Last updated 9 years ago
Consider the distraction rule: “188.8.131.52 Players and coaches or other advisers shall refrain from behaviour that may unfairly affect an opponent, offend spectators or bring the sport into disrepute, such as abusive language, deliberately breaking the ball or hitting it out of the playing area, kicking the table or surrounds and disrespect of match officials.”
It seems to me that there needs to be some improvements in this rule concerning distractions. Anyway I’m interested in your thoughts on the following: How should this idea of “unfairly affect(ing) an opponent” apply to players who deliberately make noises during the serve? eg. A player makes a whistling noise or a wind like noise during the service. Should the umpire warn the server? What can the receiver do if the umpire does nothing and yet finds the noise really off-putting?Similarly with deliberate foot stamping. The suggestion that it should be considered as legitimate since it could be considered part of following through or the like seems ridiculous. What can a player do when a server does exactly the same service action, but suddenly throws in a very loud foot stamp, to put you off, at game point? And lastly, what can a server do when a receiver makes a large rapid and sudden move while you are in the act of serving, also for the purpose of putting you off your serve?
I think the application of the rule is difficult, even at International level. Umpires will find it difficult to fault a player or pick them up if it is the first time they commit the offence at game point. The umpire makes decisions on points of fact. So it is up to them to decide whether or not the player is deliberately distracting the opponent. You could try asking for the referee but will probably not get too much joy there.
It requires strong umpiring to be able to do pick players up for this. It is certainly close to impossible at club level without a lot of arguments and angst.
If the umpire feels that it is a deliberate action to distract then they can and should certainly award the point against the player straight way.
In case you haven't seen the previous question take a look at this answer provided by two of the better umpires around. Rule on distraction during serve.
When receiving you can make fake movement while your opponent is serving as you can while you are serving.
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