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View Full Version : Should linejudges use "discretion" when making a call?


scoobsuk
Sep 13th, 2009, 05:35 PM
There seem to be an awful lot of people who think that regardless of whether Serena's footfault was a valid call or not, that at that stage of the match the linejudge should refrain from intervening.

I find this absolutely baffling.

From a situation where linejudges are supposed to call it how they see it, no exceptions, people actually want a situation where they can be accused of being blatantly biased to one player or another, by turning a blind eye to what they see because the match is tight or it's a significant point.

I see it as totally unworkable that they use "discretion" and take into account the point of the match.

What a lot of people seem to be forgetting is that a call affects more then one player - it affects both. Every positive call for one player is a negative call for the other.

So what people seem to be saying is that instead of calling a footfault if that's what they see, which makes a double fault, they should disadvantage the opponent by not calling it, and turn a point that should have been awarded to the opponent into a point that's still anybody's.

I wonder how many people would be so much in favour of linejudges using "discretion" if it worked against the players they support?

I can tell you that I suspect the calls of "biased officiating" would go absolutely through the roof if such a rule was introduced.

The only thing I think from this incident is that they need to find a way to formally review & challenge footfault calls.

What do you think?

Apoleb
Sep 13th, 2009, 05:38 PM
It's a very stupid argument. There are rules in the book, and those rules should be applied at any stage of the match.

If your foot touches the line. It's a footfault. First serve, second serve, match point, first point..etc

Serena had already been footfaulted in the match by another LJ anyway.

Who knows if the LJ was following the score in the first place.

Dave.
Sep 13th, 2009, 05:42 PM
No. A foot fault is a foot fault and should be called at any point during the match, just like out balls should be called.


Line judges should not call though unless they are 100% sure.

moby
Sep 13th, 2009, 05:45 PM
No. Linejudges should be impartial to occasion. Ideally, they should get linejudges who do not know how to keep score in tennis.

Also, there is this argument that the infraction (if present) did not give Serena an advantage on the serve. That is besides the point. Footfaults rarely give players significant advantages on the serve - should they never be called then? Or should officials say, it's ok to touch the baseline (it is only about 3 inches wide after all, how much of an advantage can you get?), but not ok to touch the inside of the court? In which case, players would move to stand on the baseline, and risk touching the inside of the court... and by infinite regression, players will soon be standing closer and closer to the net.

The rule for footfaulting exists, and players need to obey it. Whether you agree with the legitimacy of this rule is a different story, but so long as it exists, no leeway should be given in its imposition.

Edit: The truth is, it is notoriously easy NOT to foot fault. Just back the f*ck off the line. I know I stand 2-4 inches behind the baseline when I'm serving. If those 2-4 inches are so critical to the quality of Serena's serve, then footfaulting is a risk she has to take. (And this may be why the rule is in place, because crowding the baseline probably does give the server an advantage at the top level.)

drake3781
Sep 13th, 2009, 05:48 PM
I agree that the foot fault rule should and does apply at any point in the match.

If for some reason it would not apply at certain places in a match (and I don't agree that should happen), then it must be made clear to everyone (players, fans, officials) when it applies and not.

You cannot have an ambiguous concept that the rules apply sometimes and not other times.

Donny
Sep 13th, 2009, 05:48 PM
If this game turns into a foulfest and the refs screw us over like they did A&M in the loss to UCLA, all Jayhawk fans will have a right to be furious. Those officials better let the guys play and not make this game closer than it needs to be by calling 45-50 fouls. And that goes for this game or any game we play the rest of the way. The players and coaches work too hard to let the season end because some officiating crew (Hear that, Curtis Shaw?) thinks the game is more about them than it is the players. Just ask A&M.

IF the officials let them play on Friday night and call a "normal" type of college basketball game with pretty much even foul calls and free throw attempts on both sides, KU will win by at least 12-15.
http://blogs.cjonline.com/index.php?entry=6810

Somewhere in the middle of yesterday's 3-2 overtime loss in Saginaw, Kitchener Rangers captain Ben Shutron chatted with referees Scott Hoberg and Brent Holdsworth.

"Are we throwing a no-no tonight?" Shutron asked.

No-no as in no penalties.

That's exactly what the two Ontario Hockey League clubs threw before 2,827 at The Dow.

They played 61 minutes and 45 seconds of penalty-free hockey before one-time Ranger Jack Combs scored in overtime against old Saginaw Spirit teammate Parker Van Buskirk.
http://news.therecord.com/article/438396

Lou Campanelli once thought the same thing as Dick Bennett, Rob Evans and any number of Pac-10 men's basketball coaches who come into the conference from other parts of the country, watch how games are officiated out here, and wonder what's going on.

In 1985, Campanelli — now the Pac-10's coordinator of men's basketball officiating — took over at Cal after 13 years at James Madison, and his initial reaction was that the Pac-10 officials didn't let 'em play the way they did elsewhere in the country.

It's a common perception of the Pac-10, voiced again in recent days by Bennett, the coach at Washington State, and Evans, the coach at Arizona State.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sports/2002182390_pacnotes17.html

It's a common sentiment in American competitive sport. You may not agree with it, but it's extremely common.

xan
Sep 13th, 2009, 05:49 PM
But you can challenge line calls, you can't challenge a foot fault - especially when they give a crucial point away.

Most spectators groan when footfaults are called at any point in a match - because they are so disruptive and pettifogging. They also seem to be called a lot more in slams than WTA events. I think a foot fault needs to be very clea and blatant to be called, and benefit of doubt given - or we risk matches being decided by minor officials who are often wrong on line calls.

Donny
Sep 13th, 2009, 05:55 PM
But you can challenge line calls, you can't challenge a foot fault - especially when they give a crucial point away.

Most spectators groan when footfaults are called at any point in a match - because they are so disruptive and pettifogging. They also seem to be called a lot more in slams than WTA events. I think a foot fault needs to be very clea and blatant to be called, and benefit of doubt given - or we risk matches being decided by minor officials who are often wrong on line calls.

Agree completely.

Joana
Sep 13th, 2009, 05:59 PM
Most spectators groan when footfaults are called at any point in a match - because they are so disruptive and pettifogging.

They groan because foot faults are relatively rarely called, the spectators are not used to them and thus they seem disruptive. They're not any more disruptive per se than any other calls.

The governing bodies in tennis need to make some decisions regarding foot faults. They should either scratch them completely or at least seriously redefine the rules regarding them, or they should make the linespeople consistently call them as they see them. The linespeople have turned a blind eye to foot faults for a very long time now and they have indeed used discretion about making the call. That's not sustainable. I'm actually surprised we haven't had more situations like this.

BlameSerena
Sep 13th, 2009, 06:00 PM
They should do their job. The thing is, she was wrong! Don't over-officiate when it's a marginal error at best in the SEMI-FINAL of a grand slam that would give the opposing player two match points. So if she needed to use some discretion to come to that conclusion then YES, linejudges should use discretion.

Thanx4nothin
Sep 13th, 2009, 06:00 PM
This was a Bogus call...I don't care what anyone says, would that lady have called a footfault on Federer match point down in the final?

Ludicrous.

Not to mention the majority of professionals, are saying it wasn't a fucking footfault in the first place

I'm gettin potty mouthed like Rena....point penalty.... :eek:

VeeReeDavJCap81
Sep 13th, 2009, 06:01 PM
The line judge should never waver regardless of the situation at hand.

BlameSerena
Sep 13th, 2009, 06:01 PM
And like Serena said, she never gets called for foot faults, so what's with that? She comes here and all of a sudden they come in bunches. If the tour isn't being consistent with when and how they call them, then that is unfair to players.

scoobsuk
Sep 13th, 2009, 06:02 PM
They need to find a way to challenge footfault calls. Then this goes away.

moby
Sep 13th, 2009, 06:02 PM
But you can challenge line calls, you can't challenge a foot fault - especially when they give a crucial point away.

Most spectators groan when footfaults are called at any point in a match - because they are so disruptive and pettifogging.Up until 2006, line calls could not be challenged. That didn't stop linejudges from calling lines. In the future, they may introduce a foot fault review system. Who knows?

Serena should have made the appropriate adjustments after the first foot fault. That's what Jesse Owens did when he won the long jump Olympics Gold. He nearly fouled out due to "pettyfogging" (or rather breaking the rule by stepping over the line on his jump) but thanks to advice from his fellow competitor, realised that he was so good that he could jump from inches behind the line and still eclipse the opposition.
The linespeople have turned a blind eye to foot faults for a very long time now and they have indeed used discretion about making the call. That's not sustainable. I'm actually surprised we haven't had more situations like this.Yes.

scoobsuk
Sep 13th, 2009, 06:05 PM
It seems like whether to go after footfault calls rigourously is done on a tournament by tournament basis.

US Open never used to go mad for footfault calls that I can remember. I don't remember Wimbledon or Roland Garros going OTT on footfaults.

Yet this year the US Open seems to have gone after calling footfaults much more, and every year at the Aussie Open they seem to get very footfault happy.

So there does seem to be some discrepency there but it seems more at a tournament level than anything else.

Donny
Sep 13th, 2009, 06:05 PM
They groan because foot faults are relatively rarely called, the spectators are not used to them and thus they seem disruptive. They're not any more disruptive per se than any other calls.

The governing bodies in tennis need to make some decisions regarding foot faults. They should either scratch them completely or at least seriously redefine the rules regarding them, or they should make the linespeople consistently call them as they see them. The linespeople have turned a blind eye to foot faults for a very long time now and they have indeed used discretion about making the call. That's not sustainable. I'm actually surprised we haven't had more situations like this.

Indeed. That's the worst part about this: If you're going to call for foot faults, don't ignore them all year, then call ten in one match. It's ridiculous.

Apoleb
Sep 13th, 2009, 06:08 PM
It seems like whether to go after footfault calls rigourously is done on a tournament by tournament basis.

US Open never used to go mad for footfault calls that I can remember. I don't remember Wimbledon or Roland Garros going OTT on footfaults.

Yet this year the US Open seems to have gone after calling footfaults much more, and every year at the Aussie Open they seem to get very footfault happy.

So there does seem to be some discrepency there but it seems more at a tournament level than anything else.

Right. She mentioned that she was getting footfaulted earlier in the tournament. And it seems she didn't make the adjustments.

Donny
Sep 13th, 2009, 06:10 PM
Right. She mentioned that she was getting footfaulted earlier in the tournament. And it seems she didn't make the adjustments.

When you are getting called out for things you aren't used to being called out for, it's hard to adjust.

If I was getting called for random touch falls in the middle of a game, I'd have trouble adjusting to.

Larrybidd
Sep 13th, 2009, 06:10 PM
But you can challenge line calls, you can't challenge a foot fault - especially when they give a crucial point away.

Most spectators groan when footfaults are called at any point in a match - because they are so disruptive and pettifogging. They also seem to be called a lot more in slams than WTA events. I think a foot fault needs to be very clea and blatant to be called, and benefit of doubt given - or we risk matches being decided by minor officials who are often wrong on line calls.

Agreed totally. I reject the idea the common sense is to be thrown out the window in officiating. A foot fault is a nothing violation, that could be called at least twice as much as it is. Since it is the one violation that can't be corrected in the case of linesman error, they shouldn't call it if it isn't blatant. The one thing clear from the replays is that it wasn't blatant - if it was a fault at all! I wouldn't mind a foot fault call on match point - IF it was an obvious, indisputable call. Don't be yelling fault if you think you saw a players toe nail touch the line. Let the players PLAY!!

Apoleb
Sep 13th, 2009, 06:14 PM
When you are getting called out for things you aren't used to being called out for, it's hard to adjust.

If I was getting called for random touch falls in the middle of a game, I'd have trouble adjusting to.

Well, you only have to put your feet slightly behind where you used to put them.

LoLex
Sep 13th, 2009, 06:18 PM
I think players shouldn't lose their serves after making one foot fault. Maybe the good idea is just to repeat the point and set the limit for example of three foot faults and then with the next foot fault player loses serve. I don't know. It's not like the foot fault makes a difference in the game. Everyone who plays tennis knows it. For me that rule should be reffered only to players who very clearly cross the baseline when they serve.

youizahoe
Sep 13th, 2009, 06:31 PM
foot faults are stupid, I think it should go electronically. Or it should be axed, I don't see how a foot fault affects the opponent on the other side, they barely can see the line properly from that away.

LoLex
Sep 13th, 2009, 07:03 PM
The rule is more for someone who would think of crossing the line and tryin' to serve from the middle of the court. But if the player stays on the baseline and barely crosses the line the distance from the net doesn't change meaningly. Taking away the point from a player sometimes looks really ridiculous and that's why it's so easy to get nervous about it, especially when it comes to critcal points in the match.

trufanjay
Sep 13th, 2009, 07:06 PM
Only when its obvious, thats my opinion.

miffedmax
Sep 13th, 2009, 08:10 PM
No. An official is supposed to call every point the same. Seriously. Do you want me using "discretion" if Dementieva (bangs or no) is playing your favorite?

goldenslam888
Sep 13th, 2009, 08:17 PM
yes, the "serena" rules should always be in effect.

Kart
Sep 13th, 2009, 08:29 PM
There seem to be an awful lot of people who think that regardless of whether Serena's footfault was a valid call or not, that at that stage of the match the linejudge should refrain from intervening.

I find this absolutely baffling.

From a situation where linejudges are supposed to call it how they see it, no exceptions, people actually want a situation where they can be accused of being blatantly biased to one player or another, by turning a blind eye to what they see because the match is tight or it's a significant point.

I see it as totally unworkable that they use "discretion" and take into account the point of the match.

What a lot of people seem to be forgetting is that a call affects more then one player - it affects both. Every positive call for one player is a negative call for the other.

So what people seem to be saying is that instead of calling a footfault if that's what they see, which makes a double fault, they should disadvantage the opponent by not calling it, and turn a point that should have been awarded to the opponent into a point that's still anybody's.

I wonder how many people would be so much in favour of linejudges using "discretion" if it worked against the players they support?

I can tell you that I suspect the calls of "biased officiating" would go absolutely through the roof if such a rule was introduced.

The only thing I think from this incident is that they need to find a way to formally review & challenge footfault calls.

What do you think?
On Sky today, Greg Rusedski was saying that there is an unwritten rule between players and tennis officials to essentially back away from foot faulting players on the borderline toward the crucial stages of a match.

I have no idea if this is true or not because Rusedski talks too fast for me to think clearly.

However, if it is true then it is understandable as to why people are talking and feeling aggrieved about line judges using their discretion on this occasion. Whether it is the right practice or not is a separate matter.

As far as I'm concerned, I don't especially care if they do use their discretion or not as long as they're consistent. However, it is very difficult to be consistent with different people using their discretion.

So the simple answer is either to develop a foot fault challenge system or have the line judges calling every foot fault they see without using any 'discretion.'

Foxy
Sep 13th, 2009, 08:30 PM
It doesn't matter if the foot fault was on the first call or on the last call. If a player touches the line then they have to be called on it, just like if a player hits a double fault on a second serve they can't get another service game.

Venus got called on more foot faults than Serena and she neve went off. She just asked what foot was touching the line.

Some can say well it happened on 15-30 to give Kimmy match point. Well then the other players can say they double faulted on 15-30 game to give their opponent match point and they deserve not to be called on a double fault by the lines person.

Besides, that's not fair to Kimmy who was playing a great game. Both Serena and Kimmy was playing great tennis and it was a good game.

If Kimmy had gotten a foot fault on 15-30 and Serena would have gotten match point, then no body would be complaining about the call.

Well the same fairness has to be given to Kimmy because the rules are the rules and they can't be changed because of Serena and they shouldn't.

Serena still had another chance on the next serve because the game wasn't over. How many times has Maria double faulted on the last point and lost the match and game.

The double fault rule is not gonna be changed because Maria had surgery and is struggling with her shoulder. And the foot fault call should not be changed because Serena stepped on the line at 15-30 and lost her temper and threathened the line judge and lost the match.

Donny
Sep 13th, 2009, 08:31 PM
No. An official is supposed to call every point the same. Seriously. Do you want me using "discretion" if Dementieva (bangs or no) is playing your favorite?

That's why we have unbiased officials reffing games.

Kim's_fan_4ever
Sep 13th, 2009, 08:33 PM
No. A foot fault is a foot fault and should be called at any point during the match, just like out balls should be called.


I agree with this.

They should do their job. The thing is, she was wrong! Don't over-officiate when it's a marginal error at best in the SEMI-FINAL of a grand slam that would give the opposing player two match points. So if she needed to use some discretion to come to that conclusion then YES, linejudges should use discretion.

And the woman did her job. Why do you claim she was wrong? We don't know that :shrug: You can't tell from the angles we've been shown.

BlameSerena
Sep 13th, 2009, 08:34 PM
It doesn't matter if the foot fault was on the first call or on the last call. If a player touches the line then they have to be called on it, just like if a player hits a double fault on a second serve they can't get another service game.

Venus got called on more foot faults than Serena and she neve went off. She just asked what foot was touching the line.

Some can say well it happened on 15-30 to give Kimmy match point. Well then the other players can say they double faulted on 15-30 game to give their opponent match point and they deserve not to be called on a double fault by the lines person.

Besides, that's not fair to Kimmy who was playing a great game. Both Serena and Kimmy was playing great tennis and it was a good game.

If Kimmy had gotten a foot fault on 15-30 and Serena would have gotten match point, then no body would be complaining about the call.

Well the same fairness has to be given to Kimmy because the rules are the rules and they can't be changed because of Serena and they shouldn't.

Serena still had another chance on the next serve because the game wasn't over. How many times has Maria double faulted on the last point and lost the match and game.

The double fault rule is not gonna be changed because Maria had surgery and is struggling with her shoulder. And the foot fault call should not be changed because Serena stepped on the line at 15-30 and lost her temper and threathened the line judge and lost the match.

It has yet to be determined if it was a foot fault at all. The timing is important, but particularly if this is proven to be a no call, then it's a thousand times worse.

goldenslam888
Sep 13th, 2009, 08:36 PM
It has yet to be determined if it was a foot fault at all. The timing is important, but particularly if this is proven to be a no call, then it's a thousand times worse.

the linesman called it a foot fault. what exactly do you want? dna evidence?

BlameSerena
Sep 13th, 2009, 08:36 PM
I agree with this.



And the woman did her job. Why do you claim she was wrong? We don't know that :shrug: You can't tell from the angles we've been shown.
On the replays I have seen it doesn't look like a foot fault. ESPN did a zoom in on it and it looked even more obvious there from the front point of view. So, to me it isn't one. I don't know what the ruling would be, but it sure is close. The bottom line is that some things you just don't do. I can't knock the lady for doing her "job" IF she's right, but was it this important to call? Why rob Kim of her victory or Serena of her comeback? I hope she wins employee of the week!

BlameSerena
Sep 13th, 2009, 08:38 PM
the linesman called it a foot fault. what exactly do you want? dna evidence?

Don't be a smart ass. The reason there's so much controversy is because the call is UNCLEAR. Don't need DNA evidence just a review of the call. And just because a judge makes a decision, does not mean it is the correct one. The lineswoman could have made an error. Or is that inconceivable?

Sund7101
Sep 13th, 2009, 08:42 PM
It doesn't matter what the score is rules are rules, but line judges should never make a call that they are not 100% sure.

The replay on ESPN2 shows a close-up where it doesn't appear to be a foot fault. It was a clear mistake by the lineswomen and a shame the match had to end that way.

Of course Serena's reaction wasn't good sportsmanship, but I would have done the same thing. I hate it when officials get in the way and ruin matches (i.e. 2004 US Open quarters).

Donny
Sep 13th, 2009, 08:46 PM
It isn't a question of 'should' they. Several pros and USTA officials have already said they DO.

Foxy
Sep 13th, 2009, 08:48 PM
It has yet to be determined if it was a foot fault at all. The timing is important, but particularly if this is proven to be a no call, then it's a thousand times worse.

I don't know if it was a foot fault or not. Serena doesn't know if her foot touched the line because her head was in the air from throwing up the toss for her serve. Only the umpire and God knows if her foot touched the line.

And Venus could say that her 10 foot fault calls were a mistake by the chair.

Even with that being said the game still wasn't over because Kimmy had to win the next point and there was no guarantee that she would have even won the game. Serena had served her way out of a whole on her previous serve.

Not only that Dementieva had three match points against SErena at Wimbledon and Serena still won that game. SErena still had a chance on her serve and she has been almost out of a match before and won.

I do think Serena panicked because Kimmy was keeping her deep behind the baseline and was running her around the court.

Both Serena and Kimmy were playing some great tennis and both were coming up with great shots. Serena is a veteran and she knows the rules.

Maria Sharavpova can come back and say that double faults called by the same line judges should not be called on her because of her shoulder.

How many other players lost the game by double faulting on the last serve. I saw so many players lose their matches this tournament by double faulting on the last point. Well the line judges had to call it just like they did with Serena.

NO difference. Kimmy should not have been robbed because Serena's foot touched the line. When Venus got her 10 foot fault calls the same argument could be made with her that it's no proof her foot touched the line. Be that as it may, the rules still was not changed for Venus and they shouldn't be changed for Serena.

Serena will win many many more USO titles, but she just won't win it this year.

She has to move on to the next tournament like all her other collegues because it's not the end of the world.