Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fair Play: It's time to learn etiquette for tennis matches

IT was yet another great hosting job by Lapu-Lapu City and the Philippine team reciprocated by beating Thailand and moving on to the finals in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceana Group 2.

And with the Philippines still hosting the finals against New Zealand in September, it looks like Plantation Bay Resort and Spa will still host it. It’s going to be a fifth hosting by Lapu-Lapu if it pushes through and I hope the crowd will show better tennis etiquette for the match.

Tennis players are quirky, especially when it comes to serving; just check out how Maria Sharapova turns her back from the net to fix her racquet strings and an imaginary stray strand of hair behind her ear or how Novak Djokovic bounces the ball some 20 times. And that’s why the crowd in major tournaments know enough not to move or talk when the players serve.

That was not the case in the Davis Cup matches. I saw Ruben Gonzales glare at least three times as fans walked to their seats as he was about to serve. His foe, Danai Udomchoke, complained too when someone moved to the first row to snap a picture of him as he was about to throw the ball for his serve. What is worse is that the guy was
oblivious to his offense, waited for Udomchoke to serve again and snapped a picture.

There was also a guy in a red shirt moving around the baseline side of the grandstand, and worse, some brought their kids and yaya to the game, and they were playing noisily just behind the grandstand. Jesus Christ, you don’t have to bring the whole family if it’s only you who wants to watch a Davis Cup match.

Someone said Ruben Gonzales snubbed a few autograph seekers after the game and if these were the same folks who walked in while he was serving, I don’t blame him.

Of course, not everybody in that crowd were tennis rowdies, as some also tried to admonish those who didn’t show their tennis etiquette. The officer assigned to the deuce side entrance of the baseline grandstand also prevented people from walking in while the players were serving and I hope he gets a pat for a job well done.

Lapu-Lapu City and Plantation Bay have mastered the hosting of the Davis Cup match but for the next one, I think they should work on how to get the people who should be watching the match in the stands.

This is not basketball or football, this is tennis. Leave your kids and yaya at home and bring your manners with you in the stands.

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