Tennis, over the last few years, has become more enjoyable for me since I stopped competing in tournaments and started playing in USTA league matches. Through tennis, I've met some amazing people with whom I've bonded and have become very good friends with.
In 2011, I had a great deal of people approach me about putting a team together, so I took it upon myself to become a captain of a USTA 9.0 Mixed Metro team. My thoughts going into this was that it's going to be fun playing competitive tennis with my friends, only to find out that being a captain is not that easy.
This season, I ran into a problem with one captain who pulled a dirty little trick and there seems to be a rule that allows him to pull such a trick. This rule basically states that if one team asks for a reschedule and that reschedule is granted and the other team does not have players for the day of the rescheduled match, the team asking for the reschedule loses that match. This does not make any sense to me, and really was a low blow, because with almost every team having at least 20 players, this captain is saying that he didn’t have two players available to play the rescheduled match? I find this very hard to believe. By not playing the rescheduled match, he wins that match and the three point value of that match.
The three points really does not bother me, but what does bother me is that captains will go so low for three points and not care if the players on both teams get the matches that they paid for. My two players who were scheduled to play the rescheduled match will not get that match because of this rule that puts power into the hands of the opposing captain. Personally, I think this rule needs to be amended to say:
“If there's a rescheduled match granted, then both teams are obligated to field a team and the team that cannot oblige will have to forfeit that match.”
This way, every captain will have a vested interested in playing, and every player will have a chance at playing instead of winning or losing based on a rule with a big loophole. After all, we are all here to play tennis, meet new people, have fun and enjoy the sport we all love so much. Please captains, be fair, play fair and leave the trickery at home. Don't look for loopholes in the rules, and if there are any loopholes, make it known to the officials. Don't abuse it and to try to win in that way, because at the end of the season, we are not playing this league for money, glory or fame … it’s for fun.
The misunderstanding with this rule has put me on probation for fighting to change it. Fighting against this rule and probation will not deter me from being a captain in the future, nor will it make me change what my beliefs are … I still believe in being fair and fighting for what is right.
Marvin Jeffrey is a Senior Staff Professional and High Performance Coach for New York Tennis at Great Neck. When not coaching high performance players at New York Tennis at Great Neck, Marvin spends time attending junior tournaments with his players, as well as competing in Men’s Open tournaments and USTA Leagues.