As the indoor tennis season nears completion, and we anticipate the glories of outdoor tennis, Miss Manners would like to take this opportunity to remind us all of the good conduct and gentility that characterizes the sport of tennis. In the early 1900s, elegance was the standard with ladies wearing long, flowing white dresses and gentlemen in long, white trousers. The players personified the concept that tennis is a game that requires cooperation and courtesy from all participants.

Unfortunately, Miss Manners has left the building and what we have lost in elegance we have gained in mobility, intensity and power. There has never been a time when there was a greater need for THE CODE.

The Code of Tennis, written by Army Colonel Nicholas Powel, is an appendix of sorts to the written Rules of Tennis. Frustrated by his army buddies’ “all’s fair in war and tennis” attitudes, Powel wrote the Code as a set of guidelines that players could refer to during unofficiated matches. The Code outlines how the Rules of Tennis should be interpreted when situations arise that are not in the Rules. These guidelines are based on common sense, courtesy and good sportsmanship. Here’s a chance to test yourself on your knowledge of The Code:

1. When there is a prolonged delay between the first and second serves, the server gets two serves unless:

A. the delay was caused by the receiver

B. the delay was caused by a ball rolling onto the court

C. the delay was caused by the server

D. the receiver had not gotten a first serve in a similar circumstance when he was serving

2. If a player’s body movements distract the opponent, they are still allowed unless:

A. they occur while the opponent is tossing the ball to serve

B. the player is faking movement but not actually changing position on the court

C. they occur while the opponent is tossing the ball to serve

D. the player is waving his or her arms

3. If a gust of wind blows a player’s hat off in the middle of a point, and the player trips on the hat during the point and loses the point:

A. the point stands

B. the point should always be replayed

C. the point should be replayed if the player immediately calls a let

D. the point should be replayed only if this is the first such occurrence for that player

4. If a player asks the opponent to remove a ball from the opponent’s court, the opponent:

A. can choose whether or not to comply

B. must comply

C. must comply unless the ball is within 3 feet of the net or fence

D. must comply unless removing the ball will cause a delay between serves

5. If you have a doubt on a line call on your side of the court:

A. replay the point

B. assume the ball was out

C. assume the ball was out unless your opponent saw it as in

D. assume the ball was in

6. If, after losing a point, a player discovers that the net was four inches too high:

the point should be replayed

the point stands

the match should be started over from the beginning

the set should be started over from the beginning

7. A player should call against himself any ball the player clearly sees out, except

A. on a first serve

B. when the opponent has already called the ball in

C. when the opponent has not extended the same courtesy

D. when the ball lands beyond the opponent’s baseline

If you got 6 or 7 correct answers, you epitomize correct court etiquette.

If you got 4 or 5 correct, make sure your partner has the answers.

If you got less than 4 correct, you’d better be a darn good player!

Answers: 1-C, 2-D, 3-A, 4-B, 5-D, 6-B, 7-A


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