Tennis is not just for pros.
Tennis is for everyone.
Ignorance of the Rules of Tennis Can Cost You
By TennisTom 2009
Here is a brief recount of a rule situation which was printed in the April issue of Tennis Magazine. It appeared in the Court of Appeals section and was titled “LET DOWN.” It was a real situation that transpired when my women’s 5.5 Combo team encountered a difficulty with the opposing team. There was no USTA court supervisor in attendance. When I submitted my recount, I changed the story from 3rd person to 1st person, as though I was the one involved rather than one of my teams. Although I was watching the on court discussion, as coach I could not speak up for my team, although I knew the rules involved.
Here is a facsimile:
“My doubles partner hit a first serve and the receiver hesitated before deciding that it was a fault. Then my partner hit a second serve ace after the receiver was in a ready position. The receiver, however, called a let—he said he wasn’t ready to return—and demanded another serve. We reluctantly served again and lost the point, the game, the set, and the match. –Tom Harton, Chapel Hill, N.C.”
“This happened on Match point? Yikes. To put it mildly, you were robbed. First, the hesitation on the part of the receiver to call a fault suggests that he had a doubt about the call, and if there’s doubt, the opponent should be given the benefit (The Code, Item 6). But you would’ve had to address that doubt immediately; once your partner took another serve, it was too late. Second, according to USTA Comment 21.7, a receiver, once ready, cannot become unready, barring a hindrance. If the receiver was in the ready position, he wasn’t entitled to claim a let and your partner’s ace should have counted.”
I didn’t say anything to my players after the match. However the next day I composed the above rule situation and sent it in the Tennis Magazine. I received an immediate reply that they were considering my submission for inclusion in a future publication. After it came out I showed my players the printed response without any negative implication.
The moral of the story, as they say, is that when playing in competition, it’s always a good idea to be familiar with the rules and carry the USTA publication “Friend at Court” with you in your tennis bag. Actually, it’s also a good idea in social tennis, just in case a question ever arises. BTW, a question will arise sooner or later.
Friend at Court – Tennis Rules and Regulations Handbook is available from the United State Tennis Association, 70 West Red Oak Land, White Plains, NY 10604-3602. Phone number 914 696-7000. USTA.com.
[Ignorance of the Rules of Tennis Can Cost You] [Rev 4-6-10]