Does this count as a fault?

#1
Playing doubles last night and the opposing server threw up an errant toss. No problem right? But then when he tried to catch it, he missed and reflexively stuck out his racket and popped it up into the air before the ball hit the ground. Would that technically be considered a service attempt since he didn't let it bounce before hitting it with the racket.

I yelled out to him, "Second Serve," jokingly but I really wasn't sure and just gave him two serves again.
 
#2
Not a fault. I'd argue (per below) that it is OK to touch the ball with the racket on an errant toss because you are allowed to even catch the ball with the racket.

FAC #19:
Case 1: After tossing a ball to serve, the server decides not to hit it and catches it
instead. Is this a fault?
Decision: No. A player, who tosses the ball and then decides not to hit it, is allowed
to catch the ball with the hand or the racket, or to let the ball bounce.
 
#3
Agree with previous poster. Not a fault. It's also allowed to bounce the ball on the racket up and then hit the serve. This is how one armed players serve.
 
#6
Thanks guys. It certainly seemed a chincy thing to call a fault on but I think claiming a point for catching a ball 5 feet past the baseline is chincy too. So the rules don't always follow common sense. Thankfully this scenario seems to.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
#8
Correct, which is why it is a fault if you swing and miss when intending to hit the serve.
How about this (I did this in sectionals last year - was not considered a fault)? I tossed the ball right into the sun and started my service motion but aborted it when I looked up and was blinded and let the ball bounce without swinging at it. I definitely had started my service motion with the intent to hit it, but did not actually swing.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
#9
How about this (I did this in sectionals last year - was not considered a fault)? I tossed the ball right into the sun and started my service motion but aborted it when I looked up and was blinded and let the ball bounce without swinging at it. I definitely had started my service motion with the intent to hit it, but did not actually swing.
Given that we see players at every level from a 2.5 to pros abort ball tosses before swinging and it isn't a fault, I think your scenario not being a fault is correct. My interpretation (haven't looked up the exact language though), is that it isn't the start of the service motion, but a swing that is an attempt to hit the ball that constitutes the event.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
#10
The rules allow a player to "catch" the ball racquet if they decide not to hit it. Not a big fan of this rule. IMO this leaves too much up to interpretation and it should just count if it hits any part of the racquet. I play against a couple of old guys who try to hit an extreme slice underhand serve at critical points. What if they wiff and spin the ball back at themselves? It's up to them to decide whether it's a fault or not?
 
#11
And herein is another rule that should be changed to compensate for the impact of modern equipment on the Sport.

The moment the ball leaves the Server's throwing hand should be the moment the Serve is initiated. Poor ball tosses should be penalised.
 
#12
The rules allow a player to "catch" the ball racquet if they decide not to hit it. Not a big fan of this rule. IMO this leaves too much up to interpretation and it should just count if it hits any part of the racquet. I play against a couple of old guys who try to hit an extreme slice underhand serve at critical points. What if they wiff and spin the ball back at themselves? It's up to them to decide whether it's a fault or not?
No because they tried to hit a serve.
 
#13
And herein is another rule that should be changed to compensate for the impact of modern equipment on the Sport.

The moment the ball leaves the Server's throwing hand should be the moment the Serve is initiated. Poor ball tosses should be penalised.
This is a whole different discussion.
 
#15
And herein is another rule that should be changed to compensate for the impact of modern equipment on the Sport.

The moment the ball leaves the Server's throwing hand should be the moment the Serve is initiated. Poor ball tosses should be penalised.
I agree, but I would only make the rule similar to a hindrance, in that the first errant toss is a warning, second errant toss is a fault. I would also keep the penalty for all subsequent errant tosses at a fault (i.e I would not keep progressing the recurrence of the penalty toward a total point, game, etc.).

I would also add an exception for windy conditions, that the players must agree before the match begins that errant tosses will not be counted as faults. I've had a few league matches thru the years that were played in 10-20 mph steady wind, with ~ 30 mph gusts bc we had to get the matches in since it was the end of the session and no time for rescheduling...it's bad enough to drive across town and play in that, so I would be in favor of an agreed suspension of that rule prior to the match starting.
 
#16
And herein is another rule that should be changed to compensate for the impact of modern equipment on the Sport.

The moment the ball leaves the Server's throwing hand should be the moment the Serve is initiated. Poor ball tosses should be penalised.
I'd love to see that rule myself. I think tennis is the only racquet sport that allows errant tosses to be re-tossed. Certainly couldn't do that in squash, badminton or racketball. Which is probably why I tend to a) hit every toss and b) toss pretty consistently.
 
#17
I agree, but I would only make the rule similar to a hindrance, in that the first errant toss is a warning, second errant toss is a fault. I would also keep the penalty for all subsequent errant tosses at a fault (i.e I would not keep progressing the recurrence of the penalty toward a total point, game, etc.).

I would also add an exception for windy conditions, that the players must agree before the match begins that errant tosses will not be counted as faults. I've had a few league matches thru the years that were played in 10-20 mph steady wind, with ~ 30 mph gusts bc we had to get the matches in since it was the end of the session and no time for rescheduling...it's bad enough to drive across town and play in that, so I would be in favor of an agreed suspension of that rule prior to the match starting.
The hindrance rule is a good idea. One chance, and then the rest are "Fault"s.

I'm not sure about the Windy Conditions exception. How windy is "Windy"? Getting the players to agree might work, but I can tell you that if I was one of the players, I would never agree to such a condition under ANY circumstances. Wind and Sun is part of the game. Adjusting to the conditions is part of the deal.
 
#19
If you're doing that, DEFINITELY no windy conditions exception.

If it's a fault, it's a fault. You play the conditions as they are.
You have to remember that league play is not the same as international, collegiate, etc. and there are already some minor format differences between league play and college, ITA, etc, for better or worse). My caveat is that both players must agree to the wind exception. If one does not, then no exception. Trust me...most players wouldn't even bring it up in a breezy situation, but I've had to play at least two league matches where the wind was literally blowing in swirls, gusts, etc...circus tennis...any shot can go anywhere, and difficult to even start the point. I'm talking about not just tossing and having to lunge a little extra to accommodate the toss -- I'm talking about putting up a short toss, and it's so windy that you're taking 1-2 steps along the base line to 'catch' the ball -- almost a side-arm serve...no one having any fun.

I understand this might be hard to fathom...'why not just move indoors?' in both cases it was the last match of the session, and the flight had to be completed that week as the matches would decide which team was advancing to the district tourney. Getting 16 guys (8 players X 2 teams), to reschedule 5 courts within a week is almost impossible...and in both cases, indoor court time at any of the closest indoor courts was unavailable that evening (match start @ 6:30 PM).

Trust me -- in the situation I had to play in twice, both teams (solid 4.0 players) were struggling to even make contact and get the serve over the net, into the box...forget about placement, pace etc...it was just stupid. we all just wanted to get the heck outta there but had to get the match in.
 
#20
Eh, I guess I'd just never agree to the wind exception then, as long as it's optional. I've played matches like that, where the wind is gusting and nobody can control anything. I find it fun, a unique challenge.

If you're supposed to toss once, then you toss once and be done with it - it just seems weird to me to give an exception "tosses in the wind" if you don't give one for "faults in the wind" or "missed overheads in the wind". We never really play indoors around here so I wasn't thinking of that.

It just seems really weird to me to put in an exception for wind. Can we do an exception for sun instead? Sun is a lot more annoying than wind.
 
#21
In my social-yet-competitive matches with friends, I sometimes like to mix things up with "trick" serves. One serve I've tried - maybe twice, and with zero success each time - features a nice high toss, purposely missing an initial overhead swing, and then quickly recovering in time to hit the ball underhand for a drop shot serve. It's a rather cumbersome [and silly] maneuver that I should probably practice before trying to implement during a match again, but it begs the question... would a successful attempt of this serve be legal?
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
#22
We always need to separate our understanding of what the rule ARE from what the rules SHOULD BE.

It is evil to reinterpret facts to gain the outcome of what the rules SHOULD BE that is different from what the rules ARE. It's just another way of lying.
 
#24
I'm talking about not just tossing and having to lunge a little extra to accommodate the toss -- I'm talking about putting up a short toss, and it's so windy that you're taking 1-2 steps along the base line to 'catch' the ball -- almost a side-arm serve...no one having any fun.
Players could resort to underarm serves in this situation.

If the conditions are that windy, returning an underarm serve isn't going to be that easy.
 
#25
In my social-yet-competitive matches with friends, I sometimes like to mix things up with "trick" serves. One serve I've tried - maybe twice, and with zero success each time - features a nice high toss, purposely missing an initial overhead swing, and then quickly recovering in time to hit the ball underhand for a drop shot serve. It's a rather cumbersome [and silly] maneuver that I should probably practice before trying to implement during a match again, but it begs the question... would a successful attempt of this serve be legal?
Yes, it would be legal. The main problem with these types of serves is that most people foot fault in the process (making it an illegal serve)
 

kevrol

Professional
#27
How about this (I did this in sectionals last year - was not considered a fault)? I tossed the ball right into the sun and started my service motion but aborted it when I looked up and was blinded and let the ball bounce without swinging at it. I definitely had started my service motion with the intent to hit it, but did not actually swing.
That's like when Tiger Woods aborts his drive on the downswing because someone made a noise. No idea how he does that but it's not a stroke. Nor would it be in tennis.
 
#28
And herein is another rule that should be changed to compensate for the impact of modern equipment on the Sport.

The moment the ball leaves the Server's throwing hand should be the moment the Serve is initiated. Poor ball tosses should be penalised.
Have to play regularly against a serial bad tosser, drives me nuts! Counted 21 faux tosses over the course of 2 service games!!
This guy also spends hours practicing his toss!!!
 
#29
Have to play regularly against a serial bad tosser, drives me nuts! Counted 21 faux tosses over the course of 2 service games!!
This guy also spends hours practicing his toss!!!
I would tell him to stop practising his ball toss. He is probably just reinforcing a bad habit.

He needs to see a coach, or watch some videos, and start from scratch.

Does he yell out "Sorry Mate!" every time he throws an errant toss?
 

time_fly

Professional
#30
Thanks guys. It certainly seemed a chincy thing to call a fault on but I think claiming a point for catching a ball 5 feet past the baseline is chincy too. So the rules don't always follow common sense. Thankfully this scenario seems to.
I've always thought you should be able to signal a "fair catch" and catch an out ball, as long as you are standing out of bounds and the ball is around waist-height or higher when caught. Its a waste of time to let those shots go and have to track down the ball afterwards. Certainly in non-league play this is done all the time.
 
#31
I would tell him to stop practising his ball toss. He is probably just reinforcing a bad habit.

He needs to see a coach, or watch some videos, and start from scratch.

Does he yell out "Sorry Mate!" every time he throws an errant toss?
I reckon it's in his head not his hand;) Had plenty of coaches we play with give him help but problem remains.
What's most annoying is his serve has improved and when he finally hits the ball after 3 or more tosses it can be effective and when you have setup 3 times for a non serve I tend to lose focus for the one that finally comes over!
And not even a "sorry mate"!
 
#32
I reckon it's in his head not his hand;) Had plenty of coaches we play with give him help but problem remains.
What's most annoying is his serve has improved and when he finally hits the ball after 3 or more tosses it can be effective and when you have setup 3 times for a non serve I tend to lose focus for the one that finally comes over!
And not even a "sorry mate"!
OK. So Your Plan B ... whenever he throws up two or three duds, when he starts to throw up the fourth one and you think he is going to connect, you then raise your hand and yell out "Wait Please!" and stand down. That will allow you to re-establish YOUR focus. ;)
 

TagUrIt

Professional
#33
Have to play regularly against a serial bad tosser, drives me nuts! Counted 21 faux tosses over the course of 2 service games!!
This guy also spends hours practicing his toss!!!

That would drive me crazy! If he violates the allotted time to serve, I would call fault on that.

Someone posted it earlier and the pros do it all the time. If the server allows the ball to drop without attempting to hit the ball, it’s not a fault.
 
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