News flash, tennis chicks! No points are awarded for incredible shots made during the warm-up before the tennis match starts!
The warmup is just that… a warm-up. It gives you up to 10 minutes to loosen up and find your rhythm for your groundies, volleys, overheads, and serves. NOTE: some ladies will purposefully try and rush the warm-up. If you don’t care, then, by all means, finish early. However, if you want the full 10 minutes, TAKE them. If they want to stop warming up after a few minutes, then just continue with your partner.
What shouldn’t you do during the warm-up?
The warm-up is not the time to engage in psychological ploys; it’s not the time to assert dominance. In other words, the warm-up is not the time to hit sharp angled volleys. It is not the time to try and pass your opponent when they are warming up their volleys. You owe it to each other to provide some nice feeds that can be hit back. NOTE: some ladies (unintentionally) suck at feeding balls for a good warm-up. If you come across one of them, don’t panic. It’s fine to have the other opponent to warm you up as well.
Another important thing to know is that warm-up serves must be taken BEFORE the match starts. During league, there are always one or two doubles teams who suggest – or even demand – to take warm-up serves during each player’s first service game of the actual match.
In the USTA’s “The Players’ Guide to Fair Play and the Unwritten Rules of Tennis“, Rule #4 stipulates that all warm-up serves are taken before the first serve of the match. If they don’t want to take them at that time – per the rule – they don’t get them later.
What if players don’t want a warm-up at all?
In rare cases, there will be those opponents who show up and say they don’t want a warmup. No problem… no warm-up for them! However, you are still entitled to your warm-up. If you’re playing singles, the opponent should at least warm you up. If you’re playing doubles, you can warm up with your partner. NOTE: the ladies who pass on the warm-up are usually sandbaggers. They don’t want you to see how good they are before the match. And you better believe that they will be watching like hawks as you and your partner warm-up.
You may be thinking that this is all so obvious. Does anyone really need to be reminded about the warm-up? Um… YES! League ladies are aware of how the warm-up is supposed to be done, but some would rather do it THEIR way which gives them an unfair advantage. Fortunately, there are rules of etiquette to ensure that the warm-up is equal for everyone. And FYI — there is no penalty for purposefully crappy warm-ups in league tennis, other than a crappy reputation in the league.