Etiquette on Hitting Serves that are out

beansprouts1

New User
I wanted to poll the forum and see what people think is the correct etiquette during doubles.

How do people feel about hitting back serves that are close but out. Specifically these are first serves that are a few inches or half a foot from the lines. I hit a pretty aggressive return so by the time I've split stepped and moved forward to return the serve, there's not a lot of time to make a call, think about the call, then stop my swing. I guess I would equate it to the mentality that you run after and hit a ball that is close no matter if it is going to be in or out because if you wait to decide, it's too late. I also rely on my partner at the net to make the line call on depth and out wide since they have the better view.

However, lately I've gotten some angry mutters and dirty looks from my opponent at the net since maybe once every few matches one of my returns on a long or wide serve gets close to the net player. Any suggestions at maybe not pissing off the other players but keeping the effectiveness of the return game intact?
 

Villain

Semi-Pro
If the guy I’m facing hits hard serves, I’m already starting to swing by the time I realize the ball is out. I’m not stopping my motion in most cases. The other player, or players just need to accept that. It doesn’t bother me when other players do it.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
If it happens occasionally, I'm fine with it. But all the time it drives me nuts
it happens less in USTA league and tournament matches, but it happens way too often in local club or local tournaments or leagues. All clubs should have a rule and Etiquette rules and viollation in either will DQ the player for the duration of the leauge play
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Oh come on. If it is 1 or 2 inches out I can see not being able to stop a return ... but a half-foot? seriously, you must have better control than that.

Especially in doubles as your partner is calling that out quickly, and presumably you are not blind. There is NO REASON to blast a return any where near the opponent's net player on a long serve.

Unless you:
Have zero control
Are a sub 3.0
Were raised by wolves

Yeah, you totally earned the dirty looks.

Advice? learn control, not that hard.
 

TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
From “The Code”

Obvious faults. A player shall not put into play or hit over the net an obvious fault. To do so constitutes rudeness and may even be a form of gamesmanship. On the other hand, if a player does not call a serve a fault and gives the opponent the benefit of a close call, the server is not entitled to replay the point.

If you’re hitting obvious faults it slows the game down and depending on what the ball does, you might even entitle your opponent to a first serve. Ball recognition is a crucial skill at any level and for any shot (including the serve) in tennis. If you’re struggling to make the determination if a ball is in or out on the serve, have you partner loudly call the lines. Because yes it is annoying to have to chase after balls or potentially injure someone because the receiver makes contact every time with obvious faults.
 

beansprouts1

New User
So to clarify, I'm talking about faster serves seen at a high 4.0 or 4.5 men's league level and on first serves. These are the kind of serves that by the time you start calling them out, the ball has already come into your racquet contact point. I would never hit a slow serve that was out purposely at a net player, that is very rude.

To be clear, I'm not talking about trying to smack every serve back regardless of where it lands or hitting serves that are blatantly out all over the court.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
So to clarify, I'm talking about faster serves seen at a high 4.0 or 4.5 men's league level and on first serves. These are the kind of serves that by the time you start calling them out, the ball has already come into your racquet contact point. I would never hit a slow serve that was out purposely at a net player, that is very rude.

To be clear, I'm not talking about trying to smack every serve back regardless of where it lands or hitting serves that are blatantly out all over the court.
Okay ... I see those same serves in mixed ... when long by more than a few inches pretty easy to not return them.

If you are calling them out as it comes to your racket ... stop hitting it.

I watch a lot of men's 4.0 and 4.5 matches ... 90% have no problem stopping their return and not smacking it. The other 10% likely don't belong there or are dabbling in gamesmanship.
 

jered

Rookie
I see no problem in hitting a close ball that you end up calling out. You're committed until you saw it was out. Order is important here. If you call "out" and then initiate your swing, you're an ass. If you initiate your swing and call out as you're swinging or after then there should be zero issue. People complain too much, just ignore them.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
If it’s obviously out you’re not supposed to hit it back.

Admittedly I do. Firstly because I’m lazy, secondly because I get a bit paranoid about balls rebounding and lying underfoot on my side of the net. It’s not really good etiquette, but nobody’s ever called me out on it. Maybe something I should change.

If you strike the ball before calling it out, don’t be surprised if your opponent tries to claim a let.
 

mucat

Hall of Fame
I see no problem in hitting a close ball that you end up calling out. You're committed until you saw it was out. Order is important here. If you call "out" and then initiate your swing, you're an ass. If you initiate your swing and call out as you're swinging or after then there should be zero issue. People complain too much, just ignore them.
Cheaters will also wait to see if their return is good enough before deciding on how to call the serve :)
 

jered

Rookie
Cheaters will also wait to see if their return is good enough before deciding on how to call the serve :)
True, but I won't play with people who deliberately cheat. In a league setting you can, and we have warned the other team about late calls. Never had an issue in singles though.
 
Why would u want to hit at the netperson anyway?--if s/he's any good it's their point--u want to keep it away from the net person unless they can't volley.
 

nyta2

Semi-Pro
I wanted to poll the forum and see what people think is the correct etiquette during doubles.

How do people feel about hitting back serves that are close but out. Specifically these are first serves that are a few inches or half a foot from the lines. I hit a pretty aggressive return so by the time I've split stepped and moved forward to return the serve, there's not a lot of time to make a call, think about the call, then stop my swing. I guess I would equate it to the mentality that you run after and hit a ball that is close no matter if it is going to be in or out because if you wait to decide, it's too late. I also rely on my partner at the net to make the line call on depth and out wide since they have the better view.

However, lately I've gotten some angry mutters and dirty looks from my opponent at the net since maybe once every few matches one of my returns on a long or wide serve gets close to the net player. Any suggestions at maybe not pissing off the other players but keeping the effectiveness of the return game intact?
doens't matter to me as long as the calls are quick.
i have a problem with late calls i presume they are waiting to see if their return is in, OR if i'm serving and volleying, i'm coming all the way to net by the time they make their call.
 

ichaseballs

Rookie
If you play against good servers, it sometimes takes a split second to register the placement.
i think common sense dictates if it's indeed bad sportsmanship.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Here's how you tell.

If a returner hits every out serve, she doesn't know the rule or doesn't wish to abide by it.

These people exist. I have a doubles partner who tees off on Every Single Serve. I have seen her T off on serves well into the doubles alley. Serves that hit the net, bounce up, and land in the box. Serves that hit the net, bounce up, and land well outside the box.

I have given up on her. When she was on my team, I wrote a message to all players telling them the rule about hitting obviously out serves. I think this rule is the rule that is most willfully and intentionally violated above all others.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
I think this rule is the rule that is most willfully and intentionally violated above all others.
With good reason though. A lot of the time it’s just easier to knock the ball straight back to the end it’s being served from, rather than chase it after the point.

I know it’s not good etiquette, but to a degree it makes sense.
 

Flootoo

Rookie
If it's so close that I think for a second that it's in, I commit to returning it. Sometimes I realize that it was out, while/after hitting, and that's just too sad. I get over it eventually.

I used to call them loud and clear, hit the ball edge-on so that it would bounce straight up into the air. After that, and this is the hard part, throw my racquet up into the air, "catch" the ball in my pocket when it comes down, and then a no-look racquet catch.
 

winchestervatennis

Hall of Fame
I return pretty much every serve with the exception being if its so wide I can’t reach or so deep it bounces around where I’m standing. If it bounces off the fence and opponent has to take time to clear it, i give a first serve; i dont wait for a look, i just give it. Actually I’d say a quarter to almost half of those instances the opponent declines the first serve. Did we come here to play tennis or bicker about etiquette?
 

EddieBrock

Professional
With an out serve I call it out as soon and try to put my finger up as soon as I can and try my best to avoid hitting the serve. If I've already started the swing I try to hit it gently back right to him.

Since I have a really hard time telling if my serves are in or not I get myself ready to hit any return if I don't hear an out call and find it very annoying when people play them without calling them out. Just recently my opponent who did that all the time hit a return when I was sure my serve was out and it was one of the few times I didn't go for it and he said my serve was in. To me it looked like it was way out. So I think calling them and trying to avoid blasting returns on out serves is good etiquette.
 

kingcheetah

Hall of Fame
The bigger the server (assuming they aren't just hitting everything at max speed with no control) the harder it is to make that split second decision. I do hit out serves back, occasionally, but if it's clearly going out and I can stop it or net it, I do. Virtually all of those are first serves that I wouldn't put at the net player anyway, that's asking for them to win the point.
 

jered

Rookie
I return pretty much every serve with the exception being if its so wide I can’t reach or so deep it bounces around where I’m standing. If it bounces off the fence and opponent has to take time to clear it, i give a first serve; i dont wait for a look, i just give it. Actually I’d say a quarter to almost half of those instances the opponent declines the first serve. Did we come here to play tennis or bicker about etiquette?
We came to play by the rules and not be an annoying *****.

From “The Code”

Obvious faults. A player shall not put into play or hit over the net an obvious fault. To do so constitutes rudeness and may even be a form of gamesmanship. On the other hand, if a player does not call a serve a fault and gives the opponent the benefit of a close call, the server is not entitled to replay the point.
 

zaskar1

Semi-Pro
I wanted to poll the forum and see what people think is the correct etiquette during doubles.

How do people feel about hitting back serves that are close but out. Specifically these are first serves that are a few inches or half a foot from the lines. I hit a pretty aggressive return so by the time I've split stepped and moved forward to return the serve, there's not a lot of time to make a call, think about the call, then stop my swing. I guess I would equate it to the mentality that you run after and hit a ball that is close no matter if it is going to be in or out because if you wait to decide, it's too late. I also rely on my partner at the net to make the line call on depth and out wide since they have the better view.

However, lately I've gotten some angry mutters and dirty looks from my opponent at the net since maybe once every few matches one of my returns on a long or wide serve gets close to the net player. Any suggestions at maybe not pissing off the other players but keeping the effectiveness of the return game intact?
bs
i would say if the serve is obviously out, even if its close, you shouldnt hit a return, but sometimes we cant react fast enough.
if you do it all the time, perhaps the opponents have an issue, especially if you are hitting at the netperson with an out serve
z
 

stapletonj

Hall of Fame
If you can stop your return motion on a serve that is 6" or less out and can still hit a good return on one that you though was "looking like" it was going to be long, but it was not, you are likely playing significantly below your level.

If you smack one that was close-ish but out and it rolls arounf the other court, etc., you should give up another 1st serve since your action caused the server to get out of rhythm. that is plenty of compensation.

IF not and it just went into the fence or whatver and stopped there, then server should not be such a crybaby.
If server is already starting his motion by the time the returned out serve comes across, he is trying to quickserve the returner, who needs a couple of seconds to reset his stance.
 
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