Originally Posted by seseli
There is a tree reaching over the middle section of one of our courts. Sometimes a lob happens to pass through the leaves/branches and the ball, without much change in direction, though perhaps slowed down a bit, continues to the other side of the court.
I assume the tree is a permanent fixture and the player who made the lob loses the point. What I do not know for sure is who has the right to call it. Do you have to call it on yourselves like a double bounce or net touch, or any player can call it like a serve net cord? I expect the first because it results in a loss of point and not just a let, but would like to hear your confirmation.
That was the hard rules. But I would also like to have your opinion on a common sense solution in a friendly match. Imagine that your opponent sends the lob through the leaves and it is clear that you both saw and heard the contact. If the opponent does not make any call (here I assume it is true that you cannot make the call yourself), you continue playing. Do you try to explain the rule after the exchange or let it slide? And, if your opponent calls it and is about to give you the point, do you take it or offer a let (as we are in a friendly)? And, if offered such a let, do you accept or refuse?
To the best of my knowledge, the tree is a permanent fixture, and it would be the exact same as a ball hitting the roof while playing indoors. The person who hit the shot must call it on themselves, just like on a double bounce call, or a call about touching the net.
What I would do in the situation is mention to the guy that if we were playing in a USTA match, then that would be my point, but I would let it slide in practice (assuming the trajectory of the ball is not changed very much).
If the opponent stops play and offers the point, then I see no problem in taking the point, since that is the rule.
If I was offered a let, I would say not to worry about it, that you could have the point. If you insist that a let should be played, then I would play a let.