This year my son had his second experience of competing in a French tennis competition. Last year we noticed the difference in structure but this week the experience highlighted the different manner in which the sport was played.
Due to his results last year, he got a bye straight to the final and in this blog I wish to discuss line calls in France compared to the UK.
During the first set which my son was losing my a large margin, he called a ball out. The other player challenged it and as is the normal in GB, my son said ‘no its out, its my call, its my point’. We are used to the etiquette in GB, that you only call it out if you sure. If you are unsure you play on. In fact in GB if you then said you weren’t sure, and asked to play a let, the other player could (and probably would) claim the point.
From that point on the French child’s call were terrible, he was calling balls which bounced 15cm in; out. At the same time as the match was going on and on and more and more people were watching as they arrived for their matches. As the other boy’s calls raised more eyebrows amongst the spectators and my son challenged them. In fact the calls were so ridiculous that my son rather than getting angry actually laughed. There must have been twenty people watching and their sympathy was with my son and they began to clap and cheer him on.
At this stage the locals became so annoyed that they took it on themselves to elect one of their number to become a chair referee.
After the match I chatted to the chair referee and we discussed the different manner in which calls were made. It was then we realised the difference in the way line calls were made in our two countries. He said my son should have offered the let in the first situation and played ‘deux ball’ but then explained how disappointed they were with the other child’s line calling.
This was definitely a case of another competition, another experience and certainly another learning point for both of us.