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Brian Dimsho
Brian Dimsho is a USTA certified official and the resident official of the Orange County Grand Prix.


What is or is not an injury?
by Anonymous

Q: During a match that I was watching one of the players began to complain of leg cramps. Her complaining became quite loud and drawn out. Several times, she stopped play to get on the ground and stretch or drink or complain or cry, clearly exceeding the normal time between points. From time to time she would cry out during a point. Her behavior obviously became very distracting to the opposing team and severly interrupted the flow of play. The same thing happened to me a few years ago. Is this a rule violation and what should an opposing team in this situation do?

A: Yes, there are rules in place to stop players from stalling play to recover between points. In a match where there is an official present the time between points (20 seconds), change overs (90 seconds) and set breaks (120 seconds)is watched and pentalies are issued when these times are exceeded. In a match where there is only a roving official onsite he or she should be notified of any problem so that it can be dealt with. The injured player is entitled to take an injury time out for cramping but as with any Medical Time Out there are time constrants on the amount of time the player is allowed and after the treatment time is completed the player must return to play or retire. This is only a short explanation of the Medical Time Out rule to answer your question. There are many parts to this rule that can get very complicated so always get offical to the court if one is present as soon as this type of problem starts and if it is a frendly match maybe it is time to stop for the day. First and foremost, we all want to make sure the player will not be injuried more severly by the player continueing to play, than we want to make sure that the rules are enforced if play does continue. Players should not dismiss cramping as a minor problem, your body is telling you that it is lacking something and you may risk a more sever problem if you continue to play. Brian
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