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fightfan 09-21-2012 09:45 AM

Lesser Known Tennis Rules
 
I thought this could be a thread where we can discuss lesser known tennis rules. I can start this by describing something that just happened to me, and I did not know what the official rule is.

I served the ball and fell on the court, ultimately rolling over. Fortunately my opponent hit a winner on the return so there wasn't much confusion. However, what is the official USTA rule on an incident like that?

1. Can my opponent call a hindrance and win the point immediately?
2. Can my opponent call a let immediately?
3. What happens if he is distracted and hits an error? What if he hits a sitter that I subsequently put away?
4. Can I call a let or fault? I think if a ball flies out of your pocket or a hat falls off your head you can call a let the first time and lose the point outright the 2nd time.
5. Something else?

Also, there is probably some type of official USTA rule, but has anyone seen this happen before in a competitive environment? If so, did they follow the USTA rules or do something else? I guess my biggest concern in terms of fair play is addressing the distraction a returner has and accidentally hitting an error or sitter that loses him the point. That doesn't seem right, but who knows?!

BHiC 09-21-2012 09:54 AM

To answer your question, if someone falls, then the point is continued. If the person had missed the shot, it would have been your point, and no hindrance/let could have been called. A hindrance cannot be called for falling down or for a racquet slipping out of someone's hand. Also, if a ball falls out of your pocket, or your hat falls off, your opponent must call the let. You cannot call a let because a ball falls out of your pocket. You are correct though that it is a let the first time, but then you lose a point the second time the ball/hat falls.

This had happened to me several times, I have both fallen down, gotten back up and won the point, and also lost points because I slipped and fell.

gmatheis 09-21-2012 10:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fightfan (Post 6912136)
I thought this could be a thread where we can discuss lesser known tennis rules. I can start this by describing something that just happened to me, and I did not know what the official rule is.

I served the ball and fell on the court, ultimately rolling over. Fortunately my opponent hit a winner on the return so there wasn't much confusion. However, what is the official USTA rule on an incident like that?

1. Can my opponent call a hindrance and win the point immediately?
No , you falling down or dropping your racket is not a hindrance
2. Can my opponent call a let immediately?
Again no, there is no cause for a let here
3. What happens if he is distracted and hits an error? What if he hits a sitter that I subsequently put away?
Once again falling down or dropping your racket is not cause for hindrance or a let so however the point plays out is how it is.
4. Can I call a let or fault? I think if a ball flies out of your pocket or a hat falls off your head you can call a let the first time and lose the point outright the 2nd time.
I'm confused here , can you call a let for the scenario you described to begin with where you fall down?? no you cant. If its your first serve you can not call a fault on yourself, only on your second serve can you call your own serve out.

I believe you are correct on the last item, your hat falling off or ball falling out of your pocket is a let 1st time and point after that.

5. Something else?

Also, there is probably some type of official USTA rule, but has anyone seen this happen before in a competitive environment? If so, did they follow the USTA rules or do something else? I guess my biggest concern in terms of fair play is addressing the distraction a returner has and accidentally hitting an error or sitter that loses him the point. That doesn't seem right, but who knows?!

10 chars .....

blakesq 09-21-2012 01:25 PM

a lesser known, and occasionally hotly contested rule: any player (other than the server) can move at any time to any part of the court on their side of the net. Thus, in doubles, the server's partner can move, just as the reciever's partner can move, even during the server's service motion.

kylebarendrick 09-21-2012 02:01 PM

...unless that movement is solely for the purpose of distracting the server.

Cindysphinx 09-21-2012 02:20 PM

If any player hears a net cord, that's it. It doesn't matter whether anyone else hears it.

Which is why I don't like it when my partners say, "Did anyone hear a let?" If you heard a let, call it. If not, say nothing.

fightfan 09-21-2012 02:31 PM

Thanks for the clarifications BHiC and gmatheis! I guess falling is a fairly black and white issue. I also didn't know that only your opponent could call a let on your flying hat or ball problem. Good stuff everyone, keep those other rules coming!

tenniscasey 09-21-2012 02:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 6912621)
If any player hears a net cord, that's it. It doesn't matter whether anyone else hears it.

Which is why I don't like it when my partners say, "Did anyone hear a let?" If you heard a let, call it. If not, say nothing.

There's dissent in the rec group I play in as to whether a server can call his own let.

I say yes, the server can, under the premise that any player can call a service let. But I'm in the minority.

North 09-21-2012 05:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kylebarendrick (Post 6912591)
...unless that movement is solely for the purpose of distracting the server.

Actually, the way it is worded does not require that the purpose is to distract. It is rule 26 & the comment on it (26.1) says that the hindering act is deliberate in that "the player did what the player intended to do, even if the result was unintended". I like that it is put that way because it just speaks to the results of an action rather than trying to figure what someone's motive was.

Edit: The Code certainly does make it clear that things done for the sole purpose of distracting an opponent constitute a hindrance. I think the rule as written allows addressing situations where attempts to distract are not obvious. I don't see hindrances called very often but I do see a lot of people getting angry & frustrated at hindrances they do not call.

North 09-21-2012 05:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tenniscasey (Post 6912655)
There's dissent in the rec group I play in as to whether a server can call his own let.

I say yes, the server can, under the premise that any player can call a service let. But I'm in the minority.

The Code (#26) in the rule book says that any player can call a service let, including the server. You just have to call it soon enough so you can 't get two bites at the apple.

jswinf 09-22-2012 09:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by North (Post 6912809)
The Code (#26) in the rule book says that any player can call a service let, including the server. You just have to call it soon enough so you can 't get two bites at the apple.

So the server would have to call it before (or pretty much simultaneous with) the returner strikes the ball, right? If the returner rips an outright winner and the server says, "Uh, that serve was a let" there's potential for abuse.

It's not like the server can call a let to avoid a fault because if it doesn't land in the box it's a fault whether it grazed the net or not.

Kind of interesting, you tend not to think of a server calling a let serve, but I've certainly hit some serves and thought I heard a net tick when nobody said anything. I find that situation easier to "just go ahead and play it" than if I hit a serve a foot long and back comes a return with no call.

jswinf 09-22-2012 10:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BHiC (Post 6912158)
To answer your question, if someone falls, then the point is continued. If the person had missed the shot, it would have been your point, and no hindrance/let could have been called.

How about if the player, while falling down, is screaming "Owie, son-of-a-*****) or such? I imagine the vocalization could be a hindrance.

And there are all kinds of falls. What if they fall in a "serious" way like just collapsing in a heap or driving their head into the net post a la James Blake? Of course, talking about the rules for a competitive match these scenarios don't really apply...(but what if the surviving player was match point down and missed his shot, lost to a dead man.) :cry:

Oh, I guess Blake would've lost the point for touching the net post before the point was over.

North 09-22-2012 12:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jswinf (Post 6913672)
So the server would have to call it before (or pretty much simultaneous with) the returner strikes the ball, right? If the returner rips an outright winner and the server says, "Uh, that serve was a let" there's potential for abuse.

Yep. Best thing if you hear (or see) a service let is to call it immediately to minimize the likelihood of arguing over the timing of the call.

HunterST 09-22-2012 01:41 PM

Little known rule: If an opponent comes onto your side of the court, you can legal break his kneecaps.

r2473 09-24-2012 02:32 PM

It is perfectly legal to grab a burger after the first set.

It is not legal to grab a hotdog.

uk_skippy 09-24-2012 03:02 PM

How many people can answer this Q (correctly)?

I serve a 1st serve fault, and my opponent breaks a string while returning it?

What's my next serve? Another 1st serve, or a 2nd serve?

amorris525 09-24-2012 03:48 PM

By the book it is a second serve. Most reasonable players would just tell the server to take two.

Fusker 09-24-2012 03:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by uk_skippy (Post 6916873)
How many people can answer this Q (correctly)?

I serve a 1st serve fault, and my opponent breaks a string while returning it?

What's my next serve? Another 1st serve, or a 2nd serve?

I would say first serve since your opponent caused the delay. I'd give you the first serve anyway if I was the returner even if I'm wrong. ;)

Here are a few rules that seem to be little known from the guys I play:

1. I can ask the opponent for their view of a shot they hit where they clearly had a better view than I did. And if they saw it out, they should say so when asked. Yet in years of playing, I have only ever had a handful admit their shot was out. The response is almost always, "I didn't see it" or worse, "It's your call."

2. Win the toss - and "defer." I almost never do it just because I get tired of explaining what it means.

Fusker 09-24-2012 03:57 PM

Here's an apparent answer I found after guessing:
http://www.usta.com/Improve-Your-Gam...lls/Let_Calls/

gmatheis 09-24-2012 04:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by amorris525 (Post 6916934)
By the book it is a second serve. Most reasonable players would just tell the server to take two.

nope, by the book it's a first serve.


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