Like a million other busy moms, I’ve spent countless hours playing chaperone to my kids so they can play tennis. One day while sitting in the sun watching my daughters’ matches, I heard the phrase “are you sure?” being echoed from court to court. It occurred to me that “are you sure?” is one of the most commonly used phrases in tennis…as a semi-polite way of responding to a questionable line call.
And so, the “are you sure?” idea was born.
One of the best aspects of tennis is the honor system in place for line calls. However, players often seem to follow the adage “when in doubt, call it out,” especially while on the run, out of position, out of breath and out of luck. While I have never heard anyone answer the question with a “no,” it seems the phrase serves its purpose: to make the opponent think twice before the next “unsure” line call.
I consider the “are you sure?” idea fundamental to tennis, whether on the junior level where kids have to referee their own matches and make quick decisions regarding line calls or on the professional level where a questionable call is often challenged and reviewed by the “Hawk Eye” or similar device.