There is a certain amount of courtesy expected when playing competitions in various circumstances, such as matches and tournaments. On starting a match, you cannot go wrong with a handshake and generic good wishes such as "Good luck." If there is a history between the two of you, add a personal statement relating to a past good competition.
After completing a match and you are the winner, it is simple courtesy to thank your opponent for the competition. There are a number of responses you can use, depending on the circumstances.
If this is early in the tournament and your opponent is going over to the loser side, extend your good wishes on his next match. If you do knock him out of the tournament, how you respond depends on your match. If he did well, complement him for the good effort. If he was not on his game or played terribly, extend your good wishes at a future competition.
Occasionally, you will win against an opponent who hates your guts. In the interests of good sportsmanship, extend your hand with a "Thanks for the match". You don't need to say more, since there is already some dysfunction between you both. If you are jilted, shrug your shoulders and get ready for the next competition. If anyone is going to be unsportsmanlike, it should not be you. Besides, if he wants to hold a grudge, it usually hurts his game.
During a match, do not show outward pleasure at your opponent's mistakes. It is OK to complement an extraordinary shot. Accept any balls in hand with quiet courtesy. Offer any balls in hand without complaint. It is good courtesy to be quiet while he shoots.
Keep in mind, it is not your responsibility to teach someone good sportsmanship. If they have not already learned proper behavior when young, nothing you do will teach him. Accept this and leave him to his self-infliction.
If you lose the competition, never present a sour grapes attitude. Always give a firm handshake and congratulations. Keep in mind that the loss revealed some of your weaknesses, whether in skills, strategic approach, and shot choices. Address these problems at the next practice table. You will become a stronger and more competitive player.
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