All Posts by Mehrban


Top 5 Tennis Pet Peeves

As a tennis player, I take an immense amount of pride in the sport.  Unfortunately, there are people who disrespect the game out of plain ignorance or sheer stupidity.  The following is a list of tennis pet peeves that everyone should be aware of and take steps to correct:

Tennis Pet Peeve #1: Playing another sport on a tennis court

There is nothing more irritating than seeing a group of people kicking a soccer ball or playing lacrosse on a tennis court.  First of all, there is a reason why we have tennis courts: we can’t play tennis anywhere else.

You can go on any of the thousands of nearby fields or grassy areas and play baseball, soccer, lacrosse, or other sports.  Instead, by playing another sport on a tennis court, you are taking up one of the few courts available that are sought after by tennis players.

What’s worse, playing another sport on a tennis court can damage the court.  Tennis courts are expensive enough to build, but even harder to get repaired.  Tennis courts are made for soft tennis balls, not hard lacrosse balls, baseballs, or the like.

I see people ride their bikes (incredible) on tennis courts, which often leave black streak marks.  I have also seen lacrosse clinics held on tennis courts (seriously???).  Here’s an idea: why not practice on the same surface that you compete on? If you’re going to compete on a grassy field or on dirt for your sport, do us and yourself a favor; practice on it and leave the tennis courts for us.

Tennis Pet Peeve #2: Cheating

Certainly, we can all admire your will and sheer desire to win.  But by cheating, you are not only robbing a person who rightfully earned a point, game, set, or match, but you also show everyone that you lack integrity.

The downfall of most empires: cheating the people.  The downfall of marriages: cheating on your spouse. The reason that many kids get expelled from school: cheating on tests. You get the point (hopefully not because you cheated!).  When you form a habit, it becomes ingrained in your character.  And above all, it is really annoying and immoral to cheat.

If you see the ball hit any part of the line, it is IN.  By sticking to this simple yet often violated rule, you present yourself to the world as not only an honest and trustworthy tennis player, but also an honest and trustworthy person.  You don’t want to be referred to as “the cheater.”  It doesn’t do much good for your rep.  Cheating is undoubtedly one of my greatest tennis pet peeves.

Tennis Pet Peeve #3: Throwing your Racquet

Full disclosure: Yes, the author has thrown his racquet before.  Yes, the author has received a code violation for such behavior.  But has the author realized the error of his ways? Yes.  Will the author refrain from throwing his racquet in the future?  I’ll try my best 🙂

Regardless, throwing your racquet is a big mistake for many reasons.

(1) Racquets are expensive.  Playing tennis costs a lot of money (alright, the 1% can stop laughing now). Throwing a racquet, especially at certain angles, can crack a frame, leaving the racquet useless except to ward off house burglars and drunk people at tennis socials.  Racquet companies are not going to replace a racquet that has been voluntarily cracked (there is no crime of passion defense here).  Just because the pros throw their racquets doesn’t mean you should.

(2) Throwing your racquet can get you a code or point violation.  If you are playing in a tennis tournament and a referee sees you throw a racquet or smash it on the ground, you will get a point penalty or code violation.  If you accumulate enough point penalties, you can be defaulted from a match, or worse, banned from play competitively for a while.

(3) Abusing your racquet makes you look like a cry baby.  Yes, image is everything. And no, I am not trying to sell you a canon rebel from 1990.  What kind of grown man or woman needs to slam a 12 ounce piece of titanium to the ground to feel better?  Not you, that’s who.  Give meditation or breathing techniques a try if you have issues controlling your anger.

Tennis Pet Peeve #4: Unnecessary Grunting

It is one thing if you naturally expel air while hitting tennis balls, or the noises you make are a direct result of you working your tail off to get to a ball.  However, it is another thing when a tennis player shrieks like a hyena seconds after hitting a tennis ball. The latter is a well-known tennis pet peeve.  Personally, I am at my best when I expel air or grunt naturally when I hit a tennis ball.  However, I have heard shrieks that are surpassed only by the highest decibel levels often found at construction sites.  And I don’t think that type of grunting is necessary.

Grunting seems to put off a large number of tennis fans who come to watch tennis for its beauty and elegance, not to listen to shrieks and screams that would be better suited for the demise of a protagonist in a horror film.

If grunting helps your tennis game, and is a natural byproduct of your effort, then by all means go for it and grunt.  And if you are a loud grunter, but know in your heart that grunting allows you to play your best game, then I can’t blame you for your ear-busting habit.  But you won’t be the most popular chip off the old block for doing it.

Tennis Pet Peeve #5: Not Calling Out the Score

While this pet peeve is forgivable, this one still makes the list for a couple reasons.

(1) The audience won’t know the score.  For those of you who have supporters in the crowd, it keeps them in the dark.  Not everyone trained under the tutelage of Ms. Cleo in predicting the future.  If you call out the score (or update the scorecards) then people will follow and be more engaged in your match.

Otherwise, people spend half the time spreading rumors about what they think the score could be based on the last two points you just lost and the death stare you gave your opponent, even if they were the only two points you lost in the last hour (what a perfectionist!).

(2) It opens the door to cheating and/or forgetting the score.  We’re not robots, so we may forget the score if we do not call it out loud each time.  A savvy opponent may pick up on this and try to weasel the score in his favor.

(3) It slows down the match.  If the score is called out every point, as it should be, then there won’t be a need to recount past points in an effort to remember whether the score is 40-15 or 30-30.

That’s all I have for now.  I’m sure I’ll think of additional tennis pet peeves after playing some more tournaments in a couple months.

Let me know your biggest tennis pet peeves: comment below!

How to Become a Tennis Ball Boy in 3 Easy Steps

Several people have asked me how they or their child can become a tennis ball boy. And with good reason.  Tennis ball boys (or girls) enjoy their share of perks: free clothes, free shoes, access to the tennis venue, and the best seat (stand?) in the house.

But before you can become a tennis ball boy, you need to know how to become one. And contrary to belief, its actually pretty easy.  Below are three simple steps on how to become a tennis ball boy and set foot on court with your favorite tennis pros.

Step #1: Watch Ball Boys Do Their Job

While becoming a ball boy may not seem that difficult, you still need to know what to do. The best way to learn is to watch other ball boys at work.  The next time you watch a tennis match on television, pay attention to what the ball boys are doing.

There are two basic positions: the net, and the back court.  The ball boys at the net retrieve balls that are hit into the net or which are closer to them than the ball boys at the back of the court.  The ball boys at the back of the court also retrieve balls close to them, and they hold and throw tennis balls to the pros when the pro needs them.

Ball boys send the balls to their colleagues on the other side of the court when the other player has to serve.  Ball boys will also retrieve a towel for the pro when asked, or hold an umbrella on changeovers to shield the pro from the sun.  If a pro asks you to do something (within reason), do it!

If you ever happen to meet a tennis ball boy, ask him or her about the job and the things they find most difficult so that you can be prepared for them.

Step #2: Find a Professional Tennis Tournament and Sign Up for Tryouts

How do you ball boy for a tournament?  Well, first you have to find a tournament!  Once you do that, you can either call the tournament number and ask about the process, or the tournament website will have a ball boy information page with an application and/or waiver.  Here is an example of a ball boy application from the Winston-Salem Open.  And the information page for ball boys at the U.S. Open.

The tournament staff will review your application, and if they like it, you will be invited to the tournament site.  However, unless you are a veteran, there usually are tryouts held for ball boys.

The tournament staff will have you attend the tryouts anywhere from one week to a couple months prior to the event.  They will analyze your speed, accuracy, and proficiency at the duties required of a ball boy.  If you are lucky enough to be selected, you are in!

Step #3: Enjoy Being a Ball Boy, and Survive The Cuts!

As the tournament progresses, there will be less and less matches.  What does this mean? It means that the tournament will need less ball boys.  The best performing or veteran ball boys will be kept, and the more novice or underperforming ball boys will be cut.

If you are cut early, do not be disappointed.  Be happy that you got the opportunity of a lifetime to ball boy professional tennis matches and enjoyed the amenities and free access to matches that few others can enjoy.

Funny Story: I was a ball boy for a professional tennis tournament years ago and ended up lasting until the round of sixteen.  Although I was cut, I learned that I would be a ball boy for the Bryan Brothers (#1 doubles team in the world!) during a night match.  This meant I got extra clothing and shoes! Sweet!

However, the shorts they gave me were too big. Ruh roh!

During the match I was a net ball boy.  I ran with one hand holding up my shorts and the other picking up tennis balls.  After one of the Bryan Brother twins saw me pick up a ball, to my surprise, he looked at me, hiked up his shorts to his belly button, and the crowd laughed.  I was stunned.  One of the Bryan Brothers had just made fun of  me!!!  I was a bit embarrassed (damn you Fila and your oversized shorts!), but it makes for a great story.

I had a wonderful time living the life of a ball boy, and if you follow the three simple steps above, you can become a tennis ball boy too.

One last piece of advice: don’t forget to pay attention while you’re out there…


Have you ever been a tennis ball boy?  Tell us about it: Comment below!

Dennis Novak wins

Dennis Novak Wins Egypt Futures For Second Title

TENNISFILES – Dennis Novak of Austria won the F5 Futures tournament in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt for the second straight week.

The number 4 seed faced a tough three set match in the first round against Qualifier Vincent Stouff of France.  Novak then proceeded to drop only 13 games en route to the final before defeating number two seed Jaroslav Pospisil (brother of Vasek Pospisil) of the Czech Republic in three sets.

The Austrian is currently ranked 301 in the world.  This is his second title of the year, as he won the Egypt F4 title a week earlier.  His career earnings grow to $40,491.

Pospisil and fellow Czech Dominik Kellovsky took the doubles title.