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What is the proper etiquette to politely uninvite a player if you find that your levels do not match so that the game is not competitive and even frustrating?


Here is the background for this question:

You invite someone because of the level that they say they are. Then you play once or twice to gauge each other's true level. If you find out the other player's level is not sufficient to sustain a reasonable warm-up rally much less to have a competitive game, how do you politely decline playing again with that person. Someone has suggested that you just avoid that person or ignore his phone calls. The other option is to suffer in silence. I believe that it is better to let the other person know by gently explaining the situation rather than leaving him clueless. 



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I think your gut feeling is right.  You need to let them know that playing against someone at a significantly lower level is not helping you to improve your game.  I will often tell that person that I already have a very full tennis calendar (which I do) and tell them that I will share their contact with any other 3.5 players that I know.  (Just using 3.5 as an example of course.)


Thanks for your reply. I did not make any excuse to the person because I responded to his e-mail, invited him to our community court and disclosed to him that I am looking for a group to play with. However, I did explain as politely as I can (thru text so I can select my words carefully) that it would be more beneficial for him to improve if he plays with players closer to his level. I even offered to introduce him to some of my friends that I think are the same level as he. Well, so far I have not received an answer which leads me to conclude that he may not have taken it well.


Well, then life goes on, right?  Sounds like you did the right thing.  Many tennis players do not have an accurate assessment of their level; they think they are better than they are.  When I play this type, I do not hold back an make sure to beat them handedly (6-1 in a set, or 21-8 for instance in a game of 21.)  This helps when it comes time to let them know.  But, I think you are safe to leave this behind you.


Mark offers some good advice.  However, if you have time and patience, you can also coach these lower level players so that they can get better.  This is particularly useful when you have a dearth of players that fit your schedule and level.  It's often difficult to find players in my level range (3.0-3.5), at least in my area.  Plenty of stronger and weaker players though.  While I'm not a licensed coach, I can still teach the basics to someone, or at least enough to get them started (and interested).  It can be a pleasant surprise when someone you started coaching less than a year ago beats you in a hotly contested match.  Remember, we all started out as beginners, and a bit of advice from us "pros" to the newbies goes a long way.  Just my $0.02.


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