisfan
07-06-2007, 03:55 AM
Would be really interesting to see what someone like McEnroe or Connors or Lendl or Nastase would do if someone was bouncing the ball 30 times before serving or taking 40 seconds between points. That would make for good theatre. :D

Lee
07-06-2007, 03:59 AM
Would be really interesting to see what someone like McEnroe or Connors or Lendl or Nastase would do if someone was bouncing the ball 30 times before serving or taking 40 seconds between points. That would make for good theatre. :D

JMac was not very happy even when he's in broadcasting booth today with the ball bounce. ;)

mangoes
07-06-2007, 04:04 AM
Would be really interesting to see what someone like McEnroe or Connors or Lendl or Nastase would do if someone was bouncing the ball 30 times before serving or taking 40 seconds between points. That would make for good theatre. :D

SCENE: Connors awaits serve from Djokovic

As everyone waited on the server and silently counted the bounces, suddenly, an angry voice broke the silence and echoed to every corner of the stadium, "SERVE THE DAMN BALL."

Eebex
07-06-2007, 04:45 AM
DJOKOVIC IS A DAMN FAKER.
he just a gamesmanship and opponents lose concentratrion, if thes two meet match would last forever LOl

GlennMirnyi
07-06-2007, 04:48 AM
Djokovic vs Nadal - 5 sets of pure boredom.

Action Jackson
07-06-2007, 05:02 AM
Send cheaters to my bedroom :drool:

If that was the case, then there would be more withdrawals than the TMC Shanghai 2005.

Action Jackson
07-06-2007, 05:04 AM
JMac was not very happy even when he's in broadcasting booth today with the ball bounce. ;)

JMac was a typical bully, he was trying the antics and one of the Aussie players John Fitzgerald told him 'to shut it or I will punch you after the match", funny how that works.

ReturnWinner
07-06-2007, 12:30 PM
hahaha, yeah that is the only solution to shut up that kind of clown
JMac was a typical bully, he was trying the antics and one of the Aussie players John Fitzgerald told him 'to shut it or I will punch you after the match", funny how that works.

Action Jackson
07-07-2007, 11:45 AM
hahaha, yeah that is the only solution to shut up that kind of clown

I find that and trying to hit them at the net, usually works quite well.

ReturnWinner
07-08-2007, 01:49 AM
it seems most people in here do not know what gamesmanship is

here i post some very good sites about that:

http://www.1stserve.com/newsite/cheat.asp
http://web.lemoyne.edu/~daybm/gamesmanship.htm

tennis2tennis
08-10-2007, 10:03 AM
Gamesmanship is name of the game in tennis
By Greg Garber
ESPN.com

Updated: August 9, 2007, 12:22 PM ET

http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2007/0804/cheat_a_sharapov_412.jpgAs Maria Sharapova began her service motion, Patty Schnyder, not quite ready across the net, raised her hand to call time. Sharapova, who later said she didn't see Schnyder's signal until her follow-through, hit the serve, which a flat-footed Schnyder did not attempt to return.

The chair umpire ruled it an ace. Schnyder complained, and the crowd watching the fourth-round match at this year's French Open whistled their collective disapproval in the European fashion. For the rest of the match -- won by Sharapova 9-7 in the third set -- the spectators rooted strongly against the comely Russian.

"It's tough playing tennis and being Mother Teresa at the same time," said Sharapova, sulking after the match.

The incident recalled a similar conflict between Serena Williams and Justine Henin in the semifinals of the 2003 French Open. Henin raised her hand for a timeout -- a signal that eluded the chair umpire -- and Williams, assuming she would get two fresh serves, hit a soft-serve into the net. When Henin didn't acknowledge the sign, Williams was furious. She was charged with a fault and eventually lost her composure -- and the match.


The WTA Tour does allow on-court coaching at non-Grand Slam events, an experiment the tour implemented in 2006.
The genteel sport of tennis, in which the majority of the world's players make their own line calls, is not often associated with the crass art of cheating. Still, there is a vast gray area in the professional game known as gamesmanship that Schnyder would argue Sharapova entered in their match at Roland Garros. Clearly, players are willing to bend the rules to their advantage.

In recent years, four Argentines -- Juan Ignacio Chela and Guillermo Coria (2001), Mariano Puerta (2004) and Guillermo Canas (2005) -- have been suspended for doping, among others. Still, these are the rare exceptions to the rule. Currently, tennis officials are investigating why a British online gambling company received about $7 million in wagers -- 10 times the usual amount -- for an Aug. 2 match between world No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko and No. 87 Martin Vassallo Arguello at the Orange Prokom Open in Poland. Most of the money was placed on Arguello, who won when Davydenko retired in the third set with a foot injury. ATP executive chairman Etienne de Villiers said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that "independent, external resources" would be used to look into the suspicious betting patterns.

The transgression cited most often by those in the game is in-match coaching. This is an accepted practice in Davis Cup, Fed Cup and selected WTA tournaments, but it is against the rules in most professional tennis events, including the Grand Slams.

"Happens all the time, definitely," said U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe. "If you're coaching a player and they hit their first kick serve of the match, you yell, 'That's the way to do it.'"

The epidemic of cheating in sports isn't so much about the athletes, coaches, commissioners or even sportswriters who let it happen. It's about the fans.

How much more can you take? You've read the stories and answered the polls, and now it's time to let your voice be heard.

Join the ESPN Conversation and tell us what you think about the past, present and future of cheating in sports. Maybe you think we're overreacting. Maybe you think Barry Bonds should go to jail. Maybe you think professional sports needs to adopt a zero tolerance policy.

We want to hear your thoughts, ideas and emotions. Selected comments will be included in a Friday story that will conclude Cheat Wave '07.

For years, coaches have taken it even further, developing a series of signals that can direct a player to change strategy during a match. At last year's U.S. Open, Sharapova defeated Tatiana Golovin in back-to-back tiebreakers to advance to the semifinals. The USA Network later ran a feature that showed Sharapova's father, Yuri, blatantly coaching from the stands. He was seen openly gesturing for her to eat a banana and drink from a specific container.

In the 1993 U.S. Open, Todd Martin faced Spanish player Jordi Burillo in a first-round match. After losing the first two sets, an irate Martin -- convinced that Burillo was getting help from coach Pato Alvarez -- asked the tournament referee to sit next to Alvarez for the rest of the match. He did, and Martin said the coaching stopped.

"I won the next three sets," Martin said. "When he was down 4-love in the fifth set, Burillo screamed something in Spanish. Later, a friend translated it: 'Give me back my hands!' He just couldn't play without coaching."

"I've gone back and forth on this," McEnroe said. "It's probably time we legalize some form of coaching. Maybe at the end of a set the player can call for a consultation. Maybe a 30-second timeout before a player serves for a little strategy. The reality is it goes on anyway."

There was a distant, more innocent time -- when the stakes were far lower -- that players actually exhibited sportsmanship.

Steve Flink, the senior correspondent for Tennis Week Magazine, remembers the 1967 U.S. national semifinals, when Clark Graebner, leaping for an overhead, swung and missed -- almost. Graebner immediately admitted that the ball had nicked the frame of his racket and conceded the point to Jan Leschly.

"Can you see that happening today?" Flink asked, almost rhetorically.

As if to answer, Flink referenced this U.S. Open incident, some 18 years later:

It was the 1985 doubles final, pitting Americans Ken Flach and Robert Seguso against Frenchmen Yannick Noah and Henri Leconte. At one point, a ball struck by the French team seemed to graze Flach's (ample) hair. Flach did not concede the point, and the Frenchmen were furious. Flach never denied the ball touched him but essentially maintained that it was the chair umpire's call, which was not forthcoming. Flach and Seguso ultimately prevailed.

McEnroe remembers a match against Greg Rusedski indoors at Memphis, Tenn., Rusedski, whose serve was a huge weapon, was wiping the ball on his sweat-soaked shirt before serving.

"I asked the chair umpire if it was legal, and he said there was no rule," McEnroe said. "I wasn't sure he was doing it on purpose, but with Greg, you're thinking he just might try to pull that. I think it added a little skid, an extra slide to the ball."

Today, gamesmanship is widely prevalent in tennis. Remember that five-set, third-round Wimbledon match between Rafael Nadal and Robin Soderling? It required five rainy days to finish and escalated into something more of a battle of attrition. Soderling, unhappy with Nadal's typically slow play, started waiting him out in a game of changeover chicken. Then, at the beginning of the fifth set, Soderling did a spot-on impression of Nadal's notorious crease (shorts) adjustment after each point.

"It just made me think of the victory," Nadal said.

Responded Soderling, "It was more of a fun thing. I had to wait for him, I mean, more than 200 times. Every point, I had to wait for him. He had to wait for me one time, and then he started shaking his head and saying things.

"I think most of the players, I think all players, play faster than him."

Nadal and Novak Djokovic -- who typically bounces the ball 15-20 times before each serve -- regularly violate the rules that call for a maximum of 20 seconds between the end of a point and the next serve.

"It's an individual sport, which brings out individual quirks," McEnroe said. "You're out there on your own, so I think you develop rituals to control your environment. That's just how Nadal plays, and it works for him."

Bathroom breaks, particularly on the women's side, often seem to be used primarily as psychological weapons, rather than springing from physiological necessity.

In the fourth round at Wimbledon this year, Venus Williams and Sharapova resumed their match that rain had cut short after three points the day before. When Sharapova walked out onto the court, Williams asked for a bathroom break -- technically legal -- and kept her waiting for nearly five minutes.

Williams won the opening game with two quick points and, in the fourth game, Sharapova hit four double-faults, sending her on the way to an ugly straight-sets loss.

Gamesmanship, slow play and bathroom breaks are considered part of the game. That doesn't make them right, Martin insists.

"If there are rules in place, enforce them," said Martin, who has discovered a successful second career on the senior Outback Champions Series. "It's like gambling and anti-doping rules. If they're not worth enforcing, they're not worth writing.

"Tennis is a game of etiquette and sportsmanship. The more we accept and allow untoward behavior on the tennis court -- and it is just behavior -- the more our future generations will abuse it. If Nadal takes more than the allotted 20 seconds, warn him. Enforce the rules -- or change the rules to accommodate the players so it's not perceived as abuse or gamesmanship."

Greg Garber is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

schorsch
08-10-2007, 10:45 AM
masha didnt cheat. she already touched the ball when patty raised her hand. thus it was an ace for maria.

nadull also cheats because he looks at marks before making a challenge. he waits way to long before making a challenge. umpires shouldnt allow that. thats part of why federer was so pissed off at wimbledon. everytime federer would challenge he'd do it immediately. nadull though waited so long that federer was already ready to serve.

Action Jackson
08-10-2007, 11:01 AM
Sharapova doesn't cheat, that is hilarious.

If they want to stop coaching, then they should have two officials sitting in the designated coaches section and that would minimise it for sure.

The time out rule is a joke, we know this and we also players are going to stretch it as far as they can.

schorsch
08-10-2007, 11:09 AM
but its allowed to look up to the box for support. if you see some strange weirdos in there monitoring your father/coach it could distract you big time. if the coach is afraid that something could happen maybe this tension could project itself onto the player itself. so.. not such a good idea.

Action Jackson
08-10-2007, 11:14 AM
but its allowed to look up to the box for support. if you see some strange weirdos in there monitoring your father/coach it could distract you big time. if the coach is afraid that something could happen maybe this tension could project itself onto the player itself. so.. not such a good idea.

It's simple you are not supposed to get coaching in the regular tour, they can enforce that rule.

As Baghdatis says these players have to go find the solution to winning themselves, there is a difference between encouragement and blatant coaching and it's not hard to see it.

FluffyYellowBall
08-10-2007, 11:22 AM
Masha chets legally. When a ball is well in and is called out on her own baseline she NEVER opens her mouth! And when these balls are challenged its embarassing. She knows very well shes cheating, she pretends she cant hear yuri and pretends she adjusting her strings whith her eyes TOTALLY focused on her dad. You know, the way she rolls them upwards.
Nadal and djokovic just take time and thats how they are coz they even do it when theyre not under pressure but STILL the 20 second rule should be enforced all the time.

fabolous
08-10-2007, 11:25 AM
gamesmanship is not only part of tennis, it is part of almost every sport. i think it's much more a problem in football, for example, with all the diving and hidden fouls...this can be decisive for a game. in tennis it's hard to win a match just with your gamesmanship (though it can happen).

the question is: where does gamesmanship start? it's natural that you try everything to break your opponent's flow, but there are some rules in tennis, and if there are rules they have to be enforced.

groundstroke
08-10-2007, 11:35 AM
Good read, and I remember at the Australian Open 07, in the women's semi final, Sharapova was fined some money by the WTA after the umpire found out her dad was giving her instructions on how to beat Anna Chavskoda. (I can never spell her name right)

Action Jackson
08-10-2007, 11:40 AM
gamesmanship is not only part of tennis, it is part of almost every sport. i think it's much more a problem in football, for example, with all the diving and hidden fouls...this can be decisive for a game. in tennis it's hard to win a match just with your gamesmanship (though it can happen).

the question is: where does gamesmanship start? it's natural that you try everything to break your opponent's flow, but there are some rules in tennis, and if there are rules they have to be enforced.

This is the problem where does gamesmanship start and I can name 3 clear times Robredo has taken tactical time outs in matches. The only one where he was successful in Barcelona 04, taking a timeout to get a massage at 15-40 serving for a match, that is one and he moved well after that.

The other 2 were against Al Costa at RG and Ancic as well at RG, funniest was that Ancic took one later on.

They have 20 sec, some take 3 or 4 and others like Massu, Nadal and Djoko stretch it to 19-40 sec and Nadal hardly ever gets warned.

Neely
08-10-2007, 11:45 AM
masha didnt cheat. she already touched the ball when patty raised her hand. thus it was an ace for maria.
Agreed, this was a crystal clear thing. It was right to give the point to Sharapova in that case, Schnyder was in ready position already and as Sharapova already tossed the ball she raised her hand.

swann
08-10-2007, 11:50 AM
Sometimes I get really angry at the way I'm playing and I lose my temper: throw my racket on the ground, yell, swear etc...I try to hold my nerves every time when I play bad, I usually do this, but there are moments when I cannot control myself; sometimes this help me, like a "dose" of adrenaline, sometimes I play worse starting from then.

My question: do you consider this to be some sort of gamesmanship? are you bothered by this kind of behavior from an oppponent? how are you reacting when facing it?

PS I know i'm a bit offtopic :)

~EMiLiTA~
08-10-2007, 11:50 AM
This is the problem where does gamesmanship start and I can name 3 clear times Robredo has taken tactical time outs in matches. The only one where he was successful in Barcelona 04, taking a timeout to get a massage at 15-40 serving for a match, that is one and he moved well after that.

The other 2 were against Al Costa at RG and Ancic as well at RG, funniest was that Ancic took one later on.

They have 20 sec, some take 3 or 4 and others like Massu, Nadal and Djoko stretch it to 19-40 sec and Nadal hardly ever gets warned.

Yes, the Godo final 2004 was one of the worst I have seen in recent times, just shocking. The 2003 RG match against Costa wasn't pretty either.

fabolous
08-10-2007, 11:57 AM
about the nadal thing: i don't think nadal does it intentionally to irritate his opponent. it is just a kind of a "bad attitude" he has. BUT: there is a rule which says you get 20 seconds before serving and fact is that some opponents feel irritated for waiting. so nadal has to be warned regularly, maybe he will learn it then.

the tactical timeouts are some kind of "stretching the rules". for me, it is gamesmanship when you abuse the injury timeouts just to break your opponent's rhythm. but it's very hard to prove that a player is injured or not during a match, so this will always happen.


just came to my mind: alonso vs hamilton, this was classy gamesmanship last week :D

tennis2tennis
08-10-2007, 12:05 PM
I think we need to differentiate between gamesmanship and cheating...gamesmanship is about edging on the boundaries of the rules cheating is about breaking them..


If you’re getting coached...you are BREAKING the rules

If you're don't admit that a balls was out/in etc..that's GAMESMANSHIP technically its the umpire and linesmen job to make the call

If you're taking more than 20 seconds to serve…you’re are BREAKING the rules

If you're using bathroom breaks only to break your apponents rythem..that's GAMESMANSHIP there are no rules about when you can use your breaks

Sunset of Age
08-10-2007, 03:52 PM
^^ I agree, tennis2tennis - there's a difference between cheating and gamesmanship and you've pointed it out very well.

But in the end... whatever, it's the UMPIRES that should enforce the rules - and if they don't (which is obviously the case with the 20 seconds rule, which appears to have become a farce), one can't blame the players taking their opportunities...

ReturnWinner
08-10-2007, 03:54 PM
but the times Nadal excedes the allowed time to serve was cheating not gamesmaship as he breaks that rule

Pigpen Stinks
08-10-2007, 04:05 PM
I nominate Sharapova for the WTA sportsmanship award, and she should dedicate it to her father who's set such an exemplary example for her.

schorsch
08-10-2007, 04:28 PM
you dont know anything about yuri. he's a funny, nice caring father that may get a bit too active, but cant stop himself at times. he's become much calmer lately.

as for nadull. if i played him i'd just go to the umpire every time i felt he took way to much time. yesterday he got a warning, but he never was robbed a point which was weird, coz it wasnt like he did speed things up for the rest of the match. the problem is that if players do that nadull gets angry and thinks he's got to pump himself up so he plays aggressive tennis and that doesnt get his opponent very far. its a lose-lose situation. (hmm, go figure...)

also when he waits to long till he makes a challenge i'd go to the umpire to explain the rules to him especially if he goes and checks the marks which is the worst thing you can do. nothing nadull and the umpire could do about it. even the commentators say so.

Johnny Groove
08-10-2007, 04:31 PM
Whats with this "Nadull" bullshit? :lol:

Pigpen Stinks
08-10-2007, 04:52 PM
you dont know anything about yuri. he's a funny, nice caring father that may get a bit too active, but cant stop himself at times. he's become much calmer lately.

as for nadull. if i played him i'd just go to the umpire every time i felt he took way to much time. yesterday he got a warning, but he never was robbed a point which was weird, coz it wasnt like he did speed things up for the rest of the match. the problem is that if players do that nadull gets angry and thinks he's got to pump himself up so he plays aggressive tennis and that doesnt get his opponent very far. its a lose-lose situation. (hmm, go figure...)

also when he waits to long till he makes a challenge i'd go to the umpire to explain the rules to him especially if he goes and checks the marks which is the worst thing you can do. nothing nadull and the umpire could do about it. even the commentators say so.


You're right, I don't know anything about Yuri other than his behavior during Maria's matches. He certainly could be a funny and lovely man away from the court. I just happen to think that he acts like an ass while watching his daughter play, not unlike many other parents. I wasn't a huge Seles fan, but her father appeared to be an ideal tennis parent. Yuri could learn a thing or two from him.

Sunset of Age
08-10-2007, 04:53 PM
Whats with this "Nadull" bullshit? :lol:

Yeah, have been wondering about that myself too. :rolleyes:

Perhaps it's meant as some kind of an antidote to all that Spartan rubbish, but it's not working at all. :shrug:

schorsch
08-10-2007, 05:59 PM
nadull = nadal + dull (boring) even the english commentators pronounce it that way and they are right without even noticing.

Johnny Groove
08-10-2007, 06:07 PM
nadull = nadal + dull (boring) even the english commentators pronounce it that way and they are right without even noticing.

Because they dont know how to pronounce his name :lol:

And for being so "dull", you seem to talk about him alot

schorsch
08-10-2007, 06:12 PM
its about gamesmanship how couldnt one talk about nadull? and yeah, i know how to pronounce his name. i've got spanish at school. just that nadull is more fitting.

cmurray
08-10-2007, 06:29 PM
Yeah, have been wondering about that myself too. :rolleyes:

Perhaps it's meant as some kind of an antidote to all that Spartan rubbish, but it's not working at all. :shrug:

You mean why does schorsch keep repeating it over and over ad nauseum? he or she is trying to get it to "catch on". The problem, of course, is that Rafa may be a LOT of things, but dull is not one of them. Its a nice try though.

Sunset of Age
08-10-2007, 06:41 PM
You mean why does schorsch keep repeating it over and over ad nauseum? he or she is trying to get it to "catch on". The problem, of course, is that Rafa may be a LOT of things, but dull is not one of them. Its a nice try though.

Spot on. :lol:

DDrago2
08-10-2007, 06:46 PM
about the nadal thing: i don't think nadal does it intentionally to irritate his opponent. it is just a kind of a "bad attitude" he has.

We heared this many times, but it is simply untrue. Nadal is very calculated in his "bad attitudes". He is intentionaly doing everything in his power to put his opponent off, expecialy in important moments/matches.
You can see that he is calculated in his behaviour from example of his Berdych Wimbledon 2007 match: he suddenly didn't vamos nor doing anything of his regular pumping. Why? Because he was well aware that Berdych, unlike many other players, gets inspired by such behaviour.

Berdych maybe likes Nadal's pupming but I think even him is irritated with Nadal's stalling, and Nadal will continue to do it as long as umpire alows him to.

And I agree completely with the article that gamensmaship can not be allowed. If you choose to do it, you have to have it the hard way - aginst everyone. The way it is now, is like being a criminal but not having to deal with police.

Jogy
08-15-2007, 11:33 PM
This is the problem where does gamesmanship start and I can name 3 clear times Robredo has taken tactical time outs in matches. The only one where he was successful in Barcelona 04, taking a timeout to get a massage at 15-40 serving for a match, that is one and he moved well after that.
:baby: :baby:
still whining about this timeout, Hitler? :lol:
I remember to read it three years ago already

stop complaining, Gaudio had his match points and did not use them and blowed the match away into Tommy's hands. If you don't take your chances and stay concentrate, then you don't winning it.

Rafa = Fed Killa
08-15-2007, 11:35 PM
its about gamesmanship how couldnt one talk about nadull? and yeah, i know how to pronounce his name. i've got spanish at school. just that nadull is more fitting.

Another of the Ego Kings disciples.

You should insult Nadal more, it turns Claybuster on and I think she wants you.

Action Jackson
08-16-2007, 08:05 AM
:baby: :baby:
still whining about this timeout, Hitler? :lol:
I remember to read it three years ago already

stop complaining, Gaudio had his match points and did not use them and blowed the match away into Tommy's hands. If you don't take your chances and stay concentrate, then you don't winning it.

:baby: :baby: coming from someone who is always bitching about Federer, but onto the subject.

Just to make it clear for you and I said at the time, but you have selective amnesia. If you want to be a smart arse get the facts right.

Gaudio didn't have match points at all, he had break points, clear difference there. Next of all Boredo tried this trick on Ancic and Costa and was unsuccessful, it was shit then, but no you missed that.

Finally, as I said at the time and will say it again. One Boredo doesn't need to do shit like that and second all of course the opponent has to be good enough to handle the tactics. I said that at the time as well, use your brains and no selective memory.

Read the bolded part, you can go back to that thread and find where I said it cost Gaudio the match, that's right cause it didn't happen. This does not mean it wasn't a shit act and a classic act of gamesmanship.

In other words get your facts straight.

Fedex
08-16-2007, 09:32 AM
Trying to reason with Jogy is pointless to say the least. That thing doesn't have a functioning brain. His rationale for anything is nothing but pure comedy. Expecting an intelligent response from that arseclown is like expecting it to rain dollar bills.

cezero
09-04-2011, 05:11 PM
Who do you think displays the most gamesmanship in matches?

For me, it's Nada without question. Even when he's winning comfortably, he calls for the trainer. His disgraceful behavior at Wimbledon this year was much worse, though.

cezero
09-04-2011, 07:55 PM
my focus on nadal's gamesmanship was merged into this thread for some reason.

why can't a legitimate topic about the gamesmanship of one of the greatest of all time merit its own topic?

tennisfan856
09-04-2011, 07:59 PM
Every player has done gamesmanship tactics in their career, even the high-esteemed federer (strategic bathroom break against davydenko in aussie open).

It's just that some do it more than others. No one is edberg.

Aenea
09-04-2011, 08:05 PM
Just now commentators have announced Rafa have fainted and is receiving medical help right now. Showed video from the PC where that happened.

ReturnWinner
09-04-2011, 08:13 PM
Every player has done gamesmanship tactics in their career, even the high-esteemed federer (strategic bathroom break against davydenko in aussie open).

It's just that some do it more than others. No one is edberg.

not true at all, what have Nalbandian, Moya done for instance regarding gamesmanship?

danieln1
09-04-2011, 09:43 PM
Every player has done gamesmanship tactics in their career, even the high-esteemed federer (strategic bathroom break against davydenko in aussie open).

It's just that some do it more than others. No one is edberg.

No.

Federer never done it.

Kat_YYZ
09-04-2011, 09:45 PM
Every player has done gamesmanship tactics in their career, even the high-esteemed federer (strategic bathroom break against davydenko in aussie open).

It's just that some do it more than others. No one is edberg.

so you are quite sure he didn't pee? :rolleyes:

green25814
09-04-2011, 10:08 PM
Honestly, if someone can put you off your game by going for a shit you need to grow a set of balls.

A lot of this 'gamesmanship' is wussy stuff.

Topspindoctor
09-05-2011, 03:12 AM
No.

Federer never done it.

He has.

Johnny Groove
09-18-2011, 03:10 PM
We have seen it:

Djokovic in the final vs. Nadal USO
Nadal at Wimbledon 2010 Petz or Haase, I don't remember. Also this year vs. Delpo, MTO right before tiebreak.

In all of these matches, the player who called the MTO ended up winning.

I think it is an art form. A true test of the mental strength of a player. If I was playing Nadal and he called an MTO right before a tiebreak, I would call an MTO as well, get a soothing massage by a nice Swedish girl. I'd be feeling pretty good, going right back out for a TB.

I believe Petzschner called what I call a "return MTO" right before the 5th vs. Nadal, but by that point, it was already over.

You gotta call the return MTO immediately, play mind games back.

Dougie
09-18-2011, 03:51 PM
Honestly, if someone can put you off your game by going for a shit you need to grow a set of balls.

A lot of this 'gamesmanship' is wussy stuff.

If your opponent is playing great, I can see the point of taking a break to try to disrupt his rhythm. But I still agree with you, if a professional athlete, who is playing well, can lose his rhythm and possibly the match because someone needs to take a crap, it´s pretty weak stuff mentally.