Rules Clarification - Reaching over the net...without contact

Choachy

New User
This is another one of those 'reaching over the net' rules questions, but I haven't found a really good answer for this specific action.

I know that as long as you make contact with the ball on your side of the net, your follow through can break the plane of the net. I know that if wind or spin or something else causes a ball to bounce on your side then go back over the net, you can reach over the net and hit it.

What I don't know is if you can reach over the net, and NOT hit the ball? During a doubles match, I was at the baseline hitting a forehand. One of the opponents was playing right on top of the net. I hit a terrible shot that went right into the net about 6 inches below the tape. The opponent was clearly reaching over the net, his elbow extended, and his racket head about 6 inches below the tape on our side. He instinctively TRIED to hit the ball, but missed.

There was no argument over the point because none of us really knew if that was an infraction or not. I hit into the net, their point. We moved on. But we were all curious if that was against the rules or not.
 

tennis_ocd

Hall of Fame
I'm not sure about that.... Given that one can follow thru beyond the net plane what's to say he didn't just time the swing to hit on his side of the net and follow thru past the net plane? In a couple minutes of google I couldn't find anything re: breaking the net plane that wasn't ball strike related.
 

jswinf

Professional
Interesting question. My gut feeling is there's no infraction if he didn't touch the ball or the net, but I'm too lazy to try to research it. I'll watch the thread for better- informed input.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
I'm not sure about that.... Given that one can follow thru beyond the net plane what's to say he didn't just time the swing to hit on his side of the net and follow thru past the net plane? In a couple minutes of google I couldn't find anything re: breaking the net plane that wasn't ball strike related.
Your google-fu is no match for mine :p
https://www.usta.com/Improve-Your-Game/Player-to-Player/Rules/Reaching_over_the_net/
shots near the plane of the net are probably in the "it's on the honor of the player to call it..." like double hits and double bounces...
But you can't for example, reach over stuff and drop shot return (ala shaq).
 

Choachy

New User
Your google-fu is no match for mine :p
https://www.usta.com/Improve-Your-Game/Player-to-Player/Rules/Reaching_over_the_net/
shots near the plane of the net are probably in the "it's on the honor of the player to call it..." like double hits and double bounces...
But you can't for example, reach over stuff and drop shot return (ala shaq).
So I'm still not sure what the ruling would be here. Before I started this thread, I read that link as well, and it references actually hitting the ball. It's more cut and dry.

OK, well maybe this clears it up:
"(The player can only reach over to play a ball in the situation stated in the paragraph below).
...
If the spin or wind brings the ball back over the net to the side of the player(s) who hit the shot, the opponent(s) may then reach over the net and play the ball."


So it seems like they should have lost the point for reaching over the net, even if he didn't make contact with the ball. I'm not disputing who's call it is to make, theirs or ours; but what call should have been made.
 

tennis_ocd

Hall of Fame
I read that link but it's all ball related. I found nothing where breaking the net plane without touching anything results in an automatic loss of point.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
I would think your opponent can reach over the net as long as they do not contact the ball nor net and as long as doing so is not a hindrance to you. Their intent to hit the ball before it cleared the net should not matter as long as they did not do it.
 

JLyon

Hall of Fame
I would think your opponent can reach over the net as long as they do not contact the ball nor net OR COURT SURFACE OF OPPONENT INSIDE THE SINGLES STICKS and as long as doing so is not a hindrance to you. Their intent to hit the ball before it cleared the net should not matter as long as they did not do it.
 

spot

Hall of Fame
you opponent lost the point. He can only reach over the net to hit a ball that FIRST went on his side of the net and then went back over to the other side of the net. This did not happen.
Absolutely incorrect. Unless the opponent makes contact with the ball on the other side of the net there is no violation. They lose the point if they touch the ball or the opponent's court, but not for simply crossing the imaginary line.
 

Gut4Tennis

Hall of Fame
No matter what the rule actually is, only the person making the swing can call the infraction on themselves

so

it does not matter what the actual rule is on that issue, or a ball bouncing 2 times before its hit, or a body part touching the net, as all these infractions can only be called ON YOURSELF .... so only if someones says they did something wrong and gives you the point

The honor (guilt) system in full effect...

got it
 

jswinf

Professional
No matter what the rule actually is, only the person making the swing can call the infraction on themselves

so

it does not matter what the actual rule is on that issue, or a ball bouncing 2 times before its hit, or a body part touching the net, as all these infractions can only be called ON YOURSELF .... so only if someones says they did something wrong and gives you the point

The honor (guilt) system in full effect...

got it
Well, how about in an officiated match? There was the instance earlier this year when Djokovic did hit a ball before it crossed the net, but it wasn't called as an infraction or acknowledged by the Djoker. Should an umpire award the point to the other player, who hit the ball into the net, when the opponent reaches over but doesn't touch anything?
 

blakesq

Hall of Fame
Absolutely incorrect. Unless the opponent makes contact with the ball on the other side of the net there is no violation. They lose the point if they touch the ball or the opponent's court, but not for simply crossing the imaginary line.

Spot, i stand corrected. I found this case four under rule 24:

Case 4: Does a player lose the point if an imaginary line in the extension of the net is crossed before or after hitting the ball?
Decision: The player does not lose the point in either case provided the player does not touch the opponent’s court.
 

NTRPolice

Hall of Fame
And, in the event a ball does the "spin back over the net" you can technically jump over the net, while in the air over the net, tap the ball down into the bottom of the net, and so long as you did not touch the net, hinder the opponent, and the ball bounces twice before you land in their court, you win the point.
 

pinky42

Rookie
What counts as the court? Is it the area inside the lines or everything on the other side? In other words, can you run around the net post before the ball bounces twice? I've seen situations where a player will wind up on the opponent's side at the end of a point and I can't recall a time where the umpire called an infraction. It was unclear if the umpire was watching both the ball and the player waiting for the bounce. Maybe (s)he was but it turned out that the ball had always bounced twice before the player went across and that's why an infraction was never called.
 

gmatheis

Hall of Fame
What counts as the court? Is it the area inside the lines or everything on the other side? In other words, can you run around the net post before the ball bounces twice? I've seen situations where a player will wind up on the opponent's side at the end of a point and I can't recall a time where the umpire called an infraction. It was unclear if the umpire was watching both the ball and the player waiting for the bounce. Maybe (s)he was but it turned out that the ball had always bounced twice before the player went across and that's why an infraction was never called.
The in bounds area of your opponents side of the court. So if you are playing singles you could step into their doubles alley without penalty.
 

NTRPolice

Hall of Fame
What counts as the court? Is it the area inside the lines or everything on the other side? In other words, can you run around the net post before the ball bounces twice? I've seen situations where a player will wind up on the opponent's side at the end of a point and I can't recall a time where the umpire called an infraction. It was unclear if the umpire was watching both the ball and the player waiting for the bounce. Maybe (s)he was but it turned out that the ball had always bounced twice before the player went across and that's why an infraction was never called.
Inside the singles lines in singles.

On a side note, people dont often realize that when you watch majors a lot of times they're playing on singles lines courts only. This is why it's actually easier to hit a "banana shot" winner on a "TV court" vs. a court in the park which has the standard doubles setup. Nadals fantastic banana shots are basically balls that went over the "doubles alley", which isnt nearly as hard as doing it on a regular courts doubles net posts.

The ball also does not have to go "over the net" either. The ball just has to land inside the court. You can technically hit a ground skimmer that's 1 inch off the ground around the post. I thought I saw a shot like this in a highlight reel. The ball was only about 2 ft. high around the net.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
Inside the singles lines in singles.

On a side note, people dont often realize that when you watch majors a lot of times they're playing on singles lines courts only. This is why it's actually easier to hit a "banana shot" winner on a "TV court" vs. a court in the park which has the standard doubles setup. Nadals fantastic banana shots are basically balls that went over the "doubles alley", which isnt nearly as hard as doing it on a regular courts doubles net posts.

The ball also does not have to go "over the net" either. The ball just has to land inside the court. You can technically hit a ground skimmer that's 1 inch off the ground around the post. I thought I saw a shot like this in a highlight reel. The ball was only about 2 ft. high around the net.
Yep, I've seen this happen a few times on the ATP tour this year alone. And it happens in doubles too even with the wider net posts as they can hit into the doubles alley (the net post geometry relative to the sideline is the same) and you often get more wicked angles from the net player in doubles so it is almost more likely to occur in doubles. The challenge is usually avoiding the chair umpire stand and other obstacles on the side of the court while completing or following through.
 

muddlehead

Semi-Pro
Re: OP question. It's all about whether reaching over the net is a hindrance. In your example, it obviously was not. Point to your opponent. How's about this: you are rushing in to retrieve a drop shot which lands close to the net. Opponent can't lean / reach over the net with his racket to wave / distract / hinder you as you are about to hit the ball ...
 

Gut4Tennis

Hall of Fame
Inside the singles lines in singles.

On a side note, people dont often realize that when you watch majors a lot of times they're playing on singles lines courts only. This is why it's actually easier to hit a "banana shot" winner on a "TV court" vs. a court in the park which has the standard doubles setup. Nadals fantastic banana shots are basically balls that went over the "doubles alley", which isnt nearly as hard as doing it on a regular courts doubles net posts.

The ball also does not have to go "over the net" either. The ball just has to land inside the court. You can technically hit a ground skimmer that's 1 inch off the ground around the post. I thought I saw a shot like this in a highlight reel. The ball was only about 2 ft. high around the net.
only a few events a year do this

not that common on the atp tour
 

SweetH2O

Rookie
Spot, i stand corrected. I found this case four under rule 24:

Case 4: Does a player lose the point if an imaginary line in the extension of the net is crossed before or after hitting the ball?
Decision: The player does not lose the point in either case provided the player does not touch the opponent’s court.
That is talking about running around the end of the net beyond the net post to your opponents side (but not within the in-bounds area) before or after a shot.
 
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