Mental Tennis

Annoying habits of tennis players

This is where I need your input! What are some annoying habits of tennis players? What on-court behavior have you encountered?

If you play friendly matches, local leagues, or high-level tennis, you are sure to encounter some annoying habits of tennis players. We’re all different and approach competitive tennis in various ways. Some want to win at all costs and use forms of gamesmanship to increase their chances, while others just have some annoying habits that can frustrate the opponent.

I will list a few of the habits I have encountered and then I like to hear your take.

Taking a long time in between points


Some players move at a snail pace in between points. They take their time and sometimes excessively so. This can really throw you off your rhythm as you’re waiting to receive serve or hit your serve and your opponent is never ready. A pro example of taking a lot of time in between points is Rafael Nadal. His OCD usually forces him to go through a whole sequence of things before he is ready to start the point. Federer is kind of the opposite, he likes to get the ball started asap and keeps up the tempo.

Excessive bouncing of the ball before serve

This is a famous or infamous one that we see some top pros do occasionally. Cilic likes to bounce the ball aplenty before his serve, Djokovic is also prone to doing so when he is tight and needs to focus. Maybe it’s a way for them to reach an almost meditative state of focus, but it can throw you off your rhythm as an opponent. I’ve faced players that do this ahead of every point and it can sometimes make me lose my focus as I like to keep a high tempo in between points.

Loud grunting/screaming while hitting the ball

This has been more of a factor of the WTA tour than the men’s game, but I am sure you can find club or tournament players also on the men’s side that also grunt loudly while hitting the ball. There is an excellent video about this on the Cult Tennis YouTube channel.

The most famous offenders of the loud grunt/scream are Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, but there have been others that have even louder “exhales”.

Bad line calling

In most friendly or club-level tournament matches, you call your own lines. This opens up the door for some “bad line calling”, which can also be called cheating if it’s intentional. Unintentional poor line calling can be due to bad eyesight and can result in the opponent calling in-balls out and out-balls in. That’s another story. But the most common occurrence is players wanting to win so badly that they don’t hesitate in calling even pretty obvious “in-balls” out. I think we’ve all experienced this and I’ve even seen it result in harsh words or fistfights between the players!

Excessive celebrating

You’re allowed to be happy when you win a point and showing emotion can strengthen your inner resolve as a player. But when this results in your opponent doing somersaults after your double faults, it’s another story. Then we’re entering the realm of trolling. Tennis is a mental sport and how you deal with things like that will be key to your competitive success as a player on any level, but for many, it can be so annoying that they lose their appetite for match play.

What annoying habits have you faced on a tennis court? Perhaps you are or have been guilty of some of these yourself? Please let me know in the comments below. 


View Comments

  • I don't know why it annoys me when people bounce the ball between their legs before they serve, but it does.

  • It annoys me when my opponent repeatedly returns the ball with a slice in the middle of the backcourt, regardless of which shot I hit.
    It is so boring to play that type of tennis.

  • Excessive racquet twirling (by the server's partner in doubles) is extremely irritating, and you always end up trying too hard to hit them.

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