Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor - Playing Ball: Excuses, Excuses
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Playing Ball: Excuses, Excuses 07/17/2009 - 3:37 PM

Tennis-ball-rebound-1a “You know what you need to do an article on?” my opponent, Don, asks me as he bounces the ball at the net before we begin our match. “Excuses. You need to give people tips on the best excuses to have ready when you lose. It’s the only thing you can get better at when you get older.”

“Most guys I know don’t need any help in that department,” I tell him.

Last week, in paying tribute to Roger Federer’s 15th Grand Slam title, I mentioned that the psychological difficulties of tennis are exacerbated tenfold by the fact that the sport wraps skill and luck so tightly around each other. If you’re playing someone even vaguely at the same level as you, unless that person aces you nonstop and belts outright winners on returns, there’s no legitimate way to excuse a defeat without implicating yourself in it. Even when your opponent plays well, you let him play well. Each win and each loss is a comment on what’s inside you, not on the circumstances surrounding you.

Most tennis players say they like it this way, that we’re individualists and meritocrats by nature, and we don’t need any teammates to bail us out. But then bankers used to say something similar once upon a time. In reality, taking responsibility for your defeats does funny things to people. Namely, it forces them to search for extenuating circumstances—i.e, base and cowardly excuses—for their failures. This search, if conducted on a regular basis, can take a man far and wide. Let me give you a few examples.

—I’ve played tennis and squash with four or five different communities of players over the years. Each consisted of 5 to 10 guys of similar levels who rotated pick-up matches with each other two or three times a week. The one common element I’ve found within these groups is that no one ever lost to anyone else.

Rich, to me: “How do I do against Jeff? I don’t think I’ve lost to him in three years.”

Jeff, to me: “It’s weird, but I’ve never had much of a problem with Rich. My game just matches up well with his.”

These kinds of logical impossibilities are so common that they seem to be almost codes of conduct in tennis and squash—it’s simply understood that you’re not going to admit defeat, or at least not without a reason attached. Whenever I’ve tried to break this code by simply stating that I had beaten by another guy, I’ve felt unnecessarily sheepish and even ashamed about it, as if I’ve just revealed that I’ve been fired from my job. Sometimes, the person I’m talking to will help me by making an excuse for me. “Well, you’re just getting back into it, right?”

—The saddest, but perhaps most effective, excuse I’ve received: As a college kid I beat a guy maybe 10 years older than me in a tournament out west. After screaming at himself for the entire hour, he shook my hand limply and said, “I haven’t been able to play much, my wife’s mother is dying.” I just nodded. How low can someone go to rob you of the satisfaction of beating them?

—Here’s a favorite infantile maneuver of an old squash partner. Every match that I won somehow, for no apparent reason, “didn’t count.” We’d play three out of five sets, I’d destroy him in the first three, and he’d say, “OK, another one, this is the one that counts.” When I beat him nine or 12 or 15 straight times, he’d say, “That didn’t count. One more game for a beer, so this is the one that counts.”

—I used to play a tennis opponent who hit his second serve as flat as his first. Because of this, his second delivery routinely hit the tape and bounced long for a double fault. After I would beat him, he would inevitably ask me, as if he honestly wanted to know the answer, “How many second serves do you think I hit that hit the tape and went out?” I wouldn’t answer, of course, because he didn’t really want to know. He wanted to point up his “bad luck.” I refrained from telling him that this wasn't bad luck. It was the reason the rest of the world spent the time to develop a kick serve.

—Another old tennis partner didn’t know how to eat, apparently. One time he lost to me and said, “I could barely move out there, I ate too much for dinner.”

—One time I beat an opponent who was a bigger but more erratic hitter than I was. I’d been more consistent, but hadn’t tried to do much with the ball. As we shook hands, he looked at me, shook his head, and said, “Too much junk, just too much junk.”

—I beat a squash opponent in a match in which I was the beneficiary of a number of “nicks.” A nick is when the ball lands exactly where the wall meets the floor and subsequently doesn’t bounce—at lower skill levels, this is a plainly lucky shot; at higher levels it can be done purposely. I didn't do mine purposely, but they were still the result of well-hit shots. The next time we played he beat me. As he was doing it, he looked at me and said with a malevolent grin, “Not so easy when you’re not getting all those nicks, is it?” (He had apparently forgotten the 10 other nick-less times I’d beaten him.) At that moment, if it had been legal to kill a man . . .

—Last year I beat a high-quality tennis opponent in three sets. I had decided to go for my shots from the start and I ended up hitting a number of abnormal winners. When I broke him in the third set with a passing shot that clipped the sideline, he sat next to me on the changeover and said, with phony calmness, “You’re hitting a lot of lines today.” This was not the compliment it may seem to have been on the surface. What he was really saying was, “You’re so f---ing lucky.”

—As a kid, I used to play a very fit Irish weightlifter who had no serve. How did he get around this rather crucial flaw? Naturally, by claiming that baseline games were the true test of a tennis player, and that the serve wasn’t what the sport was all about (he never specified why). He would only play me in baseline games, which he often won. Then he would sit on the sideline next to me and brag about how I would never beat him and that I was “nothin’.” After that, he would get into his Trans Am, put on his sunglasses, and drive home singing along to the same song every time: “People Out There Turning Music into Gold,” by Gary Stewart.

This, obviously, was a very funny guy who regularly smashed his racquets into little bits and cursed in the most creative ways imaginable, so it was all forgivable. If we hadn’t played in a couple of weeks and I saw him around town, he would say, “You’re duckin’ me, lad.” Sometimes I would try to avoid playing him just so I could hear him say those words.

You may be starting to wonder, after all these tales of my victories, if I’ve ever lost a tennis match. I have, of course, hundreds of them, maybe even thousands of them. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve discovered a simple secret to avoiding them: Schedule most of your matches against guys you can beat. Like everyone else, I don’t like to lose. The feeling I have when I do lose is the way I imagine I would feel if I were swindled in a pyramid scheme. I feel like a child, an innocent, a dupe, as if my opponent knows something about how tennis, and thus the world, works that I don’t. I'm willing to bet that I've blocked out plenty of the excuses I made for my losses as a kid, but these days I try my best not to make them, simply because I hate hearing them so much myself.

What’s the best excuse you’ve ever heard? I’ll give you mine.

At a junior tournament in Philadelphia, I watched a friend go up against an older, better, and much crazier player. My friend pushed his way to a lead in the first set. Upon losing his serve, his opponent felt his leg and said, with seemingly genuine concern, “I think it’s broken.” He hobbled to the sidelines. After a few minutes he was back up and running around. He won the first set.

My friend again grabbed a lead in the second. This time his opponent began to rub and pick at his eyes, as if something were in them. He eventually covered his eyes completely for a good five seconds. When he uncovered them, he stared straight ahead, blinked a couple of times, and yelled, “I’m blind!”

Needless to say, he won the second set.


Posted by donnie 07/17/2009 at 03:59 PM

nice post. i always enjoy your writings..:-)

Posted by Pspace 07/17/2009 at 04:03 PM

Wow, Steve! Hahahaaha. This had me rolling on the floor. I think this covers almost every excuse I've heard, and many that I haven't.

“Too much junk, just too much junk.” - This used to be my excuse for several years, until I watched a certain Mr. Federer junk his way to 15 slams. I junk with pride now, and take UFEs off my slice with a huge grin.

My fave excuses from my friends:

"I just choked" - After a 6-1 6-2 loss.

"I was going to run a marathon the next day, so I let the third set go"

"Oh, I just didn't make my forehand"

Posted by Black Matt 07/17/2009 at 04:06 PM

Awesome post. I'll admit, I've used the junkball excuse myself several times. It's just so FRUSTRATING to lose to a player that just pushes everything you do back at you, so whenever the match is over I usually just want to scream.

And then of course I feel like an ass immediately afterwards, because it's my own damn fault for not adjusting MY game accordingly.

Posted by Cheshire Cat 07/17/2009 at 04:29 PM

"the serve wasn't what the sport was about"

Sounds like a Nadal fan :)

Posted by BlueDog 07/17/2009 at 04:35 PM

Great post, Steve. I'm not a good enough player to expect to win, and therefor I don't have any need for excuses (yet).

It seems like I'm always hearing people say "Well, he wasn't playing at 100%." I always think, who the heck plays at 100%? I figure 90% is a pretty rare occurrence for most matches, and 80% is the norm if you're really good. I think that's why I find consistency to be the most impressive feat for the top guys.

Posted by Ro'ee 07/17/2009 at 04:51 PM

a guy was beating me every time.
the last time we got to play, he bageled me in the first set . i decided no way am i losing this, and junkballed him to death, eventually winning the set 6-4. we didn't have time for a 3rd set (nothing in our past meetings indicated we'd require one).
I actually made an excuse for him, asking him whether he'd tanked on purpose (since he was moving away, and this was our last game). he refused to take the out, and insisted it was fair and square.
some people just refuse to give excuses

Posted by Sally Relton Shakespeare 07/17/2009 at 04:56 PM

your honesty is sunshine melting away the darkness in the unknown depths of the human psyche...thanks!

Posted by Nik 07/17/2009 at 04:58 PM

I barely lost to a guy once who did everything he could to throw me off rhythm. He showed up late, didn't bring balls (he was supposed to) and made me wait longer, decided to change his grip midway through the first set even though he had spare racquets, and when he was two points away from the match, served before I was ready. To top it off, after he won, he said he was so glad he beat me because he couldn't believe he kept losing big leads to people he *should* have beaten earlier in the season. I told him I couldn't believe it either.

I am not familiar with the regulars in this space, but I assume Pspace is joking when calling Federer a pusher!

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) 07/17/2009 at 05:06 PM

My favourite excuse - "I have no freaking backhand", or "What is wrong with my backhand today", or this one, this arthritis is killing me, I just cannot serve.

Posted by nousername 07/17/2009 at 05:29 PM

great post! so true and honest that it made me cringe. Bet a lot of readers out there see themselves in that post but will never admit it.

Posted by paint 07/17/2009 at 06:17 PM

Love that old William Shatner commerical back in... uh oh, was that the early 70's? Use to see it on NPR I think it was when they were covering a bit of tennis.
Anyway, he had a list of excuses, one of which was along the lines of "my socks are too tight".

My own personal bad thing I do is when I'm losing I try to make the other guy laugh by yelling at myself after points I lose "c'mon! if you don't want to move your feet take up baseball!" I'd throw in a whole lot of sports - golf, bowling, curling...

Posted by Cosi 07/17/2009 at 07:32 PM

I am not familiar with the regulars in this space, but I assume Pspace is joking when calling Federer a pusher!"

I would certainly hope it was a joke too..........

Posted by Pspace 07/17/2009 at 07:59 PM

Cosi, I've come to think of junk as a synonym for slice....I used to think it was a stupid shot, i.e., there was something you could do 7 of 10 times to gain the advantage in the point against a slicer. Fed convinced me that it's a great baiting tactic if it's backed up by good passers, which are much easier to hit with the new strings.

Posted by Christopher 07/17/2009 at 09:06 PM

Great post! I think one of the most frustrating things is when I'm beating someone and they obviously start tanking by just going for everything. I remember once this happened when the person actually started making a bunch of these shots and was threatening a comeback as I tightened up. Fortunately, he did too and that was that.

Posted by crazyone 07/17/2009 at 09:06 PM

this was a really fun piece Steve, my favorite was this one:

"I used to play a tennis opponent who hit his second serve as flat as his first. Because of this, his second delivery routinely hit the tape and bounced long for a double fault. After I would beat him, he would inevitably ask me, as if he honestly wanted to know the answer, “How many second serves do you think I hit that hit the tape and went out?” I wouldn’t answer, of course, because he didn’t really want to know. He wanted to point up his “bad luck.” I refrained from telling him that this wasn't bad luck. It was the reason the rest of the world spent the time to develop a kick serve."

Posted by Sher 07/17/2009 at 09:11 PM

[Here’s a favorite infantile maneuver of an old squash partner. Every match that I won somehow, for no apparent reason, “didn’t count.” We’d play three out of five sets, I’d destroy him in the first three, and he’d say, “OK, another one, this is the one that counts.” When I beat him nine or 12 or 15 straight times, he’d say, “That didn’t count. One more game for a beer, so this is the one that counts.”]

This reminds me so much of a few of the posters on this and other sites..."that argument didn't count..." *snorts*

[I refrained from telling him that this wasn't bad luck. It was the reason the rest of the world spent the time to develop a kick serve.]


Posted by Sher 07/17/2009 at 09:19 PM

Also steve, when I was playing tennis before I watched tennis I would sometimes say that "my backhand is pretty bad" (it was) not because I wanted to excuse myself, but because I wanted to apologize to my friend for having to put up with that level of play. I had no idea about tennis etiquete or anything like that :)

Posted by Mr. and Mrs. D. 07/17/2009 at 09:32 PM

I haven't taken a set off my son since he turned 11.....I now come armed with a ready excuse before each match we play:

"How's your ankle?"

"Can't you see it's taped?"

"You don't have a headache today, do you?"

"Well, you know I didn't have my coffee this morning, we'll see how it goes."

"You didn't have a blister half an hour ago."

"It just popped...even the pros have trouble with blisters."

Posted by Dunlop_Fort 07/17/2009 at 10:38 PM

John Stewart wrote and sang "Gold" (with help from Buckingham-Nicks). Gary Stewart was the honky tonk man responsible for "She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)."

My favorite line was delivered during a match by an attorney (who announced immediately after the warmup that he was "either going to win quickly or lose quickly because I don't have all day") after he walloped another attempted passing shot into the back fence: "Your serve comes in so slow that you have all day to get to the net and then I piss myself."

Posted by Kwon 07/18/2009 at 12:51 AM

Why do you give your opponent an excuse after you lost? I, for one, give my singles partner an excuse even before the match: "I am very tired today." If I lose, then he will say for me, "you were unlucky today because you were tired." If I win, he will be doubly humiliated. Why don't you use this strategy? Often, this strategy can even increase your chance to win by demoralizing your opponent.

Posted by p_wheel 07/18/2009 at 04:38 AM

Fun post. Ever heard the reverse excuse when after beating you your opponent remarks "You should've won today"? Great, thanks, that helps.

Analysing your results is important to keep improving - hard to do this if you're making excuses. My favourite excuses I use in my own head? "Too many 2nd serves", "shovelling or slicing my backhand would have been more effective but less fun" or the direct opposite "I wasn't aggressive enough on my backhand"!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 07/18/2009 at 04:57 AM

LOL LOL LOL. Hilarious. :)

How often have I heard the "too much junk" one about current players? LOL. Definitely my favourite. :)

fwiw, Pspace is a Fed fan. ;-)

Posted by A Necessary Evil 07/18/2009 at 09:27 AM

As a player, you almost need to rationalize your losses. Otherwise, you may become too depressed or self-aware to play competitively. As Steve points out here, it's just as much a part of the game as the volley.

Excuses are often dishonest, dismissive of one's opponent, outright gamesmanship--and yet totally necessary to the psyche of a player. You hate being belittled by someone's excuses, yet you need to make your own when the tables are turned.

As for myself, after playing competitively since my junior days until I did loose my job when my lawfirm downsized late last year,I know that when I do get back on the horse again, rust will be a problem--and my built-in excuse for losing. And the rest of you would say the same thing--admit it.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 07/18/2009 at 09:59 AM

Steve Another great post

Yes excuses,excuses gee what pops into our heads

Sometimes I blame the net cord,other times I adore it

Yeah I had a agruement with my hubby before I played this match

My kids were driving me nuts,thats why I cant concentrate

if playing doubles,yeah my doubles partner sucked

ususally the blame is totally on me

OK I am totally blind,I cannot see or hit tha rotton ball at all i am having just a bad day at the office

Gee it happens to the best of us.

Roger and Co beware.

Posted by † Hallelujah 07/18/2009 at 10:41 AM

Great post, some of the excuses ppl come up with are really worth a laugh. I've used a few good ones myself. I occasionally play racuetball with my buddies, winning the majority of the games, but sometimes when I feel the sting of inevitbale defeat I resort to, "well I win like 80% of the time, just saying is all."

I played a 'no-ad' set yesterday with my buddy Ken. Beforehand I was worried because I hadn't played a set in a few months and hence my serve was a mystery to me. My groundies are usually grooved from hitting around a couple time a week. Warming up, my serve didn't look good, I was hitting the tape and felt heavy-armed. My opponent was having trouble with his own serve so we just kept practicing our serves for about 10 minutes until we got some feel back.

The set was close and good quality, I won 6-3, serving 2 aces, 2 double faults, and a handful of unreturnable serves. I really dialled in on my serve, grunting more than I usually do. It felt good and helped clear up some doubts I had about my serve. Ken spared me any excuses, we just shook hands and went to get some food, famished. As much as I love rallying ad infinitum, my matchplay confidence comes and goes with my serve and the best thing I could do would be to play more matches and get it grooved beyond doubt.

6-3 may not seem that close, but we were play no-ad games, and when I served for the set at 40-15, I hit my second double fault, had a mini-tantrum. Fortunately I re-focused as I realized I could go from set point up to back on serve if I lost the next two points. I closed out with ace up the tee, it wasn't a bomb, but it was good enough. Had I lost that point and the next, I'd still be mouthing what-ifs and ruing my 'luck.'

Posted by † Hallelujah 07/18/2009 at 10:50 AM

"Too much junk, just too much junk."

Another buddy 'junked-and-ran' on me a couple months back. I usually like to hit around for and hour and half, my form holds up better than most as I get tired. My buddy, knowing this pulled a junk-and-run on me. After warming up, we played a 'ping' game to 21, which he barely won by throwing in some slices and moonballs at the tail end of the game. That's fine, what irked me was how he decided he was done and it was time to leave, I had at least another 30 mins in me. WTF!? Junk-and-run!

Posted by Lame 07/18/2009 at 11:19 AM

The worst excuse: That Bolivian marching powder got into my system because I kissed a girl doing blow at a Miami nightclub.

Posted by Heidi 07/18/2009 at 11:35 AM

This one really made me laugh. Who hasn't been in situations like this, sports and non-sports?

Reminds me of your recent Wimby post, Steve: Fed deserves all the luck he gets. So do amateurs!

Posted by susan 07/18/2009 at 12:35 PM

very funny
i think males are hard-wired to be behave like this--like driving around and around, refusing to ask for directions.

Posted by feedforward 07/18/2009 at 12:48 PM

Too funny, painfully funny. I think most of us like to protect our self image. It took me years to realize that my yelling and throwing rackets was my way of announcing, "I am really not this bad normally."

I wonder how long a book we could fill with excuses from the pros. We often hear them, sometimes subtle, sometimes not in their press conferences or floated/leaked via their people.

The even longer book would be the unspoken excuses we often make in our minds when it looks like we are not going to win the match. Sort of like Paul Simon's "50 ways to leave your lover", tehre are countless ways to bail out psychologically on a match.

I think the old Hopman-era Aussies used to say, "I never beat him when he wasn't hurt." This was their way of dismissing someone not a warrior. Serena never loses unless she is playing abysmally (in her mind anyway).

Posted by I use them 07/18/2009 at 03:48 PM

I say things like, I couldn't serve today, my backhand is terrible and I couldn't by a winner today all the time. I don't see them as excuses really. I'm not kidding at all. I'm explaining why I lost. I'm not afraid to tell my opponent that they played better than me either. Maybe thats why I don't see them as excuses. I know what I'm doing wrong, and my biggest problem is a lack of confidence. To me this is the truth, to others it may sound like excuses. But thats ok. They can't help it that they're wrong.

Posted by Russ 07/18/2009 at 04:22 PM

Steve- your friend in Philly was playing Nadal? Cool!

Posted by eddy 07/18/2009 at 11:25 PM

"i'm blind!"

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 07/19/2009 at 06:23 PM

oh Russ, stirring the pot again i see, isnt that my job?


Ive never ever heard the mama lions say Nadal lost because he was going blind, so lets be fair now

Posted by achilles 190 07/19/2009 at 06:44 PM

great post brings back memories

Posted by achilles 190 07/19/2009 at 07:03 PM

hi steve as i said earlier this was an excellent original article

I have a theory about excuses failure or loses are petit traumas that can be overwhelming and excuses I learned are a great way of coping regardless of how odiousand sinister they can be........

many years ago in the racket sports and in life i decided i would never make excuses i woould always say i played well did my best I thought this would be the road o racquet sports salvation i extended to life and a woman broke up with me I just said i was dumped no pretense no excuses .............

i noticed funny things happening ----- people who made excuses got more respect and suffered less than i did ........ got more support and sympathy .... i kid you not it ..............

but there was another aspect the less excuses I made the more excuses people made for me ......if i got dumped or turned down or lost to a hacker......people would say well dont worry you were too good for was easy for them to say this because they were now consoling an" admitted "loser"

one thing I did learn that excuses help you cope until a later date when you could handle the loss even that later date meant beating that person at a future date or claiming a victory in life

Currently I try not to make excuses and I have learned that i do not care if i lose as long as i play well with decsivenes and confront and flair

Also that if there is one single cell in your body that equates an honest loss to oneself as a being then make excuses because you will expreience a petit trauma

cheers to the day that I can treatevery " triumph and disaster as the same imposter"

Posted by Azhdaja 07/19/2009 at 07:20 PM

the best excuses i've heard??

- it's been too dark!

Posted by Azhdaja 07/19/2009 at 07:20 PM

- I am suprised how little he improved

Posted by Azhdaja 07/19/2009 at 07:21 PM

- not always the best player wins in 5 sets.

Posted by Azhdaja 07/19/2009 at 07:21 PM

- it was the rain that helped him beating me, You know.

Posted by Azhdaja 07/19/2009 at 07:21 PM

you know, I had mono (excuse).

Posted by Azhdaja 07/19/2009 at 07:22 PM

- ever since my back hurts (6 months ago), my serve was not clicking right, you know.

Posted by Azhdaja 07/19/2009 at 07:23 PM

- god, this is killing me. (so i have to cry diring his trophy ceremony award).

Posted by Azhdaja 07/19/2009 at 07:32 PM more! A juicy one:

- It doesn't hurt when you lose to a good guy, you know!!

Posted by princepro110 07/19/2009 at 08:17 PM


In my older years I do the same in guys I can beat like a drum then depending on how bad I am beating them usually supply them with excuses ON WHY I AM BEATING THEM! They always come back for more!

Tournament play for me is doubles and I can always blame a loss on my is never me!

Some standard excuses:

-I have been playing so much
-Too much cross training
-That old injury bug doesn't have me 100%
-I don't like this time of day to play
-The balls were not "clay or hard court balls"( depending on surface
-The ball make sucked
-The court was not my best surface
-The wind bothers me
-Those people on the next court bothered me
-I am working on my serve or other part of the game
-The lighting is soo bad here
-Your foot faults bothered me
-How many frame shots did you hit today?
-How many let cords did you get?

Posted by Jonas 07/19/2009 at 08:59 PM

Dude, your thinly disguised bitterness and sullen sarcasm are all too palpable in this one. Use your hard-earned column for instruction and enlightenment rather than a bitchin' board.

Posted by held hostage 07/20/2009 at 12:07 AM

Here's a new one(excuse) on me:
This past Friday I'm playing a kswiss match level 4. My opponent is in his early 20's which is half my age, a tall athletic guy. He wins the 1st set easily but in the 2nd I started raising my level and he starts losing and yelling and cussing and he also smashes his brand new Head racket when i win the set.
His excuse for his behavior: He hasn't had any(s.e.x.) that is why he was so frustrated....

Posted by GMan 07/20/2009 at 12:38 AM

I used to play this guy who would frustrate the heck out of me by trying to falsely pump up my game. Despite the fact that I had only beaten him once in about 50 attempts, he would come into the match acting like he barely had a fighting chance. Whenever I would hit a halfway decent shot he would praise me like I was Roger Federer. Then when I would lose 6-3, 6-2 he would talk to me like he just dodged a bullet and soon I would be tearing him apart.

Posted by feedforward 07/20/2009 at 01:08 PM

I am dumbfounded about the paucity of responses to this intriguing subject. I would expect that every one of us would have far too many stories to contain in limited space.

Steve, I hope you keep doing these columns in spite of this one hitting a dead spot on the calendar.

Posted by PC 07/20/2009 at 02:24 PM

"if you don't want to move your feet, take up baseball"

I may start using that line.

Posted by Kennedy Myles 07/20/2009 at 02:39 PM

I will be honest....When I saw the title of this article I thought there was going to be a picture of Nadal on it......I really did!

Posted by Filipoppo Bolandri 07/20/2009 at 03:39 PM

Denis Istomin. Last week 1.09 for Crivoi to beat Istomin in Bastad in straight sets, now 1.20 for a Kevin Kim-win and 4.80 for a Istomin-win in Indianapolis...

Posted by Filipoppo Bolandri 07/20/2009 at 03:40 PM

And the match has not started.

Posted by Mim 07/20/2009 at 07:41 PM


Posted by Mim 07/20/2009 at 08:06 PM

Best excuse ever:
"My opponent won because my opponent is a lefty."

Posted by Mim 07/20/2009 at 08:07 PM

My favorite excuses to use:
"Too bad my astigmatism started to act up today...."

Posted by Mim 07/20/2009 at 08:07 PM

"I really couldn't concentrate on the match because you're so funny looking..."

Posted by Mim 07/20/2009 at 08:09 PM

"You DO remember that I kicked your butt the last several times we played right? It's healthy for me to experience your side of the story for once."

Posted by Mim 07/20/2009 at 08:10 PM

"Ah, today wasn't a good day for me to win. Your level of play... just isn't right for someone of my caliber to take advantage of it."

Posted by Mim 07/20/2009 at 08:14 PM

The guy complaining about you hitting the lines reminds me of Djokovic when he was playing Stanislas Wawrinka this year on clay (can't recall which tourney).

Posted by Mim 07/20/2009 at 08:15 PM

As for the last story with the player "playing dead"...It's an old classic, I believe Murray is the one keeping it alive these days? :D

Posted by Mim 07/20/2009 at 08:17 PM

How come I can't post a message longer than three-four lines?
When I want to post a paragraph (of about 5 lines and over) my post doesn't show. I've been having this problem for a while now. Help would be appreciated :) .

Posted by Azhdaja 07/20/2009 at 09:15 PM

How come I can't post a message longer than three-four lines?
I've been having this problem for a while now. Help would be appreciated :) .

maybe your astigmatism started to act!

Posted by Mim 07/20/2009 at 10:11 PM

Ha-ha. Don't use my excuses against me Azhdaja! :D

Posted by john 07/20/2009 at 11:13 PM

the classic excuse... " Ah, he was a pusher.

Posted by Kip 07/21/2009 at 08:26 AM

I remember playing a guy who after the first set, which I generally won, would say, "well the practice set is over now, let's play for real now"

Posted by Uvijek Argen 07/21/2009 at 10:27 AM

Hey, no reason to make fun of your partner excuses when we hear professionals in press conference giving the same or worst excuses every time they loose.
I rather like to read "what excuses I give" than "what I heard", it will sound more honest.

Posted by PC 07/21/2009 at 03:57 PM

"I'm blind!"

I'm going to use that one too.

Posted by Azhdaja 07/21/2009 at 08:10 PM

well there are three kind of wxcuses:

1. An Excuse to explain/give a reason for a really poor performance of his own.
2. to explain the loss that might be unexpected, rather than staying silent and cause the conclusion that one didn't really care/respect for the match.
3. Excuse to avoid giving the credit to the opponent for the better play and win.

First two are positive excuses provided one gave the credit to his opponent first.

The third one is unexceptable and talks about poor personality of a losing party. (See my previous examples page#2). Somebody is too weak to recognise the better play of his opponent. (a poor person).

So, excuses could be good or bad thing; all depends on the context.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 07/21/2009 at 08:37 PM

funny funny stuff peeps. I thought this was going to be a piece on nadal too. and i flove rafa.

Posted by Davyboy 07/22/2009 at 09:51 AM

I have just taken up tennis at the ripe old age of 44. I have been playing for a year and can easily relate to excuse making. Best I have heard in my short career... Too Many leaves on the court (I counted three)

Posted by hyc 07/22/2009 at 01:29 PM

very interesting and true.

Posted by rafaholic 07/23/2009 at 05:44 PM

There is this guy I hit with sometimes, when his shots are not working. He claims the net is high on his side. That's the lamiest excuse I have ever heard. We have even tried to switch sides , he will say the net is high on the left side...

Posted by dng 07/23/2009 at 06:51 PM

That is funny stuff! Totally enjoyed this one. I wish you had more funny stories like this to share. LOL!

Posted by Azhdaja 07/23/2009 at 07:58 PM

There is this guy I hit with sometimes, when his shots are not working. He claims the net is high on his side. That's the lamiest excuse I have ever heard. We have even tried to switch sides , he will say the net is high on the left side...

a drunk! You don't wanna put up with drunks!?
post excuse that makes sense.
Still this one:

"It doesn't hurt when you lose to a good guy", is the lamiest!
R. Federer after his loss to Wawrinka in Monte Carlo 2009.

Posted by Brick Paver 07/24/2009 at 08:13 PM

I was just watching the quarters of the Indy Open. The serve that I saw made me think that some excuses are real. They said that it went past the service line at 8 feet high. I could not return that on my best day and would be using an excuse that no one would believe.

Posted by Azhdaja 07/25/2009 at 12:54 PM

very, very interesting prediction here:;topicseen


true or not true?

Posted by K2205 07/29/2009 at 12:31 AM

I think excuses are the easy way of admitting what you were doing wrong or badly. Like "My backhand isn't clicking" or "My forehand just couldn't find the range of the court" I find that some of these are completely valid because some days you just are not playing well so these excuses are more a validation of why they lost rather than an excuse.
The worst excuses is when you completely dominate someone and then they either break you one game or hit a really good shot and then at the end of the match they just sit there and talk about that one moment and counter everything you say with "but you have to admit I did hit that amazing shot" They just cant admit that they just got dominated and played more than one point and/or game.

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