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Cindysphinx
05-02-2009, 06:13 PM
Had a weird thing happen in my USTA ladies doubles match last night.

I was deep in the court, having received serve. My partner was at the service line. My opponent popped up a ball that was going to land very close to the net. In my head, I heard my pro shouting at me: "Don't you *dare* bounce that ball! Get up there and volley it!" I took off and got there in the nick of time and managed to volley it. I was concerned about running into the net or perhaps hitting the ball on the opponents' side of the net, so I tried to give myself some room, stopped hard, and backed up immediately to continue with the point. Alas, I didn't hit a winner and after a few more shots the opponents won the point.

As I took my position at the net for my partner to receive serve, the opposing net player said, "You know, you're not allowed to touch the net." I said, "I know. I didn't touch the net." She said "Yes you did." We continued playing.

On the next changeover, I asked my partner whether I had touched the net, and she said she thought maybe I had touched it with my foot. She said she didn't say anything because she said I touched it after the ball bounced on the other side of the net, which of course isn't relevent.

If that is what happened, I wouldn't feel it through my giant size nine Addidas Barricades. So maybe the opponent was correct. Perhaps the giveaway was that the net moved? I dunno. As I said, I thought I had given myself enough room to hit the shot and hadn't touched the net.

OK, so here's the question. I know the Code says you are to promptly call it on yourself if you touch the net.

Who gets final say on whether a player touches the net? If I really don't think I touched it, do I have to take my opponent's word on it?

Does my partner have an obligation to stop play and call it on me if she sees it, or is my call alone?

Are the opponents entitled to stop play and ask me about it? If they do and I deny it, do we play a let?

The Code says you're supposed to give the opponent the benefit of the doubt on line calls. Does the same thing hold true for touching the net?

If I ask the opponents' opinion about whether I touched the net, must I accept their opinion?

I assume the reason the opponent and my partner thought I touched the net is that they saw it move. Is it possible for the net to move during an indoor match due to something other than a player touching it? Like, if you run full speed toward the net and stop, is it possible for the net to move?

As I sit here, I can't think of an instance in any of my other matches where a player touched the net and it was at all a close question. Usually they hit it with their racket or fall into it, so there's nothing to discuss.

It's weird though. I have awarded points to my opponents for hitting the net and also for hitting a ball on the opponents' side of the net. This is the first time I committed such an infraction and was completely unaware of it.

cak
05-02-2009, 06:26 PM
This is one of those things written in the code that was somehow written different. I have the same problem with double bounces. There is occasionally times where I think I got it before the second bounce, but the opponents don't. I tend to ask my partner, but often give up the point because I'm just not sure. In a clinic there was a point like that, with a questionable second bounce and the pro gave some long explanation on how I could tell the difference by the way the ball comes off my racket, that totally was lost on me. He felt that I did get to the ball before the second bounce. So I wish there was some way to hand the responsibility for those types of calls to someone else, but I can't think of a way that would be fair.

OrangePower
05-02-2009, 07:19 PM
Not sure what the rules say, but...

On the issue of touching the net, if anyone else on the court claims that I touched the net (partner or opponents), I would take their word for it, since it's very possible that I wouldn't notice.

But on the issue of double-bounce, it's feel that it's my call to make, since I'm in a much better position to judge that than anyone else on the court.

JavierLW
05-02-2009, 07:57 PM
Not sure what the rules say, but...

On the issue of touching the net, if anyone else on the court claims that I touched the net (partner or opponents), I would take their word for it, since it's very possible that I wouldn't notice.

But on the issue of double-bounce, it's feel that it's my call to make, since I'm in a much better position to judge that than anyone else on the court.

The rules say that all calls that you are unsure of must be ruled in favor of your opponent. (it doesnt just mean line calls) If you might of touched the net, that is your call so with that in mind if you are unsure you should lose the point.

You're probably right, most of the time for double bounce situations you know if it's a double bounce if you are watching the ball as you try to hit it.

I had one on a windy day though that I admit I barely got to it and I sort of "wished" that I got it before the second bounce.

My opponent asked me if it bounced twice, and then when I thought about it I realized that I wasnt sure, so I gave him the point.

I think that's the right thing to do, and it's the right thing to do in the touching the net situation as well. Unless you're sure you didnt touch it, you might of touched it..... (that avoids any explantion of a sudden gust of wind or seismic tremors or waves of carpenter ants who are moving the net....)

I always try to avoid touching the net when I get close and I know my feet are the mostly likely part of me to hit it so Im usually aware of whether I touched it or not. That's just part of the game.

tangoll
05-03-2009, 05:49 AM
In the OP's post, "On the next changeover, I asked my partner whether I had touched the net, and she said she thought maybe I had touched it with my foot. She said she didn't say anything because she said I touched it after the ball bounced on the other side of the net, which of course isn't relevent." The second sentence is relevant as to the ball bounce. If the first bounce of the ball is within the "in" lines of the court, the ball is still live after the first bounce, and only dead after the second bounce. So touching the net with any part of the racquet, clothing, or body before the ball becomes dead (ie after the 2nd bounce only) means you lose the point.

volleyman
05-03-2009, 09:23 AM
Who gets final say on whether a player touches the net? If I really don't think I touched it, do I have to take my opponent's word on it?

Does my partner have an obligation to stop play and call it on me if she sees it, or is my call alone?

Are the opponents entitled to stop play and ask me about it? If they do and I deny it, do we play a let?

If I ask the opponents' opinion about whether I touched the net, must I accept their opinion?




In order:

You/Your partner have final say. You don't have to take your opponent's word for it - the Code is clear that it is your call, not your opponent's.

In doubles, your partner should call it and stop play if they see it.

If your opponents stop play to ask you about it, and you didn't touch the net, they lose the point. No free lets for imaginary infractions. If you did touch the net, the point is theirs, obviously.

Of course, sometimes a let is the best way to keep the peace, particularly in a social game. But make sure you establish that it is a gift you're giving them, not something they are entitled to.

If you ask your opponents' opinion, you are basically asking them to make the call for you. To me, that means you are obligated to accept their judgement. If you don't ask for their opinion, and they offer it anyway, you aren't obligated to accept their judgement.

Cindysphinx
05-03-2009, 09:29 AM
In the OP's post, "On the next changeover, I asked my partner whether I had touched the net, and she said she thought maybe I had touched it with my foot. She said she didn't say anything because she said I touched it after the ball bounced on the other side of the net, which of course isn't relevent." The second sentence is relevant as to the ball bounce. If the first bounce of the ball is within the "in" lines of the court, the ball is still live after the first bounce, and only dead after the second bounce. So touching the net with any part of the racquet, clothing, or body before the ball becomes dead (ie after the 2nd bounce only) means you lose the point.

Under the circumstances, the second sentence was kind of beside the point. We kept playing the point. Which meant that the point was still live in that the ball didn't bounce twice or bounce out of bounds.

My partner didn't understand this. She thought that if I touched the net after the ball bounced in the opponents' court, it was OK. Which isn't correct.

Cindysphinx
05-03-2009, 09:36 AM
This is one of those things written in the code that was somehow written different. I have the same problem with double bounces. There is occasionally times where I think I got it before the second bounce, but the opponents don't. I tend to ask my partner, but often give up the point because I'm just not sure. In a clinic there was a point like that, with a questionable second bounce and the pro gave some long explanation on how I could tell the difference by the way the ball comes off my racket, that totally was lost on me. He felt that I did get to the ball before the second bounce. So I wish there was some way to hand the responsibility for those types of calls to someone else, but I can't think of a way that would be fair.

I know!!! I have the same problem, and it also came up on Friday night.

After the USTA doubles match finished, I was playing some singles games with a teammates. She hits a short ball. I race up to it and scoop it up. We finish the point, which I win. She says, "Didn't that ball bounce twice?"

Here we go again. No, I think I got there. The fact that I kept playing means I think I got there. In good faith, I think I made a heroic play. To scoop up these drop shots, you have to be staring right at the ball, so I know I made it. I am not happy about giving the opponent the point if I think I got there just because they saw it differently. When I watch matches on TV, I frequently think a player didn't get there in time, and the replay will show that they did. So it is easy to get it wrong unless you are very close and paying careful attention.

I was playing mixed with a guy, social match, outdoors at night last year. Same story. I run for a ball and scoop it up. My partner stops the point and says the ball bounced twice. What the heck? He's behind me at the baseline, so he doesn't exactly have the best view. I was *sure* I got there. I didn't argue because it would be unseemly. But I was a bit annoyed.

Cindy -- who is always impressed that chair umpires almost always call a double-bounce correctly

Nellie
05-03-2009, 11:52 AM
On a entirely different thought, sometimes I feel like I am scooping the ball when it is close to a double-hit- you know, where there is not a contact, but more a catch of the ball on the corner of the frame and string bed and a fling the ball over the net. I thought this was not legal, but I cannot find the rule.

shell
05-03-2009, 03:32 PM
I'll start by saying that I do not know the "official" answer to your question. But my gut feel says it is the persons call that hits the ball and then the net.

I think the point probably was played correctly, with the exception of your partner. If she saw you hit the net, she should have called it right then.

You didn't think you did, so you played on. Your opponent thought you might have, but I would never stop a point over that ambiguous of a call. She did the right thing by bringing it up as a point of contention after the point. Sort of like a line call, bringing it to your attention and putting you on "warning". Kind of a reminder of the rules, but not a stop the point viewpoint.

Sounds like in the end it worked out as it should. But I might have told my partner to call it if she thought she saw it. That is the only biggy thing from what you described that I can see.

Cindysphinx
05-03-2009, 09:02 PM
On a entirely different thought, sometimes I feel like I am scooping the ball when it is close to a double-hit- you know, where is not contact, but I more catch the ball on the corner of the frame and string bed and fling the ball over the net. I thought this was not legal, but I cannot find the rule.

If you're describing an unintentional "carry" of the ball, that's legal.

In fact, it was a common shot when I played 2.5. :)

cak
05-03-2009, 09:10 PM
Cindy's right. The carry rule was changed sometime between when I played in high school in the late 70s and twenty five years later when I started playing again. So it was a rule once, but you won't find it now.

AndrewD
05-04-2009, 02:01 AM
Not sure what the rules say, but...

On the issue of touching the net, if anyone else on the court claims that I touched the net (partner or opponents), I would take their word for it, since it's very possible that I wouldn't notice.

But on the issue of double-bounce, it's feel that it's my call to make, since I'm in a much better position to judge that than anyone else on the court.

In the case of a double-bounce, as has been illustrated time and time again in tennis and other ball sports (squash, baseball, cricket, etc), you DON'T have the best view. Your partner, opponents and/or umpire are in a much, much better position to judge.

In the case of touching the net or touching the ball you DO have the best idea of whether or not that has happened. Touch is related directly to 'feel'. Only you can know whether or not you have felt something.

woodrow1029
05-04-2009, 07:57 AM
Cindy's right. The carry rule was changed sometime between when I played in high school in the late 70s and twenty five years later when I started playing again. So it was a rule once, but you won't find it now.
Yes you will find it now.

Rule 24F.

f. The player deliberately carries or catches the ball in play on the racket or
deliberately touches it with the racket more than once

Also, Comment 24.5 explains the unintentional "double hit or carry."

USTA Comment 24.5: Does a player lose a point if the ball hits his
racket twice during one swing? No. Only when there is a definite and
deliberate “second push” by the player does the shot become illegal.
“Deliberately” is the key word in this rule. Two hits occurring during a single
continuous swing are not deemed a double hit.

#20 in the code clarifies who makes the call in an unofficiated match.

20. Touches, hitting ball before it crosses net, invasion of opponent’s Court, double
hits, and double bounces. A player shall promptly acknowledge when:
• a ball in play touches the player;
• the player touches the net or opponent’s Court while the ball is in play;
• the player hits a ball before it crosses the net;
• the player deliberately carries or double hits the ball; or
• the ball bounces more than once in the player’s Court.
The opponent is not entitled to make these calls.

Cindysphinx
05-04-2009, 08:01 AM
The opponent is not entitled to make these calls.

Say, Woodrow?

My copy of the Code doesn't have this last sentence.

Am I using an old version or something?

http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/sitecore_usta/USTA/Document%20Assets/2008/05/29/doc_13_22409.pdf

spiderman123
05-04-2009, 09:43 AM
He's behind me at the baseline, so he doesn't exactly have the best view.

So who is going to be the first one to crack a one liner here?

BTW, Barricades were the worst shoes I have ever played tennis in. They have come out with a couple of revisions after my experience but it was so bitter that I will never try them again.

They squeaked and slipped on court. Maybe others have better experience as I see 75% people going for Barricades now.

woodrow1029
05-04-2009, 09:51 AM
Say, Woodrow?

My copy of the Code doesn't have this last sentence.

Am I using an old version or something?

http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/sitecore_usta/USTA/Document%20Assets/2008/05/29/doc_13_22409.pdf
I copied it right from the 2009 Friend at Court.

woodrow1029
05-04-2009, 09:53 AM
Say, Woodrow?

My copy of the Code doesn't have this last sentence.

Am I using an old version or something?

http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/sitecore_usta/USTA/Document%20Assets/2008/05/29/doc_13_22409.pdf
It may be an updated version of the 09 FAC. Try re-downloading it.

OrangePower
05-04-2009, 11:31 AM
Not sure what the rules say, but...

On the issue of touching the net, if anyone else on the court claims that I touched the net (partner or opponents), I would take their word for it, since it's very possible that I wouldn't notice.

But on the issue of double-bounce, it's feel that it's my call to make, since I'm in a much better position to judge that than anyone else on the court.

In the case of a double-bounce, as has been illustrated time and time again in tennis and other ball sports (squash, baseball, cricket, etc), you DON'T have the best view. Your partner, opponents and/or umpire are in a much, much better position to judge.

In the case of touching the net or touching the ball you DO have the best idea of whether or not that has happened. Touch is related directly to 'feel'. Only you can know whether or not you have felt something.

Seems that you and I see it exactly opposite :-)

In the case of the double-bounce, I am watching the ball very closely since I'm intending to hit it. I think the others on the court are watching less closely since they are also keeping an eye on me as I make my way to the ball. Plus, I can tell by the feel of the contact (racket to ball, and racket to court) whether the ball hit the ground or not.

In the case of touching the net, I have on occasion touched the net (lightly) with my foot and have not felt a thing. So in this case sight may be more reliable than feel, especially if there is visual evidence (net movement).

Cindysphinx
05-04-2009, 11:39 AM
I just played singles, and my opponent thought I had let it double-bounce.

No Flippin' Way did that ball bounce twice. I totally got there. I really don't think opponents are in the best position to know. Maybe chair umps are, but I don't think a typical amateur player is.